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Helmdon Historical Articles

Poems and Prose About Helmdon



                     The Signalman’s Lament

The Marples axe has fallen and Beeching’s rammed it home, Brackley signal box is finished, the GC line is doomed.

Tis the 13th day of June now and the signals are crashing down.  Whoever would have thought it, that this would be my lot? My reference book is clean and I haven’t got a blot.

 If this day is what they call progressing, then I am glad I’m getting old.  Why then for the next generation, Oh Lord, what will unfold?

Len Wills, redundant signalman, who lived in Church Street.

(From: Talkabout, Spring 1985)


Helmdon   -  Days Gone By

As I stand

I see him still,

Though he’s gone to  rest at last beside the old yew tree.

The stables, too, are all knocked down for Church Street 43.

New houses occupy the shells of barns,

And cows no longer walk the road;

Cars parked in rows now take their place.

The stream has long grown cold.


I stand and watch,

I see them all,

But just in my mind’s eye.

As these pass by

Does Helmdon die

A little –

or do I?

J Bazeley   (From: Talkabout, Spring 1987)

Helmdon  2020

It was early January we first heard
An infectious disease had occurred
We read in the news the virus began
In a region of China called Wuhan

The virus spread across the world
Its deadly tentacles already unfurled
Our government warned us not to ignore
As the pandemic reached our UK shores

The advice from Boris "stay safe, stay at home"
You may exercise daily not far to roam
And for 20 seconds wash your hands
Not too difficult to understand

In Helmdon we look forward to reopen our school and clubs
The Tuesday cafe, luncheon and of course the pub
As friends and neighbours at last we meet
And together this virus we will defeat.

Lee Alfandary      (From: Lockdown, Lowdown Reminiscences 2020)


Helmdon  -   Days Gone By

Cows amble sedately down the shimmering road,

Laden udders swaying in time with the ponderous step

Nearby, Shortlands stands crowded with lazing short thick-set bullocks,

While overhead rooks squabble in majestic ancient elms.


The village bobby cycling heavily up the brief hill,

Puffing, stops every now and then to chat to each in turn.


The occasional child fetching water from the old iron pump primes it skilfully, at length to be rewarded,

By a cool torrent of distinctive water,

Yielded  from  unknown recesses of the limestone rock beneath.


The cricket match at school, as always, ended by

The steady and impartial engine of the 3.40 freight

Passing the “distant” signal post  on the old Great Central line.

And further off a fussier tank engine on the SMJ

Takes its lesser load, under the soaring viaduct

Up Helmdon Bank, past Cockley Brake to Banbury,  Merton Street.


Ivy, the council steam roller, tirelessly moving back and forth,

Adding to the searing heat  as she crushes golden gravel.

Men stripped to the waist,  strangers with new ways and a coarse language,

Working with heavy forks  amid the pungent smell of boiling tar.


In the evenings,  the village men toiling, but at a steadier rate,

On the allotment whose cops will keep the table laden through the year;

Restful in its way, as the day cools and swifts wheel high above,

A labour of love except that of  fetching water from the nearby well.


Jerry Gascoigne, stubbornly the last to keep his horse and cart,

Pauses, on his way home, with an air of wisdom from an age gone by.

J Bazeley   (From: Talkabout, Spring 1987)

            My First Impressions of Helmdon

I was not over enthusiastic about moving from the North to the South but since my arrival in Helmdon I have had no cause to regret our move.  From the day we moved in the village everybody has been so tremendously friendly.  This brings me to the conclusion that the people of Helmdon have a warmth that is hard to discover in many other areas.  There is an amazing community atmosphere.  The village intends to make every occasion lively and of course different.

The village is kept extremely tidy with some of the most beautiful gardens to be discovered in any region.  Every crevice of Helmdon has something new and delightful.  Its little streets with quaint little cottages provide a true English village of atmosphere.

A wonderful little church is situated on the hill which is decorated with an array of beautiful flower arrangements.  It is indeed a church to be proud of.

Although I have lived in many village in Britain, never have I found such a village and never have I been so happy.

Sara Jane Trumper

(From: Talkabout, Autumn 1984)                                



Helmdon is a very active village.  It has a carnival every year which is good for a laugh.  The theme this year is "Songs” I think.  There is a cub pack and a scout troop.  They go sailing and have knockout tournaments.  There is also a Brownies and Guides.  The school goes on outings which are brilliant and they do plays which are always a success.  The school owns a field which anyone is welcome to play on.  I have some really nice friends.  I think it’s an excellent village.        Thomas Sykes (aged ten)

(From: Talkabout, Spring 1986)


In Helmdon we are lucky because we have fields and wildlife.  The school have got a  conservation area down by the old railway.  On Mondays all of Class 1 go into the Conference Room in the school and either write about wildlife or go down to the conservation area.  Mrs Worrall looks after the conservation area with the children.  When the children go into the Conference Room they talk about encouraging wildlife and flowers to the area.  There are some foxes and one or two badgers down there.  There are lots of rabbits as well. There are lots of other mammals in the area too.

Partrick Gartside

3rd  year Juniors.

(From: Talkabout, Spring 19876)


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