THE BARNES WALLIS
80TH BIRTHDAY ALBUM 1967

Introduction

The village’s distinguished resident Dr Barnes Neville Wallis, who had done so much for our local community since coming to live here in 1930, celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday September 26th 1967.

In the evening he was invited to the King George V Hall expecting a modest gathering with friends, but the reality was a surprise party in the presence of over 200 residents. There he was presented with a substantial album, to which many organisations had contributed, as a tribute to his life and good works.

The details can be read in the newspaper clippings opposite. The left-most one was published in The Surrey Advertiser on September 30th and was donated as hard copy to ELHG in 2010. The right-most one was found loose within the album, having been added later, and it is not known which newspaper published it.

 

The Album

The album consists of just over 50 heavy-grade leaves, a little under A3 size, each with two punched holes. They are held between sturdy covers by two metal columns and can be released by unscrewing these. Contributions to the album appear on the front and reverse pages of each leaf and many of them are fixed by adhesive.

Half a century later the pages have become somewhat discoloured. The content is mostly in reasonable condition but some items have become spoilt by the gradual absorption of adhesive or by structural breakdown with ageing, especially in the case of newspaper clippings. None of the items has come loose.

On August 4th 2017 the album was scanned at high resolution by ELHG at a commercial printer’s office. Some pages contain multiple items in highly overlapping configurations and these items had to be carefully unfolded and scanned in their own right. For this reason, the page length of the scan exceeds the page length of the album.

Presentation of the album scan on this website is by kind permission of the owner.

Viewing the Album

The album scan is displayed here in an embedded frame in order that both it and the notes below can be viewed without leaving the web page. This scan has a resolution that is about 70 times lower than the original scan held in the ELHG archives, but should be sufficiently readable: zoom in as necessary. Please note that ELHG asserts its copyright over the scan pdf, which is its own created work.

Notes

The album scan shown above consists of a 115-page pdf. In these notes, the page numbers refer to the pages of this file, not to the pages of the album itself.

PAGE 1

This shows the album’s front cover, embossed with the words “From EFFINGHAM One thousand nine hundred & sixty seven.” encircling the initials of Barnes Neville Wallis.

PAGE 2

Barnes is thanked here for his former roles as Chairman of the Effingham Parish Council, Secretary of the Parochial Church Council and the initiator and Chairman of the King George V Playing Fields Committee of Management. It pays tribute too to his wife Molly. In June 2nd 1943, just after the successful deployment of his ‘bouncing bombs’ against the Ruhr dams in May, he was honoured with the CBE. Two years later he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the country’s highest possible scientific distinction. His FRS certificate of election remarks that he had at that time over a hundred patents to his name, a testament to his extraordinary capabilities of innovation and to his reputation among colleagues as the world’s greatest living mechanical engineer. He was knighted in 1968.

PAGES 3-6

These pages provide a potted history of the village, although not without some mistakes. The description of the ancient manors is over-simplified. The primary school was not built in 1855 – even the foundation stone was not laid until 1856.
The KGV Playing Fields were not acquired in 1936 – at that time they were still the parkland in the ownership of the Pauling estate and remained so until the death of Mrs Lola Pauling in 1938, after which the site was purchased by Barnes Wallis and others through her executors.

PAGE 7

This page lists the organisations who contributed to the album. One of these is The Lodge, at that time serving as a home for elderly women run and owned by Surrey County Council. However, no contribution from The Lodge appears in the album. Curiously omitted from the list (and the album) is the Methodist Church, although there are contributions from both St Lawrence Church and Our Lady of Sorrows.

PAGE 9

Here an account of the Catholic church (Our Lady of Sorrows), built by George Craig Saunders Pauling of The Lodge and consecrated in 1913, is reproduced from a parish magazine. It states that in 1896 Mr Pauling had converted one of his rooms in The Lodge to a chapel; this is impossible as he did not even purchase the property until 1897. The article goes on to say that Pauling died in 1918; the year was actually 1919.

PAGE 17

The material here about the Parochial Church Council includes a photograph taken from the Church tower looking across the KGV Playing Fields, in which (with enough zooming) one can make out the cricket square. Opposite the photograph on a report dated 1934 are the signatures of Barnes and of the former Rector, Rev. Harold Arthur Floud, in his capacity then of PCC Chairman, and also a tribute to the PCC’s then Secretary Miss Effie Jane Ross.

PAGES 19-22

These pages were contributed by Effingham Cricket Club. The “late Patron” who had donated the cricket ground on Effingham Common to the Parish Council was Robert Reitmeyer Calburn, Lord of the Manor of Effingham East Court.
On page 20 the history of cricket in the village is dated back to “some hundred years”, that is, to approximately the 1860s, but there is evidence that cricket was played here as early as the 1840s. The club’s Committee members in 1937, when the ‘Calburn Cricket Ground’ had been laid, are listed on page 21 and include Maurice J Waller who as a young boy had contributed to that task and in adulthood had given huge service to the club. Also mentioned there are other major figures in the club’s development in that period, such as Adrian George Estler and Ralph Edgar Street. Mr Street, who had played for the club in 1902, signed this page at 89 years of age, shortly before his death later in 1967. Mr Street’s Effingham Cricket Club cap was very kindly donated to ELHG some time ago by his grandson.

PAGES 23-34

The next organisation to appear is the Eastwick Park Cricket Club, founded in 1960. During the 1960s the Club used the King George V Playing Fields as its home ground and for some years was very successful. In particular, the benefit matches which they hosted for professional cricketers drew huge numbers of visitors. You can read more about the matches of 1964 and 1965 via buttons on the Discovery page. Page 23 contains a number of overlapping newspaper clippings; one of them relates to the 1965 benefit match for cricketer Micky Stewart and the others relate to the 1964 event for Ken Barrington. Their signatures are included among many others on page 27 – Barrington’s at bottom left and Stewart’s at bottom right; both were Vice-Presidents of the Club. Pages 28-29 show views of the 1965 match. Unfortunately, after a decade of promising activity, the Club quickly declined and, after briefly rebranding itself as The Howard Cricket Club, folded in 1974.

PAGE 35

Football makes a brief appearance on page 35 by way of three photographs, but nothing more. The top photograph purports to show the “first” match played at Effingham, one team having consisted of employees of The Lodge captained by Ralph Edgar Street (the head gardener); he is seen prominently just left of centre in the back row. Copies of this photograph have turned up in several places in the village and with a range of dates ascribed to them. The date given on this page, 1909, is the correct one and ELHG knows this from having seen and scanned the clearly-franked postcard sent by Mr Street to his father just afterwards, expressing his pride in his team’s 3-0 win. The other two photographs show teams in the 1930s and 1960s and we know the names of most of the members shown. Although the page is headed Effingham Football Club it cannot be said with certainty that these three generations of footballers all belonged to one particular club. In any case, by the time this album came into being, the ‘Effingham Football Club’ then in existence claimed to have been formed in 1965.

PAGES 36-39

These pages were contributed by the Effingham Housing Association which evolved from a meeting of villagers convened in early 1965 to consider purchasing the old Almshouses in Crossways in order to convert them into accommodation for Effingham’s elderly residents. The site had come onto the market following the death of the owner and the Almshouses were in a state of serious disrepair. At this meeting a Committee was set up to take the matter forward and create a fund for the purpose. The page refers to Barnes’ “unselfish act of faith”, but discreetly refrains from mentioning the fact that at this meeting he had made a personal donation of £350 to get the fund underway. Page 38 presents some photographs of Barnes speaking at the opening ceremony after the project had been completed, probably in late 1965 or possibly in 1966. Purchasing and conversion had cost a total of about £23,000, raised from many sources and including a loan. On page 39 are the signatures of several tenants of Crossways including those of Mrs Lena Bridger, who had run the Village Stores in The Street for many years up to the War, and Ernest Albert Loxley, a former tenant of Home Farm.

PAGES 40-45

The Howard of Effingham School, originally the Central County Secondary School, is the next contributor in the album. Its narrative on page 41 gets off to a shaky start in its opening sentence, asserting that the school “was opened in March 1940”. It was actually opened for the Autumn Term of 1939, with pupils starting there on September 11th. These included children who were formally pupils of the Effingham Council School (subsequently St Lawrence County Primary School), decanted to two new classrooms in the new Central School. These details are recorded in the former school’s log book. Other pupils entering the Central School on that same day were evacuee girls from the Munster School in Fulham. During this term there were complaints published in the local newspapers that too much priority was being given to these evacuees at the Central School over local children from Bookham and Fetcham. The album’s narrative does not mention the Munster School but instead continues by noting that the Central School was attended also by evacuee children from Brixton’s Strand School. From press articles it appears (although this is not certain) that they did not attend until November 1939. These somewhat makeshift arrangements and local disquiet concerning them seem to have resulted in the school then closing for a while in early 1940, then being re-opened on March 1st on a fresh basis for pupil allocation.

PAGES 46-53

These pages present the King George V Hall and the Playgroup established there. The Hall, whose construction had begun in 1965, had come into operation in May 1966 but its official opening by Barnes took place on October 1st as can be seen from these album exhibits. The picture of the new Hall on page 46 is not quite accurate and may have been based on architectural plans seen prior to the actual construction: we have not yet been able to learn anything about the artist Brian Ericsson. The clear emphasis in the picture is the playing of cricket; as observed above, the main sports organisation using the grounds at this time was the Eastwick Park Cricket Club, although since 1966 the Effingham Rugby Club had also been formed and was using the grounds too. The front doors seen being officially opened by Barnes on page 47 ceased to exist a long time ago, when the west (front) and north sides of the building underwent radical extension. The poster shown on page 48, although here shown in monochrome, was a colour fascimile of an original (and no long surviving) poster used in 1937 to promote the appeal for funds with which to purchase Mrs. Pauling’s parkland.

PAGES 54-56

The contributor here was the Effingham Branch of The League of Friends of Leatherhead Hospital. This organisation had been formed in 1960 and its branches succeeded eventually in raising nearly two and a half million pounds to provide equipment and amenities for the patients. These few pages are a very modest presentation of what was actually a huge achievement. 

PAGES 57-62

This entry by the Manor House School is a little curious. The school is not in Effingham and the contribution here never mentions Effingham or Barnes Wallis. It seems that the only connection we can construe is that some children living in Effingham would have been pupils at the school.

PAGES 67-69

These few pages assembled by Effingham Parish Council provide the most elegant and enlightening account in the album of the key contributions to the village made by Barnes.

PAGES 70-79

St Lawrence County Primary School, together with its Parent Teacher Association, makes its appearance here and supplies a good account of its history, except for the slightly unfortunate typing error that gives the starting year of the first log book as 1962 instead of 1862. Well-deserved tribute is paid here to the former long-serving head teacher Mr Joseph Stewart Adams who had done great service for the village in very many ways, besides his governance of the school. Although he had not been a national figure or an acclaimed engineer, it could be argued that if anyone had contributed in the 20th century to Effingham as much as Barnes did, then it was Stewart Adams. The photograph at bottom-left on page 73 is a valuable one for ELHG, being the only one we have seen relating to Effingham’s celebration of the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

PAGES 80-83

The British Red Cross Society had played a vital role in Effingham during the Second World War, with a significant number of its women residents serving in the Surrey/26 Detachment of the Red Cross based in Bookham under the command of Gerda Lois Brown, who herself lived in Effingham in High Barn Road. Gerda often did night duty in Bookham, walking back home in the early hours utterly exhausted. Also serving with her was Barnes’ wife Molly and we have a scan of a photograph showing them together in their uniforms. ELHG also possesses a copy of the very extensive diary maintained by Gerda throughout the War.

PAGES 84-88

These pages are devoted to the Effingham Residents and Ratepayers Association which had come into being in 1963. Its first couple of years were somewhat uneasy ones owing to internal policy differences, as their album contribution explains. Over the next fifty years the Association was very active and publicly engaged, holding regular meetings with the public in attendance for which detailed Agendas and Minutes were produced. At these meetings there were often arranged talks on subjects of interest. There was an extensive network of street wardens, while representativeness was underpinned by the fact of more than half the residents being explicit members through paid subscription. The album pages describe some of the early successes on planning issues in which the Association was involved, including the matter of the notorious Fat Factory in which Barnes played a key role.

PAGES 90-93

The Effingham Rugby Football Club came into existence in 1966. It was founded by Dr Charles Thomas Sutton, another immensely energetic and community-minded resident who, like Barnes, secured many lasting benefits for the village. He had come to live in Effingham in 1929. In the 1960s – including the time when this album was presented – he was Chairman of Effingham Parish Council and, in 1969 became Chairman of the KGV Committee of Management. Cricket was another of his passions and he played a leading role in helping Effingham Cricket Club to acquire a new pavilion at the Calburn Cricket Ground. It was Charles and his wife who arranged for the artist David Poole to paint the well-known portrait of Barnes, and it was Charles who paid for it. He was the first Chairman of the Rugby Club, but their contribution in this album omits to say anything of the man to whom they owed their existence. The top-right photograph shown on page 91 is useful for providing one of the few images we have showing (in the far distance) the old hut and The Milestone building.

PAGES 97-102

The Scouts’ contribution gives the starting year of their Group as 1960. Their early meetings were held in an old hut on the southern side of the KGV Playing Fields, almost opposite The Milestone. This was in a poor condition and the Scouts set up a special account in 1964 in which to accumulate funds to build a headquarters on a new site, preferably next to the Hall. In 1976 they abandoned this hope and decided instead upon a radical refurbishment of the hut. In 1978 this project was completed and a special celebration was held there. Barnes and his wife Molly were invited. The celebration was tape-recorded and ELHG has a copy of the recording by courtesy of the Group. This includes a one-minute speech given by Barnes, congratulating them and wishing them well. This is the only recording we have of Barnes speaking at a village event. The title “1st” Effingham Scouts is not intended to imply that the Group were the first Scouts established in Effingham. As their own written history records, they had been re-registered, not newly created, in 1960 having been in existence as far back at least as the 1930s. That history, composed in the 1990s, states that the Group had been established originally in 1933, but there exists a newspaper article published in July 1932 referring to the ‘Effingham Girl Guides and Boy Scouts’ attending the funeral of the vicar’s wife, Mrs Christina Mary Hartley Parker. Moreover, ELHG has photographs of groups of Scouts taken in Effingham in both 1909 and 1919.

PAGES 106-108

Effingham Women’s Institute introduces itself with an attractive painting on page 106 depicting their hall on which, they record, they had obtained in January 1928 a lease for a term of nearly forty years. More precisely, they had acquired a disused cowshed in early 1927 and converted it themselves into a useable hall, completing this task in November 1927. The painting is signed ‘C. High’ and the artist was probably Mr Charles Arthur High, born in 1909, who was a professional signwriter living in Woodlands Road. ELHG has scans of images showing the cowshed both before and immediately after conversion. When the lease expired the WI held their meetings (on afternoons) in the new KGV Hall instead. A year after this album had been created, there emerged in 1968 a new branch named the ‘Evening WI’; the reason for this was that younger members found it difficult to meet on afternoons. The two branches collaborated in many ways, for instance in their joint contribution to the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations. Later on, this evening branch ceased and Effingham’s WI presence reverted to a single afternoon branch. Page 107 expresses their gratitude for Molly’s long involvement, especially in her past roles as their Secretary and President, and also mentions talks which had been given at their meetings by Barnes. The photograph at the top of page 107 is especially useful in being one of the very few we possess showing the KGV Hall soon after completion.

PAGES 109-111

Effingham Youth Club records that it been formed in 1964, although there had previously been other youth clubs in the Village, including an Effingham Girls Club which had operated for very many years. This new club made its mark on the village with its contribution to the 1966 Village Day and its well-remembered pram-race. However, the resources available in the village to provide recreation for the young were meagre; in late 1968 Barnes donated £50 to the KGV to assist local youth organisations. In January 1969 the 1st Effingham Scouts offered to take on the maintenance and letting of the old sports hut as a joint venture with the Youth Club, but this did not come about: in the KGV Annual General Meeting of 1969 it was noted that the Youth Club had been disbanded.

POSTSCRIPT

The above notes have mentioned a few small inaccuracies in the Album, for no other reason than to clarify the historical record. But the Album did not purport to be a formal historical account of the village or pretend to some professional standard of construction and editing. Instead, with all its cutting and glueing, its typing and laborious handwriting, its formal articles and the scrawled messages of very young children, it was first and foremost a work of unconditional admiration and love held by a village for a very great and generous man – and for his wife – to whom all residents to this day owe a very great deal.

Notes by Christopher J Hogger