If the names Binding & Payne, Wilcox, Woodington, Shopland, Hale, Holland and Sydney Keen mean something to you then the first half of this book is definitely a must. The stories of the businesses run by these men, along with many others, make fascinating reading and give an insight into Clevedon’s industrial past.
Did you know that weaving was one of the earliest trades carried out in the town? That Mr Woodington, who ran the boot factory, lived in the present Community Centre house – Sunhill?
That there have been four generations of Shoplands plying their trade in the town? Or that Jack Wilcox, who ran the garage opposite the Salthouse Fields, was involved in an ill-fated bid to break the water speed record in 1930. Even if you did know these facts there is still a wealth of information here – like when did the utilities of water, gas and electricity come to Clevedon and who exactly were Mr Binding and Mr Payne?
And that is only the half of it. The second section in the book adds a further half dozen chapters about the social history of our town to the three books already reviewed in the Clevedonian.
These later chapters are once again written by Society members, the subjects ranging from the story of a 22 year old Clevedon man who fell during the battle of Gettysburg, USA, and is buried in St Andrew’s Church yard to the recollections of a boy’s adventures on the beach in the 1920s and 30s and the contents of the Wareham’s Guide to Clevedon of 1878. Also included is a survey of the farms of East Clevedon by Jane Lilly and an intriguing article by Derek Lilly entitled, The Marchant Mystery, which details many aspects of life in 19th century Clevedon.
Geoff Hale (this review was first published in the Autumn 2012 edition of ‘The Clevedonian’)