Stoke in 1949

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Rationing was still firmly in place, N.A.T.O. was formed, the first self-service launderette opened in London, and Wolves won the FA CUP. While Mao's communist forces were advancing, Enid Blyton introduced 'Noddy' and 'The Secret Seven' to her young readers. George Orwell's '1984' book was published, and the first TV broadcasts outside London were made from Sutton Coldfield transmitter.

    Pictured here is our new King, age one year on 14th November.

    1949 was the hottest year on record and remained so until 1990. There were heatwaves in April and September and March was the coldest month of the year. This led to several days of thunderstorms from 13th - 17th July, with torrential rain. In Cannington, Somerset, 1.87 inches of rain fell in 30 minutes. Two hours later another 1.4 inches fell, again in 30 minutes.

On the 19th March it was reported in the Taunton Courier that: "The Surveyor of the Taunton Rural District Council meeting the Engineer of the Somerset Rivers Catchment Board to consider joint action to prevent flooding of the highway near Stathe Corner."  By the 23rd April: "Following the Parish Council's complaints of flooding on the highway near Stathe Corner, officers of the Somerset Rivers Catchment Board are to fit flap valves and to block up an old drain. This was reported Taunton Rural Council meeting Wednesday when hopes were expressed that this would prevent further flooding."

     Whatever remedial works were carried out, they were obviously no match for the rains of the July storms, as the photos of Stathe Corner below show.    

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The storm also took their toll on the surrounding moors. This clip from Pathe News (this was how we got all our filmed news back then - The Pathe Newsreel was always shown in cinemas before the main film, even if it was weeks out of date) starts at Muchelney but later on there are clips of Stathe. Click HERE

Two Funerals

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Walter Chedzoy's funeral took place on 17th February. Walter (Trevor Boon's great grandfather) was at Lovells Farm, Dark Lane. The list of mourners is a wonderful collection of Stoke family names and gives some clues as to how nearly everyone on the village was related. The drawing is by one of the vicar's daughters, E M Gurney, earlier in his life.

Joseph Patten's funeral was on April 4th. He is pictured here shortly before his death with three of his six grandchildren - Brian, Morrie & Dianne David. He was a well-known farmer, carrier and horse breeder. He died on his birthday, Wednesday 30th March after a short illness He had lived in the village for 49 years, and his wife had died in 1939. The funeral service on Monday was conducted jointly by the Vicar (the Rev. S. Lano Coward) and the Rev. Bushell (Baptist minister). The coffin was carried on a farm waggon, which was drawn by Jo Patten's favourite horse, Bob, in the charge of E. Wheadon and G. Staple.

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Taunton Courier reported: The mourners were:—Messrs. G., A., T., and M. Patten (sons), Mrs. H. Cox and Mrs. J. David (daughters), Mesdames G.. A.. T., and M. Patten (daughters-in-law), Mr. H. Cox and Mr. J. David (sons-in-law), Mrs. W. Cook and Mrs. W. Dyer (sisters), Mr. and Mrs. F. Tinbutt?, Mr. David Patten and Miss Hazel Cox (grandchildren), Mr. W. Cook and Mr. G. Mounter (brothers-in-law), Mrs. J. Weeks, Mrs. H. Reed and Mrs. W. Mounter (sisters-in-law). Mr. and Mrs. W. Mounter and Mr. and Mrs. J. Small (nephews and nieces), Mr. and Mrs. S. David (friends).