Headington Buds

Headington Buds

The Headington Buds (girl members of The Primrose League sponsored by the Headington Conservative Party) have all been identified, thanks to the Oxford Mail. From left to right, they are:

  • Lilian Richards
  • Brenda Smith
  • Pamela Woodcock
  • Joan Huxtable
  • Margery Gardiner
  • Jean Miles
  • Diana Giles
  • Betty Neville
  • Doreen Lee
  • Barbara Smith
  • Margaret Thick
  • Joyce Hange

The article in the Oxford Mail of 15 October 2001 reads:

A trip to London brought great excitement to young members of the Headington Buds. Twelve girls were pictured in their uniforms (Memory Lane, September 24) at a keep-fit rally at Hyde Park in 1939.

After an enjoyable day there was another treat on the way home — a fish-and-chip supper. Pam Drewett, who was among the party, writes:

“All the girls wore green tunics and had yellow hair ribbons, yellow sashes and trim. It was very exciting at the time. The coach driver was asked to stop, at Tetsworth, I think, and my mother went into the local chip shop and asked for 25 portions of chips and 25 pieces of fish. The owner took some persuading she was serious. What bliss it was to eat fish and chips out of newspaper with our fingers – lovely.”

The Buds was a club for junior Conservatives run by a group of women, who included Mrs Drewett’s mother, Doris Woodcock, her aunt, Dorothy Giles and a Mrs Jacobs from Holyoake Road, Headington. Mrs Drewett, of London Road, Headington says:

“We met at Headington Conservative Club, in Windmill Road, and would be taught country dancing and keep fit, and play games. We also performed little sketches and I remember being dressed in pyjamas and singing ‘Christopher Robin is saying his prayers’. We all did a little act of some kind in front of a packed hall. I don’t think the Buds lasted very long as it was the year war broke out.”

Thanks to her, and fellow reader Barbara Harvey, of Stanton Road, Forest Hill, we now know the names of all the girls in the 1939 picture.

Gordon Howes, of Laburnum Crescent, Kidlington, tells me that the Buds catered for boys and girls. He has supplied me with a photograph [shown in the paper] of a Buds’ party in 1941 or 1942 at the Plaza ballroom in Old High Street, Headington – where the Somerfield supermarket now stands. He recalls:

“We had a team of morris dancers and our teacher was Harry Woodcock. He and Chic Bates were clowns at our parties. Both were well known in the Headington area.”


© Stephanie Jenkins


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