In February 1928 a serious fire saw Tyning House owned by Thomas Cleaves completely gutted. Mr. Cleaves, a widower, lived there with his son Thomas and the latter’s little girl Iris, better known to villagers as the late Iris Russell. Mr. Cleaves and his son had been at the village Whist Drive when the fire broke out while Iris was staying with relatives. All that remained were the blackened walls of the residence and it was to remain in that state for many decades to come. In the days when the Timsbury collieries had been in full swing the house was at the heart of a thriving industrial district and was licensed to sell alcohol.
Captain Walter Scobell of Kingwell announced that the annual South-West Summer School of the Independent Labour Party would not take place in 1928 but would resume the following year. Captain Scobell said that it would have the same twin objects of serious constructive preparation for the struggle against capitalism, and a real holiday under the ideal Socialist conditions. Captain Scobell was in the same year selected as Labour candidate for Edgbaston in direct opposition to Neville Chamberlain in what was traditionally a safe Tory seat.
Meanwhile a meeting of the Bristol and District Economic League was held at the Club Room Timsbury. The Club Room was situated opposite the Guss and Crook in Church Lane between The Forge and the Moxham’s house. The stables were on the ground floor and in earlier days people used to leave their horses there when they stayed at the pub. The Club Room was above the stables and was later used for the Girl Guides and boxing.
Timsbury Guild celebrated its ninth anniversary in February 1928. A minute’s silence was observed for Mrs. Found of the Bristol Co-operative Society who had played an important part in the setting up of the Guild and who had burnt to death in her own home two weeks previously. The Guild meetings were said to be well attended and played an important role in keeping the Co-operative flag flying.
1928 was a big year for the Congregationalists in the village. Ever since 1825 they had worshipped in the small church next to my own house in Maggs Hill and it was reputed to be the oldest Congregational Church in the district having been an offspring of the church at Chelwood. However, as numbers increased the small church proved inadequate having no vestry, no sanitary conveniences and no room to hold a Sunday School. Consequently the new church was built at North Road at an estimated cost of £1500. The official opening took place on Saturday October 27 at 4.00 p.m. and there was a large attendance for the occasion.
Timsbury Male Voice Choir continued to thrive and under its conductor Oliver Janes put on a concert in aid of the Timsbury Nursing Association and Paulton Memorial Hospital. Supporting the choir were Alma Brock (violin solos), Dennis Carter (euphonium), Mrs. C. Baker (vocal solos) and Mrs. C. Fricker (elocutionist).
The anniversary services of the Band of Hope connected with the Wesleyan Church were well attended. In the afternoon a special programme was given by the members of the Band of Hope which included in its numbers Jack Hasell, Roland Pickford, Minnie Nash (Snook), Doreen Gregory (Brock), Iris Cleaves (Russell), Alan Lewis and Marion Shearn (Rosewell).
The Timsbury branch of the United Patriots’ National Benefit Society held its 46th. annual fete on the Miner’s Welfare Field. Paulton Silver Prize Band provided the music and toured the village after meeting first in the Temperance Hall. A host of amusements and many side shows were on display on the field supplied by J. Coles and Sons whose fairs became legendary in the village.
Finally, a Timsbury couple, Mr. and Mrs. Harris had celebrated their 70th. Wedding anniversary (radium) on Christmas Day 1927 at their Bloomfield home with their three sons and three daughters. It was an achievement which prompted the following comment from a correspondent of the Daily Express in January:
“In these days of frequent divorce following on the briefest periods of married life it does one good to read of a 90 year old couple whose marriage has endured happily for 70 years. Their life of hardship and happiness should be a glowing example to modern young married people”.