1950 brings me once again to that great Timsbury character “Shilling” Moon who recalled that Camerton Pit closed in that year and that his brother Harold had made the front page of The Somerset Guardian. He could even remember the headline caption.
His memory was spot on! Camerton Pit ended production on April 14 and the following week his brother was shown checking in his tools for the last time. Most of the workers were understandably upset feeling that there was plenty of workable coal left. The majority of the 135 miners were then found jobs in other North Somerset coalfields. Camerton Colliery had opened in the second half of the 18th. century and for nearly 200 years dominated the life of the community. The Camerton railway line was still alive in 1950 but the reporter of the day could clearly see that the writing was on the wall. He commented, “As the canal fell into disuse with the coming of the railway so now it is expected that the Camerton railway will ultimately close”.
In June 1950 Timsbury County Secondary School held its first speech day in glorious weather. The Chairman of the Governors, Captain W. Scobell, opened the proceedings and the Chief Speaker was Professor L. Webb of North Western University, Illinois. The Headmaster Mr. R.J. Pullen gave his report and prayers were administered by the village rector Rev. Rose. There was then a display of country dancing organised by Mr. Bert Blake who was later to become Head of the Primary School and Miss J. Gwilliam. I am sure that many villagers can remember the event well.
Judging by the reports in the local newspaper one of the best supported activities for young people was The Juvenile Good Templars which met at The Temperance Hall . In its first meeting of the year the Chief Templar was Eddie Strong and it was agreed that the following week’s programme would be arranged by Geoff Parfitt and Brian Newth. There was also a Young Farmers’ Club in the village and their events included a hedging and ditching match and a debating competition.
The Timsbury WEA Dramatic Society earned glowing reviews for their productions in the Church Hall (now the British Legion Club) and in March put on “The Shop at Sly Corner” in front of packed audiences. Prominent in that play were Cliff Dunster, Doug Davies who many will remember as a teacher at the Secondary School, Florence Newth (now Button) and Margaret and Roland Pickford.
In the General Election of 1950 the Conservative Ted Leather was elected as M.P. for North Somerset. Meanwhile Ronald Lewis the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Lewis of Timsbury was adopted as Labour candidate for the Crosby division of Liverpool. He was later to serve the constituency of Carlisle with distinction before his death. His nephews Keith and Richard and niece Marina still live of course in the village. In April 1950 the local branch of the Labour Party held a dance to the music of Percy Parsons and his band while the Conservatives held a fete and gymkhana at Parish’s House, the home of Major Bernard Cayzer.
Finally a quick look at some of the sporting events of the day. Timsbury Football Club gained a 4-1 victory away to Clandown in the Somerset Senior Cup with goals from those true sons of the county Jankowiak and Szoltysik! Clearly the importing of foreign stars is no new phenomenon! Later in the year a cycle speedway match took place on the football field. It was arranged in conjunction with the Horticultural Society and despite a very wet day over 1500 people supported the event. There was success too for the Timsbury Chess team who beat Bath B 2½ to 1½. The Timsbury team comprised of Dr. Crook, C. Dunford, K.P. Bridges, P. Greenwood, D. Elliott and F. Whatley and according to the correspondent of the day, “A tense atmosphere prevailed at The Anchor Club”.