- Lock-keeper Henry James and Alice Moffat -
Keith Dyer writes:
My grandfather Henry James Moffatt was the lock-keeper at Benson from somewhen about 1905 until about 1926, and my mother and four uncles were born in the lock keeper's cottage. He was born at Bromley in 1880 and served in the Boer war from 1899-1902. He was a reservist and fought in the first World War also. He died of pneumonia in 1926 and his grave is in Benson churchyard. His wife Alice took over as lock keeper while he was at war, and after his death, and served teas and refreshments as well, helped by the children. The cottage was burned down in 1913, and a new one built.
The photograph above shows Henry and Alice at their wedding in 1905.
My uncles, Alec and Jack were both well known local rowers, and won several cups in Thames regattas. My mother also rowed and won pairs races with my aunt.
My grandmother outlived my grandfather by over 50 years, and died and was buried at Woolacombe in Devon.
She lived at Cholsey for many years after she left the lock keeping, and then lived in Goldsmith's Lane in Wallingford until she moved to Woolacombe to be near my uncle Vic Moffatt. He was the landlord of the Coach and Horses at the Kyne Croft in Wallingford, having taken over the pub and the green grocery business next door from his father-in-law Mr Morris. Vic was well known to many of the people who worked at Hydraulics Research, particularly Alan Price and Mary Kendrick, who used to drink there. He died in 2010.
Also my father was associated with Streatley in the 1920's where he managed the hydro-electric station until it burned down in July 1926. He therafter worked at the Wallingford office of the Edmundsen's Electric Company. I have been in contact with the Streatley history group, and they sent me copies of some old phots taken of the burning station with my father and paternal grandfather in the foreground.