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Saturday 24 October 1936 – Golden Wedding of James & Celia Reeves

Category Hatches, Matches and Despatches » Anniversaries
Publication
The Evesham Journal
Transcription of article

Golden Wedding Memories – And her little White Teacup Souvenir – Former Evesham “Cabby” and his wife

Does Evesham remember the stocky little fellow with the rubicund face and trim appearance who sat on the box of the Crown horse bus for many seasons some 40 years ago?  Our character was Mr James Reeves – “Jimmy” to those who knew him then – and many Evesham people must remember him – and “Jimmy” still to Badsey and Blockley people.

For the purpose of this report, however, he is Mr James Reeves, and next Friday he and his wife, Celia Ann, celebrate their golden wedding in the little old stone cottage at Aldington which has been their home – a cosy, spick and span home – these 20 years.

Old cottage? … it is dated 1686.  Stone? … its walls are two feet thick and its kitchen stone-flagged … it houses this world’s goods and, what is more, possesses that elusive something which makes a house a home of a couple whose through 50 years of married life it has been.  No secrets from one another:  Hard work with both pulling their weight; endeavouring to live according to strict and virtuous upbringing in Victorian households; contentment with simple enjoyments and moderation withal.

Natives of Blockley, James Reeves, son of a stonemason in the employ of Lord Redesdale at Bourton-on-the-Hill quarries; and Celia Ann Handy, daughter of a railway worker, were married at Blockley Parish Church on October 30th 1886 by the Reverend Houghton (then vicar).

After several years in the employ of Lord Borthwick, Mr Reeves moved to Evesham to become drive of the Crown Hotel horse bus.  The turn of the century saw him take up market gardening at Badsey with a village round of oil and hardware as a sideline.  Now he has retired and it is good to find that the man and his wife, who has been a splendid helpmate, are blessed with good health to enjoy the quiet rest they have earned by dint of hard work and self-reliance.

“I began work at the age of ten at Blackley, said Mr Reeves to the Journal, “walking four miles, there and back, for sevenpence a day.  There were no bicycles then you know.  I often used to eat the food I was taking with me to last all day before I got to work in the morning.  What did I do then?  Whey, I ate a trnip at midday and had to manage till I got home.”

Those were the days, one thought … or were they?  Mrs Reeves half-answered the question.  She made it plain that young couples found happiness in marriage in the days when both had to be tough, but she added, “Young couples have a better time nowadays … and more to do it on” (a reference to the limited scope of the family exchequer).  “We don’t mind the modern times, for while the good old days were good  [CAN’T READ] are better.”

The couple have been regular churchgoers and Mr Reeves was a bell-ringer and Sunday School teacher at Blockley.  Like other veterans in the Four Shires whom we have interviewed, they feel that hard work, fresh air and contentedness have had a lo to do with the maintenance of good health to well past three score years and ten … which reminds us to relate that Mrs Reeves is now 75 and his wife a year younger.

They have vivid recollections of royal events for they recalled that they were at the sports on Dovers Hill, Campden, for the jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria in 1887, and saw 50 other bonfires from that vantage point; enjoyed the diamond jubilee ten years later in Evesham Pleasure Grounds and likewise King Edward VII’s coronation festivities at Evesham.  King George’s coronation they celebrated at Seward House, Badsey, and by attending the unveiling of the fountain in that village.

The silver jubilee of King George and Queen Mary saw them with other Aldington folk at a treat in the little chapel and watching sports in Aldington Pastures, scene of Badsey Rangers’ football prowess in their palmy days.  We can therefore do no less than wish the couple a happy time at the festivities in connection with the coronation of King Edward VIII.

Mrs Reeves, we must add, prides herself on the fact that by careful usage she still has the teacup which her youn man bought in Birmingham Bull Ring in courting days.  She has used for every meal for half a century!  It has had different partners it is true – saucers come and saucers go, but the little cup goes on for ever – and some of the pretty flowers and the lettering, “A Present from Birmingham” have worn off but … “it does not matter who comes tea, I stick to my old cup.”  It’s certainly a case of “little white cup, don’t I love thee.”

The couple’s son (Mr Frank Reeves) and their daughter (Mrs H J Cave) of Badsey, together with five grandchildren and – they hope – one of their bridesmaids of 50 years ago (Mrs Hall of Ilmington) will attend the gold wedding party.  And the little white tea cup will be celebrating, too!