An Obituary for Arthur Crocker of Four Winds from 1983.
First public bus driver
The sudden death has occurred at his home of Mr Arthur Crocker of Four Winds Chrishall. He had been ill for several years and was aged 79.
Arthur Crocker was an only child, born in Chrishall, and then he moved away with his parents, his father’s work taking him to large estates in Surrey, until, at the age of 18, he returned to Chrishall and lived at first in Church Road.
In the early 1920s, he drove the first public vehicle, a charabang, on a Sunday school outing, attended by his parents and many local people. He started working with bicycles for Mr Langford, and then began a cycle and motorcycle business of his own, later repairing cars and other vehicles.
Over the years, and particularly during war, many people over a wide area had cause to be grateful to Arthur Crocker for his skill and resourcefulness in keeping the machines vehicles in good repair and working order in the difficult times.
When machine parts were unobtainable, he made them, and after installing a re-boring machine and welding equipment, he was in great demand. His workshop in the centre of the village was a place of delight for many an aspiring engineer among the local lads.
Mr Crocker’s talents were wide, besides repairing the Lorries and Farm vehicles, he had never been known to turn away even a bicycle. He also ran a taxi service, in which his wife assisted, and after retirement at the age of 63, he continued to mend lawnmowers.
Arthur Crocker married Hilda Crocker 52 years ago, and after a brief stay in Brick Row they lived in Stanmore House for 20 years. This was for some time the local telephone exchange, manned by Mrs Crocker, and the house was rigged up to generate electricity before it was generally available in the village.
Mr Crocker had also obtained equipment to provide picture shows for the youngsters in the house.
The last 30 years of their married life has been spent in the bungalow, Four Winds, in Crawley End, where Mrs Crocker has unstintingly nursed her husband during his ill health in recent years.
With thanks to the Cambridge News newspapers for permission to reproduce this obituary first published in the Saffron Walden Weekly in 1983, and to Marion Marshall for providing us with the copy.
Did Mr Crocker’s Father work for the King?
This rather fascinating question was posed by someone visiting the Archive. The answer is that we don’t know for sure. In the obituary above, Pam mentions Mr Crocker’s father working on ‘large estates in Surrey’. On the 1911 census we find this entry: Albert Crocker, Son in Law, 35, Married, Gamekeeper, Worker, born at Highclere Hants. He was staying with Arthur and Hannah Brand in Church Road. In the same household were Edith Crocker (38) – nee Brand? And Albert Arthur Charles, grandson, aged 7. The census was written to identify the relationship of the person to the head of the household. Therefore my assumption that Edith Crocker was the daughter of Arthur and Hannah Brand.
Albert must have been born in 1876 according to this census entry and had been married 12 years, although there are no entries for Crocker on the 1901 census. There is a marriage on FreeBMD in March 1899, and Edith appears with her parents Arthur and Hannah in Church Road on the 1891 census.
But no confirmed connections to the King found as yet!