‘Flackwell Heath Now and Then’ was written in 1970 by Reg Wilks, with poems by his daughter Pat Townsend. Reg was born in 1902 and knew Flackwell both before and after the big expansion in the 1960s. It is not a history; rather it is Reg’s memories of people, places, and events of the first 70 years of the last century. As such it compliments Gwenda Grange’s later “Flackwell Heath”
Reg had the skill to write very simply and with affection for the people he wrote about. That and his sense of humour make his book very readable for both adults and children, even those of Primary School age. I hope that Brian Moulson’s work in getting the text onto the village web site will mean I will be overhearing children telling their parents how in 1914 the Boy Scouts guarded the water tower against German agents planning to poison the village’s water.
Pat Townsend, Reg’s daughter, wrote some poems to go with the book. If you like real poetry, the kind that brings a lump to your throat, get a box of tissues and read “Soldier’s Lament” page 41. It is about the boys with their names on our War Memorial.
Reg’s book is a continuing project. He wrote it so that the history of ‘our lovely village’ in the 20th Century would not be lost. It was important that the new residents in the expanding village would ‘come to love and respect Frackell as we older Heathens have done when they themselves become Old Heathens’. He also hoped that ‘in later years someone would take up the story where I have left it’.