This column, celebrating 18 years just recently, results in regular requests for copies of pictures and bits of local information.

No problem with pictures which I have been collecting since my school days. I do my best with queries, but, if stuck for an answer,  always have the excuse that I do not claim to be a historian. Three recent emails have inspired today's page.

These related to Battings, the former Ironmongers in West Street (replaced by Waitrose in the early 1970s); the name R. Batting which appears on the side of the famous 'Kingfisher' charabanc; and who were 'Battings of Maidenhead' which can be seen on many local cast iron drain grilles and manhole covers. 

A 1930s view of the long-established West Street shop is top left, with, below, Reg Batting serving a distinguished BBC personality and his young son. The Dimbleby family lived at Boulters Lock and travelled by boat to do their weekly shopping in Marlow. 

I wish all my pictures were as crisp and detailed as the one top right: a postcard of Maidenhead High Street, with Batting's on the left, and the gates to their foundry which produced all the ironwork. 

Bottom right (I'm sure you have seen this before) is 'Kingfisher' in Market Square; Rupert Batting arrowed wearing his ever-present trilby hat. He ran the family second-hand furniture shop in Market Square but was the registered owner of 'Kingfisher' which was garaged behind the Three Tuns pub in West Street.

Rupert was a stalwart member of the local Temperance Society, based at the Congregational Church in Quoiting Square, and must be shifting uneasily in his grave at the thought of his former shop premises, recently M&Co., becoming a Wetherspoons pub. (But why the delay, is that still going to happen?)

I had once been told that Rupert and Reg were not related, just a coincidence of names, but that is wrong. Our local ancestry researchers Kathryn and Charlotte have corrected me, and I quote: “Reginald and Rupert were in fact cousins. Rupert the furniture dealer was the son of Alfred E. Batting (1837-1915), while Reginald the ironmonger was the son of Alfred's brother Walter Batting, an architect/surveyor who lived most of his adult life in London.

Reginald did not take over the ironmongers from his father but from his uncle William Batting (b 1846.) The Marlow ironmongers Batting & Sons was first run in partnership by William Batting with yet another brother Charles (b 1850). They had succeeded their father also Alfred (1812 -1873).

The brothers Charles and William bought out an agricultural implements manufacturer around this time in Maidenhead. A little later they bought the iron foundry and engineering business of Mr Rogers, based in Maidenhead. In 1893 the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent.

Charles would run the Maidenhead branch, while William kept up the Marlow one. Charles kept up the Maidenhead business until his death in 1910.  He moved from West Street, Maidenhead at some point due to a road widening scheme, and built a new impressive premises, described in the 1911 Kelly's directory as an office, foundry, motor works, electrical and ironmongery department store and showroom, all operated by the "Executors of Charles Batting". It was apparently one of the most up-to-date foundries in the country at that time.”

Very grateful to Kathryn and Charlotte for all those facts and figures (and no space left for a couple more of their paragraphs) which must have taken hours of research. That's probably why I just stick to collecting pictures, and those include Reg Batting taking part in a Rag Regatta, and Rupert Batting in a stern-looking group of local Temperance Society members.

Contact Michael at or 01628 486571.