Of cricket and movie stars

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Those Newick folk who practice amateur dramatics or cricket are following in some distinguished footsteps.

Actor, the late Sir Dirk Bogarde, had his first major stage part with the Newick Amateur Dramatic Society in the 1934 production of Journey’s End.

And on the cricket pitch the village spawned James and John Langridge in the 1920s. Both played for Sussex and James for England. James was the bowler of the two, while his brother was a batsman and clever slip fielder - a formidable combination.

Among those who encouraged the Langridge boys to develop their skills to the full was Thomas Baden Powell, cousin of the founder of the Scout movement. This small but dynamic eccentric owned much property in Newick and his passion for sport, and cricket in particular, helped him to overcome curvature of the spine and a club foot to become a good all-rounder himself.

Thomas gave the village schoolboys the use of his beautiful private cricket ground where he staged regular matches with his own elevens, taking on some high powered opposition. It was considered a great honour to be invited to play and anyone who refused was never asked again.

He staged lavish sportsmen’s suppers every year at The Bull, with plenty of free tobacco and drink, and visiting teams always remembered the tea they were provided with at Mr Helmsley’s bakery.

Even in his declining years when he was pushed around the village in a wheelbarrow padded in red velvet, cricket was never far from Thomas’s thoughts and when a hairdresser called to give him a trim he found him in bed wearing his cricket cap.

A cricket match at Newick in May, 1737, brought one of the most bizarre entries in the Parish registers: ‘John Boots killed by running against another man on crossing wicket’.

Newick in the early years of the 20th century was a picture of self-sufficiency. It had a snob’s (or shoemender); a blacksmith: a shop selling tea, sugar, sweets and shag by the pennyworth; two grocers who also stocked secondhand furniture, lino and carpets; a hairdresser’s; a tailor (appropriately run by Mr Cutting).

A cottage hospital opened in 1869 to accommodate seven of ‘the poor when suffering from non-infectious disease or accident’.