“Gobbledygook appears on the Ordnance Survey map of Chitterne”, AF said to me recently. But why? Why indeed! I like to think that someone at the OS took a fancy to the name and added it to the map in a moment of devilry, because as far as I know it was the name of Dolly Daniels’ Woolaway bungalow at 8 Townsend.
Dolly was a bit of a character, the sort of person who might name their home Gobbledygook. She was born Ada White, married Lewis Daniels in 1930 and the pair lived at 4 Council Houses (Abdon Close) in 1939. Sadly Lewis died in 1954 but Dolly lived on well into her 90s. She often walked for miles over the Plain and loved animals.
8 Townsend was definitely called Gobbledygook in the 1980s when I knew Dolly. Did she name it and when was it built? It was built on the site of two old thatched cottages with cob walls and earth floors numbered 7 and 8 Townsend. I have no photograph of these cottages but luckily dear old Ernie George made a sketch of them and gave me a copy. Incidentally, Ernie and his wife Jeanne called their cottage at 11 Townsend: Duckyernut!
7 and 8 Townsend were owned by the Polden family. Their last tenants were Chirpy and Edith Grant at number 7, and Sid and Sophie Pearce at number 8. Widow Sophie Pearce died in 1959 and Chirpy Grant was living at Pitts Cottage by 1964, so this leads me to think that 7 and 8 may have been demolished in the late 1950s or early 1960s leaving the site clear for the erection of Gobbledygook. According to my neighbour FP, Gobbledygook was built after 1962 when her own Woolaway Bungalow was erected, and Dolly was the first person to live in it. So it must have been Dolly’s quirky imagination that came up with the name.
Since writing this blog more information has come to light. Apparently Dolly did come up with the name. In moment of frustration during the purchase of the land and the building of the bungalow she is said to have declared: “Its’s all a lot of gobbledygook!” and so the name was coined.
I am grateful to Dolly’s daughter for telling me the story behind Gobbleygook, and for pointing out that the picture I had thought was Dolly, which I have now removed from the blog, was in fact her sister Alice.