Thursday, January 1, 2009

Allotments

I believe allotments emerged during the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society, providing the means for poorer people to feed their families. They grew to their greatest popularity between the two world wars and after the late 1940s went into decline. My father had an allotment up past the cemetery and there were few Wolverton residents without one at that time. As the post-war economy recovered we became less dependent on vegetables from the allotment and my father gave it up around 1950.
In the 1930s all the fields subsequently developed as Stacey Avenue, marina Drive, Gloucester Road, the extension of Windsor Street, and Furze Way were used as allotments. The fields past the cemetery backing on to Windsor Street were also given over to extensive allotments. At one time there were allotments at the western end of Church Street but this was taken up by a wooden building for a youth club after the war.
I don't think the character of allotments has changed except for it becoming a hobby activity rather than an essential chore. I remember bean poles for the support of runner beans, rows of potatoes, root crops, cabbage and brussel sprouts. There were some fruit bushes and of course a tool shed. Some allotments had more substantial sheds, even obsolete railway carriages. Each allotment was separated by a raised path. I think our allotment was typical. 
The working week was quite long. The day began at 7:45 and finished at 5:30 and sometimes included saturday mornings, so the opportunities to work the allotment were limited. Once the necessity of maintaining an allotment disappeared you can understand why they became less popular.

Butchers

Canvins butchers shop is the fourth from the right in this 1950's photo.

Independent butchers still survive in 2016 but in 1958 they were plentiful. Only one chain was in evidence and this was the London Central Meat Company who had shops on the Stratford Road, The Square, and on Green lane at the top of Oxford Street. In the 1960s the name changed to Baxters. (I am not altogether sure about the one on the Square - it may have been Dewhursts) At any rate by the early to mid 1950s two were definitely Baxters and the LCM in Green Lane closed down.

Fred Griffiths outside Baxters on the Square c 1967

Next in numbers would be the Co-op who operated a shop on the south side of Church Street in the section that was pulled down to create the Agora and another at the top of Jersey Road.


This house has been much-modified. The low wall is new and the window was a full plate glass window. newer windows have replaced the original sash windows upstairs.

This is now a private residence although you can see that it was once a shop.

The Canvin family, who had shops in stony Stratford and (I think) New Bradwell had a shop on the front. Eady's, on the corner of Church and Radcliffe Streets, was into its third generation of family management, having been on that site since the 1880s.
Eady's on the corner of Radcliffe Street and Church Street, opposite The Vic.


Ron Tuckey operated his shop on Aylesbury Street facing Bedford Street.


The fascia from this former shop on Aylesbury Street betrays its former function. The front window was a full plate glass light, double the size of the present installation.
Ron Tuckey is front row left in this photo of the New Inn darts team


A characteristic of butchers shops back then was sawdust on the floor to absorb the blood. At the end of the day this was swept up as the shop was cleaned and fresh sawdust laid down for the following day. Meat was cut to the customer's specification rather than pre-packaged.