Thursday, February 4, 2010

Green Lane

Just about every rural community has a Green Lane, an old trackway that was not heavily used. Our Green Lane started at Stonebridge House Farm and followed a more-or-less direct line to Calverton. That line was a little changed by 17th century land enclosure which required a diversion somewhere near Warren Farm and it was later cut by the canal and the railway.
By the end of the 19th century Green Lane started at the southern end of Ledsam Street and followed its old route to the Watling Street, but the first part was now populated with houses, starting with the Surgeon's house (The Elms) and new terraces up to Osborne Street. I think that Western Road, built twenty years later, changed the line of Green Lane because the old track continued alongside the Recreation ground and the Cemetary for a number of years. Green Lane only had (as it still does) houses on one side of the street; the north side was made up of the abutments of Radcliffe, Bedford and Oxford Streets.
The western end of Green Lane became a corner grocery - run by Mitchells in my day. I assume their catchment area was Green Lane, Osborne Street, Oxford Street and possibly Bedford Street and the end of Victoria Street. I often called in there to buy some tooth-rotting sweets on the way to school.
I do recall buying some glucose tablets once prior to the annual cross country race. Someone told me that these would give me extra energy and we might now reflect that the quest for performance enhancing substances is not a recent phenomenon. It all came to grief however. I was doing quite well and was up with the leading pack when I was attacked by a stitch coming up Stacey Hill. I tried to strugle on but ended up with a poor finish.

At the time of this photo it looks rather neglected.
Opposite, at the top of Oxford Street, was Wolverton's second off-license where one could buy a jug of ale, dandelion and burdock wine, Emu sherry and Smith's crisps amongst other things. 50 years ago it was run by a Mr Hobson.
Henry Hicks, owner of the Victoria Hotel in the late nineteenth century had some plans to build another pub in this vicinity, which would have offered a better distribution of pubs in the town. Obviously this came to nothing, but the off license may have been allowed as compensation.
Next door was another butcher's shop - a London Central Meat Company outlet.


Andrew said...

The Green Lane shop was stop off on the way to and from Bushfield for me in the 1970s. It had an Italian proprietor whose son attended Bushfield in my cohort. As well as the usual corner shop staple provisions there were a number of Mediterranean groceries on sale, including a variety of spicy sausage like items that hung above the main counter.

Bryan Dunleavy said...

Interesting to note the cultural changes that were beginning to take place in Wolverton.