Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Front around 1900

The Front at the beginning of the 20th Century
Here's an interesting photograph from Julia Bennett's family album, taken, I would estimate, in the first decade of the 20th century. The view shows the corner of Radcliffe Street and the Stratford Road, later known as Foster's Corner after the Foster Brothers Clothing store that occupied the site.

In this picture the corner shop is the premises of William Hutchinson, a hairdresser and tobacconist. Next to him was a cycle shop, the sign above indicating the Hobart Cycle Company. By 1911 this was the Grafton Cycle Company, who later moved to the premises which still bears the name further down the street.

The shop next door, which is now two shops (as it has been for a long time) numbered 18 and 19 was mainly occupied by John Verney who was originally a shoemaker but was also the Postmaster. So from the 1880s onwards this was Wolverton's Post Office, although it may also have accommodated some other businesses. The Post Office appears to have remained here until the new GPO was built on Church Street in the 1930s.

Next to the east at Number 17 was a Chemist, and had been thus from almost it's first build in the 1860s.
The censuses and Trade Directories show:

  • George Atkinson
  • William Barton (from 1891)
  • Alfred Leeming (from 1911)
  • Walter Mackerness (from 1939)
In the 1950s the business was taken over by Escott, who then ran it until his retirement. The building showed remarkable continuity for its first century.

Number 16 showed a similar continuity, starting as a butcher with frederick Oxley, continuing through Harry Norman at the time this photo was taken and through to Canvins from about 1924 onwards.

Number 15 was originally a grocery, but from 1911 onwards was a shoe shop - Freeman, Hardy and Willis.

The three storey building next door, now numbered 13 and 14, was mainly a drapery, although the proprietor at this time was also described as a house furnisher. It's not clear whether that meant soft furnishings or furniture, or both. Quite why the awning was thought necessary for this north facing shop front is not clear.

Sigwart's, the watchmaker and jeweller, cannot be seen, but it was there, sandwiched between the two large buildings, one of which was, and still is, the North Western. After the closure of the Royal Engineer, which can be seen at the end of the block, the North western remains Wolverton's oldest public house still practising its original trade.

There are a lot of people standing about in this picture. Most likely they are waiting for the tram which can be seen in the distance. There is a horse and cart but motor cars are completely missing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Driving Licence

I just came across my Father's first Driving licence. He would have been 24 at the time and probably just about in a position to afford a used car, although I have no idea what it was.

The licences were designed as little booklets, about the size of a business card with pages where you could stick the annual licence, which was dated from the anniversary of the date you first held a licence. The fee was 5 shillings - 25p in today's money although there is no real equivalence. 5/- in 1935 night have bought you 10 pints of beer.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Drum and Monkey

At the back of Number 44 Stratford Road was another house which housed one of Wolverton's two off-licences. You could ring a bell in the back alley and the proprietor would open the hatch and serve you. This was Wolverton's "hole in the wall" and it served for quite a long time before the general liberalisation of alcohol purchases made places such as this obsolete.

Before I go on to describe its origins there was another "hole in the wall" at the second station, just off Young Street. It was in fact marked as such on the 1880 OS Map and I presume service was from the side of the old railway Refreshment Rooms.

The house at Number 44 Stratford Road was actually Number 1 Stratford Road until the 1890s when Cambridge and Windsor Streets were built and therefore on the edge of town. The additional building at the back seems to appear in the 1880s and was run by a man named Samuel Sinfield. Sinfield was a labourer in the 1881 census living at Number 3 Stratford Road, now Avenues, estate agents, but in 1881, the about 50 years old, he is recorded in this house as a Beer Seller. It is quite possible that after the other "hole in the wall" closed down Sinfield (or whoever built the house) saw an opportunity.

In the 1950s, when I remember the place, it was possible to take along a jug to be filled with draught beer. They also sold bottled beer, cider, various bottles of pop - including something called "dandelion and burdock", cheap "Emu" sherry and cheap "Ruby" port. If you wanted anything more sophisticated you had to go to the Victoira Wine shop on the corner of Church St and Cambridge st opposite the library.

The origin of the name "Drum and Monkey" is completely obscure. There are lots of Drum and Monkeys across the land and there are various explanations of the origin of the name, none of them completely convincing. The name itself probably came to England in Victorian times when soldiers returning from overseas duty might bring back a tame monkey who could beat a drum. At one time this might have been a feature (albeit an annoying one) for some pubs. Why this should have been applied to this hole in the wall may never be known. It might have been first applied as a joke and then the name just stuck.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Old Railway Carriages

Wolverton was justly famous for its carriage building and you could be sure that once they had come to the end of their useful life as carriages they could be "retired" and put to good use somewhere else. In the 40s and 50s you could discover several of these old carriages around the town. In the photo above you can see a carriage used as a club house for the bowling green at the park. Similarly one was used on Osborne Street as a bar and club house for the cricket and tennis clubs. I also recall one used at the old Youth Club at the back of Anson Road. It was attached to the side of the main building and used in part for the club leader's office. You could also find the odd carriage, or part of one, at various allotments. As I remember them, they all had a nice cosy feeling inside.

Here is a really interesting story about the life of one of these old carriages and I am grateful to the telling of it to Kim Pavey. What follows is her narrative, followed by a few additional comments from Jane Bailey. This may be its final resting place after 130 or 140 years, but it has been a great survivor while many brick or concrete built buildings have come and gone during its lifetime.

Bill Elliott's railway carriage on the allotments today. I don't recall its early history other than that it was built at the Works (in the late 1800's I believe) but it ended up in Anson Road in the garden of Bill Elliot's house, where he used it as an office for the Works Union. If anyone has the book "Piano and Herrings" about Bill's life, it is in there and maybe someone else can fill in that bit. Anyway, there it sat for many years until the mid-80's when it was slated for removal as the current owner was going to sell the house and the carriage was considered more of an eyesore than an asset. Due to its already fragile condition, that meant it was almost certainly going to be demolished. My step-dad was particularly saddened to hear of its impending fate and made enquiries about acquiring it. The owner had no problem but the difficulty and expense of moving it was a bar. My mother, however, came up with the money from somewhere and we "gave" the carriage to Tony as a Christmas present. We hadn't actually been able to move it by Christmas morning and as Tony was a big fan of the TV show "Treasure Hunt" we made up a route with clue cards which he had to follow around Wolverton. I had to follow him at a discreet distance to make sure he got all the clues as he would have been completely lost and by about half way round the town I could see he was starting to get very frustrated. However by the time he picked up the last clue taped to the Wyvern railings I think it had dawned on him where he was going lol. Mum had gone on ahead and actually wrapped the carriage in a giant Christmas bow with all the streamers and trimmings, I think it cost almost as much to "wrap" the carriage as it did to move it. We hired a flatbed crane to get the carriage out of the garden and over to our house in Church Street but the narrow alley proved to be so much of a challenge for the truck that all the driver had managed to do by nightfall was get the carriage out to Aylesbury Street, where it sat for a week until we could get another crane to take it to Church Street. We had to keep in constant contact with the police because it was on double yellow lines and since it was technically a vehicle it was parked illegally. Plus it took up half the damn road! Eventually it wound its way to its new home in Church Street where it lived for a couple more decades, and went on public display at my parents annual "Bygones" open weekend. Sadly the vandalism in that area of town in the late 90's did it a lot of damage and eventually my folks decided to take the now very fragile carriage on one last journey to the allotments where it now lives, and I believe Jane Bailey can add to the story from here about its arrival there!
    • It arrived one lunchtime through the Marron Lane gate accompanied by Tony Marshall, Lynne Marshall and 4 or 5 others. Was pushed on rollers down the narrow riding towards Tony's allotment but for some reason stopped half way and sat there for a day or two until it was finally moved into it's position on the allotment. Looked somewhat incongruous stuck on the ridings I can tell you - and think Tony was more than a touch embarrased about the predicament !!! Still, all's well that ends well as you can see by the photo !!!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

From School to Pub: A tale of two buildings in Stony Stratford

I don't think it ever occured to me as I was sitting at my school desk trying to take care that my dip pen didn't leave a blot in my exercise book that I would ever live to enjoy a pint in later life in my old classroom. In Stony Stratford this could have happened and in a curious way the history of pubs and schools is intertwined.

As I have described in another post the old Rose and Crown on the High Street was bequeathed by its owner Michael Hipwell in 1610 to found a school. The inn continued to operate to raise sufficient money for the next 99 years and then was converted into a school. In the 19th century this was taken over by the National School movement and a school operated on this site and adjacent to it until the 20th century.

In the meantime the expansion of Wolverton works led to new building in Stony Stratford and the so-called Wolverton End developed. This enlargement of the Holy Trinity parish necessitated the building of a new church (St Mary's) and in due course another school. This was opened in 1873 on the corner of the Wolverton and London Road and was designed by the distinguished architect, Edward Swinfen Harris.
For part of the 20th century these two schools operated in tandem, with the boys in the High Street and the Girls and Infants at the London Road School. Then in 1936 a new co-educational school was built on King George Crescent and the old schools were redundant.

Fortunately there was a ready tenant for the Swinfen Harris school. The old Plough Inn had been in business next door for many years and the new premises were attractive to them. I imagine the conversion was not too costly and there was probably already a cellar in the school building.

Thus it came to pass that that the building designed by Swinfen Harris was a school for about 60 years and has been a pub for the last 80 - and possibly will continue in that line of business. The bell tower betrays its former use as a school but nowadays I suspect very few people have any inkling of its original purpose.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Telephone Boxes

As I mentioned in the last post the telephone was slow to be adopted by individual households in the UK. Wolverton was no exception. Most people relied on strategically placed telephone boxes to make calls and these were usually for rare occasions like telephoning distant relatives (if they had a phone) and calling the doctor. Yes, they still made house calls in those days.

The two photo above show the placement of the telephone box in the Square. There was also a telephone box by the Post Office in Church Street and one by the Station. I imagine this was intended for travellers who needed to call car hire to take them with their luggage to their final destination.

After Furze Way was built in 1947 another box was added at the corner of Windsor Street, and later, in the 1960s when Southern Way was built another box was added at that end of town.

I am not sure that the residents of Jersey Road and Anson Road were as well served. Until the new police station was built along the Stratford Road, circa 1960, and a new telephone kiosk added, I rather think that those residents had to trail all the way to the Square of the Post Office to make a call. 

In our present age of mobile phones and instant communication it now seems hard to imagine that only two generations ago most people managed quite happily without making a phone call. Most conversations were face-to-face. Astonishing!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Telephones in Wolverton

Telephone exchanges were once very local. Up to 1945, the exchange was not automated and the numbers were very simple. A S Byatt, the grocer on Cambridge Street had the telephone number Wolverton 2. The Co-op was Wolverton 10. One of my grandfather's had the number Wolverton 4. When the automated exchange came in it became 3104.

As improvements came in technology the numbers got longer. Byatt's telephone number of 2, became 3102, then 313102. Now of course it is an 11 digit number.

The Bedford area telephone directory which appeared in our house in the early 1950s was a slim blue volume which covered a large territory - Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, North Bucks and part of Hertfordshire. I have reproduced part of it here.

For most people the telephone was quite new and the directory was full of advice on telephone etiquette. Generally people answered the phone with, for example, the number "Hello, Wolverton Double two, seven, eight!" It seems very quaint today.

Telephones back then used dials. Push button technology was at least 20 years into the future. Dialling was a very slow affair, particularly if you had to wait for an 8 or 9 to click round.

We were all slow to adopt the telephone. There was a gap of between 40 and 60 years between the availability of the telephone and its use in the home. Most were satisfied with the call box - and there were few enough of those. There was one by the station, another by the Post Office on Church Street, one on the Square and there may have been another on Anson Road - I am not sure.

The MK Museum has an excellent exhibit at Stacey Hill of the development of Wolverton telephones and is worth a visit. 60 years ago the telephone engineers came to our house in Windsor Street to install the house's first telephone. The phone itself was quite heavy and the flex connecting the handset to the phone was quite thick. The bakelite box bolted to the wall contained various solenoids and a bell, similar to those on old alarm clocks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Co-op

I have been trying to discover if anybody has written a history of the Co-op in Wolverton, without success. There are fragments of information that I have turned up, but not enough to write a coherent account. Here at any rate are some notes.

The Co-op movement was more-or-less contemporaneous with the development of Wolverton so it was to be expected that the idea would take hold. Exactly how it was formed and who were the prime movers will require the work of some historian with access to the minute books and papers of the Co-operative Society - if indeed they still exist. It does strike me as a story worth telling because by the middle of the 20th century the Co-op was a dominant force in retail in Wolverton. After all the small dairies in Wolverton were closed down by the requirements of the Pasteurisation Act, the only source of supply of milk and dairy products was the Co-op Dairy, located on Jersey Road. You could, if you were so minded,  buy everything you ever needed in life from the Co-op - bread, milk, meat, groceries, fish, green groceries, drapery, men's clothing, shoes, furniture, toys, and even in death the Co-op could accommodate you and arrange your funeral.

As far as I can piece together the story from Trade Directories the Co-op story began a decade after the establishment of Wolverton. There is a suggestion that the bakery on Bury Street, operated by George Kightley, from a Stony Stratford family of bakers, was a Co-op bakery, but this is only a brief mention in some railway committee minutes that I cannot be sure of this fact. The Kightley bakery ran from the day these shops were erected in 1839 until about 1856 when they were pulled down to make way for workshop expansion. Kightley thereafter moved to Newport Pagnell where he ran a bakery in Silver Street.

The Co-op story certainly begins with the building and opening of the shops in Creed Street and the Co-operative Society is featured in the Kelly's directories of the period. In the 20th century the Creed Street shop was known as a Fish and Chip shop, but until the Co-op began to expand along Church Street this grocery store was the main outlet.

By 1869 the Co-operative Society had also opened a grocery shop in New Bradwell.

In 1887 we see the first mention of the Wolverton Industrial and Provident Society, presumably a re-formed or re-named organisation. It was based in Church Street and I can only conclude that this was the beginning of Co-op expansion. The shop was probably Number 15. The location of this shop is on the right hand side in this 1960s photograph, beside the striped traffic pole.

At about this time or shortly after there was a further expansion to the new Market Square and for many years after the main office was established here. Unfortunately the exact addresses are not given and of many years after the Co-op sought to advertise its presence in the directory by listing itself only as Market Square. It is really not until 1928 that we find a comprehensive listing of addresses of places where the Co-op did business.

  • 1-5 Market Square
  • 15-19 Church Street
  • 60-64 Church Street
  • 159 & 161 Church Street
  • 106 Jersey Road
  • 30 and 47 Aylesbury Street
This is the configuration that most people would recognise in the mid century when the Co-op was at its peak.

I am not sure of the date of the picture below, but I suspect from the architecture and the large plate glass windows that it is late 1890s or early 1900s. This was probably at the time Wolverton's most splendid shop. as you can see from the photo the houses either side, Numbers 3 and 6 are still residential. Did the Co-op own Numbers 1 and 2? Possibly. They certainly did at a later period.

The new Co-op on the Square.

Costcutter today, formerly the Co-op below
Once the west end of the town was developed in the first decade of the 20th century, the Co-op also moved westwards, establishing a grocery, dairy and butcher's shop on Jersey Road.
Former West end Grocery and Dairy
In the late 1920s there was a further expansion as the Co-op bought three houses on Church Street and built a state-of-the-art department store.

And it further expanded along the Square to take up the first five houses from the corner. Behind the grocery was a bakery, and the shop at the corner of Bedford Street was a Co-op butcher and later an outlet for bread and confectionery.

Co-op Bakery

Once the Co-op dominated this corner of the Square

Bedford Street Corner shop

Obviously the co-op has not gone away; it has had to grow to larger superstore outlets with plenty of parking. The Wolverton Co-op shops, as they were, represent an age when shopping could be done on foot, daily, with hand-held wicker baskets. The Wolverton Industrial and Provident Society probably had its weaknesses, but its great virtue was that it was locally owned and operated. You can hardly say that of any retail outlet these days.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Facebook and Wolverton

I haven't been doing much blogging of late, partly (but not entirely) because I have been adding to and commenting on the Facebook page "I grew up in Wolverton, Milton Keynes". The group was started by Faye Elizabeth Lloyd from a later generation than mine about two years ago. It started modestly enough as these things do and maintained a steady state for some time. Recently, it has taken off and become a lively board for discussion and reminiscence. I think there are now in excess of 500 members of the group. So if you haven't discovered it I recommend that you do. It's good reading for everyone interested in Wolverton - fun too.

If you have a Facebook account you can find the group easily enough. If not, then I'm afraid you will have to join Facebook.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Moreland Terrace revisited

21 Moreland Terrace circa 1900
I am indebted to Julia Bennett for this photograph. It is the house on the corner of Radcliffe Street and Aylesbury Street and is probably a very early photograph. As I wrote before Moreland Terrace was an 1880s expansion, completed in 1884.

The picture shows the rather unique decorative elements around the doors and windows, quite unlike anywhere else in Wolverton. All of these disappeared when the buildings were converted into shops. Today, even the upstairs windows have been modified. It's a large house with two front rooms with probably four bedrooms upstairs. It was clearly designed for a middle class occupant. Somewhat surprisingly the occupants are of more modest occupation.

The head of the family in 1901 was William Bennett (The first letter is obscured, but it looks like Bennett)  a horse trainer. He was then 58 and his wife 56. They had their 30 year old unmarried daughter Emily living with them. She was working at home as a dressmaker. The house also accommodated their widowed sister-in-law, a 31 year old nephew working as a clerk in the Railway Offices, and an unmarried  26 year old niece. So the house was full and between them they could probably afford it.

Squares were prestigious addresses in London in the 19th century and I am sure the intention was to do the same in Wolverton. Some of the houses on the Square are quite large, but others are modest in size, so perhaps the grand plan did not quite achieve its objective.

There were commercial considerations too. The 1890s expansion of Wolverton left the residents of Cambridge Street and Windsor Street a long way from the shops on the Front and Church Street and it was not long before shop frontages began to appear along Moreland Terrace. If you look at this photograph taken around 1910, you can see the beginnings of this development.

This picture begins with Number 17 on the right, so we can't tell if Number 21 had been converted by this date. At the far end Number 1 was  a drapery from the beginning but gradually a conversion to shops was taking place. Only the shop at Number 9 has preserved its frontage. Note too the wrought iron railings around the Square. They were probably taken up during the 1914-18 war and melted down to make armaments. The Cenotaph was not built until after the war so the Square appears to be nothing more than a green space.

Below is Number 21 Morland Terrace today - hardly recognisable.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Stony Stratford Schools

The history of schools in Stony Stratford is much longer and more complicated than that of Wolverton, although it is interesting to note that they were all built on the Wolverton Manor, that is on the east side of the Watling Street.

Schools only emerged where there was a population centre, so there was no demand in the scattered village of Wolverton, which had in any case become depopulated by the land enclosures of the 16th century. In addition, there was no real recognition of the importance of schooling until the intellectual Humanist movement reached the shore of England in the early 16th century.

Stony Stratford's first school (as far as we know) was founded by Michael Hipwell who set aside some of his land and property to found a Grammar School in his will  of 1610. The Rose and Crown was to be let for a period of 99 years and at the end of this time the property was bequeathed to Trustees who were directed to use the capital and income to found a school:
 “that the rents and profits may be applied to the maintenance of a schoolmaster from time to time for ever, to keep a Free Grammar School in the barn behind the said inn, which barn he appointed should be applied as the school house, and was then lately built by him, and a chimney, a loft, and a parlour on the one end thereof for the schoolmaster from time to time to dwell in, and the yard adjoining to the bam for the use of the schoolmaster for the time being : and he appointed that the said trustees should nominate the schoolmaster to hold the said free school from time to time as they should think good; and it is provided, that such scholars of the town, or any of the next town adjoining, as should be minded to learn either grammar, or to write, or to cypher, should be taught in the school, and be taught their principles in religion, or else the said gift to be void ; and that the trustees should remove the said schoolmaster, and put in another, if they should think good cause, or that the school master for the time being should not duly and orderly behave himself, and teach the scholars in the said school, as should be thought meet by the said trustees.” 
One must assume that this school began to function as such after 1710.

By the 19th century the income from Michael Hipwell's charity was insufficient for the operating costs of the school and the trustees decided to merge their interests with the new National School Society, which was a Church of England movement with access to state funds. This led to the foundation of St Giles School at Number 30 High Street, next door to the old Rose and Crown in the first decade of the 19th century. The school reigned supreme in Stony Stratford (apart from private schools which I will discuss in another post) for about 30 years to the increasing discontent of non-conformists.

The non-conformists were not entirely without support. There was a counter movement in the 19th Century to provide a school curriculum for Non-conformists and almost parallel with the National Schools another sort of school, with more-or-less the same funding arrangements, came into being as British Schools, sometimes known as "Lancastrian Schools" after their founder Joseph Lancaster. While these schools began to make their appearance in England after 1819, the first British School to come to Stony Stratford was built in 1844 at the very south end of the High Street at a cost of £750. You can still get a good view of it at the Corner of the High Street and the Wolverton Road. The curved corner is a nice thought and in more recent times this has been mirrored in a newer building on the opposite side of the street.

This school lasted for about 70 years and then was moved to a new building built by the Council on Russell Street in 1907. This building is still used as an Infants school. The old British School continued in use as a public hall.

In 1858 St Giles school was partly rebuilt and enlarged in the grounds at the back of the Rose and Crown properties at the instigation of the Reverend W T Sankey who spent his private income very liberally in Stony Stratford. And again in 1867, the generosity of another vicar, this time the Rev. William Pitt Trevelyan, at that time Vicar of Holy Trinity, built another school on the corner of the London Road. This one, designed by the architect Edwin Swinfen Harris, is now the Plough Inn, which you can see in the above photograph.

This school was another church school, designed for the expanding population at the "Wolverton End" which in time formed a new parish, known as Wolverton St Mary's. At first it served Boys Girls and Infants, but  in the 20th century there was some rationalisation with St Giles on the High Street - St Giles took the boys and the newer school was used for Girls and Infants only.

In 1936 a new school opened on King George's Crescent,  and the old schools closed and were converted to private use. The school designed by Swinfen Harris was occupied by The Plough Inn, which for many years had conducted its trade in a building next door. There is a certain symmetry in this. The Rose and Crown became a school and the school on the corner of the London Road became a pub!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Time Clock

Thanks to David Weatherhead for this bit of memorabilia.

I don't know when punch card time clocks were introduced but it was probably a 20th century invention. Which I suppose begs the question of how work time was monitored before the introduction of these clocks.

The one shown here must have been of pre-WWII date and was probably a precision timepiece. Each employee had a time card which could be inserted to record time in and time out. You could of course clock in early but if you clocked out early you would lose pay. I think a minute might cost you at least a quarter of an hour's pay - possibly more. Because of this men would leave their work five minutes early and would line up to clock out. Once the minute hand had ticked over men wuld rapidly process their time cards and the exodus from the works gates at lunchtime and at the end of the day would rapidly become a flood.

Time clocks such as this one were in use until 1996, when they were replaced by an electronic version.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Listed Buildings - The Milepost

The British Heritage reference can be found here.

The cast iron milepost dates from 1833 - that much is a fact. However the listing suggests that a mistake was made in the casting - one side reads "Buckingham 9 miles and below it Stratford 1 mile"; the other side reads "Newport Pagnell 5 miles and below Stratford 1 mile." They argue that the casting should show "Wolverton" on one side, and indeed in later years this was painted on.

On thinking about this the mile post would have made perfect sense to a traveller in 1833. You were one mile from the crossroads and you either had 9 miles to go to Buckingham or 5 miles to Newport Pagnell depending on your direction. You were, to all intents and purposes already in Wolverton as it then was and a mile post would be unnecessary. In fact it could not have been placed at the location we all knew in the 20th century because the new road linking Wolverton Station and Stony Stratford was not constructed until many years after.

After the railway was built Wolverton Station was exactly two miles from Stony Stratford when the Stratford Road was built and I would be inclined to assume that the "Wolverton 1 mile" was later painted on to reflect that fact. 

There was, in my opinion, no mistake in the original casting.

The milepost, pre-restoration, looked like this.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Listed Buildings - Old Wolverton

Old Wolverton's buildings obviously pre-date Wolverton, but, surprisingly perhaps, not by much. Wolverton House dates to 1783 and all the other surviving buildings come after that. here is the British Heritage list.

Barn at Wolverton Mill

Barn at Warren Farm

View of the Warren Farm Development showing barn

Holy Trinity Church

This version of the church dates from 1817 when it replaced the medieval church, although it retained the tower.

School House at Old Wolverton

A school was comparatively late coming to Old Wolverton. Stony Stratford had school and New Wolverton had its own school in 1839. New Bradwell even had a school before this one was built in 1856.

Garden Wall, Manor Farm

17th Century Headstone - Holy Trinity Graveyard

The Old Rectory

Manor Farm House and Cottages and Outbuildings

Wolverton Mill

Spinney Cottage

Warren Farm Cottage

Wolverton House

Wolverton Park

Monday, October 10, 2011

Listed Buildings - Wolverton

Thanks to Andrew Lambert for this idea. I am going to go on a tour of the listed buildings in the area. I'll start with Wolverton, then do Old Wolverton, Stony Stratford and New Bradwell.

I can't help but comment on the arbitrary nature of the listing process. The original Engine Shed did not get listed and was consequently flattened to make a Tesco car park, but the Triangle Building, started in 1845 and much enlarged and adapted over the years, makes the list. The school of 1840 is not listed, nor is the Royal Engineer of 1841. Why is the Aylesbury Street School of 1906 listed and not the Moon Street School of 1908?

The information below is presented as links to the British Heritage site. The information is under crown copyright and cannot be reproduced here. Just as well perhaps, since there are a number of instances where the descriptions are factually wrong.

Area map of listed buildings

Blue Bridge

The Blue Bridge was a farm track from Stacey Hill Farm to the fields sloping down to Bradwell Brook.

Church of St George the Martyr

The building and history of the church has been covered in various posts.

Classroom at Wyvern First School

Former Railway Works Building

In 1845 the LBR used the land on the east side of the line to build a new shed. In time this expanded to fill the whole triangle area between the canal, the Stratford Road and the old railway line. It was henceforward known as the Triangle Building.

Reading Room

I rather think that it would take some serious archaeological work to identify which part of this building was the original Reading Room of 1840. Back then it was certainly a single storey structure and the road and canal bridge were lower. The openings for doors and windows do not resemble anything visible on the surviving planss from the 840s.

Former Royal Train Shed

Funny what the word "Royal" can do. This long shed and workshop was built in the 1880s when the main line was diverted and sat on the embankment above the Park. It was used in the 20th century to store the Royal Train when it was not in use, thus giving the building a significance which it might not otherwise have had.

Church Institute

Park Keeper's lodge

This is the best photo I have at the moment, surrounded by boards, empty and awaiting some fate.

Methodist Church

Railway Bridge over Canal

The barn was built in the 1840s when the new farm house was built on top of the hill. (Formerly Stacey Farm had been closer to Bradwell Brook.) It was a large timbered structure and was given a Grade II listing. Unfortunately it burned down in a fire in 1996 so the preservation order didn't help very much!

Stacey Hill Farm House

The farm house, built I understand, by the very young Charles Aveline is now occupied by the Milton Keynes Museum and can be visited during opening hours.

Skew Bridge

Garden Pavilion

I haven't got much idea of what this is. I assume from the description that it was a garden structure in the grounds of the Vicarage.


Wyvern First School

The girls and infants continued to use the 1840 school on Creed Street until 1906 when this was built. At the time it was Wolverton's grandest school until the Secondary School opened at the end of Moon street in 1908. The Creed Street School did service as a Market Hall until the Agora was opened.

Wyvern Nursery

This was in 1896 the new Boys School and remained so until about 1946 when the Secondary Modern came into being. From that time on all the Wolverton schools were co-ed.