Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is this the end of the Agora? 4 - What it replaced

The following photographs will give you some idea of what the Agora replaced. The first picture, taken sometime in the 1960s shows the shop on the corner of Radcliffe Street and Buckingham Street. It was at one time a corner grocery but I don't have much memory of it. By the time I took this photo it was out of business.

At the corner of Radcliffe Street and Church Street was Eady's, the butchers. By 1960 it was in at least the third generation of family ownership.

Here are some views of Church Street as it was before the Agora. The north side, with the Vic on the corner is more-or-less recognizable. On the right is the row of houses and shops that were demolished.

The next view, looking west, shows the Post Office on the right (now a Mosque) and the demolished row on the left. The nearside house was for the custodian of the Science and Art Institute.

Much the same view of Church Street but looking East. On the right you can see the Science and Art Institute and in the distance he corner of Creed Street.

This last photo, taken from further along Church Street gives us a glimpse of the shops on the right that were taken down to make way for the Agora. On the left the two visible shops are the Wolverton Mutual at No. 50 (now St Andrews Bookshop), and with the awning, Swains - a sporting goods shop. Beyond that the houses and corner shop (Wolverton Building Society) were remodelled and rebuilt to the present Nationwide buildings.


Haycock said...

Wonderful photos. Pity you don't have Kings the Bakers. Their wall bulged out into Radcliffe Street

Andrew said...

I'm sure I've got a photo showing Kings somewhere.

It's amazing how a building like the Agora which, I recall, had such an auspicious start should function for a bit over 30 years meanwhile the old school/market hall/town hall/library is in rude health.

Bryan Dunleavy said...

It would be great if you could dig it up. Photos of Kings are as scarce as hen's teeth! If you find it please email me a jpg through Contact Me, and I will publish it.

Andrew said...

Seems that the Agora has had a reprieve, a buyer wishes to keep it running as it is, traders have no need to vacate.

Bryan Dunleavy said...

Good job I was careful enough to present the title as a question rather than a statement. These have been some of my most popular posts, so clearly there is a lot of interest in the project.

Lord Milton Keynes said...

I used to live at 27 Church Street which was pulled down to make way for the Agora. It was the shop with the petrol pump to the left hand side, which was Wolverton's first one. "We" moved there in October 1959 from Bedford and the property was formerly a garage and was the start of W.G.Sellick and Son. For those not in the know, they had the garage on Stratford Road opposite where my old college used to be and the garage in New Bradwell.
My father (Jack) was Ray Sellick's driving instructor and was Wolverton's first. People who wanted to learn to drive had to go to Bedford in the 1950's as there was no driving school in the area. One of my dad's pupils from Wolverton when he was with BSM in Bedford, was the wife of the chemists (Ellis's?) on Stratford Road, and knew that Ray wanted a driving instructor, so we relocated. The family lived there until mid 1960's when we moved to Stony Straford, and my father started his own driving school, Stratford S.o.M.

Bryan Dunleavy said...

Thanks for the comment. If I can add to that, the chemist's name was Escott. He took over the business from Mackerness in the 1950s and they lived on Cambridge Street. You may be right about Sellicks's starting up the first motoring school but Ron Page (father of Michael Page) was not far behind and was certainly operating in 1959.

Lord Milton Keynes said...


Thanks for your comments, I recalled that the name of the chemists started with an "E". Yes there was later a driving school at Pages garage on Stratford Road. Several others then started up in the 1960,s before MK was built.

Your surname is unusual and most familiar to me during my school days at WCSS. Was your father Roy and a maths master?

Chris Eccles.
PS I am not a member of the peerage and "L MK" was a nickname given to me by a Yorkshire friend because of my accent and the fact that I was living in MK at the time, having moved back there again in 1990. I used it as a name when I recently had to change my e-mail address; I didn't know that that title was going to appear when I registered on the site. I now live in Mid Wales.

Bryan Dunleavy said...

My father's younger brother Bob was a Maths teacher. He served as a soldier throughout WWII, being evacuated at Dunkirk and then serving in the Middle East. When he was demobilised in 1945 he trained as a teacher and started employment at the Aylesbury street school. The "Roy" you may be thinking of is probably Roy Llewellyn.