Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Historical Tour along the Stratford Road 5

Wolverton Working Mens' Club
Working Men's Clubs were a product of the industrial age. Most large towns and cities had founded clubs in the 19th century and it is no surprise that Wolverton and New Bradwell followed the trend.
The first Working Men's Social Club was an adapted house at 72 Church Street, founded in 1872. Less than 30 years later the club was able to afford this imposing building on a new lot at the bottom of Cambridge Street. It opened in 1898. The style is quite ornate and continues with the next four houses which are also decorated with a mixture of stone and red tile. I imagine that the attic rooms, which are quite spacious, were originally designed to accommodate the club steward and his family. The club did expand into Number 50 in the 20th century as well as build extensions at the back.

50 and 51 Stratford Road

52 and 53 Stratford Road
These four houses are quite spacious. I know because my grandparents owned one of them. they followed the conventional terraced house plan of three rooms downstairs with a scullery and three bedrooms and a box room above the entrance hall with a bathroom and w. c. Except these terraces were so much wider and larger - perhaps only a few feet, but that made the difference. the entrance hall was wider, the rooms were a foot or two wider. And at the back of the scullery was a pantry, which was later converted into a bathroom. These houses also had a large wash house at the bottom of the garden. When the motor age came along these were converted into garages.

Mostly these houses were residential and most households had a domestic servant in the early years of the 20th century. I presume the servant lived in the attic room.

54 and 55 Stratford Road
The next four houses in this block are also spacious but less ornate in finish. Number 55 was occupied by Frederick Field, a boot and shoe maker who had moved from an earlier address on the Stratford Road an it remained a sho shop until Norman Cosford retired. (I think.)
It's a pity about the frontage. While it was a shop window it was not out of place, but the bricking up of the window and the insertion of a window which is completely out of proportion rather destroys the appearance in my opinion. It would have looked better if the lower bay window and the porch had been retored.

56 and 57 Stratford Road
The final two houses in this block became dental surgeries for much of the 20th century. Sidney Warden had a practice at Number 56 from the early 1920s and next door George Weller established himself in 1911. Both men worked their until their retirement in the 1950s when the practice was sold on.


Alan Cosford said...

Bryan, I can confirm that 55 Stratford Road remained a shoe shop until my father retired in 1982. It then reverted back to a residence. I can also add that behind the shop backing onto the back alley was a two storey building that originally was used to make boots and shoes and up until the 1970's was used to repair shoes

Anonymous said...

It was a 'corner' shop after that!

The very nice people who ran the shop were held up at gun point in the late 80's. They then decided not to run the shop anymore and converted into a house..

Anonymous said...

Number 50 & 51 have the most faded names above the doors can anyone help me find out what these houses were called?

50 WIND.....?
51 HARLEY (something)


Anonymous said...

About 50-53 Stratford Rd...."These four houses are quite spacious. I know because my grandparents owned one of them".

Which one?
Have you got any photographs?
Would you like to pop over for a cuppa?