Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Historical Tour along the Stratford Road 8

Up to the end of the 20th Century all development was under the auspices of the LNWR. As we have seen from the start of the Stratford Road in 1860 the LNWR purchased the land from the Radcliffe Trust and opened up some of the building lots to private development, particularly along the Stratford Road and Church Street.

After the end of the 19th century the railway company backed away from its paternalistic control and the administration of the town was assumed increasingly by the local council. The Radcliffe Trust, on the advice of their secretary decided to develop the land themselves. From the western back lane of Windsor Street to Anson Road the Trust opened up new building lots to builders and home-owners. This was built in the first decade of the 20th century. In fact my grandparents, who married in 1908, moved into their new house at the western end of Church Street as it was being finished.

The Stratford Road and Church Street retained their names and were extended. The new streets took their names from Radcliffe Trustees: Viscount Peel, the Earl of Jersey, and Sir William Anson.



65 Stratford Road
The house and the attached yard was occupied by a builder, first Wilson & Martin, and later a member of the Gurney family, for the first period in its life.

67-68 Stratford Road
Number 68 was used as a dental surgery from 1911 to 1939.

69-70 Stratford Road
Number 70 was a solicitor's office for about ten years from 1924-1935.

71-72 Stratford Road
These first six houses, built as a block in the same style reflect the newer styles of the early 20th century, with a sheltered porch and a squared bay window offering extra front room space. You can see these styles in Jersey and Anson Road.

73-74 Stratford Road
Number 74 has an interesting history in that it was the house an office of the owner of The English Novelty Company, Wooden Toy manufacturers. I believe the factory was on Church Street, on the site later occupied by the Empire Cinema.

75 Stratford Road
These next three revert to an earlier Victorian style, seen in the 1860 section of the Stratford Road.

76 Stratford Road

77-78 Stratford Road

79-80 Stratford Road

81 Stratford Road 
This was originally a house, probably with the same frontage as Number 80, but shows up as a shop in the 1911 directory. In 1924 Joseph Lennon operated as a hairdresser and was succeeded in 1931 by M G Pedley, who practiced his trade as a hairdresser here for well over 30 years. In recent years the shop has become part of the corner shop.
82 Stratford Road 
It's interesting that this shop has maintained its identity for all this time. It appears in 1911 under the ownership of Alfred Kilpin, although he is simply described as a shopkeeper. In 1931 Eric Gordon is running a confectionary business here and was succeeded by William Bew in 1939. As I remember the shop from the 50s is was purely a sweet shop and one of the few shops allowed to open on Sunday. Obviously the present owners have continued this tradition.
83 Stratford Road
This corner shop began life as a milliner's, although Mrs. Pitt's husband acted as an insurance agent from here. It appears that the son, R W Pitt, first set up a garage here in 1931 and it went through a succession of owners - Samuel Lott, Ron Page, Michael Page. The business was in the servicing of cars and selling petrol. Now it is a motorcycle dealership.

84-85 Stratford Road

86-89 Stratford Road

90-91 Stratford Road

92-93 Stratford Road

94-95 Stratford Road
Number 94 was a shop from the beginning - a confectioner, lawrence Long. It went through various owners but essentially remained the same type of business for about 50 years.

96-97 Stratford Road

96-97 Stratford Road
These ornately presented buildings were once the home of  Gurney Brothers, Monumental Masons, and the yard, edged by wrought iron railings was filled with graveyard monuments. I think the business went through two or possibly three generations.

98-99 Stratford Road

100-101 Stratford Road=
In 101 houses we have been able to follow the development of Wolverton from 1841. In 1841 The Royal Engineer was the western outpost of the new town. In 1860 a largish tract of land was opened which extended Wolverton to the back alley of Cambridge Street. The next phase began in the 1890s and extended to Windsor Street. The last redbrick phase began in 1907 when the Radcliffe Trustees opened more land for development up to what is now 101 Stratford Road.
In very recent times the McCorquodale building has been converted to residential development and further houses have been built to the weds.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Very interesting stuff, now to add my memories of some of these shops from the 1970s:
Number 81: Was Pedleys barbers and he was still cutting hair at a very late age in the 70s. The shop also did a selection of pipe smoking/tobacco products, snuff and "something for the weekend". It was so easy to tell which of my schoolfriends had their hair cut at Pedleys - it was a classic short back and sides and gave people a very dated appearance.

Number 82: The Candybox was amazingly popular with us kids in the 1970s, we would pass our own local corner shops to go there. It had become more of a general store, and was also a newsagents. We also new it as a soft touch when we wanted to buy fireworks despite being uder age.

Number 83: Pages. The motorcycles place also ran (run?) the repair workshop in a unit at the back and stored motorbikes in the Stratford Road/Church St alley across Jersey Road. They had the classic petrol pumps next to the pavement. A car would park outside and the petrol delivery hose would reach across the pavement on a swivelling arm. The pumps had a little transparent beacon where you could watch a rotating thing in the moving liquid.

The shop at 94 was, for a time in the 1970s, an electronics hobbyist shop run by a Mr Cave. One of the early triggers for my later career.

I've been inside quite a few of the houses, them having been occupied by familes of schoolfriend.