Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wolverton Street Names VI

The Western Development from 1906

The Radcliffe Trust had been reluctant partners in the building of Wolverton and they quickly regretted the sale of land at the eastern edge of the estate. Indeed they were resolute in their position that no further land should be swallowed up by the new town from 1840-1860. This is why New Bradwell came into existence in the 1850s.

Gradually as we have seen they ceded more land to the expanding town and in the 20th century the Trust decided to act as property developers themselves. A block of land had already been reserved and built upon in 1896, when the new Boys School opened, and in 1906 a new Girls and Infants School opened fronting Aylesbury Street. These streets were now extended and new north-south streets were developed by the Trust and sold privately. These new streets were named after Trustees of the Radcliffe Trust.

Jersey Road was named after Victor Albert George Villiers, the 7th Earl of Jersey, who served as a trustee from 1884 to 1915.
Anson Road got its name from Sir William Reynell Anson, Bt. who was a trustee from 1888 to 1914.
Peel Road was named for Arthur Wellesley Peel, 1st Viscount Peel who served as a trustee for 36 years, from 1872 to 1908.
And Woburn Avenue was named for Herbrand Arthur Russell, 11th Duke of Bedford  who became a trustee in 1900 and retired in 1913. At that time Bedford Street (not named after the Duke of Bedford) was already taken, and there was a Russell Street in Stony Stratford, although that street was named after a Russell of humbler origins.

Each of these men came from well-established aristocratic families, which will give us some sense of the kind of people who were invited to become trustees. The Villiers family became prominent in the 17th century when one of their number became Duke of Buckingham. Viscount Peel was the fifth and youngest son of Sir Robert Peel who was one of the country's distinguished 19th century Prime Ministers until his death in 1850. He had also served as a Radcliffe Trustee from 1828 until his death. Family connections were strong in the Radcliffe Trust in those days. Viscount Peel's sister had married the 6th earl of Jersey and his fellow trustee, the 7th earl, was therefore his nephew. The Russells had become part of the establishment in the 16th century. They inherited Bloomsbury in London through marriage to one of the earl of Southampton's daughters and by the 19th century were enormously wealthy.  Anson's family rose to prominence in the early 19th century. He was a lawyer and distinguished jurist and, amongst other offices, was Vice Chancellor of Oxford University in 1888.

Had the line of Green Lane continued it would have cut through the southern blocks of Cambridge and Windsor Streets and rejoined itself beside the cemetery, but it looks as though someone decided to square off the angles that characterised the ends of Bedford and Oxford Streets and thus the extension of Green Lane became Western Road.

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