Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Locking up Criminals



This drawing of the Market Square was done in 1819 and illustrates a very different range of buildings on the Church Street side. The building on the left was a market house, largely open but providing some shelter during market days.At the west end were the stocks and a pillory and a lock-up known as the Cage. According to Markham it measured 20 x 27 feet. It was probably open to the elements and sufficed to lock up troublesome drunks and prisoners who needed to be restrained before being transported to Aylesbury. A couple of those villains are reproduced below.



There was also a pub here known as the Crooked Billet which had a rather dubious clientele.

By the middle of the 19th century the Cage was becoming dilapidated and was no longer a secure lock up. There was a campaign for improved accommodation and a new Police Station was opened in 1862 on the land formerly occupied by the cage and additional land purchased from the Lord of the Manor, Mr Selby Lowndes, for £50. The cage, market house and several slum cottages, known as the Shambles, were demolished.

The new building was typical of the architecture of the period and in some respects resemble the structure of the Science and Art building at Wolverton, built at around the same time. The cottages for policemen were probably later additions.



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

James Frost


James Lewis Frost was born in Wolverton in 1880 and as a young lad showed great promise as a footballer. He was very fast and played mostly as a right winger.

Naturally enough he played for  Wolverton LNWR (as the club was then known) but in 1900 he was scooped up by Northampton Town, for whom he was a regular for six seasons. He was transferred to Chelsea in 1906 and notably scored two goals for his new club on his debut against Clapton Orient on December 15th 1906.

A year later he moved to west Ham and in 1910 to Croydon. A year later, at the age of 31, he retired from football and became landlord of the North western Hotel in Wolverton.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

E Swinfen Harris


Edward Swinfen Harris was a distinguished architect with a national reputation. Nicholas Pevsner described him as "the only outstanding local architect working in the north of the county." He worked in London as well as Stony Stratford and although his legacy is predominantly local there are surviving buildings in London, Dorset and Northamptonshire.

In the course of his career he designed many fine houses in North Bucks which are still standing today.
He was born on July 30th 1841 at 36, High Street, Stony Stratford. His father was the clerk to the town bench of magistrates, the Board of Guardians and other bodies and Edward was the eldest son.  The family later moved to Back Lane. He began his formal education when he was 11 at the Belvedere Academy at Old Stratford. He was then sent to Ullathorpe House School in Leicestershire, where he boarded.
Showing the house at 36 High Street. the birthplace of Swinfen Harris

Around 1858 he was apprenticed to the book trade. He didn't stay long and rather like his contemporary, Thomas Hardy, the poet and novelist, became articled to an architect in London. On completion of his apprenticeship he then shared an office in London with two friends but in 1868 he returned to Stony Stratford to make additions to the vicarage of Wolverton St. Mary and also to Calverton Limes.
Calverton Limes, much modified, was one of the first homes that Swinfen Harris worked on.
In the following years he was greatly involved in ecclesiastical architecture, restoring many churches. The vestry added to St Giles is his design and there is this fragment of a church in London which is also his.
holloway_st_clement091213_
Emmanuel Church, Upper Holloway, London, built 1883Most of the church was rebuilt to a modern design in 1988.















He became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and travelled extensively in Europe to study architecture.

After marriage in 1870 he settled in Stony Stratford at a new house at 15 Wolverton Road. In this period he designed the house at 19 Wolverton Road for Dr McGuire.
The large house at 19 Wolverton Road, now divided into separate dwellings.

In his professional life he was the county surveyor of North Bucks and after the passing of the Education Act built a number of local schools, including that of St. Mary’s in the town. The Plough was originally built as a school and had been a public house for 70 years.

The Plough is one of the most visible of Swinfen Harris's design.

Lovat Bank in Newport Pagnell was designed for F J Taylor, of Taylor's Prepared Mustard fame, and built in 1877.
Lovat Bank in Newport Pagnell


In 1883 he designed the stables at Bletchley Park.and later built the house at107 High Street for himself and his family.
The Old Rectory, Maids Moreton, designed 1878-9

He retired in 1914 and lived to May 30th 1924. His architectural legacy, as can be seen from the samples here, is an important one. Many of his buildings have been adapted and in some cases demolished
107 High Street, built after 1887 for his own family.