Thursday, May 19, 2016

The start of New Bradwell

This minute from the LNWR Works Committee minutes of March 9th 1853, considers the tenders for the new development at Stantonbury. The average cost of building is £200 each.

While Crewe and Swindon were able to expand with the growth of their industry, Wolverton was restricted by the refusal of the Radcliffe Trust to allow any more expansion. The natural expansion of Wolverton was to the west and south, and in the end this is how it turned out. But in the 1840s the Trust became uncomfortable with their new neighbour and resolved to sell no more land to them. Various representations were made by the railway company but the Trustees were intransigent.

Part of the problem lay in the fact that they were a Trust with responsibilities to the recipients of their income (the Radcliffe Library and the Radcliffe Infirmary at Oxford) and their farming tenants. A stable income was more important than windfall capital. It was not at all apparent in the mid 19th century that farming income would not continue to be the lifeblood of the economy.

In some frustration the London and Birmingham Railway Company cast their eye on the land to the east, at the time completely undeveloped. It was owned by Earl Spencer and he was quite willing to do a deal. So it was that Wolverton's first expansion became three streets below the canal, first known, rather up imaginatively as 'Top Street, Middle Street and Bottom Street.' Later they were renamed as Bridge Street, Spencer Street and High Street.

The first community had no special name but was generally referred to as Stantonbury, largely because it was part of the parish of Stantonbury, where there was a church. Eventually the name New Bradwell was assigned to this new community.

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