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We want Talk About Bletchley to be an informal, friendly site where information, memories, views and opinions can be shared in an open and respectful  atmosphere.  So all comments will be checked before publishing – but if you do notice anything offensive, inappropriate or just plain factually incorrect, please let us know.

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I know it’s only July and we are all enjoying a prolonged period of glorious weather, taking you on a bit further though the Heritage Open Days in Milton Keynes will soon be upon us. They are over two weekends in September, 6th-9th and 13th-16th. There is a very interesting selection of activities to suit all ages, the good thing about it is ‘it’s free’, the only suggestion I would make is if it requires you to book your place in an activity you do so early because places soon fill up.

 

 

In 1967 the Scented Garden for the Blind was opened. It was as the plaque below mentions part of the Jubilee Project of the Bletchley Branch of the Toc-H, being funded by voluntary donations.

The commemoration plaque at the Sensory Garden.

Sadly as the years passed by for one reason or another the garden became rather run-down and neglected. Fortunately though some good-spirited volunteers have now restored the garden to its former glory. I visited the garden recently and despite the hot dry summer we have been experiencing the garden was lovely and cared for. Many of the plants are labelled in braille for those who have sight problems. Well done volunteers, Tubby Clayton would have been very proud of you!

Seventy years ago the Second World was raging in Europe and other parts of the world. Much of the local news was very much centred on the war effort as some of the following ‘news snippets’ suggest!

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, January 4th

Sgt. Pilot Gordon Downs Bushell, who was killed in action at the age of 24, was the only son of Mr. J. O. Bushell, President of the Bletchley Chamber of Commerce. He was first educated at Mrs Fry’s private school in Church Street.

Mr Cowley opened his drapery business in the town 10 years ago. He was a native of Upton-on-Severn and came to Bletchley from Stevenage.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, January 11th

The funeral of Gordon Downs Bushell took place on Wednesday afternoon. His body was conveyed from his home station on a gun carriage with full military honours and was cremated on Saturday, being sent to Bletchley for burial.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, January 18th and January 25th

Captain Walter Edwards, R. E., the son of Mrs M. Edwards of 29 Water Eaton Road, has been ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ for services with the B.E.F., January-May, 1940. He was educated at Bletchley Road Council Schools and Wolverton Secondary and before the war was employed at the G.P.O. H.Q. as an Investigative Officer.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, February 8th

At the outbreak of war plans were in hand to spend large sums of money on rebuilding the market, which had grown during each year of its foundation. The war postponed these plans and now only temporary repairs were proposed, including re-roofing the cowshed. Mr Hedley Clarke now resigned as the auditor, due to business pressures and his health, having been connected with the market for 30 years.

Torches must have an aperture reduced to 1in. diameter and the light dimmed by inserting one thickness of newspaper.

It has been decided by the Ministry of Food and the Board of Education that the special meat allowance to school canteens and feeding centres should be reduced to 1s 2d worth per dinners served.

Mr W. Elliott’s tender was the lowest of the three received for additional buildings in the Council yard. It was accepted. Most of the space is to be used for an evacuation office, at a rent of £25 pa to include heat and light.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, March 1st

The Royal Horticultural Society in association with the Ministry of Agriculture Society are anxious to get in touch with all horticulture, allotment and food production societies, to be able to send them communications with reference to the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign.

Bacon prices from March 10th will increase by about 2d a pound.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, March 15th

Mr Alf Birch, a 54-year-old L.M.S. platelayer of 4 Elm Terrace was knocked down and killed by a train while working on the line near Denbigh Bridge on Tuesday morning.

Plans are made for additional lavatory accommodation at the G.P.O. garage in Duncombe Street.

Harry Fryer and his orchestra have been frequently playing in the B.B.C.’s ‘Music While You Work’.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, March 22nd

All members of the Bletchley Hospital Contributory Scheme are to have free ambulance facilities within a 25 mile radius of the town on production of a medical certificate.

An assistant attendant is needed at Central Gardens, minimum age 16 years.

Herbert Weatherhead, the youngest son of Mrs Weatherhead of 1 Leon Avenue, married Gladys Hurst of 35 Leon Avenue, on Saturday.

A National Day of Prayer, at the express request of H.M. King, will be held on March 23rd.

Gertrude Weatherhead is the organist at the Spurgeon, ‘The piano and her are inseparable’.

Bucks is among 22 counties in which a National Survey of Scrap Iron and Steel is to be launched. Other parts of the country have already been covered. The National Survey has been in operation for 8 months and a national record is being compiled of all salvageable items, such as disused railway track, water and gas pipes, etc.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, April 5th

Corporal Peacock was a member of the Bletchley Territorials. Called up in September 1939 he served in France and came through Dunkirk. He later transferred to the Military Police.

The Conservative Club invite members of H.M. Forces to take advantage of their facilities.

Report on events in 1940; since the outbreak of the war Mr Tranfield and his family assisted by the Wardens at his post have voluntarily maintained a 24 hour service at their siren with the greatest efficiency.

In place of Dr Stones, Dr Janet Ronaldson, M.B., D.P.H., of Wolverhampton has been appointed temporary Medical Officer of Health for the Borough of Buckingham and the Urban District of Bletchley, and also temporary Assistant County Medical Officer.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, April 12th

Plans are now well in hand to remove the Rest Room from St Martin’s Hall Reading Room to the Evacuation Centre next to the Bletchley Road Methodist Church. Evening sessions will now be possible at the new centre and it is hoped to make the transfer on April 17th.

Work on the road from North Street to Denbigh Road was practically complete by the end of 1940. The Council had filled in part of the old gravel pits so as to form an approach way at the North Street end.

By the end of 1940 Holne Chase house and grounds were being used as the main offices of the General Federation of Trade Unions Approved Society.

By the end of 1940 the total number of dwelling houses in the district was around 2,500.

In regard to St Mary’s heating fund, ‘You can’t worship with cold feet’.

Messrs. Fosters of Kempston, a specialist firm, have been engaged on work on the battlements of St Mary’s and other parts. Ladders are available to gain access to the roof if incendiaries are dropped on the roof, buckets of sand have been placed, a length of hose and a stirrup pump.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, April 26th

The age of reservation for the following classes of agricultural workers is to be raised to 25, farmers and farm managers, tractor drivers, threshing machine attendants, general farm workers and farm labourers, market garden workers and labourers.

Mr Charles Crane died at Hutton, Essex, aged 87. He was well known in Bletchley during the early years of the century where for 23 years he was an inspector at the railway station. He was then promoted to Headstone Lane, London. During his time in Bletchley he was Secretary of the Buckingham Division Conservative Association.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, May 3rd

Guides of a new company to be known as the 3rd Bletchley are to be enrolled on Wednesday evening at the church to which it is attached, the Freeman Memorial Methodist.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, May 10th

The subject of the monthly lecture at the Albert Street, Methodist Church, on Monday was ‘Depression and Irritability’.

Mr R. K. Sherwood, Food Executive Officer, outlined the work of the Food Office at a meeting of the Food Control Committee, held at the Council Offices, Friday last. Between September 1940 and April 1941, 7,530 emergency ration cards were issued to persons who had either lost the original books in London or had arrived in the Bletchley area for a short stay. Cards were also issued to those who were awaiting the arrival of pages of coupons from retailers in other areas. In the same period 3,332 persons had moved into the urban area and 1,608 had moved out, leaving a net gain of 1,724. The issue of ration books on January 6th for the third period totalled 10,239.

The first display of the 1st Fenny Stratford (St Martin’s) Scout Troop and Wolf Cub pack was given in St Martin’s Hall on Saturday evening. The display was based ‘on a day in camp’ and included jungle dances. A ceremony took place to transfer five Cubs to the Scouts.

South and Home Counties farmers should apply immediately for Land Girls, as demand is likely to exceed supply.

There is a possibility that eggs will be coming from the U.S., under the Lease and Lend Act.

Mr W. O. Clarke, caretaker at Bletchley Road School, who was due to retire at the age of 65 in April, has been offered by the Education Committee the opportunity for an extension to August 31st. On retirement he will be paid a Superannuation Allowance of £92 pa.

The number of evacuee children in Bucks has declined since December 1940. The March figure was 18,168, compared to 19,817 in December.

Major J. Whiteley, O.B.E., M.P. for North Bucks, has been appointed to the command of his regiment and promoted to Colonel, to take effect in one month’s time.

At a meeting of the B.E.W.R.F. on Wednesday, the Rev. Yates presiding, regret was expressed at the resignation of the Secretary, Mr A. Gorman. Deaconess Warman was appointed in his place.

In the report of the Rest Room Committee it was stated that Mrs Rood agreed to be in charge of cleaning the hut. Tea is to be charged at 1d cup and a half penny on milk-less days. The radio is now in use.

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Bletchley Gazette, 1941, May 17th

After 3 months of discussion and interviews the Council have decided not to appoint a full time billeting officer. Instead they approved a scheme to allow Mr. E. C. Cook to continue as billeting officer with Deaconess Warman to assist him and two other evacuee helpers to take over some of her duties.

Bletchley School Sports Association members are now to note that the tennis courts are ready. New members may enrol any evening on the Club Ground at Bletchley Park. Applications to Miss M. Timpson, 27 Saffron Street.

The Finance Committee recommended payment of a war bonus to officers at the rates proposed by the South Midlands Provincial Council for Local Authorities Administration Staff. The bonus would be the Clerk and Surveyor of £24 pa, the Clerks Assistant £15 pa and a smaller increase for the Medical Officer. The officers had applied for the payment.

A plan for a car park adjoining the Park Hotel has been referred to the County Highways Committee.

The Council gave instructions for the necessary notice to be served on the executors of the late T. E. and W. A. Rowland, owners of vacant land in Brooklands Road, to take possession as allotments.

I was saddened to see that Wilton Hall may be pulled down, to be replaced by housing. Already, there is concern that one of Bletchley’s oldest entertainment venues could be lost forever. The hall has been the ‘stepping stone’ for many artists in the music industry. Also, of course it was the entertainment venue for a great many of the staff at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

A dance in the Wlton Hall, possibly in the 50s-60s.

You may have been a regular visitor to the hall, possibly to watch some of the stars of the future at the time. Please share your memories and let us know who you went to watch!

Jazz night at the Wilton Hall, starring Monty Sunshine.

Whether or not you like sport there’s no doubt about it this week you have really have had a lot to think about! Just to remind you the great performance by the England Football team has really been a talking point, plus of course the yearly dose of Wimbledon for the tennis fans; not forgetting of course the Formula 1 racing at Silverstone, featuring our local team Red Bull. I do apologise of course if I’ve not mentioned your sport here because I do know there are many more that are worth a mention.

Whatever, your likes or dislikes sporting success does encourage a bit of ‘feel-good’ factor and with so much uncertainty in the world today that must be a good thing! Surely you must have a preference; for me going back to the 50’s and 60’s brings back memories, football and table tennis came very high on my list

Please let us know what your favourite sport was/is because we would like to know. Of course  if you feel that sport is not for you, please feel free to tell us why!

Football in the early 1900s, Fenny Stars Football Team.

The decline of the high street has been a topic of conversation for some time! In Bletchley’s case the once proud Bletchley Co-operative Society building still stands partially empty, many more smaller shops have followed the same demise. In Milton Keynes many large brand stores have closed and many more are to follow, where will it all end? There’s no doubt that Internet shopping has been a big contributor to this, also many stores near to collapse have greatly reduced their prices in the hope that they may keep their heads above water.

Looking back a few years, surely you must have had a favourite shop that has now disappeared? It might have been a major outlet or possibly a small family business. It would be lovely to hear your comments; also of course your point of view why this has happened, we would be pleased to hear from you.

How many of these shops do you remember?

Sixty Years ago this week the Bletchley Gazette used its whole front page to announce the opening on the previous Saturday of the new open air pool at Bletchley. ‘Just what we’ve been waiting for’ was the headline. It was the culmination of many years of campaigning and fundraising, and was in the end a joint venture between the public and Bletchley Urban District Council.

Many have memories of learning to swim in the often very cold water but also many fond memories of the fun that was to be had. The pool was covered in the late 1960s before giving way to the first Bletchley Leisure Centre in 1973.

Queens Pool before and after the construction of its