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Archive for April, 2011

  • BatteryDisposal Box
  • Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative ~ holds thousands of articles & photographs of local interest, copies available for a fee
  • Citizen’s Advice Bureau ~ by appointment only. Tel:604475
  • Faxing, Laminating, Photocopying, Printing, fees apply
  • Nextstep ~ access to careers advice, course information, training opportunities. Tel: 0800 100 900
  • Royal National Institute for the Deaf  drop in~ 1st Friday in every month 10.30am-12.30pm
  • Storytime ~ every Thursday 11-11.30am
  • Thames Valley Police Workshop ~ “Have your Say!” ~ 1st Tuesday in every month 5-7pm
  • FREE WiFi for all
  • Pick up pink recycling bags

With a library membership card you can;

  •  borrow books for free, CDs & DVDs for a small charge
  • have access to a computer & the internet FREE for half an hour (a small charge for extra sessions)
  • for those interested in your family tree you can have a FREE hour on Ancestry.com daily

If you are not already a member it is easy to join! Bring some I.D. with you such as an up to date utility bill or bank statement and something with your signature on and you can become a member straight away.

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Inspired by the principles of Robert Owen and the foresight of the Rochdale Pioneers the Bletchley and District Co-operative Society was formed in 1883. See link to the BCHI website:

http://www.livingarchive.org.uk/subsite/cooperative/index.html

My father worked for the Bletchley Society for over 45 years, he was very keen on the ideals of the Co-operative Movement, ‘caring and sharing’. Also, I can remember vividly that every stitch of clothing I wore had the Co-operative Wheatsheaf logo stitched into the garment somewhere.

One of my earliest memories was the day the Co-op was burnt down. My father was woken up in the early hours one morning by Mr Pilcher the ‘furnishing manager’ who said, ‘come quickly the store has been burnt down’! When the fire had burnt out a few days later my father took me into the building and we walked through the charred embers of what was once the working place for so many Bletchley people. Not to be daunted they set up a temporary shop in the old Albert Street premises until a new purpose-built shop was built in Bletchley Road. Another event sticks in my mind vividly, this was ‘dividend day’. Co-operative members used to queue outside the Co-op to collect their share of the dividends. To be a member you used to have to purchase ‘one share’ to the value of £1, a share number was allocated to you which you quoted when you made a purchase. To this day I can remember my number, can you?

There is an interesting video on the Co-operative Movement which you can access by clicking on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3NWDi8OZ9M


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In 1889 a purpose-built fire station was built in Church Street, Fenny Stratford. The first fire engine had seen many years of service and at the ripe old of age of 92 was replaced by a new one. By 1920 only one of the horses was ‘fit enough’ to pull the fire engine so it was decided to pull it by a lorry owned by a local haulage contractor.

An immaculate turned-out crew pose for their photograph in what looks like the back of the Bletchley Road Schools.

In 1942 the National Fire Service took over responsibility for the local fire service, previously run by the local council; this was in response to the threat of possible air raids on the country.

In 1960 the Church Street premises were deemed to be too small and a new purpose built station was erected in Sherwood Drive, Bletchley.

One of the old fire engines named ‘Elizabeth’ was presented to a local school; this was enjoyed by the children especially as the old bell was still in place.

Do you remember the old fire engines ‘dashing’ through the local streets on the way to a fire?

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In 1890 Thomas Dodd owned a brickyard between Bletchley and Newton Longville; in 1925 this was taken over by the London Brick Company. Nearby, there was also a brickyard in 1933 at Skew Bridge, owned by Mr A. Lamb, it was later purchased by the London Brick Company in 1950 and renamed the Jubilee Works.

Many generations of Bletchley families worked in the local brick fields, sons following their fathers into the industry. After the Second World War many Italians set up home in the Bletchley area and made a valuable manpower contribution to the brick industry.

Sadly, with the decline in housing stockpiles of bricks could be seen at many brickyards. In1993 the London Brick Company, now owned by Hanson ceased production and the last chimney was brought down.

Can you remember the day the chimneys came down?

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Bletchley Library on the present site at Westfield Road was opened on Monday 17th December 1962 by S.W. Lord, the Chairman of the County Council. This building replaced the two rooms library which was situated within Holne Chase School which had opened in 1950. The total cost of this new building was £36,425.

Bletchley Library
Bletchley Library in Westfield Road

There were 25,000 books, a staff of ten and storytimes for the children took place for the first time. Among the first visitors were four headmasters from local schools. Maybe some of you will remember one or more of them?

Mr D. Halewood from Bletchley Grammar School (I remember him well)        

Mr H Harding from Holne Chase  Junior School

Mr D Bradshaw from Bletchley Road County Secondary School. I remember him so well as he lived in the same village as me & his daughter who was a little older  used to walk me to junior school!

Mr V Jones from White Spires School

In 1973 plans were approved to double the size of the initial building but  these plans had to be shelved due to the government of the day telling local councils to cut their spending! Much as today then! However a couple of years later these plans did finally go ahead giving us the building much as we see today.

 
 

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Bletchley’s Buildings

St Martin’s Church

Did you know?  There are over 60 listed buildings in Bletchley.  So much for those who would have us believe that the place is not as worthy of looking after as other towns.  Although the town grew rapidly in the last century (and yes, some developments could have been better), Bletchley, Fenny Stratford and Water Eaton all had older buildings of interest.  From churches and municipal buildings to people’s homes – and including code-breakers’ huts at Bletchley Park, there’s a lot of historical value in the town.

Having said all that, it’s sad to see the former Bletchley Park Pavilion falling into complete disrepair with no legal protection at all .  A once fine – and fairly unique  – example of a decorative wooden sports pavilion that later found a new life a centre for music in North Bucks is now almost lost.

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Courting Days

 

A regular visitor to BCHI says: 

When my girlfriend and I were in our late ‘teens we would visit the ‘County’ cinema at least once a week. However, quite often we had to leave before the end of the feature film because she was on tenterhooks about being late home.

This was because her mother would want to know why we were always later getting home than her younger brother, who having seen the same programme earlier in the week  was home much sooner than we were?

Our excuse that the film had broken down was never accepted; although everyone knew how temperamental the cinema’s projector was, as it often broke down more than once during an evening’s performance!

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