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Archive for May, 2011

How many of you remember the visit of John Thurston’s Fair to Bletchley?, this was held annually in the market field adjoining the livestock market.

Fairground hands leaping from one dodgem car to another (obviously trying to impress the girls), have to say there didn’t appear to be any ‘health and safety’ issues in those days! Gaily decorated sideshows with coconuts that seemed I’m sure to be stuck to the holder. Slot machines that took our hard-earned pennies (yes, I’m pre-decimal), all seemed to respond better with a ‘whack’ to the side! Nevertheless, we all had a great time until the money ran out and then it was time to go home.

Surely, you must have some memories of the fair! Do let us know, we thrive on memories!

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What you may say has that got to do with Bletchley? Well, every Thursday there used to be a bustling livestock market. Here farmers would come in from far and wide and sell their livestock on the site that is now covered by Sainsbury’s Supermarket and car park. It was fascinating to watch the auctioneer, the prospective buyers giving their ‘secret nod’ and a ‘blink of the eye’ when placing a bid. Then the auctioneer would raise his arm and the gavel would come down firmly on the table and complete the sale.

You may possibly remember the adjoining market in between Greenways fish and chip shop and the Working Men’s Club, this sold everything imaginable from wristwatches to garden vegetables.

In those days Bletchley did seem to be a thriving community! What do you think?

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I do like to ramble!, those that know me well may say, ‘yes he rambles on far too much’! However, down at the Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative we do quite a lot of reminiscing about the past, because ‘we are all pretty addicted to local history’.

Of course, talking about rambling there is the ‘walking kind’! Unfortunately, many of our walks have disappeared due to the urbanisation and growth of the area.

One of my favourite walks as a child was from Cottingham Grove to the 60 steps at Denbigh! Might seem a long walk to children nowadays, but in the ’40s and ’50s it was nothing unusual.

Did you have any favourite walks? If so we may be able to retrace some of your steps together!

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Anyone for coffee?

Thinking about boredom, I’ve heard that the local coffee shops were a bit of a haven for the youth from the 50s to the 70s, especially those who were into motor-cycles.  But lads would also gather (probably with the girls) after football and others would sit with friends for hours.  The two places that have been mentioned are Mokaris and Greenways.  Did you go there?  What were they like?  Were there others that I don’t know about?  And do you have photos?

Mokaris Cafe on Queensway

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Reading the blog about ‘Green Bletchley’ made me think back to my childhood, now time has marched on and I am blessed with grandchildren. What I have a job to understand is why they come out with the statement, ‘I’m bored’! Going back to the fifties possibly our expectations were not quite so high, the long hazy, crazy days of summer seemed to go on forever and we always found things to keep ourselves occupied.

One of the places I used to like going to was the Newfoundout, off the Water Eaton Road. Here, we would build camps, fish, dam up the stream and play by what is now known as The Blue Lagoon. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think it was 1947 when the stream that ran alongside the Flettons brickworks burst its banks. In consequence the whole clay working was flooded and to this day the machinery is as far as I’m aware still down there.

What did you do during the long summer holidays? Whatever it was if you came from my generation I doubt if you ever had time to get bored!

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I mentioned in a previous post that BCHI is now at the newResource Centre unit in Melrose Avenue on two half-days per week.  Just to be clear – the centre is open daily during the week and you can call in to see our display and leave any old photos you want us to scan.  While you’re there, you might  buy a nice cup of coffee or tea and sit down for a chat.  Over the coming months the centre will build up a number of drop-in facilities and advice services.  Keep a look out in the Open Door newsletter for further information.

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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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