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Archive for February, 2012

Time can play funny tricks with your mind as the years pass by, many things we used to take for granted and even walk by without really noticing! We have had a recent request to see a ‘certain aerial map’ and here it is below; I will give you a ‘brief clue’ it was taken in 1938 (that’s even before my time!) so there’s a start. It is surprising that a picture can trigger off memories that we have stored somewhere in our brain and completely forgotten.

This is not a competition but it would be interesting to see how many of you recognise some of the buildings or roads that have disappeared from the map. I do look back with some affection how things used to be, although I must not be too Luddite I do have to ask sometimes, ‘is what we have now an improvement’?

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PS – If you would like to see the map a little larger just double-click on the image.

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In May 5, 2011, I wrote the above post. One of our regular visitors to ‘TalkAboutBletchley’ Sandra Waite queried the positioning of the bungalows in Water Eaton Road, these being in between the Buckingham Road and the Three Bridges.

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At the time Sandra I thought that I could lay my hands on an aerial map quite easily, however it proved a little more difficult; now though I’m pleased to say we have found one.

You will see the bungalows to the right of the picture, these are facing on to the Eight Belles field. Coming back on to the Buckingham Road there are a row of semi-detached houses, next to them is a building that once used to be the Premier Press printing works; later on to become Cleavers building supplies. Next to that is I think a detached house, correct me if I’m wrong but I think your late-friend Christine Harris might have lived there. You can also see clearly Railway Terrace facing on to the railway. Also, it is interesting to see the ‘old railway bridge’ with the pedestrian tunnel running alongside; my memories of this are it always used to be ‘damp and dripping with water’!

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August 31st, 1939, the day before Poland was invaded by Germany, was a day many children in our large cities will never forget. It was announced by the Government that mass evacuation would take place because of the threat of heavy bombing by Nazi Germany. For many young children it was the first time they had been separated from their parents, this caused constant worry and anguish! On selected days parents had to take their children to a railway station nearby or to their local school to be transported to safer areas of the country. They carried very little luggage with them but were labelled up with their names and place of destination, not forgetting their obligatory gas mask which every child had to have for the fear of gas attack.

On arrival at their destination the children were met by local officials who took charge of them. Children were then allocated to houses where local residents took them in. Sadly, some residents resented the intrusion upon their lives and in consequence some children were not particularly welcome; however by and large most had good homes despite the austerity of the time. Large evacuee families caused accommodation problems and in some cases young children were split up from their older siblings; again this caused much upset and instability.

The majority of evacuees that came to Bletchley were pupils of the Ecclesbourne Road School, Islington. Infants, Juniors and Seniors accompanied by their teachers, some of whom also stayed on to teach the evacuees, thereby easing the burden on local schools; over time some children were integrated into the local schools.

 Ecclesbourne Road School – now redeveloped as apartments!

By the end of the war most of the children had returned to London, sadly many had nothing to return to as their homes had been destroyed in the Blitz. Despite the sadness of those dreadful years some evacuees who had enjoyed the rural life of Bletchley returned, either to renew old acquaintances or to start a new life away from the urban bustle of London.

If you were evacuated to Bletchley and have memories or photographs of those troubled times please share them with us; maybe your parents or grandparents were evacuated to Bletchley and district (some were billeted in nearby villages) and will also have stories to tell.

For local newspaper reports of how Bletchley coped with the ‘Evacuation’ see the Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Schools website at: http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/bfss/docs/highstreet.html

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PS – 3robbie3 would like to thank a ‘good friend’ who helped put this blog together.

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The new year heralds not only the Olympic Games in London but also the ‘Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’.

To celebrate the 60 years reign of the Queen the Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative plan to have a photographic/memorabilia exhibition of local celebrations held in 1977 and 2002. We do have various photographs in our archive; however we would love to include anything you may like to contribute also. So, if you have anything from the Silver Jubilee and Golden Jubilee that would be great. Whatever the subject, from street parties to concerts to name but a few your contributions along with what we have should make a memorable exhibition.

Midsummer Madness 2002

Don’t worry if your pictures are slightly damaged, we will do our best to enhance and repair where possible. Generally, the older the pictures are the more interesting they are for exhibition purposes.

In the past we have had excellent feedback and interest from our photographic displays, so please bring whatever you have and join us for what should be an interesting event.

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School Trips

Having been at school in the 1950s we didn’t go on as many trips as today’s children do. The earliest one I remember was to Windsor Castle and I recall being very impressed with the scale of it all.
We used to go swimming once a week in a coach from Bletchley Road School to Stockgrove Park House. They had an indoor swimming pool which we thought was very posh. A swimming pool in a private house was almost unheard of in those days.
Like many Bletchley youngsters I went to Wolverton Tech. for my last three years of schooling.
From there we went to the A C Delco factory in Dunstable. I remember being very impressed with the speed at which the ladies put each spark plug in its individual box – their fingers were just a blurr.
We also visited the BTH Factory in Rugby where they manufactured large electrical plant such as transformers and generators.
I also remember weekly trips to the open air swimming pool at Fegan’s Home in Stony Stratford.

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