Archive for March, 2012

There’s a lot of local history on the web if you kook hard.  We know of a few websites on aspects of the area’s heritage.

Here’s one example: 

Fenny Stratford in the Great War, created by a former resident, is dedicated to the memory of the local men and women who took part in the 1914-18 War.  With lists of names and details, and in-depth research on some individuals, this is an interesting insight into those lives.

Another interesting site was created under the banner of the

Open University and Living Archive CLUTCH Clubs – a Millennium project.  One of these ‘clubs’ – Eaton Mill Overspill CLUTCH – created Bletchley Pioneers, Planning and Progress,

a delightful trip through various aspects of Bletchley’s past.

You may have other favourites… please let us know.


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One of our regular visitors to TalkAboutBletchley was trying to locate the position of where Greenways Cafe used to be. Whether you were a ‘Mod’ or a ‘Rocker’ or just a youngster who used to call in for a coffee I hope the picture will perhaps bring back a memory or two. To try and understand the location you can see the Working Mens Club to the right of the picture. I’ve also included an aerial picture (c.1938) of the area; although ‘this is old’ it does still show buildings that still stand today, apart from of course Greenways Cafe that became a casualty of the Brunel Centre development.  The frontage of Greenways has of course changed because I think when this aerial was taken the building must have been residential, but I think this is definitely the site of the Cafe as we knew it.

Greenways Cafe, a meeting place for many young people

To get a clearer and larger view of the photographs just double click on your mouse!

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To some, Bletchley would have been a quiet backwater in the 1960s.  But many of the top pop and rock’n’roll acts played at the local Wilton Hall – a facility first built in the 1940s for the codebreakers of Bletchley Park.   Gene Vincent, Adam Faith, The Rolling Stones, The Hollies and many more performed there – and these were chart-topping acts around this time.  The Rolling Stones went to No.1 just a few weeks after their appearance in Bletchley.  Many people remember that particular visit.  In the Living Archive book, Bigger, Brighter, Better Gordon Ridgway remembers ‘…When the Stones came down, part of the wall fell down at the front… the girls came screaming out …we just walked in and the band carried on playing.’

I’m sure there are many other memories of those Wilton Hall nights.   Here are a few of  the press adverts to remind you.

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I have been reading with interest the wartime memories of one our regular visitors to TalkAboutBletchley; the way it affected his family and how the community pulled together during those troubled times.

Of course, being an island nation we were very much encouraged to provide as much as we could ourselves; one thing that comes to mind was the slogan, ‘Digging for Victory’! Here the population were all encouraged to grow as many vegetables and be as resourceful as possible.

However, with the German U-boat threat on our convoys crossing the Atlantic many ships carrying produce were torpedoed, resulting in the dreadful loss of valuable food  for the nation.

Something clearly had to be done and the Government decided that ‘ration books’ would be introduced. (Click on the link below)


On September 29th, 1939, every household had to fill in forms detailing people who lived in the house. An identity card and ration book were introduced at the beginning of 1940. Every family or individual had to register with a local supplier from whom the ration would be bought. These details were stamped in the book and you could only buy your ration from that supplier.

For the next five years the nation despite hardship survived, ration books were finally withdrawn on 4 July, 1954.

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At BCHI we have just discovered this ‘very old picture’!, it shows Meager’s Hill a long time ago and by the dress of the inhabitants I should image somewhere in the late 1800s. It is interesting to note the twist in the hill, also how narrow it was; nowadays of course the road has been widened and straightened. We complain about the ‘pot holes’ in our modern roads but take a close look at the cart ruts in the picture. The fascination of a photographer in ‘days gone by’ always seemed to bring out the residents; possibly it was the expectation of the ‘exploding bulb’ going off.

Buckingham Road, looking up Meager's Hill

One of our regular visitors to TalkAboutBletchley, Sandra Waite asked if we had a picture of the cottage on the right. So far a visitor to the site found one which was very good, however this one does show it more clearly.

An interesting point! On the documentation with the photograph it mentions the public house being the Three Trees public house. It’s homework time! Does anyone know when the name changed to The Shoulder of Mutton public house?


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BCHI has recieved a new digital collection of sporting photos from one of our local West Bletchley residents.

Bob and Jenny negotiate a corner at the TT


Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Bob and Jenny Beales were speeding around the motor racing tracks of Britain.   From Brands Hatch to Mallory Park and The isle of Man, they competed in sidecar racing events on their highly polished Triumph.  They even made the national press.   But we have photos of them playing badminton at Bletchley Leisure Centre, too.  And being a multi-sportsman, Bob went on to coach for MK Athletic Club for many years and can still be seen cycling near and far.

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Within the last 12 months the BCHI sadly lost one of it’s long-serving members Eileen Corden. Over the years Eileen collected a large amount of photographs and memorabilia, having lived in Bletchley all her life. At the moment we are slowly going through the collection and have found many photographs that we have not seen before and these will be archived with our current collection.

One of the photographs recently discovered was this one of Railway Terrace. By the decorations on the house it is clearly celebrating ‘something royal’. Supporting documentation with the photograph suggest it was in the 1930’s, possibly for the wedding of George VI, who was crowned on May 12, 1937.

Mary Harris stands outside an 'unknown house' in Railway Terrace

We would be very interested to hear from anybody who used to live in Railway Terrace. During the war years it was in a very vulnerable position being so close to the railway. Many nights when the air-raid siren sounded I would imagine residents were extremely worried and had to retreat to their Anderson shelters, or worse still under the kitchen table!

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