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Archive for November, 2012

Great times!

It’s been many years since my time in The Boy’s Brigade, an organisation founded in Glasgow by Sir William Alexander Smith in 1883. Whatever we thought of the ‘discipline and the compulsory Bible Class’ on a Sunday it never really did any of us any harm at all, in fact I think deep down we all probably benefited from it.

The 1st Bletchley Company was run most enthusiastically by Captain Ron Staniford and was based at Spurgeon Memorial Baptist Church in Aylesbury Street; at the other end of the town another smaller Platoon was based at the St Andrew’s Baptist Church – this Platoon subsequently became the 2nd Bletchley Company.

 

The Boy’s Brigade march down Westfield Road on Commonwealth Youth Sunday

I was a member of the 2nd Bletchley for a number of years, although we separated from the 1st Bletchley many of the activities were combined with both companies. We did have some great times with some excellent camps, football/cricket and many other sports. In 1960 a group of us from both companies travelled throughout Europe, culminating in a visit to Oberammergau in Germany to see the Passion Play; my first initiation into driving on the ‘wrong side of the road’.

As the photograph above shows the BB does love its parades, whenever I think of this it reminds me of an incident when the Company were marching down St George’s Road. The bugles and drums were being enthusiastically played, however one irate lady rushed from her house and tried to grab the mace from the mace bearer; apparently her husband was on night’s and was ‘awakened with a start’ when the parade went by – Oh Happy Days!

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Queues in Bletchley

As a nation we are used to queueing for all sorts of things, and Bletchley people are no exception. Below is a photo of children queueing outside Jack Parris’s sweet shop in Victoria Road on the day that sweets came off ration in 1953. Most of them seem to have arrived on bicycles. (No need to lock them up in those days).

Queue Outside Parris’s Sweet Shop

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Born in Bletchley!

Looking at a past blog on ‘Stars at Wilton Hall’ set me thinking, ‘I wonder if there was anybody of note who was actually born in Bletchley?’, so I did a quick Google Search and came up with four names. They were Robert Douglas (born Robert Douglas Finlayson), Kenneth V. Jones, Elton Hayes and Tim Souster; all connected with the ‘Silver Screen’ and an involvement in music.

To delve deeper into our quartet’s achievements click on the link below:

http://uk.imdb.com/search/name?birth_place=Bletchley,%20Buckinghamshire,%20England,%20UK

If you know of any other local artists who have achieved success, not only on the stage but possibly as a writer or musician please let us know.

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High Tech?

I remember that we all thought it was very high tech when they installed the pneumatic pads in the road at Fenny Stratford crossroads. When a vehicle depressed the pad, a signal was sent to the lights to change them. I remember that the kids (not me of course) used to stand on the pads to make the lights change. Then, wonder of wonders, wires were embedded in the road to do the same job. Now we have cameras to detect traffic. Judging by the number of times the lights at the Three Bridges in Water Eaton Road fail, perhaps we should go back to pneumatic pads again!!!

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A Sign of the Past

In the 1970s there used to be a notice board at the end of Sherwood Drive showing a map of Bletchley. It had a series of buttons which, when pressed, Lit up a small light on the map indicating where a particular place of interest was situated. (e.g. Post Office, Council Offices, Churches etc) . When my wife took our daughter into Bletchley in her pushchair, she always insisted on stopping to press the buttons to make the lights come on. I wonder how many mothers had the same experience.

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Just recently I saw a photograph of the ‘old entry road’ to Bletchley Railway Station and it really took me back many years, I can well remember this as a small child. If my memory is not playing tricks I believe there was a horse trough on the left-hand side of the approach and this was positioned on the Buckingham Road; I believe the trough was erected by Lord Leon.

The fine Station portico with the Coffee Tavern to the right

Proceeding up the road towards the Station was Cecil Hands garage on the left hand side of the road, this was roughly positioned to the rear of the current Railway Club. In the early days instead of a garage there were stables where passengers would leave their horses while they used the train, also horses used for shunting trucks were stabled there. The Whaddon Chase Hunt had some stabling there also where rich influential people from London could hire a horse for a day’s hunting; it was also rumoured the Prince of Wales would often use this facility for a day out in the country.

Continuing up the Station Approach on the right-hand side was a small hotel, I believe called The Station Hotel, (please correct me if I’m wrong about this). Next door was the Coffee Tavern where weary travellers and railwaymen could get a welcome cup of tea. Then of course you reached the Station entrance, a fine columned portico which sadly was pulled down to make way for ‘dare I say’, ”a more modern entrance”!

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So far we haven’t had too much luck baffling our visitors to Talk About Bletchley, many of you have been spot on identifying our ‘mystery picture of the month’!

This month is quite an interesting one going back many years. Quite common with a lot of old photographs all the people are taking great interest in the photographer. It looks to me if the horse and cart could well be a ‘rag and bone’ man that used to visit our streets long ago. The picture unfortunately is not the clearest, however have a look at the small child to the right of the photograph, ‘does he only have one leg’?

It’s not like it used to be!

To see a larger photograph just ‘double-click’ on the image!

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