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Archive for the ‘Bletchley’ Category

The Bletchley Gazette dated June 22, 1957 reported that the County Cinema in High Street, Fenny Stratford was closing down.

The building was originally High Street Methodist Chapel which was converted into the County Cinema in 1911.

The cinema had  various names over the years including King Georges,and was one of the oldest in the country outside London.

Like many children in Bletchley I went to “Saturday morning Pictures” at The County every week. The programme consisted of a serial, a cartoon and a “big picture”, usually a cowboy film (e.g. Roy Rogers)  or a comedy (Laurel and Hardy). It was good value at 6d in the stalls, or 9d in the balcony.

 

 

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In 1957 the Bletchley Gazette reported that two-thirds of Bletchley’s hospital patients went to the Aylesbury  group of hospitals and two third go to the Northampton group.

I remember having to go to Aylesbury by train, changing at Cheddington, or to Northampton by train. This meant very often a  wait in the cold on a railway station whether an outpatient, patient or visitor.

We are very fortunate to have a new hospital, served by a regular bus service.

A similar situation applies with shopping trips, which in 1957 involved a rail journey to either Bedford or Northampton but now a simple bus or car journey to CMK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One of the highlights of the year in the town when I was a teenager was the Bletchley Show.

It was held in the Manor Fields on August Bank Holiday Monday and was a big event.

There were athletics events, Tug of war, Gymkhana, Flower, and Vegetable Shows, Cycle Races, and other events.

If you lived locally you could have the back of your hand stamped, go home for lunch, and get back in free.

It was a great day out for all the family.

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Butcher Boy.

When I was in my teens, in the 1950’s I was  delivery boy for Benford’s in Simpson Road Bletchley. My round took in Fenny Stratford, and part of Bletchley. I would start work at half past eight on Saturday morning helping make the orders up, then start delivering them at about nine.

In a building behind the shop I sometimes used to make minced beef in the mincer.

Another of my jobs was to go on my bike  down to Rowlands’ wood yard and fill a sack with sawdust  for the shop floor. I was paid the princely sum of 10 shillings (50pence)  per week which wasn’t bad  in those days.

 

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We’ve been posting a number of old photos of Bletchley shops but we were given permission recently to photograph the interior of Fabric world, on Queensway. This shop has been the ‘go to’ place for home-makers and dressmakers from all around the area for many years.

Originally based near the Working Men’s Club, at the entrance to the old market, they were then one of the first retailers to move into the Brunel Centre, situated just beside the entrance to the underpass. A further move to their present site has provided Bletchley with its own ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ for material, curtains, cushions and an amazing array of accessories. It seems like a small shop from the front but when you enter, it just goes on and on and on!

It’s the type of old fashioned, service-based shop that has unfortunately been disappearing from our High Streets for some years and we were delighted to have the opportunity to record the details of a shop like this, in all its glory.

Do you have memories of shopping at Fabric World? We’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Buttons and bows as far as the eye can see

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It’s a material world

A photo of the original shop hangs behind the counter

A photo of the original shop hangs behind the counter

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More Bletchley Shops

A few of Bletchley’s old shops might stir up some memories…

Conways new shop in 1972

Conways new shop in 1972

Top Gear and MBC pictured during Tetley protest march in May 1975

Top Gear and MBC pictured during Tetley protest march in May 1975

Peter Lord in Brunel Centre July 1975

Peter Lord in Brunel Centre July 1975

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We often have interesting debates about which shop was where in Queensway (or, previously, Bletchley Road). Shops have come and gone over the years and it’s sometimes difficult to remember specific names and locations. Luckily, some of the adverts in the Bletchley Gazette have helped us to piece together at least some of the information. Photos like this one – from a series taken of the whole street in 1995 by Michael Brace – are a great bonus. So remember, keep taking photos of your local area and let us have copies so we can prevent the frustration that’s sometimes caused by trying to remember the old days.

Queensway and Oxford Street Corner 1995

Queensway and Oxford Street Corner 1995

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