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Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

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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Bletchley Workplaces

The growth of Bletchley in the 1950s and 1960s was fuelled by the new factories, some built by the local council, that filled the north eastern fringes of the town.  Can you remember which companies operated from these premises?

Bletchley factories in 1976

Bletchley factories in 1976

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Charles Head, Tavistock Street

Charles Head, Tavistock Street

It would seem that  scrap metal theft was not an issue when this photo was taken!

A local business since Charles Head bought Charles Dunbar’s Denmark Street blacksmiths in the late 1940s, this is now a light steel constructor.  Over the years, this businessman was a local Councillor (and Council Chairman), member of many committees and a Freeman of the City of London.

Local resident, Dick Arnold quoted in ‘Bigger Brighter Better’, ‘Charlie Head – quite an exceptional man – he could sketch a farm building on the back of an envelope and build it by eye.’

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Changes on the Canal

Narrow Boats in Fenny Stratford Lock

Narrow Boats in Fenny Stratford Lock

The photograph above shows a barge (which is the motorised boat) and the butty  (which is the boat it tows), in the days when the canals were used by working boats.  They are travelling north, carrying their cargoes, possibly coal, up to Birmingham or beyond.

Now, most of the boats are converted to pleasure craft. Some of them are used as travelling shops, selling books, sweets and even walking sticks.

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Bletchley Community Heritage is taking part in the annual Heritage Open Days later this month.  We have photos, documents, artefacts and memories related to industries and retailers in the town over the years.  From a retailer’s scrapbook to an apprentice’s contract and tools, from a pharmacy’s labels for ‘special’ potions to products made in one of our three brush factories.

Bletchley’s traders have produced and sold an enormous range of goods and services.  Do you have any memorabilia from your time (or your parents’) with a locally based employer?  If so, and you’re happy to lend them to us, we will find room to place more items in our exhibition.

Neal's shop before they specialised in prams and toys

Neal’s shop before they specialised in prams and toys

Beacon Brushes recruitment advert 1970

Beacon Brushes recruitment advert 1970

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One of our regular contributors to this blog, Sandra Waite, visited the library today with a photo she’d been given but couldn’t work out where it had been taken. We couldn’t help at the time but said we’d try to get an answer.

Directory Enquiries. Names please?

Directory Enquiries. Names please?

Just 30 minutes after she left, a visitor was looking at our current display so I asked him to have a look at the photo to see if it ‘rang a bell’.  He was immediately able to tell us that it was the Directory Enquiries section at the GPO in Tavistock Street.

Apparently this was in a large Terrapin hut.  He didn’t know the names of the three people though, or when the photo was taken – any ideas out there?  Perhaps you might know someone who worked there who might be able to identify the faces.

We’d be delighted to see more photos like this of people at work in Bletchley and Fenny Stratford.

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