Growing Up In Bletchley From 1953 Onwards

A Memory of Bletchley

My parents moved to Bletchley from London early 1953, they first lived in St George's Road before moving to 35 St John's Road when I made my appearance shortly after Christmas. So much has changed since then, but the estate is much like it was in the early years. I have such happy memories of my childhood. I used to love watching the men busy at the brickworks. I think I am the only person that actually liked the smell from the chimneys. What was so good was that everyone was friends with each other and looked out and cared each other, nothing was any trouble. I remember going to the local shops in St Marys, having my hair cut at Vic Shaw's barbers, and getting some sweets after all behind glass and tormenting, getting shopping from David Smiths grocers store and I remember them getting a BEDFORD CF van for their deliveries, what an advance I thought. Moving on to getting my first paper round at Bill Price's news shop, not forgetting saving my pocket money before this to collect my Matchbox cars and cardboad roadways. Mum would buy wool from there, and also Suzanne's next door, this wool was a loom and at the weekend hands stretched apart while she made balls of wool. Behind us at the bottom of the garden was Mr Sidebottom's small farm which had fruit trees and a big chicken run/shed, the sound of the clucking and the cockerel was childhood magic. The saddest time when it was to be built on was when they felled the 'old man' (a big elm tree), it had grown and looked like a man's head with a beard and as it fell it screamed and cried so realistically. In Buckingham Road we had Elm Farm where we would buy fresh milk and produce from Mrs Tomkins, always in her pinny and wellies, a sight to behold, she was a lovely lady. Across the road I got a job with Mr Kemp at his Bengal Farm Dairy on a milk round. As you continue down Buckingham Road to the crossroads you had Chandlers Stores which is a barber'sshop now, the Co-op in Newton Road, butchers, grocers shop and an off-licence next to it, across the road was a haulage yard, I think it was Harris's, and what was Glen Farm, which became Glen Garage, the farmhouse being the sales offices, part of the old walling is still visible alongsides, the Tesco store and apartments that not occupy the site. As we continue towards town up Maegors Hill at the top right hand side is a vet's, this once was the site of a huge banana-ripening warehouse for Fyffes Bananas. Just along from there on the left was another big yard this was VBA Stevens Fruit and Veg, by this time I had a job with Bobby Bunn who had a mobile greengrocer's van, more like a supermarket on wheels, he sold the lot (one of the best times of my life, meeting so many people), by this time Whaddon Way was growing fast. Still in Buckingham Road, Bobby Bunn rented an old hayloft next door to a still standing cottage, the first time Bobby asked me to go and get some foodstuff ready I had to knock at the cottage door, the lady who lived there scared the life out of me, she was so much like the witch in 'The Wizard of Oz'. Moving on a short distance, on the left was Keyes General Stores and old Bletchley post office, on the right hand side of the road stood a big mansion house at Holne Chase, this was Bletchley Library before it moved to its current site in West field Road. As we approached town before the railway was A R & W Cleavers hardware builders' supplies, then Railway Terrace, both long gone, the former bridge/tunnel from Buckingham Road to Bletchley Road was a low arch two way traffic and footpath connection into town. Once in town besides the shops was a once great market, outdoor and indoor as well as a cattle market and auction rooms. The Co-op Departmental Store was a showpiece and many mixes of shops and homes the length of Bletchley Road, I remember supermarkets at the same time being Finefare, Keymarkets, Price Rights and Woolies. Back then there was a lot to do, we had the Studio Cinema,swimming pool, central gardens, cafes, Leon rec record shops, always some thing to do and we thought nothing of walking to many of the the outlaying villages, even walking to Wolverton open-air pool, great days, great times, so sad they are lost. Memories are a great thing and I have lots more to tell. The schools I went to include Manor Road until Castles Infants was complete (even had a pool), now housing, Saints County Junior, now Chestnuts, then Wilton County Secondary Modern (I loved the name), now Lord Grey.

A memory shared by Alan Webb , on Feb 24th, 2011.

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