Wolverton in its Prime – 3 The Town

By the turn of the last century Wolverton had taken the shape that many of us would recognize,but there is still a way to go, as we can see from these maps. Windsor Street marked the end of the LNWR in the town’s residential development. The next section (seen here in partial development) was undertaken by the Radcliffe Trust who had come to the conclusion that there was more money to be made in developing the land themselves rather than sell it to the railway company. Hence, Peel Road, Jersey Road and Anson Road were all named after Radcliffe Trustees – and very prominent men they were too! After that the Wolverton Urban District Council took over.

Wolverton in 1905- The Western End
As you can see, at this date Stratford Road and Church Street have been extended and a part of Peel Road and Jersey Road built. The Boys School (still there) was built in 1896, but the Girls and Infants school did not open until 1906.
Peel Road was then just a short terrace on one side. The southern section came later and there was still a green corner that was not developed until the 1980s. The upper sections of Jersey Road were also developed later. You can see variations in architectural finish on the front of these houses which will give slight clues as to the date of their build.
The houses at the west end of Church Street were occupied first in 1908. I know that because my grandparents got married in that year and moved into one of those houses when there was still some finishing work to do.
This whole section of the town was still very new at this time. Cambridge Street and Windsor Street had been built in the 1890s and were themselves less than a decade old.
Western Road was developed in the 1920s. Again, if you look at the frontages of the houses you can see some stylistic differences.
Note too that the site of the Craufurd Arms is still a green patch. This was built in 1908.
Wolverton in 1905 – The Eastern end

By the turn of the 20th century the works had claimed al the land north of the Stratford Road and Gas Street and the ast houses in Bury Street were pulled down. The southern “little streets” remained until the 1960s. with the exception of the north side of Glyn Square which had been taken down to build a laundry. The Gables (at that time a large house in its own grounds for the Works Manager) had been built in 1886. The new doctor’s house and surgery at the bottom of Green Lane, known as The Elms, was built shortly after this map was drawn.

The old school on Creed Street, much expanded since 1840, was operating as a Girls and Infants School at this time. When the new school opened on Aylesbury Street the building functioned as a Market Hall  on Fridays until the Agora was opened in 1980. Parts of the building have been demolished and it now serves as a Library and Town Meeting Room.

One further comment. In 1900, possibly as a consequence of this development, Wolverton decided to adopt a rational numbering system for its houses. That is, houses were assigned sequential odd numbers on the left hand side (facing south or west) and even numbers on the right hand side. The Stratford Road,  which had been numbered from west to east, changed its numbering to start from the east. Up to this time Number 1 had been what is now 44, but with the westward expansion this was no longer feasible. By the way, the Stratford Road was numbered sequentially from 1 upwards without the odd-even split – it being felt that there was no future possibility that anyone on the north side would need an address. Circumstances do change!

Wolverton in its Prime – 2 The Workshops

Wolverton Works – Eastern End
The original Engine Shed of 1838 was the square taken up by (27) Fitting Shop, (28) Wheel Turning Shop, (35) Gas Fitters Shop, (36) Brass Finishing Shop, (37) Brake Shop.
The first expansion was on the east side of the line (45). This was later expanded to include the whole triangle with (47). Building No 48 was the site of the Reading Room.
The next stage of expansion was south of the Stratford Road with newer engine sheds at 49. The second station buildings 43 and 44 have been adapted. Building 42, the accumulator shop was a later building. The terrace on the north side of Glyn Square was demolished to build a laundry (41). The laundry building later became part of the Training School in the 1950s.
Northern expansion began in 1855 when the three northernmost streets were demolished. Buildings (29)  Forge, and (31) Iron Foundry are on this site. North of the canal, on the embankment, buildings (32) Tin Shop and (34) Lifting Shop, were built in the 1880s when the Park was developed on the site of the Radcliffe Arms. The third (and last) Gas Works was at this time sited on the Old Wolverton Road. (52)
Bury Street and Gas Street were finally demolished in the 1890s to make way for (25) Bogie Shop, (26) General Stores and 38) Tool Rooms, (39) Testing Room. The General Offices (40) were built over the former site of the first Gas Works.
Probably at this stage of development the famous or infamous wall (depending on your point of view) was built to extend from McCorquodales to the Reading Room.
The Forge (29) and Smithy (19) date from the 1860s. The carpenters Shop (15) and Sawmill (14) are later.
At the Main Entrance there is the Time Office (21) and Canteen (22). Lower down are the Underframe shops (16 and 17), the Electrical Shop (18) and two Polishing Rooms (23 and 24). It should be noted that electricity was still a very new thing and even new houses in Wolverton were still supplied with gas lighting.
In the 1870s two of the villas were demolished to build a new paint shop (49)
At the far western end, once the  works was able expand, most of the new buildings here were given over to timber storage and preparation. Wood was an important component in carriage building back then and the level of craftmanship was held to be very high. Buildings (1,2,4 and 8) are for timber storage and drying.
Buildings (6) for carriage repairs and (7) was a wheel and axle shop.
Everything about the carriages and wagons built in Wolverton, from the wheels an chassis to the lettering was done behind the wall. This was a feature of manufacturing at the time. All was done “in house”. The idea of sourcing components from outside was foreign to the Victorian mind and did not begin to take root until after WW II. The idea was to keep close control over the production and therefore the quality. Thus Works the size of Wolverton were essential to create the product. Today this massive industrialization is a thing of the past.

Wolverton in its Prime – 1 The Works

This plan is taken from a map which I would date circa 1905. The new Radcliffe Trust development of Peel Road, Jersey Road and Anson Road is underway, but not yet complete. The new Girls and Infants School on Aylesbury Street is pencilled in but yet to be built and the same is true of the Church Institute on Creed Street and the Moon Street School. The Carriage Works however, has reached the full westeern extent of its development. There were changes to come, but in terms of territory, this was the limit. The workshops and principal buildings have been numbered and a table and sectional views follow below.


Wolverton Works c. 1905
Reference to Workshops and Sheds
1 Timber Gantry
2 Timber House
3 New Paint Shop
4 Timber Stores
5 Lifting Shop
6 Carriage Repairs
7 Wheel & Axle Shop
8 Timber Drying Shed
9 Power Station
10 Horse Box Shop
11 Parcel Cart and Omnibus
12 Finishing Shop
13 Body Shop
14 Saw Mill
15 Carpenter’s Shop
16 Underframe Shop
17 Underframe Shop
18 Electrical Shop
19 Smith’s Shop
20 Finishing Shop
21 Time Office
22 Dining Hall
23 Polishing Room
24 Polishing Room
25 Bogie Shop
26 General Stores
27 Fitting Shop
28 Wheel Turning Shop
29 Forge
30 Brass Foundry
31 Iron Foundry
32 Tin Shop
33 Engine Shed
34 Lifting Shop
35 Gas Fitters’ Shop
36 Brass Finishing Shop
37 Brake Shop
38 Tool Room
39 Testing Room
40 General office
41 Laundry
42 Accumulator Shop
43 Accumulator Shop
44 Washing Shed
45 Paint Shop
46 Paint Shop
47 Trimming Shop
48 Sewing Room
49 Paint Shop
50 Carriage Finishing
51 Electrical Shop
52 Gas Works
53 Wolverton Station

South Eastern Works

North Eastern Works

Western End

The Drill Hall

In the last post I featured The Rifle Volunteers, some of whom went off to fight in the Boer War. The country had a number of volunteer military units, usually organized by County. In 1908 the government of the day organized all of these volunteer militias and yeomanries into a national organization known as the territorial force. After 1922 this became known as the Territorial Army. The word territorial by the way was intended to signify that its volunteers were not required to serve overseas – something that has been overlooked by more recent politicians.
The TA soldiers were trained as fighting men and expected to meet full combat requirements. But there was a second stand of volunteers, the Home Guard, who were generally expected to serve useful but non-combative roles in the event of invasion. The popular TV series Dad’s Army was not too far from the mark.  The Home Guard was stood down on December 3rd 1944 and this photograph was taken to mark the occasion.

This photograph was taken outside the Drill Hall at the end of 1944, when the Home Guard detatchment was stood down.

My grandfather has identified almost all the individuals in this picture.
From L to R
Front Row: Lt. Tompkins, Remington, Wesley, Capt. Green, Capt. Glyn Eastman (Adj.)*, Lt. Col. Hayley, Major Ansell, Capt. E.S.D. Moore, Capt. Bland, Lt. Bruce, Snaith, ? (from Castlethorpe)
Rear: CSM W. Gammon, Lt. W. Sharp, Dytham, Howgate, Allen, Gascoyne, Clarke, Williams, Percival, Carvell, QMS Withers
*Glyn Eastman was a professional singer from Bristol who was assigned to this detatchment during the war.
The 1st Buckingham Rifle Volunteers were formed in 1877 and did their drills in one of the works buildings. However in 1914 a Drill Hall was built down the hill on the Haversham Road. This is what it looks like today. There is little difference from 1944 except for the provision of wheel chair access.
The date is clearly given on the plaque above the door:
The Territorial Army continued to use the Drill Hall as its base after the WWII, although reduced in numbers. I seem to remember that there was a commanding officer there and regular activity. I don’t know when it ceased to function as an active Drill Hall.

The Boer War and Wolverton

Oliver Ratcliff includes a section in his book The History and Antiquities of the Newport Hundreds a news report about troops leaving for the Boer War in South Africa. I reproduce it here. Two photographs are reprduced from the book – one looks to me like the northern section of Buckingham Street which was pulled down to build The Agora, the other is in front of the Science and Art Institute, also gone.


The Wolverton Rifle Volunteers,
The volunteer force is represented here by No. 6 Company of the First Bucks, and consists almost exclusively of employees of the London & North-Western Railway Company. It was formed in 1877.  The company has always borne a very high character for general smartness and discipline. There is a strong and efficient band, and an ambulance squad.
At the close of the year 1899, this company came to the fore by their response to the call to arms.
On Monday, 1 January 1900, a meeting was convened in the large hall of the Institute, when Major Gilbey was present, and said he was extremely pleased with the excellent body of Wolverton and Buckingham men who had come forward for duty with the army.
The following are the names of the officers and men who volunteered for active service in South Africa, and others had given their names in for garrison duty:
Major H. M. Williams, commanding detachment.
Barker, L. R. Campbell, J. H. Clarke, W. J. Dixon, A. W.
Barley, A. W. Carroll, F. H. Cope, J. E. Dolling, A. J.
Beard, H. R. Carvell, E. Cowley,W. G., Sgt. Dormer, J. R.
Becaon, T. N. Carvell, J. Croft, Sgt. -Instr. Eady, T., Cpl.
Brownnutt, G., Cpl. Chapman, J. E. Davies, W. J. Edwards, W. E.
Felts, A. G. Harding, J. H. Lewis, E. T., Sgt. Spong, A. H.
Fessey^J.B., Bugler. Hawkinis, Lieut. Little, B. Teagle, C, Bugler.
French, H.T. Hawkins, W. Marsh, H. E. Tole,J,
Gibbons, A. Hellenburgh,F,Bglr. Meakins, E. Tooley, A. T.
Giltrow, P. W. Hellenburgh,W, * Meakins, W. Tyson, E. t.
Giltrow, T. H. Hikins,S. North, E. Waite, T. F.
Godfrey, T. Hll, G. H. Olney, W. Webb, E.
Gould, J.  Hill, W. R., Bugler. Pittam, W. Whitestone, D. G.
Grant, H. P. Hopkins, J. T. Powell, F. Whitmee, E. P.
Green, A. G. Humphreys, F. Price, E. O., Sgt. Williams, J. H., Cpl.
Gregory, T. Jackson, R.. L-Cpl. Richardson, A. Wilmin, T. W.
Grimsdick, J. D. Jakeman, O. Roberts, E. Winstanley, F. T.
Harbell, A., L-Cpl. Jenks, A. R. Scott, T. E., Sergt. Woodford, W.
Harbell, J. Jones, G. E. Sewell, A. M Wootton, A. W.
Harbell, J. S. Jones, R. W., Cpl. Shakeshaft, T. B. Wootton, S.
Harding, C. W. Kirby, C, Lce-Cpl. Shackleford, W. T. Wright, W. F.
Harding, J. E.
On no previous occasion has the large hall of the Science and Art Institute presented such a display of loyalty, such a scene of enthusiasm, or such an array of volunteer lights, as was witnessed at the dinner given on Tuesday evening, 6 February 1 900, to recognise the departure of those selected to serve with the Oxfordshire Light Infantry in South Africa. The hall had been decorated with flags, bunting, mottoes, names of the places where the first Bucks had encamped, festoons of artificial flowers, etc. At the back of the platform was the encouraging and appropriate motto, “Good-bye and good luck to the gentlemen in khaki ordered south.” Over the portico was a model maxim gun.

The detachment and draft paraded on the Market Square at 12.45 on the following morning under the command of Major Williams and Lieutenant Hawkins. Prior to leaving the square each member was presented with a packet of tobacco. Without ceremony the company, headed by the band, marched via Radcliffe Street, and Stratford, road to the station, their fellow workmen cheering them en route. 

Wolverton Works in WW I

While some railwaymen were off fighting the railway companies played a key role in the war effort. At the war’s outbreak the Government invoked the Regulation of Forces Act of 1871 and effectively nationalized the 120 railways companies, and managed them as a single system under a Railways Executive Committee. The railways were commandeered for troop transport, evacuation and the shipping of war materials. The constructon of new locomotive, carriages and wagons was reduced to a bare minimum and the spare capacity was used to  manufacture munitions and machinery.


In Wolverton’s case the war production was itemised:

368 vehicles for ambulance trains

one train of 17 vehicles for Military HQ

400 20 ton goods wagons and 40 35-ton trolleys were built for war purposes

1350 general service road vehicles were built

50 packing cases for aeroplanes (I wonder what purpose these served?)

2550 ambulance stretchers

4,000,000 munitions parts

676,000 18 pounder catrridge cases were repaired

48,000 18 pounder shells were painted



This also changed the workforce in significant ways. Older men came out of retirement to replace the younger men who went to war and women were allowed to enter  work areas hitherto populated only by men.


I have a photograph of the accounts staff from about 1910 with not a woman in sight. 





The railways were also a casualty of war. The four years spent supporting the war effort meant that little heed was paid to replenishing locomotives and rolling stock and after the war they were all confronted with a huge demand for capital investment. Unfortunately the government chose to be stingy about compensation and the railway companies were really hurting in the 1920s. The solution they came up with was to “group” the railway companies into four reginal companies. Thus the London Midland and Scottish Railway was born in 1924 and Wolverton found itself part of this. Unfortunately, by 1939, when the companies were just beginning to recover there was another war and the railways were expected to respond in the same manner as the first and were treated just as abysmally after 1945. Nationalisation in 1948 was almost a relief, although it was not a solution.







Citation for Gallantry 1914-18

Following on from yesterday here is the detail for those railwaymen who were awarded medals during this war. The descriptions tell some remarkable stories. Take these two instances, from what I assume was the Battle of the Somme, which alone accounted for 1.5 million casualties:

2405. Sjt H. C. Baker (Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). For conspicuous gallantry during a bombing attack when he went forward alone and reconnoitred the position under heavy shell fire and, returning, led up his section driving off the enemy and consolidating the position which he held for two hours until assistance arrived. (16-11-1916).

2244. Cpl W.G.Barnwell (Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations. The enemy were seen massing for a counter-attack, but Corporal Barnwell, though wounded, moved his machine-gun out in front of the captured trench and opened fire with such effect that he was largely responsible for the enemy’s retreat. (21-11-1916). 

LNWR WW1 GALLANTRY AWARDS WOLVERTON MEN
NAME
Grade
Gallantry Awards
Citation
Notes
MASON, C. L.
Assistant to Carriage Superintendent
Military Cross
Died of wounds 24th August,
SMITH, F. W.
Cleaner, Carriage Department
Military Cross
1916
703. Pte P. Austin 2nd S.Mid Mtd Bde.
Transport and Supply Colm, A.S.c.
(T.F) LG 27th July 1916. For
conspicuous bravery and devotion to
duty when assisting his officers in
Distinguished
dressing and carrying out of action
Conduct
under heavy rifle fire several wounded
AUSTIN, P.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Medal
men
2405. Sjt H. C. Baker (Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). For
conspicuous gallantry during a
bombing attack when he went forward
alone and reconnoitred the position
under heavy shell fire and, returning,
led up his section driving off the enemy
and consolidating the position which he
held for two hours until assistance
BAKER, H. C.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
arrived. (16-11-1916).
2244. Cpl W.G.Barnwell (Oxfordshire
& Buckinghamshire Light Infantry).
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion
to duty during operations. The enemy
were seen massing for a counter-attack,
but Corporal Barnwell, though
wounded, moved his machine-gun out
Distinguished Conduct Medal.
in front of the captured trench and
Also awarded the Military Medal
opened fire with such effect that he was
and the Russian Medal of
largely responsible for the enemy’s
BARNWELL, W. G.
Body-maker, Carriage Department
St.George, 2nd Class
retreat. (21-11-1916).


265193. Cpl A Brawn (Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry). For
conspicuous gallantry and devotion to
duty. A party of the enemy had
advanced and occupied a position close
to his post. He at once left his post with
his bombers and with great gallantry
attacked and dispersed a superior force.
BRAWN, A
Rubber, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
(18-7-1917)
13880. Sjt S. J. Clarke. Wiltshire
Regiment, 7th Battalion (Bletchley). He
was Acting C.S.M of the left leading
company during the attack on the Foret
de Marmol on the 4th November 1918.
When all the officers of his company
became casualties he took command of
the company and led them most
gallantly to the final objective where he
superintended the consolidation and
continued in command until an officer
was sent forward from the reserve
company to assume command. His
initiative and resource at the critical
moment ensured the success of the
CLARKE, S. J.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
operation. (2-12-1919).
1208. L/Cpl (1st Btn Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry TF).
For consistent good work on patrol
duty for the past six months. (11-03-
GOSTELOW, G.
Apprentice Fitter, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
1916).


49308. Sjt G. C. Hill. R.E (LG 20th
Oct, 1916). For conspicuous and
consistent gallantry during operations.
He has over and over again shown great
bravery when in charge of working
parties under heavy fire. He took out
Distinguished Conduct Medal.
his section on ten consecutive nights,
Also awarded the Military Medal
and did fine work under heavy fire,
and the Russian Medal of
though suffering very heavy casualties.
HILL, G. C.
Finisher, Carriage Department
St. George , 1st Class
He was finally wounded himself.
265610. Sjt T. P. Hopcroft
(Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light
Infantry). For conspicuous gallantry
and devotion to duty. He led his men in
the most gallant manner and succeeded
in capturing an enemy machine gun.
HOPCROFT, T. P.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
(18-06-1917).
265539. Sjt H. J. Hurst (Oxfordshire &
Buckinghamshire Light Infantry)
Wolverton. For conspicuous gallantry
and devotion to duty in attack. He was
in command of a platoon and, though
wounded, he continued to lead them
gained his objective and consolidated
the position. He then made untiring
efforts to bring in the wounded, and
saved the lives of an officer and several
men. He inspired all his men by his
HURST, H. J.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
energy and leadership. (26-1-1918).


20056. Pte E. H. Owen 6th Btn
Northamptonshire Regiment.
(L.Edmonton). (LG lOJan 1920). For
conspicuous gallantry as runner in
operations near Preux, on 4th
November 1918. When his Platoon had
been seriously depleted by casualties
and their objectives were still ungained,
he, operating by himself, succeeded in
capturing twenty prisoners. He has
done continuous good work, and has
OWEN,E.H.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
been three times wounded.
2238. Bugler J. E. Scragg (Oxfordshire
& Buckinghamshire Light Infantry).
For conspicuous gallantry during
operations he was orderly to the
company commander, and when he saw
him fall immediately ran to him,
attended to his wound under heavy fire,
and dragged him fifty yards in broad
daylight into safety. He has many times
shown great coolness under fire. (22-9-
SCRAGG, J. E.
Body-maker, Carriage Department
Distinguished Conduct Medal
1916).
BRADBURY, G.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Medaille
D’honneur avec glaives en
BUCK, W. C.
Fitter, Carriage Department
bronze
CHURCH, B. J.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
COLTON, R. J.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Apprentice Finisher, Carriage
COOK, W. F.
Department
Military Medal


Military Medal.
Also awarded Bar to Military
DANIELLS, G.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Medal
FRANCKLOW, R. G.
Painter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
HART, A J.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Meritorious
HENSON, H.T.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Service Medal
HOLLYOAKE, A G.
Brass Finisher, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Missing, and presumed dead
HULL, A
Brass Finisher, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Killed in action, 4th June, 1918.
IRESON, E. J.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
JONES, W. G. H.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Medaille
D’honneur avec glaives en
LANE,G.
Fitters Labourer, Carriage Department
bronze
Military Medal.
MASON, W.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Also mentioned in despatches
MAY,A E,
Fitter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded the Italian Croce
ODELL,G.H.
Labourer, Carriage Department
di guerra
ROGERS, R. A
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded First and Second
SANDERS, W.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Bars to Military Medal
SIMONS, W.J.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
STONE, F.
Machinist, Carriage Department
Military Medal
Military Medal.
Also awarded Medaille
D’honneur avec glaives en
STONES, J. T.
Rubber, Carriage Department
bronze
TAPP, G. J.
Lifter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
TOWNSEND, A W.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Military Medal
WALKER, A W.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal


Workshop Checker, Carriage
WILLINGHAM, H.
Department
Military Medal
WILLIS, A T.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Military Medal
WISON, S.
Cleaner, Carriage Department
Military Medal
WISE, W. F.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Military Medal
AGER, W.G.
Labourer, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal.
CANVIN, H. A
Fitter, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
COLES, S.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
COX,J. T.
Inspector, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
DA VIES, S. M.
Body-maker, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
HENSON, F. V.
Electric Fitter, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
JONES, E.
Trimmer, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
LLOYD, J.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
MACKEY,F.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
McBRIGHT, S.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
NICHOLSON, H. P.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal.
TAYLOR, P. H.
Finisher, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
Meritorious Service Medal.
TAYLOR,W.F.
Painter, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
Meritorious Service Medal.
WAINE,H.
Painter, Carriage Department
Also a Mentioned in Despatches
WILLSON, A J.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Meritorious Service Medal
HILL, W. R.
Fitter, Carriage Department
French Croix de Guerre
Roumanian Medaille Barbatie Si
JONES, F. G.
Rubber, Carriage Department
Credinta, 1 st Class
Roumanian Medaille Barbatie Si
WOOLLEY, F. B.
Polisher, Carriage Department
Credinta, 1 st Class
CARTER, J. H.
Gas Fitter, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
GARDINER, W. G. J.
P.
Fitter, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
IBELL, J. O.
Coachmaker, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
SYRETT, G. A
Labourer, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches


TABERNER, T. M.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
WARREN, J. D.
Clerk, Carriage Department
Mentioned in Despatches
WILLIAMS, H. M.
Assistant to Carriage Superintendent
Mentioned in Despatches

Railwaymen at War – 1914-1919

Brendan Sheridan has kindly shared with me some of his research on the railwaymen from Wolverton who lost their lives in WW1. At the end of the war the L&NWR published a book detailing the lives lost and honours gained in this hugely wasteful conflict. The book was presented to each of the next-of-kin of those railwaymen who died. Brendan Sheridan is presently working on a WWII compilation which will be equally important and useful and if any readers out there know of any documents that might help him in his research, please, in the first instance, contact me through the email facility.

As you can see from the listed occupations some of these men were apprentices when they signed up and sadly their lives were very short.

Besides reproducing this list as a record of the sacrifice of these men, it occurs to me that it may have use for those doing genealogical research, and for those interested in railway occupations 100 years ago.

In the next few days I will publish the awards for gallantry and something about the role of Wolverton Works and the Railway in the war. I then plan to go on to examine other conflicts under the general heading of Wolverton at War.

LNWR
WOLVERTON RAILWAYMEN DIED 1914-1919
NAME
Grade
Naval or Military Rank
Adams, A
Fitter
Aircraftsman
Adams, E.
Lad
Sergeant
Adams, H.W.
Coachmaker
Private
Andrews, F.H.
Coachmaker
Private
Applin, E.H.
Fitter
Private
Atkins, FJ.
Labourer
Private
Bailey, F.B.
Carriage Cleaner
Private
Bailey, H.E.
Porter
Private
Barcock, H.R.
Glazier
Sapper
Barnes, H.
Trimmer
Private
Barnwell, DJ.
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Bartlett, WJ.
Labourer
Private
Bason, E.E.
Fitter
Private
Bates, H.
Rough Painter
Private
Battams, A.E.
Sawyer
Sergeant
Battams, W.H.
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Baxter, P.E.
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Bennett, W. E.
Labourer
Private
Biddiscombe, AJ.
Foreman’s Clerk
Lance-Corporal
Biddle, W.
Engine Fireman
Private
Bishop, J.P.
Rubber
Private
Bissell, S.B.
Moulder
Private
Booth, E.H.
Painter
Private
Bowles, F.
Labourer
Private
Brightman, E.
Fitter
Private
Britten, W.E.
Engine Cleaner
Private
Brown, W.
Fitter
Lance-Corporal
Burnell, H.
Fitter
Private
Burnell, W.
Painter
Private
Burnham, WJ.
Gas Fitter
Private
Bush, D.E.
Trimmer
Private
Casemore, J.
Painter
Private
Chilton, J.
Labourer
Private
Clare, J.E.
Labourer
Private
Clarke, R.A
Paint Cleaner
Private
Coey, WJ.
Painter
Lance-Corporal
Cole, GJ.
Brass Finisher
Sergeant
Coleman, G.
Painter
Private
Compton, B J.
Coachmaker
Lance-Corporal
1


Cooper, L.M.
Labourer
Private
Craker, E.A
Painter
Private
Cripps, G.
Labourer
Private
Crisp, AW.
Labourer
Private
Cross, J.T.
Smith
Private
Cross, W.e.
Fitter
Private
Cross, W.H.
Fitter
Sergeant
Cunnington, W.
Brass Polisher
AB. Seaman
Davidge, H.I.
Machinist
Private
Davies, S.
Sawyer
Private
Dudley, P.G.
Labourer
Private
Edmunds, H.
Labourer
Private
Eno, AG.
Painter
Private
Evans, AA
Coachmaker
Corporal
Farthing, AW.
Labourer
Private
Faulkner, W.
Painter
Lance-Corporal
Fessey, F.W.
Painter
Bugler
Finch, W.I.
Labourer
Private
Fincher, AV.
Painter
Lance-Corporal
Fletcher, H.
Clerk
Private
Flint, A
Finisher
Corporal
Foddy, W.H.
Painter
Corporal
French, e.A
Labourer
Private
French, G.A
Striker
Private
French, W.T.
Rubber
Private
Gammage, H.H.
Painter
Private
Garratt, A
Sawyer
Private
Garratt, J.W.
Coachmaker
Sapper
Geary, W.W.
Electrical Fitter
Pioneer
Gibbard, R.I.
Messenger
Lance-Corporal
Glenn, S.
Labourer
Private
Goodridge, AG.
Trimmer
Private
Goodridge, J.
Finisher
Private
Grace, W.
Labourer
Private
Gregory, G.V.
Fitter
Private
Groves, E.
Labourer
Corporal
Guntrip, RW.
Labourer
Private
Hale,F.
Carpenter
Private
Hall, A.I.
Labourer
Private
Hardwick, F.G.
Youth
Private
Hardwike, A
Polisher
Private
Harris, C.I.
Labourer
Private
Harris, W.E.
Labourer
AB. Seaman
Harrison, S.H.
Carriage Cleaner
Private
Hellenburgh, A
Coachmaker
Lance-Corporal
2


Hensman, E.A
Rough Painter
Rifleman
Henson, e.
Labourer
Corporal
Hepworth, e.
Brass Finisher
Private
Herbert, F.I.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Hewitt, B.
Painter
Private
Holland, W.
Coachmaker
Private
Hollis, W.e.
Brass Finisher
Lance-Corporal
Holloway, G.A
Fitter
Sergeant
Hollyoake, AG.
Brass Finisher
Private
Holt, W.
Rubber
Private
Holton, P.
Fitter, Apprentice
Private
Hongson, S.P.
Painter
Private
Hopkins, B.
Fitter
Sapper
Howe, H.
Rubber
Private
Howes, L.F.I.
Fireman
Sapper
Hull, A
Brass Finisher
Private
Ingram, W.
Labourer
Private
Jackson, F.I.R
Painter, Apprentice
Private
Johnson, D.
Coachmaker
Lance-Sergeant
Jones, W.G.
Carriage Cleaner
Private
Keech, AE.
Finisher
Private
Kettle, RA
Labourer
Sergeant
Kightley, K.G.
Coachmaker
Corporal
King, S.S.
Finisher
Lance-Corporal
Kitchener, AT.
Clerk
Private
Knight, E.W.
Labourer
Pioneer
Knopp, A
Painter
Driver
Lamble, P.
Machinist
Driver
Lawrence, AH.
Labourer
Lance-Sergeant
Leonard, E.W.
Coachmaker
Sapper
Lewis, E.H.
Wireman
Private
Lock, W.H.
Painter
Private
Lovesay, P.M.
Labourer
Private
Lucas, RH.
Finisher
Private
Malcher, P.e.
Stripper
Lance-Corporal
Mander, AV.
Machinist
Private
Maycock, H.J.
Sawyer
Private
McKay, P.H.
Finisher
Private
Mead, W.
Rubber
Private
Millward, E.G.
Electrical Fitter
Sapper
Moore, E.S.
Carpenter
Sapper
Moore, J.H.G.
Youth
Private
Moore, W.H.
Labourer
Gunner
Morris, E.
Striker
Private
3


Morris, W.I.
Coachmaker
Private
Mundy, E.
Moulder
Private
Newton, F.I.
Carter
Private
Odell, S.
Painter
Private
Old, H.W.
Painter
Private
Oldham, J.W.
Labourer
Private
Pass, E.A
Painter
Private
Phillips, W.B.
Foreman’s Clerk
Sergeant
Pittam, AA
Labourer
Private
Pittam, G.
Porter
Private
Plumb, H.
Labourer
Private
Pollard, J.
Trimmer
Lance-Corporal
Powell, L.
Coachmaker
Private
Ratcliffe, G.R
Labourer
Private
Richardson, P.R
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Riddy, W.e.
Rubber
Private
Riley, N.
Labourer
Private
Roberts, G.I.e.
Fitter
Private
Roberts, H.S.
Drop Hammer Attendant
Private
Robinson, T.A. R
Painter, Apprentice
Private
Rolfe, RH.
Labourer
Private
Rose, W.E.
Labourer
Private
Ruddlesdin, L.
Brass Finisher
Private
Ruffhead, H.A
Machinist
Private
Sapwell, AF.
Engine Cleaner
Private
Savage, H.G.
Fitter
Private
Sayell, S.M.
Rubber
Private
Seamarks, H.S.
Labourer
Private
Shakeshaft, A
Labourer
Private
Shaw, E.F.
Labourer
Sapper
Shaw, W.I.
Clerk
Sub-Lieut
Shepherd, J.G.A
Labourer
Lance-Corporal
Sherwood, e.E.
Trimmer
2nd-Lieut
Shouler, A
Sawyer
Private
Shouler, S.G.
Machinist
Private
Simms, AT.
Painter
Private
Simpson, H.
Fitter
Private
Sirett, G.A
Labourer
Sergeant
Slater, J.J.
Painter
Private
Smith, AW.
Painter
Gunner
Smith, E.
Labourer
Private
Smith, F.
Watchman
e.S.M.
Smith, F.W.
Clerk
e.S.M.
Smith, M.
Labourer
Private
Smith, W.E.
Labourer
Private
4


Spong, AH.
Trimmer
Private
Spriggs, J.
Rough Painter
Private
Stewart, A
Painter
Private
Swaine, A.E.
Shunt Horse Driver
Private
Tack, AE.
Painter
Acting-Corporal
Tapp, R.
Inside Painter
Driver
Tarr, A
Painter
Private
Thompson, J.M.
Fitter
Lance-Corporal
Todd, H.
Brass Finisher
Private
Tombs, W.A
Sawyer
Private
Tooley, W.I.
Trimmer
Private
Tooth, T.E.
Fitter
Private
Townsend, H.
Finisher
Corporal
Umney, B.D.
Painter
Private
Wadsworth, AR.
Labourer
Private
Walters, A
Striker
Private
Watson, E.E.
Striker
Private
Watson, J.R.
Finisher
Private
Welford, R.
Painter
Private
Welham, P.H.
Labourer
Corporal
Wells, S.
Fitter
Private
West, A
Painter
Lance-Corporal
West, G.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Whatley,R.
Labourer
Private
Whitbread, P.H.
Coachmaker
Private
White, S.
Labourer
Private
Whitehead, W.A
Machinist
Private
Whitfield, E.E.
Fitter
Private
Whitlock, Ae.
Labourer
Private
Willett, AI.
Labourer
Private
Willett, M.
Labourer
Rifleman
Willis, F.T.
Coachmaker
Private
Winsor, W.P.
Trimmer
Corporal
Wood, H.P.E.
Painter
Private
Wood, W.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Worker,E.
Striker
Private
Worker, J.
Coachmaker
Rifleman
Worringer, F.E.
Fitter
Private
Wright, AW.
Labourer
Private
Wright, E.H.
Painter
Private
Yakes, J.
Labourer
Pioneer
5

Mr Fegan’s Home

Following on from yesterday’s post I would like to turn my attention to Mr Fegan’s Home. The organization still functions today and still carries on the same mission, although today most of its activities are focussed on overseas countries. The following material I have taken from the Fegan’s website at  http://clutch.open.ac.uk/schools/watlingway99/FeganLife.html

James William Condell Fegan was born on the 27th April 1852. He was the youngest of four children born to James and Anne Fegan. His father worked at the Ordnance Survey office in Southampton, England.

He was brought up in a religious family, which coloured his entire life. Although James Fegan didn’t belong to any particular church, he was well known for his beliefs. His mother taught him at home until the age of ten. His hobbies and interests were mainly outdoor pursuits, such as football, cricket and fishing.

In 1869 the Fegan family moved to London, and on his thirteenth birthday James entered the city of London school. After four years James left the school and went to work for a firm of colonial brokers. As young man, he had a strange experience while sitting in his room one evening he had a strong need to turn to god. It was almost from this moment that he devoted his time and energy to spreading his religious beliefs.

It was while out one evening preaching that Fegan noticed a group of dirty, scantily dressed and barefooted boys sitting on a kerb near to where he was standing. As the boys got up to leave, Fegan felt compelled to follow them, until they turned down a narrow alley and entered a shabby building. It had the name The Ragged School. He himself entered that building and was greeted by array of faces, all asking him to teach them. So James Fegan had his first contact with the first of a great many poor boys whom he would spend his life helping. He taught the boys and even spent Sunday evenings working with them. But soon his health started to suffer; coping with the hustle and bustle of commercial life and then devoting most evenings working with the boys, his health deteriorated and went to the seaside resort of Bognor Regis to re-couperate. It was whilst in Bognor that James helped his first boy to find a home. That boy’s name was Tom Hammond. He brought the boy back to London and looked after him until he could organise a place in an institution. Here the boy spent eighteen months before being sent to Canada to start a new life.

Life at Fegans was hard and unsentimental; nevertheless it seems that most boys came through the experience unscarred. Here is one account from a boy who found himself at Fegan’s in 1944. His story may be typical.

Syd Sharp is an ex-Fegan boy who was sent to the Home at the age of 12. Upon contact with him, he was able to contribute a large amount of material for this website, as well as giving us an insight into the day to day life within the Home.

Former Fegans boy Syd Sharp was born 1932 and joined the Fegans Homes For Boys in Stony Stratford, during1944. He had lived with his aunt and her son at Chalk Farm, near Camden, North London. It was at the height of the German bombing campaign on the capital that they moved to Bounds Green, North London, where Syd attended school, finding the staff and pupils friendly. Tottenham Hotspur football club was within easy reach, which suited Syd’s passion for sport. He spent many a Saturday afternoon on the terraces at the club’s White Hart Lane ground, and when football was out of season he indulged in cricket. Life in Bounds Green was a very happy time for Syd.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last. His uncle returned from Army service overseas and, when his aunt was expecting another baby, it quickly became obvious that there was little room in the house for Syd. He was given the impression that he was being sent to a very nice boarding school which had its own swimming pool, and that, once there, he would be able to return to his aunt’s house during school holidays. In fact, as Syd was soon to learn, this was not the case. The school was in fact an orphanage – and Syd would not have the opportunity to return home for holidays since no school holidays were given.

He missed his friends and school in Bounds Green terribly. After a couple of months at Fegans, a parcel arrived for him from his old friends at Bounds Green, they had a collection for him, and with the proceeds the school mistress purchased three books and sent them to him with individual letters from everyone in the class, it made him even more unhappy, as it brought back memories of his carefree and happy days before life at Fegans. To make matters worse, also within a short while all family contacs diminished, and to overcome his loneliness, and as a mechanism for coping, Syd pretended he had no past life and that the life he was now used to, was the only existence he knew.

It was a hard life in the orphanage and they didn’t have much contact with the outside world, but over the years it got a bit better, when they were eventually given a bit more freedom enabling them to go outside the orphanage.

In time, however, Syd managed to adapt to his new life and eventually settled into the routine. Memories of the harsh discipline and regimental routines within the Home never knocked Syd’s spirit, and to this day he looks back on his life as a Fegans Boy with some fondness.

At the age of 14, Syd was transferred to the training farm in Goudhurst, Kent. There the boys were trained in general farming, such as fruits harvesting and the milking of cows. Ploughing was carried out by the horses but older boys could use the tractor given training. It was here that most of the boys were trained in preparation for their eventual transfer to Canada. Syd was not one of them -he considers himself to have been one of the “lucky ones”. To hear Syd talk more about the farm click on for video footage.

He left the farm aged 17 and entered the RAF for two years, (1950 -1952). He then joined the civil service, serving 38 years before retiring to Old Stratford, South Northhants with his wife. He also has a son and daughter living not far away. He maintains good contact with former Fegan Boys all over the world, and finds time to organise re-unions at both the former training farm in Goudhurst (now H.M. Prison) as well as at the site of the Home in Stony Stratford.

Syd Sharp has written a book all about his time in Fegan’s Home for Boys which includes his memories of the training farm at Goudhurst. The title is “Black Boots Short Trousers”.

Syd Sharp was a Fegan Boy between 1944 and 1949. In this video clip – which shows scenes from the daily routine at the home – he gives us his impression of daily life.

Rev. William Thompson Sankey

On Whit Monday, 1875, a muffled church bell was tolled to announce the death of William Thompson Sankey. The news spread quickly to almost universal mourning in Stony Stratford on this holiday because the Reverend Sankey was highly popular and respected.As Oliver Ratcliff writes in his 1900 history, “He can undoubtedly be looked upon as one of the greatest benefactors of Stony Stratford, as he made so many improvements in the town.”

He was only 46 years old and he had died the previous day, May 16th, at his parents home in Dover, so today is an anniversary of sorts.  He came from a family of 8 children of whom only two got past the age of 50: an older brother who died at 51 and a sister who lived to the very respectable age of 83. However in his short and energetic life he certainly made a difference to Stony Stratford.

He came to Stony Stratford as Vicar of St Giles in 1859. He had just got married, presumably on the strength of getting the living of St Giles. It has to be said that he made an enormous impact, certainly on buildings. He initiated what can only be described as a slum clearance by pulling down some old hovels and building what became New Street. He built a primary school on the same property.  The vicarage on the High Street was inadequate, so he built a new one. And finally, his crowning glory, he built St Pauls School which was known in the 20th century as Mr Fegan’s homes.

Some New Street Cottages today

The Old School at the end of New Street, later used as Parish Rooms

Sankey was the second son of William Sankey and Elizabeth Thompson.William Sankey senior was vicar of St James in Dover. Young William went to Oxford and followed in his father’s footsteps. The family was in comfortable middle-class circumstances but they were by no means wealthy. However, when W T Sankey arrived in Stony Stratford in 1859, recently married with a ready-made family in tow, he had money to spend and the ambition to spend it.

Where did this money come from? Well, he appears to have acquired it by marrying a rich widow. I don’t wish to attribute any low motives of financial gain to this union. Sankey never used any of the money for personal profit and there is no reason to suggest that either party in the marriage was unhappy. His new bride was Jane Royds, formerly Jane Oddie, who, at the age of 40, was recently widowed from her first husband George and had lived in some comfort at Portland Place in London and latterly near St Albans. When her first husband died she had four children and Sankey, ten years her junior, was willing to take them on. George Royds figures in the 1851 census as a “Landed proprietor and fundholder” and his father was also living in London “of independent means.” One can only assume that Jane Royds came into her marriage with W T Sankey with a substantial bequest from her former husband. So while W T Sankey gets all the credit for his building program, it is as well to bear in mind that the money (and presumably her assent) came from his wife.

I suspect that she had some influence on their decisions. For example, on their arrival in Stony Stratford they rented Wolverton House until the new vicarage was built, possibly because Wolverton House was the only house in the district grand enough to accommodate Mrs Sankey and her family in the style to which they were accustomed. They can be found in the 1861 census with her four children from her previous marriage, her new child with Sankey and four household servants – a lifestyle quite beyond the average small town vicar.

Drawing of the school frontage in 1864

As I wrote in an earlier post the great 19th century venture into a private school in Stony Stratford was the building of St. Paul’s School, which opened for business in 1863. It was Sankey’s brainchild and he apparently had the ambition to create a school to rival some of the best residential schools in England. Land and buildings between The Malletts and the evocatively named Pudding Bag Lane were purchased. These buildings, including the ancient Horseshoe Inn, were acquired. part demolished, and the new College and Chapel were built at a cost of £40,000. The school could accommodate up to 200 boys and under Sankey’s leadership appeared to have a good reputation. Unfortunately that reputation did not survive Sankey’s death in 1875 and under the headship of Walter Short appears to have degenerated into a kind of “Dotheboys Hall” where, according to Ratcliff, “The management having changed hands to men who ruled as tyrants, and wielded the birch incessantly, its reputation as a school soon became ruined.” Even in Victorian times, parents were not willing to pay 30 guineas a year to have their sons repeatedly flogged!
Very, very quickly the school was drained of pupils and in 1882 the school closed. An attempt to revive it was made in 1888 but the harm to its reputation was such that it did not attract sufficient numbers. It closed again in 1895. this time permanently. The building had a short life as a cigar factory (of all things!) in 1896 and then lay empty for four years. It was rescued in 1900 by J W C Fegan, a wealthy man who dedicated his fortune to the provision of shelter and education for homeless boys. Known as Mr. Fegan’s Homes, the orphanage operated there for the better part of the 20th century. 

Mr Fegan’s Homes from the North-East

Fegan managed to acquire the property for £4,500, about one tenth of the original cost of the building. But it was a successful operation and survived until 1961. It has been estimated that over 4,000 boys  were housed there and educated in the local schools, all of them characterised by their grey flannel suits. The orphanage was a feature of Victorian Society, being the only effective way in their eyes to care for orphans. Two world wars in the 20th century may have prolonged the life of the orphanage and by the time those orphaned by WWII had passed through Fegan’s society had found other ways of providing for children who had lost their parents. 

St Anthony’s School in the 1960s

In 1962 the buildings opened as a Roman Catholic preparatory school, known as St Anthony’s. In this guise it lasted for 10 years.


The site is now a commercial and housing development.

 



The building today

It’s a curious and unfulfilled history. The original school had a promising start in Sankey’s lifetime and then fell on hard times through plain mismanagement. It’s 60 year use as an orphanage was a success until there was no longer a need for these kind of institutions. The latter day attempt to revive it as a more conventional school did not appear to have any lasting success. However, Sankey’s building program survives. Much of New Street is comprised of the original Sankey dwellings; the former school still sits on the corner at Vicarage Road, the Vicarage survives, and the St Paul buildings hold a commanding presence on the High Street. Quite a legacy for a vicar who was only there 16 years.