Until 1838 North Bucks and South Northants was almost entirely agricultural. Wolverton’s railway depot changed that in obvious ways. To look at this I have a population table which illustrates the change between 1831 and 1851.
Wolverton itself had grown from 1801 to 1831 from 238 to 417 – almost doubling the population. This was due to the new canal which brought with it some new occupations at the wharf and in cartage.
After an Act of Parliament in 1834, which organized parishes into Poor Law districts, Wolverton and Stony Stratford became part of the Potterspury Poor law Union and a workhouse was built in Potterspury. For this reason the figures have been grouped for comparison even though they straddle county boundaries.
|Potterspury Poor Law Union|
|W Stony Stratford||1,053||1,256||203|
|E Stony Stratford||566||501||-65|
As you can see the significant increase comes from the creation of Wolverton Station and it probably helped to maintain the rural population which might otherwise have declined.
East Stony Stratford was essentially the string of houses along the High Street – there being no development on the Wolverton side apart from inn courtyards. The bulk of Stony Stratford’s population lived on the Calverton side. The drop in population from 1831 to 1851 on the Wolverton side of Stony Stratford was probably due to tenements being pulled down.
Of interest is the increase in the population of Passenham. Passenham included Deanshanger which in 1831 was a tiny hamlet. In the 1840s the Roberts family established an iron foundry which was obviously employing many hands in 1851. This iron works eventually grew and became the Deanshanger Oxide Works after WW II. Before the Clean Air Act Deanshanger was generally covered with red dust.