Listed Buildings – Wolverton

Thanks to Andrew Lambert for this idea. I am going to go on a tour of the listed buildings in the area. I’ll start with Wolverton, then do Old Wolverton, Stony Stratford and New Bradwell.

I can’t help but comment on the arbitrary nature of the listing process. The original Engine Shed did not get listed and was consequently flattened to make a Tesco car park, but the Triangle Building, started in 1845 and much enlarged and adapted over the years, makes the list. The school of 1840 is not listed, nor is the Royal Engineer of 1841. Why is the Aylesbury Street School of 1906 listed and not the Moon Street School of 1908?

The information below is presented as links to the British Heritage site. The information is under crown copyright and cannot be reproduced here. Just as well perhaps, since there are a number of instances where the descriptions are factually wrong.

Area map of listed buildings

Blue Bridge

The Blue Bridge was a farm track from Stacey Hill Farm to the fields sloping down to Bradwell Brook.

Church of St George the Martyr

The building and history of the church has been covered in various posts.

Classroom at Wyvern First School

Former Railway Works Building

In 1845 the LBR used the land on the east side of the line to build a new shed. In time this expanded to fill the whole triangle area between the canal, the Stratford Road and the old railway line. It was henceforward known as the Triangle Building.

Reading Room

I rather think that it would take some serious archaeological work to identify which part of this building was the original Reading Room of 1840. Back then it was certainly a single storey structure and the road and canal bridge were lower. The openings for doors and windows do not resemble anything visible on the surviving planss from the 840s.

Former Royal Train Shed

Funny what the word “Royal” can do. This long shed and workshop was built in the 1880s when the main line was diverted and sat on the embankment above the Park. It was used in the 20th century to store the Royal Train when it was not in use, thus giving the building a significance which it might not otherwise have had.

Church Institute

Park Keeper’s lodge

This is the best photo I have at the moment, surrounded by boards, empty and awaiting some fate.

Methodist Church

Railway Bridge over Canal

The barn was built in the 1840s when the new farm house was built on top of the hill. (Formerly Stacey Farm had been closer to Bradwell Brook.) It was a large timbered structure and was given a Grade II listing. Unfortunately it burned down in a fire in 1996 so the preservation order didn’t help very much!

Stacey Hill Farm House

The farm house, built I understand, by the very young Charles Aveline is now occupied by the Milton Keynes Museum and can be visited during opening hours.

Skew Bridge

Garden Pavilion

I haven’t got much idea of what this is. I assume from the description that it was a garden structure in the grounds of the Vicarage.

Viaduct

Wyvern First School

The girls and infants continued to use the 1840 school on Creed Street until 1906 when this was built. At the time it was Wolverton’s grandest school until the Secondary School opened at the end of Moon street in 1908. The Creed Street School did service as a Market Hall until the Agora was opened.

Wyvern Nursery

This was in 1896 the new Boys School and remained so until about 1946 when the Secondary Modern came into being. From that time on all the Wolverton schools were co-ed.

The Reading Room

Early public acts by the London and Birmingham Railway were the building of schools for children and the establishment of a Reading Room for adult self improvement. The Reading Room was built on a corner of the first tract of land beside the canal and the new road. See plan below.

It is claimed by the developers of the new Wolverton Park housing development that the Reading Room has been preserved. If this is so, this is not in its original form.
I have taken this photograph recently which show the view from the canal of the site of the Reading Room. It shows buildings that have been much enlarged and added to over the years since 1840.

Consider these factors:
The original canal bridge must have been lower, one of the hump-backed bridges that were still common when I was young and the road had not been built up to its present level. I suggest that the road level was probably raised in 1881 when the third station was opened and it was certainly raised again in 1960 when electrification of the main line caused the railway bridge to be raised.
Plans for adaptation of the Reading Room as a Wesleyan Chapel in 1845 show only a single story building.
It is possible that the lower part of the building seen in the photo, with the blue-painted doors was part of the original but most plans from the 1840s show it set back further from the canal.
The original Reading Room became redundant when the Science and Art Institute was opened in 1864 and the Wesleyan Chapel in 1892. After that the buildings here, including the workshops, were much modified to turn them to newer useful functions.

This plan, from the PRO, shows the Reading Room in its Chapel adaptation, complete with pews. Note the number and spacing of the windows on the long side, which are by no means apparent in present day pictures.