Wolverton was a red brick town. The church of St George and the Vicarage were made of stone but with those exceptions brick was the universally favoured construction material. This, and the period of building, gave the town a uniformity which it retains today.
However, there were some other buildings in the town which offered some variety of appearance and these were all temporary buildings, no longer with us.
There were four wooden buildings of any significance – the cricket pavilion, the Scout Hall Annexe, the Youth Club and the wooden classrooms at the Grammar School. The cricket pavilion was probably the best looking and best designed of the four with a viewing stand for the cricket on one side and for tennis on the other. It was strictly members only so I never went inside. Nearby, at the back of the Scout Hall, was a shed-like building used by the seniorscouts, then known as Rovers. I think they wore crimson beret’s as a mark of their status – much more stylish than the boer war hats that boy scouts were expected to wear.
The Youth Club at the back of Anson Road was also a timber building of the period. It was quite large, probably about 20 feet wide and 40 to 50 feet in length. A old railway carriage was attached to the north side and used as an office for the youth club leader. As with all buildings of the type and period it was covered with black creosote. I am not sure when the Youth Club building was erected since it did not come into my consciousness until about 1956 when I was old enough to join, but i suspect that it was post war.
Finally the “huts” at the Grammar School. This was a longish barrack-like building with a low pitched roof of the kind seen in wartime films. It had two classrooms and a woodwork shop at the west end. We went into the huts as second-formers in 1954. They were already in pretty shabby condition then with worn floorboards and holes in the walls. We also had quite old furniture. From our point of view they were enormous fun; there was a sense of liberation at being housed apart from the main school, away perhaps from the watchful eye of school authorities.
In either 1958 or 1959 they were demolished and replaced by new “Terrapin” buildings. The “Terrapin” company had developed a new standard in the 1950s of prefabricated buildings that could be quickly erected on site. During the school expansion of the 1960s the Terrapin was ubiquitous. Their building design at the time was based on a steel frame with exterior wall panels of wood and glass. The roofs were flat.
Older fast construction techniques depended on cast concrete panels with steel window frames. Much of the emergency post-war housing was of this type and a lot were erected in the Bradville estate. In Wolverton, this type of construction was reserved for four school buildings – the school canteen serving the Aylesbury Street schools, the school canteen at the Grammar School at Moon Street, a two-classroom block at the Grammar School used for the fifth form and know as the “New Classrooms” and another two classroom unit at Aylesbury Street, which was the Nursery School.
The Aylesbury Street school was divided from the Church Street school by a wall. This has now been demolished. South of this wall, in the east playground was the Nursery School. This, as I said, was comprised on two classrooms with an office and cloakroom in the centre. The Canteen, of a similar size, was north of the wall on the western side.
The Grammar school buildings were identical and probably erected in the same post war year.
The Tin Hut
On final building which I can mention in this section is the tin hut at the Aylesbury Street end of Peel Road. This land has now been developed into housing but for many years it was an open patch of land. The L-shaped building that sat on this land for some years was covered in corrugated panels. During the war and until the end of rationing it was used as the Food Office – an institution used to issue ration books and ensure that food was fairly apportioned. When rationing ended in 1952(?) the office became redundant and part of the building was used as a classroom annexe. The back part was a billiards club administered by the Wesleyan Chapel.
Unless my memory is playing tricks, it was painted with camouflage paint, and remained a grey-green colour. It was also surrounded by steel posts and a high wire netting fence, no doubt a relic from its government use. Over the years it rusted and deteriorated and although the building was in use it maintained an air of neglect.