Wolverton 80 years ago

Wolverton looking west

This photograph, taken in the 1930s, is a reminder that Wolverton was not a static development and that the development after Milton Keynes came into being just accelerated the pace of change.

This is the Wolverton of my parents and grandparents. Victoria Street marked the southernmost limits of Wolverton and the residents on the west side of Anson Road had their gardens backing onto open fields.
Stacey Avenue and Marina Drive and Gloucester Road are yet to come, as was the extension of Windsor Street. Eton Crescent and Aylesbury Street West were also developments that just preceded my birth. I can also remember Furze Way being built in the late 1940s, The cemetery appears quite isolated in the south west corner.
The Carriage and Wagon Wworks and McCorquodales were probably at the peak of their development in this photo.

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!