Monday, September 8, 2008

The Front II

This photograph was taken this year. All of the buildings have survived over a century but facades, windows and doors have changed.
The Stratford Road was numbered from 1 consecutively. Here are buildings 1 to 8.
In the mid 1950s this is how they were occupied.
The Royal Engineer Hotel is the large building at the end; it dates from the 1840s. In the lower part was The Gordon Restaurant.
The single story section, numbers 2 to 5, were probably purpose-built as lock-up shops from the outset.
Nuber 2, with a corner entrance - Clarke and Sons, Seedsmen and Florists. They maintained a nursery at Castlethorpe.
No. 3 This was a tobacconist with a window display of pipes, pipe tins, cigarettes and cigars. I do not know the name of the owner.
No. 4 The London Central Meat Company - Butchers. they also had another outlet on Green Lane, next to the off-licence. A few years later this company became Baxters.
No. 5 Muscutt & Tompkins, Newsagents. This was a thriving business in the 50s, selling newspapers, magazines and cigarettes. They operated most of the paper rounds in the town. Bill Tompkins had retired at this time, although he would usually walk up daily from his house next to the Palace Cinema to check on things. The business was managed by his son Ralph - a rather anxious man - and assisted by his sister Joyce and her husband. Mrs Tompkins (snr and jnr) ran the Stationery shop at Number 9.
No. 6 According to the 1955 phone book this shop was occupied by W. Barratt and Co. I have no memory of this.
No. 7  Prudential Assurance.
No 8 Lampitts. They were Radio sales and repair but in this period they were busy selling and renting television sets. TV sets came  with either a 9 inch or 12 inch screen in those early days. Gradually they got larger. The "console" models were built as a finished and polished cabinet with doors that could close over the screen when it was not in use.
Although ITV broadcasting began in 1955, I don't think it came to Wolverton until Anglia television was established in 1959.Viewere did get ITV before that but on the fringe of the London transmission.

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