Friday, September 12, 2008

Stratford Road - the West


To conclude our jaunt along the Stratford Road we can stop by the Craufurd Arms. It was built about 100 years ago. I see now it is for sale so it may be that yet another pub in Wolverton falls by the wayside.
Wolverton never had a plentiful supply of pubs - only the Engineers, the North Western, the Vic and the Craufurd. The Working Men's Clubs, both the "Bottom" and the 'Top" tended to thrive. In the early 50s Stony Stratford had over 20 pubs, Newport Pagnell, and even higher number, and even New Bradwell had more pubs than Wolverton. 
I am not sure why this state of affairs existed but it did mean that the pubs were always well attended.
The Craufurd had a lounge bar with its entrance on Windsor Street, a saloon bar which was the left side front room in the picture, and a public bar with its entrance on the right from Stratford Road. The Public Bar had an outside urinal, which seems to have been pulled down. I don't remember a car park so there may have been gardens on the west side.
The Craufurd had facilities to host dances and meetings. In the 1950s, Wally Odell, a former Tottenham Hotspur player was the landlord.

The Palace cinema was still operating as such on the 1950s. There was an awning at the front which served as a bus shelter. The two front doors were emergency exit doors and were never used. There were certainly no steps outside. The entrance, and the box office kiosk was at the side of the building in the alleyway.
In general, as with the Empire, a film would last three days before the program changed. There was a matinee on wednesday afternoon (well attended by shop owners and workers) and another on Saturday. the cinema closed on Sunday
In the 1960s it became a Bingo Palace. Now even that does not appear to work. I am told that there is an organization which hopes to retsore it to its cinema function. Good luck!

The Stratford Road now becomes mainly residential. At the corner of Jersey Road, a sweet shop, run beore and after the war by William Bew. Some aspects of its original function remain although it is more of a general store than it was in Bew's time. Next door at 81, Mr Pedley, ran his man's hairdressing business.
Across Jersey road, Page's Garage. It was said that Ron Page went bankrupt and the business was salvaged under his son's name - hence it was called Michael page's Garage. Ron then ran a driving school using a green Morris Minor.
The general appearance of the shop front has changed little. In the 1950s it was painted blue and there were two petrol pumps on the forecourt.


A W Gurney, "Monumental Masons" , occupied this site for many years. The front yard behind the wrought iron railings (which appear original, although in some disrepair) was full of gravestones on display.
Beyond this corner were a few more residential houses, probably built in late Edwardian times.

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