Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Charles Aveline

Charles Aveline was not a railwayman. He started up in business as a very young man and set up his shingle as a cabinet maker, furniture dealer and undertaker. The units were numbered 385 and 386 on Bury Street. Aveline was visiting relatives in London on the day of the 1851 Census so he does not show up in Wolverton on that date, but the trade directories of the period show him as very much a commercial presence in Wolverton. He had pedigree in the business although he was only in his early twenties at the time. His father George was a cabinet maker in Leighton Buzzard and he had an uncle Frederick established in the same line of work in Stony Stratford. His grandfather and uncle Samuel also were cabinet makers in Great Horwood. Young Charles therefore began his business with a set of skills, knowledge of the business and possibly some material support from his father. He also had an aunt who married into the Barter family who owned, amongst other things, the wharf at Old Wolverton. I don’t imagine he had much difficulty in accessing capital. A few years later he branched out into building, constructing several of the new properties on the private lots on the Stratford Road and Church Street and he also built the new Stacey Farm on the hill at the end of what is now Stacey Avenue.
The first houses on the Stratford Road are also his. They are presently numbered 6,7, and 8 and I think he was  the builder for a number of Wolverton properties. He was also the postmaster and I think the Post Office was managed by his wife and eldest daughter. The Post Office was at Number 6 and next door was leased to a grocer.  Wolverton's Post Office remained at this location until the new General Post Office was built on Church Street in the 1930s.

In 1881 Aveline was employing 23 men according to the census entry, so his activities must have been quite extensive. His name also turns up as the maker of a number of monuments in St George's churchyard. 

There were two sons and two daughters born to his wife Ann. She died in the 1880s and Charles remarried. In or around 1890 he retired and moved to Bedford. His eldest son George became a land agnet near Liverpool and his youngest son Charles Henry became a furniture dealer in Bishop's Stortford. Charles senior died in 1914 at the age of 85 and left £9,692 0s 8d in his will - a significant sum for those days.

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