Glimpse history through old images of Wolverton, Buckinghamshire, England.
Close Win (1926)
J.E. Webster, a member of Birchfield Harriers, won the 1926 National Cross Country Championship at Wolverton by just one second.
Championship Won By One Second (1926) – British Pathé on YouTube
Women’s Race (1930)
In 1930, Wolverton hosted the Women’s National Cross Country Championship.
144 participants ran in the gruelling race, which was won by Miss L.D. Style for the third year running.
144 Women – Runners (1930) – British Pathé on YouTube
A bit of Wolverton history
History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, Comprising a General Survey of the County, Preceded by an Epitome of the Early History of Great Britain
by James Joseph Sheahan
Published in 1862
Page 646 – 650
NEW WOLVERTON. – The new town which has sprung up around the Railway Station, and the extensive engine works, is now known as New Wolverton; formerly it was called Wolverton Station.
It is situated in the parish of Wolverton about 2 miles from Stony Stratford, 1 mile from the parish church, 4 miles from Newport Pagnell, and three – quarters of a mile from the river Ouse.
Here, on the main line of the London and North – Western Railway, 52 1/2 miles from London, is a first class Passengers Station, and adjacent to it, an extensive Goods Depôt, having a frontage on the Grand Junction Canal, which intersects this parish, and is carried across the valley in this locality by means of an embankment, and a beautiful aqueduct (See p. 618 ). The railway viaduct across the same valley is about 600 feet in length, 54 feet high, and has five arches of 59 feet span, and eight smaller arches – four on each side of the larger ones. Here too is the great central Locomotive Engine Depôt of the London and North – West ern Railway Company, which, together with the Station, covers an area of many acres.
Lipscomb, writing in 1844, when the establishment was not near so extensive as it is at present, says: – ” This gigantic Station may be justly considered one of the wonders of modern times in connexion with railway enterprises. The land, ” he continues, ” which a few years ago was covered with rich crops, is now overspread with extensive premises and streets.”
The spacious passengers station is a plain but neat and substantial structure, fitted up with every convenience. The elegant refreshment – rooms are on a large scale, and the waiting – rooms, offices, & c., are complete in every particular.
The very extensive factory for building and repairing the locomotive engines and carriages of the Company, consists of brass and iron foundries, and departments or ” shops ” for erecting, repairing, and fitting the engines, and for smiths, boiler – makers, wrights, joiners, turners, & c.
Powerful cranes are fixed in the erecting shops for raising and lowering the engines when required; and amongst the collection of the most valuable machinery which these works contain, may be noticed the cranes just alluded to, three of the largest sized steam hammers, some very fine lathes, a number of planing, drilling, shaping and slotting machines, and many other beautiful and ingenious contrivances of this kind.
The fixed pump engine – house contains two powerful engines.
The lodge, the Superintendent’s Office, and the apartments for business are all very neat and appropriate. James E. McConnell, Esq., of Wolverton Park, civil engineer, is the General Superintendent of the works. We have seen at page 609, that the Bishop of Oxford (then the guest of Mr. McConnell ) addressed 2,000 workmen in the engine shed of this depôt, on the day upon which New Bradwell Church was consecrated; and we shall see anon that the same distinguished prelate addressed a larger assembly in the same place, on the day that the first stone of the Mechanics ‘ Institute was laid.
Many hundred workmen find continual employment here. The number of men and boys employed here at present is between 2,300 and 2,400, and, as has been seen, a large village has been built for their accommodation on the spot, by the Railway Company; and another village in the neighbourhood, called New Bradwell, owes its origin to the same Company ( See page 606 ).
New Wolverton, which is very compact and regularly built, consists of several uniform streets, containing about 250 neat houses, replete with every convenience, and supplied with gas and water by the Railway Company.
The place contains a Market – place, butchers – shambles, several good shops, two large inns, schools, baths, a dispensary, & c.
Several acres of ground are rented by the company, from the Radcliffe Trustees, which is let in small portions to their servants for gardens.
In 1844, a public road was formed to connect this place with the neighbouring town of Stony Stratford.
In the year 1841, the then Bishop of the Diocese ( Lincoln ) appointed the Rev. George Weight to be resident Chaplain in this rising settlement, and licensed a large room for Divine Service, which had been fitted up in an appropriate manner by the Railway Company.
This apartment was found to be too small for the purpose, and preparations were soon made for erecting a church. To meet the expense of this the Company voted £1,000, and another sum of £ 1,000 was collected by them. These two sums were paid into the hands of the Radcliffe Trustees, and they not only engaged to defray the remaining expense, but they allotted two acres of ground for the church, church – yard, and parsonage.
The church and parsonage were built at a cost of about £ 5,000. The first stone of the church was laid on July 12th, 1843, and the edifice was consecrated on Whit Tuesday, May 28th, in the year following. By an Order in Council, dated 19th May, 1846, a new Ecclesiastical District was allotted to it, the new district containing then 295 inhabited houses, and a population of 1,666 souls.
The Living is a Perpetual Curacy in the gift of the Radcliffe Trustees, who allow £ 100 a – year towards the stipend of the minister. The present Incumbent is the Rev. F. W. Harnett.
The Church ( St. George the Martyr ) is a very neat structure in the Early English style. It consists of a nave and chancel, both spacious and so constructed as to admit of transepts afterwards being added. At the north – east corner of the nave is a small tower, in the eastern side of which, under a recessed arch, is the principal entrance. The tower contains one bell, and finishes with an octagonal spire, covered with lead. The roofs are tiled. The walls are of native stone, with Derbyshire stone dressings. The floors are boarded, and seated with neat open benches; there is a large gallery at the west end, on which is a good organ enclosed in a handsome case; the pulpit and reading – desk are of carved wood; and the font, which is circular and sculptured, is placed in a recess or
small baptistry on the left of the tower entrance, and in which is a stained glass window. The nave is lighted by fourteen lancet windows, arranged in pairs. The chancel arch is semicircular, and rests upon circular pillars with moulded capitals. The east window, of three lights, is copied from one in Tintern Abbey, and is ornamented with stained glass, representing the Nativity, the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion. The reredos, above the communion – table, is of stone, grained to resemble marble. A handsome service of communion – plate was presented to the church by G. C. Glyn, Esq., banker, London, late Chairman of the Railway Company. Lipscomb gives plates of the two churches of Wolverton.
The Parsonage House adjoining the churchyard is a handsome Gothic residence of stone.
The Schools for boys, girls, and infants, with residences for the teachers, form a somewhat extensive range of red brick buildings, with stone dressings, in the Tudor style of architecture.
About 300 children attend.
The Railway Company allow the master a salary of £ 60 a year with a house and gas; and the mistresses of the girls and infants ‘ schools £ 20 each.
Whit – Monday, in the present year ( May 20th, 1861 ) will be remembered as a ” red – letter day ” by the inhabitants of New Wolverton. On that day, chiefly through the efforts of Mr. McConnell (to whom, under the Directors of the Railway Company, and the Lords of the Manor, the place is deeply indebted for much that it enjoys) the foundation stone of
a Mechanics Institute was embedded in the earth.
The festivities of the day commenced with Divine Service in the church, when the Lord Bishop of Oxford preached an appropriate sermon to a very crowded congregation, who had gone to the church in procession, headed by a number of “Foresters” from the neighbourhood, and two bands of music.
At the termination of the service another procession was formed, and the company repaired to the site of the new building (which is but a short distance from the church) where the “laying” of the stone was performed by his Grace the Duke of Sutherland, who addressed the assemblage in brief but effective terms. The stone being deposited in its bed with the usual formalities, the Bishop delivered a prayer and pronounced a blessing,
and the whole assembled multitude struck up the Old Hundredth Psalm in solemn chorus.
Immediately afterwards an adjournment was moved to a field where several rural sports came off, and a couple of hours were delightfully spent by the workmen in athletic games and exercises, and by the general company in admiring and applauding their prowess.
The proceedings terminated with a monstre tea party in the new engine shed, which had been tastefully laid out and decorated for the occasion. Tables were laid the whole length of the apartment, and an abundant supply of tea, cakes, and other refreshments were dispensed to the working men and their families. A raised platform was devoted to the Bishop of Oxford, the Duke of Sutherland, and other distinguished guests, and from it the Right Rev. prelate addressed between 2,000 and 3,000 persons, in his usual eloquent and effective style.
Tea over, the remainder of the evening was spent in the open air amusements which had been interrupted by the tea party.
Among the distinguished personages that witnessed the interesting ceremonies and rejoicings of the occasion, were ( besides the Bishop and the Duke already mentioned ) the Marquis and Marchioness of Chandos (now Duke and Duchess of Buckingham), the Earl and Countess of Caithness, Earl Ducie, the Earl of Euston, M.P., Sir Harry Verney, Bart.,
M.P., and many of the clergy and gentry of the neighbourhood.
Deposited in a cavity of the stone, was a box containing some coins of the realm, and a parchment writing, stating that the foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Sutherland, on the above named day, in the presence of the Bishop of Oxford, and that “The building is erected for the instruction and recreation of the workmen employed in the engine
establishment of the London and North Western Railway.”
The building, which is rapidly progressing towards completion, will be an ornament to the little town, and will contain a lecture – room, concert or music – hall, library, reading – rooms, & c. The Railway Directors have granted the site, and the cost of the edifice is expected to be about £ 1,500. On the day that the erection of the building commenced, 615 workmen had subscribed the handsome sum of £ 523 towards the building fund.
The members of the mechanics or literary institution, possess an excellent library of several hundred volumes, hitherto kept at the schools; one of which has also been used as a reading – room.