Saturday, 17 October 2015

From Our Own Correspondent [1]

Preston Hedge - and a Bus?
Few people now remember Preston Hedge who "trod the boards" at much the same time as the late great Errol Flynn. Famous for his Shakespearean roles; Hamlet, Henry V, Lear, Old Gobbo (pictured below) etc.
But even less well known is his connection with Wootton Fields estate south of Northampton.

When fbb was just a callow youth, there was no Wootton Fields ...
... just some fields to the east of the village. fbb's Aunt Kath lived at Wootton.
But the junior school in Wootton Fields is named after one Preston Hedge.
It lies on Stagecoach's route 14 which starts at East Hunsbury ...
... then trundles northwards via Towcester Road to the town centre. Here is promptly "U" turns via the bus station to depart due south from the Drapery, this time via London Road. As you can see from the map above, one half of this cross town service is within exhaust fume smelling distance of the other! The 14 then wiggles into Wootton Fields ...
... continuing thence to Hackleton, Piddington and Horton Gates ...
... actually whizzing to Horton Gates first then popping to Piddington on the way back.
On Wootton Hope Drive it passes the entrance to the school ...
... which is well hidden round the back of the local Health Centre.

But the school has had a recent delivery ...
... a bus that once looked like this.
As all bus watchers will know immediately from the destination and the huge fleet numbers on the roof, the Bristol VR used to belong to Maidstone and District. You might expect this vehicle to be providing low-cost school trips for the kiddied of Wootton Fields. But it has, arguably, a more long-tern purpose.
It is their non-mobile Library!

A red double decker bus has been converted into a new library for pupils at a Northampton primary school. The Red Bus will be permanently positioned on the Preston Hedge's Primary School in Wootton and be home to more than 4,000 books. The project was part-funded by the Friends of Preston Hedge’s and will provide a new environment for pupils to access the school’s extensive range of fiction and non-fiction texts.

fbb served as a "Library Prefect" for a number of years at Northampton Grammar School and it was never as spiffing as the above!
OK not quite a grim as that. But the school uniform hasn't changed in 60 years!
And now for the truth.

There never was an actor called Preston Hedge. Northampton correspondent Alan, who inspired this blog, suggests that the aim of the school's name is to evoke the rural bliss of nearby Preston Deanery.
But if there wasn't a Preston Hedge, why the apostrophe? And, says Alan, most of the hedges have been grubbed up to build roads and houses.

Preston Hedge's School is the little rectangular blob in the very top left of the map extract. The "Sch" is Caroline Chisholm School and she was a 19th century social reformer.

The picture that isn't of Preston Hedge is:-

William Terriss (20 February 1847 to 16 December 1897), born as William Charles James Lewin, was an English actor, known for his swashbuckling hero roles, such as Robin Hood, as well as parts in classic dramas and comedies. He was also a notable Shakespearean performer. He was the father of the Edwardian musical comedy star Ellaline Terriss and the film director Tom Terriss. 

So now you know. He did, like Errol Flynn, buckle plenty of swash.

 Next tram train blog : Sunday 18th October 


  1. I suppose that school library holds omnibus editions!

  2. Can you or any of your learned correspondents explain why we have a route in the shape of a tuning fork with both halves numbered 14 when for a kilometer to and from the town centre both follow an identical route and leave from adjacent bays in Drapery. It seems a recipe to confuse the average passenger who is concentrating on the mobile phone or negotiating the shopping trolley or mega buggy on to the bus.

    I know there is a sort of precedent in Northampton with a past circular service having both clockwise and anti-clockwise circuits numbered 14. At the moment numbers 13, 18 and 20 are free and 19 will be at the end of November.