Thursday, 13 June 2019

A B C - Abington Bus Connections

Abington is now a suburb of Northampton but many moons ago was a village in the country, well beyond the edge of town.
The village was mostly demolished to allow the owners of the manor to extend and beautify their parkland, leaving only the "big house", the church, the remains of a grand entrance gate, a dovecote and water wheel, a series of ponds and, possibly a small row of cottages marking the entrance to the hamlet.
The road ran through the archway providing a northern entry to the estate. There was also a grand eastern gateway in similar style ...
The arch collapsed years pre fbb but he remember a childhood inquisitiveness as to what it once was.
The manor, greatly rebuilt and reconfigured, remains as a museum, situated next to the much rebuilt church whose one claim to eternal fame is that it was where fbb was christened!
It has always been known as "the Abbey" but that title was given for reasons of personal aggrandisement by one of its previous "lords". He was no lord and it was never an Abbey.

The "upper" park (left hand bit) was gifted to the town by Lady Wantage (there is a Wantage Road nearby) ...
... and the "lower park" was bought by the Borough to extend and complement her ladyships' benificence.

fbb visited the park and museum regularly, the latter with limited enthusiasm, in the company of a maiden aunt; more enthusiastic, though, was the standard visit to the cafe on the ground floor with tables set our round a little fish pond in the courtyard. Sweet. The only picture of the courtyard shows it set up for a "do" long before fbb was even a twinkle in his mother's eye!
Today's bus services to the park echo Northampton Corporation Transport (NCT) of old.
Service 1 (GREEN) still is numbered 1 ...
... which ran then to Weston Favell (The Trumpet) but service 21 ...
... has become 16 (BLUE) but still serves Birchfield Road. Both these routes are now extended into the massive town extension generally dubbed "The Eastern District".

Gold X47 and X47 (BROWN) are modern replacements for 402, 403 and 404, United Counties routes via Wellingborough.

Missing from the map, now withdrawn, is route 8 ...
... which toddled between both "halves" of the parkland along Park Avenue South. Stops and flags are still there, at the park gates (or were when Streetview passes by) ...
... but the bus route has long been expunged from Stagecoach's panoply of services. Current service 5 (PURPLE) is the vestige of the 8 in the area, also the vestige of Yorks bus to Cogenhoe.

A Northampton tram route terminated at the park gates - at the Junction of Wellingborough Road and Park Avenue South - and was very popular with folk enjoying the park.
Below is one sitting at the terminus with the equivalent shot today. There are more trees around the houses and the roads are wider, but little else has changed!
fbb is sure his readers will be thrilled to know that his dentist's surgery was in the house behind the front of the tram and/or behind the road sign.

So why this further wallowing in the murky depths of fbb's childhood? For no other reason than there is a "do" at the Museum on Saturday 13th.
It is all FREE (yippee) and Northampton hack, Alan explains more.

Stagecoach service 1 or 16 to "the Abington" (pub on Wellingborough Road)

Celebrate transport from the past, present and future, with a wide variety of collectors sharing their enthusiasms. Northampton Transport Heritage will return with rides on board a selection of vintage buses around the Abington area. 

The buses are; 
ANH 154 - 1947 Daimler CVG6 ex NCT. 
BNH 246C - 1965 Daimler CVG6 ex NCT
JVV 267G - 1968 Daimler CVG6 ex NCT (On static display).
H654 VVV - 1990 Leyland Olympian ex Stagecoach United Counties.
R738 XRV - 1998 Volvo Olympian ex Southern Vectis now with Diamond Coaches.
Buses depart from the old bus layby in Park Avenue South  from 1030 until 1640 and arrive back and set down outside St Peter & St Paul Church, just 100 yards away. 

Vehicles will also be on display from Hannington Vintage Tractor Club, Rushden Heritage Transport Society, Northampton Mounts Fire Brigade, Northampton Neighbourhoods Policing Team and vintage cars from private collectors.

Stalls inside the museum will include The Silverstone Experience, a working Bassett Lowke Gauge One Model railway in action, 78 Derngate** and Hollowell Model Yacht Club. Refreshments will also be available to purchase from a selection of transport themed stalls!

An if you thought Transport and the "Abbey" museum are strange bedfellows, how about this ancient (well pre fbb!) picture of the Park's miniature railway, long gone, sadly.
fbb is guessing (perhaps intelligently) that the little train ran near the entrance to the park that is opposite the aforementioned Abington Park Hotel; now simply "The Abington".

** 78 Derngate. There is a link between the railway above, one of the day's exhibits and the address of 78 Derngate -  to which fbb will return in a later blog.

Congrats to concerned on what will be a splendid day. This is the second year of the event and it promises to be "bigger abd better than ever".

And fbb's favourite bit of Abington Park?
The aviary on later-named Birdcage Walk. In theory at least, fbb could be the baby in the pram. Unlikely as dad was liberating France (a very small village, and by mistake) at the time!

Like most things, it is a littlr different today ...
... and the caff is a separate building, no longer within the "Abbey".

 Next best bus timetable (?) blog : Friday 14th June 

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