Wednesday 9 December 2015

Worries about Wellingborough [1]

Important Notice
Has fbb got a virus?
At approximately 2200 last night the blog written for today vanished. It has happened before and there is no logical explanation. fbb was preparing THURSDAY's blog and copied some of the features (notably headers etc. from the Advent Calendar section) from today's finished post. Suddenly it vanished leaving two copies of tomorrow's. Mystifying and frustrating.

So it was necessary to reconstruct todays posting from scratch.

In view of the time of day, this reconstruction has to be something of a botch job.
the best one can say about Wellingborough is that it is a small market town of not great character that is very much a dormitory area. It lies just off the A6 and, sice a new road was built, just off the A45. Famous people included Sir David Frost (educated there) and snooker player Peter Ebdon whse formative years were thus based.

And that's about it!

Nearby are iron ore fields, a Weetabis Factory and, of course the former Midland Railway main line which built good yards and a big engine shed adjacent to the station.
This was the home of the celebrate Franco-Crosti boilered class 9F 2-10-0 steam locomotives.
With a funnel on the sie of the boiler and, usually, cloud of smoke obscuring the driver's view, they were a decidedly unpopular and poor quality loco. The promised savings on fuel costs never materialised and all were converted into "normal" boilered engines.

Another local industry was cardboard boxes manufactured at Chapmans Factory on the Irthlingborough Road.
Sadly the building is now demolished, but the replacement flats have a tower which echoes the original art deco style.
Earlu industrial development (with associatd terraced housing) grew up on land between the town centre and the Midland Railway Station, about  a mile to the east of the centre. Later building began in the 1930s and then post WW2 to fill the wedge of land between the Northampton Road (then A45) and the Doddington Road.
By 1960, for example, buses ran from Berrymoor to Chapmans Factory or the Midland Station (440) ...
... or in to town and turning back to serve Henshaw Road (above map upper left) There were services 441 and 442. An additional service (443) ...
 ... ran to another part of the Berrymoor Estate.

Roll forward a good many years and Northampton County Council had a spiffing idea. "Lets encourage bus usage by creating a new bus network for local routes in Wellingborough," they said, " and we will cll it "Connect Wellingborough".

fbb's ex xephos data dates from 2006. but it will serve to compare the original plan with today's network up to the start of this week.

CW1 remains much the same but numbered W1

CW2 again much the same at the present W2

CW3 has become service 45 running cross town and on to Irthlingborough. until this week it remains at a 30 minute frequency.

CW4 became W4 with diversions and until this week ran hourly with a to hour gap at lunchtime.

CW5 was incorporated in the replacement for CW3 which became a circular linking the two estates fomerly served by 441 and 441 of old.

CW6 was replaced by five journeys on service 34 running between Wellingborough and Kettering via Pytchley.

CW7 was linked as a cross town W4 (see above).

CW8 remains similar to the present W8

What began as a bright, branded network has sunk back to being a hotchpotch of commercial and tendered services run mainly by Stagecoach with some services in the hands of Meridian and Centrebus.

This week's changes further devalue to idea of a Wellingborough network as we shall see tomorrow.
Familiarity breeds contempt, so they say. So much clutter has been added to the Christmas story that it has become almost unreal.

We are all too familiar with the above scene; a models in shps and churches, as illustration on cards, and, above all, as performed by our children and grandchildren as their Nativity play.

What is really surprising is what shouldn't be there. This is what the Bible tells us.

Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, 6 and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.

These are the things that weren't there. there was:-

NO star
NO angels
NO wise man/kings
NO cow
NO sheep
NO camel
NO gold, frankincense or myrrh
Indeed ...

NO stable or cattle shed!

The use of "manger" (feeding trough) has allowed later story tellers to develop a whole army of people and animals who simply weren't there. Modern scholarship isn't at all sure what "the inn" was. Inns provided refreshment for traveller out on the road. Eastern hospitality rules meant that visitors would be accommodated in people's homes. So maybe "the bed and breakfas places were all full" would be better.

The birth most likely took place in a cave of which there are many around and under Bethlehem; used then (and now) as shelter for animals. Allowing for the (unrecorded) possibility of of a bored cow or two in residence this picture is much better.
The shepherds look a bit too well dressed!

And the wise men came months later.

So tomorrow we need to take a sideways glance at some of the other myths that have been attached to Christmas.
Once in royal Davids city,
Stood a simple lowly cave,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
God's great promise come to save:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little Child.

     Next bus blog : Thursday 10th December  


  1. Andrew Kleissner9 December 2015 at 07:06

    The "inn" could well be the furnished room (like the "upper room" of the Last Supper) which families kept for unexpected guests on the top floor of the house. If everyone's extended family had descended on Bethlehem for the census, it was quite possible that this would already be occupied in Joseph's family home. So where would the householder put the extra guests? There was only one place: with the animals, quite possibly in the ground floor of the house under the first-floor living accommodation rather than in a cave (not that it really matters).

    By the way, another mistake often made in Christmas cards is having shepherds look up and see the star. They didn't; they saw angels while the Wise Men (at least two but not necessarily three!) saw the star.

  2. Thanks Andrew for your contribution. Especially revealing the basis of a couple of future "Advent" thoughts. But - "Every Little Helps".