Monday, 29 March 2021

Tinkering Via Tinkers Bridge (1) ... Or

 Where Did Milton Keynes Come From?

Later this week, Arriva is changing most of its services in Milton Keynes; surely something of a non-event? Maybe not, as the Council wants to develop app based demand responsive services to replace many of its tendered routes. It believes the 21st Century version of Harry Blundred's bread vans will save the council money (they won't) and provide the council tax payers with a better service. (they won't).

By way of introduction, fbb will take a quick gander at the area in 1940, 1960 and 1980. By the latter date the main structure of the town was in place and well settled. A few bits were still to be tacked on to the edges and a few gaps on the maps needed filling but overall the road network and big infrastructure was all in place.

Having reviewed these 20 years stages, fbb will then see what is changing and try to understand where and how the App expansion will fill the newly create daps.

1940 Small Town Rural
Fenny Stratford ...
... Stony Stratford and Old Stratford ... 
... were three communities dotted along the A5 Watling Street.
Bletchley, which had been nothing more than a few houses clustered round St Mary's Church ...
... had begun to develop to the east of the railway with a few terraces of "workers" town houses. The land between Bletchley, Fenny Stratford and Water Eaton was also filling up. 

But there was plans for expansion along the Buckingham Road (then the B4034).
The station is middle right and St Mary's Church is right in the centre.

Wolverton, however, was the metropolis!
This tiny village (now called Old Wolverton), with a few cottages ...
... school ...
... and church ...
... had been supplanted by the railway town a mile to the east.

The rest of what became Milton Keynes was a collection of small farming villages some of which we shall meet in subsequent blogs. So in the early post WW2 years most bus services were rural or, at best, interurban.

1960 - Urban Development, Small Scale
Wolverton's "Southern Estate" was terraced railway workers cottages, but a little further east, over the railway, New Bradwell was being developed, so by 1960 United Counties was running a town service 391 between Stony Stratford, Wolverton and New Bradwell ... 
... a simple straight line route along the main road but with occasional extensions to the more historic village now designated Old Bradwell ...
... turning at the Victoria Inn. Extra journeys ran as 392 via Southern Estate and continuing further into New Bradwell, again with some journeys to Victoria Inn.

Meanwhile, in Bletchley, a service 397 is in operation to the new development along the Buckingham Road. 
As was common then with town services run a by a mainly rural bus operator, the timetable was quite complex and there was no map. Fortunately there was a route description road by road. So fbb has drawn a simple route diagram!
The red line is todays route 4, showing how there idea of "serving the public" has changed over the years!

Service 397 ran alternate ways round the above loop and half the journeys run direct to Fenny Stratford, half via Water Eaton (below, lower left). 
fbb has rewritten the timetable which MAY help our readers ...
... or might not. (Click on the graphic for an enlargement). Bletchley's Park Hotel (time point) still trades ...
... as it nestles in the shadow of the flyover which will, one day (??) carry the reopened Oxford to somewhere line. But the through road to Fenny Stratford is no more!
It is now just an alleyway leads you into the obligatory shopping precinct. Buses seeking the old way to Fenny Stratford now turn left at this point where they pop into the Bletchley's bus station, certainly an improvement on a stop outside the pub.
The first notable part of Milton Keynes to appear was not part of "Milton Keynes" at all. It was planned as one of the last exports of "people" from the Capital by the Greater London Council, financed jointly by the GLC and recently formed MK Development Corporation.

The 1970s provided bus watchers with change after change as the new "city" was constructed. The services between Stony Stratford and Bradwell became MK4 and MK5 and new routes to the "GLC" Lakes Estate were MK2 and MK3.
This development was south of Bletchley, inserted between the west coast main line and the Grand Union Canal ...
... with the road between Water Eaton and the railway making way. This was a period of great instability as the building spread; it wasn't long before MK4 and MK 5 were renumbered MK14 and MK15 to allow Lakes Estate services more complexity as MK2, MK3, MK4 and MK5!

Then all the low MK numbers became higher numbers because somebody thought that bus passengers might think that the MK3 was the bus to postcode area MK3. There is no evidence that passengers were so stupid!

In 1978 the use of MK numbers was abandoned as we shall see in tomorrow's 1980s blog.

fbb is greatly indebted to Northampton correspondent Alan for refreshing his jaded memory of Milton Keynsian happenings - Alan in turn had refreshed his memory from the excellent series of booklets on United Counties history by Roger Warwick.

 Next Tinkering blog : Tuesday 30th April 

NOT Gentle - NOT Meek - NOT Mild

According to a TV advert, a well known meerkat has been "sorting his life out". Apparently the main problem to be sorted is his "junk" drawer,
Purchasing the cheapest insurance can help as well, so we are told. Seemples!

The day after Palm Sunday. Jesus went back to the Temple and began to drive out all those who were buying and selling.
He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, and he would not let anyone carry anything through the Temple courtyards. He then taught the people ...
... “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.’ But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!”

No more Mr Nice Guy? 

As well as railing against the money making scams that the Temple authorities had devised, utterly in opposition to the idea of worship and heart-felt offerings, there was a deeper message.

Jesus' "purpose" was to "sort peoples' lives out", not just then but for all time. "Clear out the clutter and do it God's way" was part of the Gospel Message. The "clutter" in this case is our sins, those big and small occasions when we do not do things the way God requires.

The consequences of sinful "clutter" have to be sorted and, in Old Testament times, one way of doing that was to give something precious of yours to God by offering a sacrifice at the temple. Not a rip-off money grabbing temple-pigeon sacrifice, but one offered willingly.

Shed blood pays the price of sin.

That's Easter

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