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The Crescent Haversham Green Estate

Mrs Burt

Extracts from "Haversham Estate And the Parish I Grew Up In" by David C. Brightman April 2000

At a Parish meeting in the Village School on March 23rd 1929 there was mention of a proposed house building scheme on part of Manor Farm to be called New Manor Estate.

In 1931 the population of the Parish was only 164, and covered an area in 1936, of about 1,634 acres. In a letter to a local newspaper in April 1935 Mr Giles Randall refers to Haversham Building Estate and a Model sewer that had been built, Second to none in the District, and that he owns half the riverbed.

I was told by my parents that Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Williams were the first family to move onto The Estate about 1934/35

The land The Crescent was built on was owned by Giles Randall snr. And to be called Haversham Green Estate and at an early stage in January 1936 was going to be developed by Haversham Estates Ltd. of Wolverton. This covered an area of about 30 acres, and these houses were on plots of 160ft with a 22ft 6in frontage, and 12ft private right of way at the rear, but no access for Wolverton Rd. residents. I believe this rough track is supposed to be maintained by Crescent residents. These houses were intended to be sold/rented to the Artizans in the railway works, the most unusual thing about these houses was the 400 gallon rain water tank on top of the outhouse. Most of these were removed in later years, the last time I saw one was in the old rickyard at Field Farm, half buried in undergrowth. I believe The Crescent or The Green open space was acquired by the Parish Council for a nominal sum, about 1965, and under a Covenant was for the Public for Exercise & Recreation.

Mrs. Pooley

Mrs. Pooley stated; Mr Randall of Manor Farm in Haversham village was the owner of the first six houses built, and we lived at 5 Wolverton Road. Soon after we moved to Haversham a new builder arrived to continue building Wolverton Rd, his name was Mr Crouch. I think all the houses from 7 up to 48, on the right hand side of the road, were built by his contractors. This I presume was all part of the Manor Farm Estate. Mr and Mrs. Pooley were the first to buy a house on The Crescent as The Green eventually became known, this was No. 2 and cost £585. A £30 deposit was paid on July 10th 1936 to Mr Randall. Mr and Mrs. Pooley’s son Alan was born in 1940.

The shop, Tudor Stores was built in 1935/36, according to the date on the front, but was probably not ready for habitation until 1937/38, it became a Sub-Post Office May 1st 1955. In 1971 an application was made for an Off-Licence, which was eventually granted. The Post Box was moved from the shop forecourt to its present position in Manor Drive in 1967.

There were a few Jewish families on the Estate during the war, they mostly had business premises up in London and always seemed to have items that our parents could not get due to rationing. One of these items I remember was Heinz Tomato sauce. Dad used to swap a few Black-Market eggs for his luxury item. A few names I remember were Geoffrey Ross, Louis Lewis and John Lewis on the Wolverton Road. I think there were probably others round The Crescent, one was a Rabbi Goldstein at No 24, they rented quite a few houses on the estate during the war years.

About 1936/37, Mr John Robinson was living at Field Farm with his parents, Thomas and Lizzie. His building contractors started to build the Western side of Wolverton Road, and also probably parts of Brookfield Road, as the houses are of a similar type, the tarmac footpath on the Western side of the Wolverton Road was finally finished in 1952 after fifteen years of a dirt and gravel track. John’s father was Thomas Harry Robinson retired farmer of Field Farm, he purchased Field Farm of 147 acres in 1926 from the Greaves family and soon set aside part of the farm fronting the main road for building under the supervision of John his son. He had "Brookside" bungalow built on the Wolverton Road, about 1937/38, whether he lived there I don’t know, but a Mr and Mrs Samuel Tustain did live there in the early years.

I was born at No. 6, on 26th February 1936, making me the first child actually born on Haversham New Estate, if anyone else can lay claim to this honourable distinction, please come forward! On 8th September 1935, my father signed a Purchase Record at the Craufurd Arms Hotel to buy plot 54, which became No. 47 then later No. 94 Wolverton Road, the purchase price was £535, plus a £25 deposit. Possession was required on the 1st May 1936, so I was not very long in my birthplace at No. 6 (now 12). The builder was G.T. Crouch Ltd. About April-May 1936 Mum and Dad moved to 47 (now 94) Wolverton Road, my sister Pat was born there in August 1942.

In the Wolverton Express dated 7th May 1937: Advert saying, To let, Delightful Villa on the Haversham Green Estate for 12/6 a week rent, or buy at 9/1 a week, apply Estate Office, Manor Drive, Telephone No. 23. House to buy were priced at; £495, £525 and £595. In an earlier Wolverton Express, sometimes called the Buster and dated 20th April 1935, was a reference to another Wedding between a Miss Florence Lilian Wain of Stony Stratford and Mr Claude Ernest Ronald Meakins from Cosgrove who took up residence at Tudorville No. 11 (now 22) Wolverton Road, Haversham. I think this pair of houses was the last, of the first house built on the Wolverton Road. The Randall family still owned some of these in June 1954 when Mr Norman Keech purchased his house from them. The plots from about 70 Wolverton Road, up to 100, I believe were marketed by the Peerless Property Co. There was much confusion in 1936 on the name of the Road, some people called it Wolverton Road and other Haversham Fields Road, and to add to this both sides were numbered the same, this numbering fiasco was not sorted out until the middle of 1948!

Judging by a 1939 photo, most of both sides of Wolverton Road, and parts of The Crescent were built by that date and also Mrs Kemp's house. All the houses on the right hand side of The Crescent were complete before the Shop was half built.

There were grand plans for Tennis Courts and Clock Golf, but W.W.II came along and it never happened, and since then nothing much else has happened. I have not found out why the first two house are 1a and 2a on The Crescent, although on a photo I have, there was a large gap between the shop and No. 1, so these two must have been built a bit after the rest were completed, it was probably the site of the Builder’s storage area, which is usually the last to be built on as is the practice today.

There was another gap between the last of the pre-war houses on The Crescent which was No 46, and the as yet un-built school, most of these new houses were built by Tarrants, as were the later disputed bungalows on top of The Crescent, although on a drawing by the Home Publishing Company of London, who printed a booklet about the new houses on The Crescent, this was shown as plots, (where the new bungalows are) the same as the rest of The Crescent are shown! In this booklet it shows the shop under construction and some finished, but they do not look as though they were occupied.


In the last of the pre-war steel framed houses in Wolverton Road was Mr and Mrs James Thomas at 37, these house used 4 tons of steel a pair and had the roof on first. The first house was built 1st January 1937 and was open for inspection, with a fully lit fire until 8pm and cost £580, a £35 deposit was required and then 13s 10d a week. After No 37 was a gap up to The Lodge, this gap was part of the old allotments, and was built on in 1953-54, but No 39 the home of Mrs Endersby was built a bit earlier about 1950-51.

There used to be in Chalmers Avenue on the left, concrete footing slabs, and little walls about 18” high, they were there about 1948/9 so someone contemplated building there early on, if these were later used for the new house I do not know.

29 Keppel Avenue (later No. 10) looking towards Haversham Road.
The garden backed on to the Waldings

C. 1948 back garden of No 10. German pow's helped to do the gardens. We had the crazy paved path for as long as we lived there.....left in 1960
Grace and Dick Ellen who lived at No. 8.
Little girl - Jennifer Bull
Jennifer Bull walking down Keppel Avenue

COUNCIL HOUSES

For many years from April 1936 onwards there was talk of a need for Council houses, finally in September 1950 there was an allocation for 8 houses to be built on the Estate along the Wolverton Road at the Northern end. Work started in the winter of 1950. Down in the Village in 1943 a site for Council houses was suggested as Townsend Hill, to the N.E. on Mr Knapp’s land on field marked 148 on O.S., or on Mr Souter’s field 57 on O.S., and on the Estate in 1946 at Pike’s (Crossroads) Farm.

About 1948/9 the house numbers were doubled up. And the whole Road was to be called Wolverton Road, this was due to a request I believe, from the believe from the bewildered Post Office, because the left hand side of Wolverton Road was a different name then the right, so 6 became 12 and 50 became 100. Even numbers on the right and odd on the left.


ALLOTMENTS

Wolverton Express 27th October 1939

HAVERSHAM PARISH COUNCIL AND ALLOTMENTS

Arising from the minutes of the Public Health Committee was a letter from the Haversham Parish Council which sought the assistance of the Rural Council in securing allotments for residents.

The Clerk (Mr. E. Stapleton) reported that the allotment authority was the Parish Council and the assistance of the County Council could be obtained by the Parish Council.

It was recommended that the Council do support any effort the Parish Council make in the matter and that a copy of the letter be sent to the County Planning Officer.

Mr. Ansell said the allotment land was required urgently and anything the Council could do would be appreciated by the ratepayers he represented.


Extracts from "Haversham Estate And the Parish I Grew Up In" by David C. Brightman April 2000

PROPOSED PUBLIC HOUSE

There was a site reserved by Phipps Northampton Brewery at the corner where the two flats are, next to 112 Wolverton Road. There was during the war, and after, a large hoarding about 10ft by 6ft on this site which advertised the fact, but it fell down in 1949/50 during strong winds, it made a splendid target for airgun shooting practice. Phipps Brewery stated in 1950, they could not see, in the near future of planning permission being given so they were not applying for a licence, and finally in 1953 gave up their interest in the plot and eventually the two flats were built, intended for elderly local resdients. The proposed pub was to be built at a cost of £5,000 and was to use the licence transferred from the Black Bull at Hanslope, this transfer was refused on 14th June 1937 on the grounds of being premature as the population of the parish was only about 364 and the Peoples Refreshment House Group ie, the Greyhound objected and said they could cope with the forth coming expansion, I think they are still waiting!


WATER SUPPLY

When the Estate houses were first built the water supply used to came from the Water Tower in the field to the East of The Crescent, this got its supply from a spring down by the nearby River Ouse, you can still see the remains of the old pumping station 300 yards from the new river walk towards New Bradwell; all it now contains is part of the old pump and two concrete pump engine bases. The Tower is still standing across the field at the rear of The Crescent and still supplies Manor Farm via a hydraulic pump which you can hear working away under your feet.

By February 1945 the Council had taken over this supply at a cost of £2100 for machinery and the land it was on, and also a free supply of 30,000 gallons of water a month for 25 years. The water supply in 1968 was coming from the Graffham Water reservoir.

In March 1939 my father had a General Rate demand for £2 7s 6d (No Water rate). In February 1945 he had a demand to pay his rates to Newport Pagnell Rural District Council of £3 11s 8d this was made up of £2 19s 2d General Rate and 12/6 Water Rate!

My father remembers Mr. Randall coming to the door if you were a bit slow paying his Water and Sewage rates in the early days, but now and again he gave dad a most welcome rabbit for dinner, why I don’t know. Going on the above demand for rates, the Newport R.D.C. must have taken over control.

The track, to the left of the bungalow by the school was used as access to the water tower across the field, which was obviously built before any of the houses, so this must be the oldest building on The Estate. Mr Randall snr. in 1941 was asking for a Government grant to improve the water pumps to the tower, as he had 200 evacuees to cater for, where these evacuees, if they ever arrived, went to, I don’t know.

In March 1948 a water supply extension was laid to The Estate, when this work was being carried out 24 fire hydrants were to be installed around The Estate at a cost of £360, were they ever installed?


SEWAGE WORKS

There used to be two sewage works, one in the field at the bottom of The Crescent, for the Manor Estate, and the other which was constructed about the same time to serve Field Farm Estate houses in Brookfield Road, and the Western side of Wolverton Road. Both these works were later taken over by Newport Rural District Council. The other was located at the bottom of the field behind the last house in Brookfield Road on the left hand side. During the summer months you could smell these all over the Estate, there was a peculiar idea about diverting the river to flow through the sewage brook but this never came to anything, and the idea was eventually abandoned, but it still finished up in the river flowing towards New Bradwell, also known by some as Little Moscow, due to the militant attitude of some of its railway workers during the General Strike of 1926.

In the early years the effluent from these sewage works was run into the ditch at the bottom of the Allotments, this had a very alluring aroma as you can imagine, and made a good source of black liquid fertiliser for the New Allotments. When this ditch eventually silted up and after complaints from nearby residents, a pipe was run from this sewage plant directly across to the river, its still there, poking out of its concrete surround, though overgrown and hardly visible.

When Cotton Valley treatment works were opened to serve the new town of Milton Keynes this old pipe was connected up to the automatic pump at the bottom of the allotments and now goes under the river (in a new pipe) towards New Bradwell and connects up with the main sewer pipe running under Grafton Street and the canal.

These Haversham works were abandoned when the sewer system was connected up with the new system for Milton Keynes in 1982. The old Brookfield Road sewage works were sold off to a private new owner for just over £4,000 in 1982 (Not substantiated).

The village is still in the Dark Ages as far as sewage disposal is concerned, and is still on septic underground tanks which have to be emptied by pump into tanker vehicles, though I believe residents had been approached earlier to have a proper system put in, but this met with a negative response, but in August 1998 on the agenda once again. I haven’t heard any results on this subject.


ROCKETS & FIREWORKS

After the war the T.A. Centre, as the Drill Hall (built 1914) became known, was always busy with the army and civilian use for Old Tyme Dances and similar events, the Drill Hall is now a Sports Centre. During this time about 1949, there was an army exercise around the river fields and railway embankment area. When the military exercise was over and everyone had gone away, and we were walking home from Wolverton School, we decided to explore near the abandoned B.P. depot, and found a green box about 2ft long laying in a shallow ditch. After much discussion it was decided to open it up; this was done and inside were 4, about 1ft long black tubes with pointed metal caps on them. On them was written Distress Rockets, well, can you imagine our distress at finding these ‘Real’ rockets, just left at the roadside.

We though we had better remove them to a safer place, which was into the other pill box by the brook, near the present day electric pole in the New Allotments, soon after, a few of the older youths of Haversham, whose names I cannot recall, said “hand them over, or else we will bash you”, or a similar threat, so they took them into safekeeping, the pill box was demolished by the way in May 1988 at a cost of £294.

They read the instructions on the box for launching the rockets, which stated you needed 3ft to 4ft straight sticks to insert into the side of the rocket to ensure a vertical lift off after ignition. I was told that ignition was made by rubbing a matchbox or similar down the side, or pulling off a piece of tape on the side of the tube.

The only straight sticks the naughty boys could think of, were on the Allotments, holding up, I believe Mr. Mutlow’s dahlias, anyway they acquired some sticks; then the problem was how to stand the rockets upright, this was solved by standing them on the wire mesh covering the water tank and letting the sticks hang through, this is what I saw them do anyway, us young uns were just innocent bystanders waiting to see what happened.

On lift off, the first two went up with a satisfying whoosh and a terrific height, though we were not prepared for the colossal bang and coloured balls of light which slowly drifted down over towards Field Farm, and the railway line, the third was sent up and that was the last we saw or heard of it, no bang or anything, it just disappeared, it’s probably still up there orbiting the earth with all the other rubbish now placed there by mankind!

The fourth was duly let off after 15-20 minutes, after getting over the rejoicing and the display and ringing in our ears, meanwhile the few phones in Haversham, Cosgrove, Castlethorpe and Hanslope had been ringing at Sergeant Gee’s Police Station saying ‘there must have been a plane crash or something’ because people had seen flares over towards Haversham, so the local sheriff and his deputies descended on Haversham in large numbers, 3 to be exact, and made for the nearest source of merriment and noise, and proceeded to interrogate us innocent kids! Now in those days at our tender age you were pretty scared of the police, and more so if they decided to escort you home to mum and dad, and even worse if your dad was a Special, no mercy was shown. Anyway the story concludes, apparently the rockets were distress maroons used by ships, how they came to be where we found them was never told, but under constabulary instruction and advice, to go out in search parties the next day and try and find the remains of the cases. We only ever found two, one by the Viaduct and the other by the white wooden bridge over the brook. These had to be put into safekeeping at 94. I can’t think of any reason for this police persecution of us innocent children. Mind you, dad was a bit off for a few days, can’t think why though!

When the gas mains was laid around The Crescent, the black gas pipes were stored where the static water tank used to be, when a banger firework was placed in these it went off with a very satisfactory echo and to us, a much louder bang! If any of the boys had part time jobs on a local farm they usually acquired a few crow scarers these had a short saltpetre soaked fuse, and they made a much more satisfying bang. Some of us attempted to make fireworks, but we didn’t have the technology or enough know how! The bonfire when dying down was used to bake potatoes and onions and generally sit around, until fetched in at the late hour of 10pm by irate parents. This large Guy Fawkes bonfire spectacular was banned by the spoilsports on the Parish Council in 1961.

Usually the next day a few of us would go around The Crescent and look for any fireworks that had not gone off and to collect spent rockets, why I don’t know, but I believe they had some trade in value against comics or marbles! To this day I can remember their distinctive smell!


Celia Lindon

I moved with my sister and parents to Haversham Estate in 1950 when my father Frank Richardson and his friend Len Burbidge built a pair of semi-detached houses in The Crescent, numbers 35 where we lived and number 37.
I was 5 years old in 1952 and stayed there until we moved to New Bradwell in 1958.


Wolverton Express 24th September 1965

Villages’ Plea for Lights

A petition by 33 parishioners of the Parish Council expressed disappointment that the Council had cancelled an order to provide street lighting between the Haversham Estate and the village was presented by Mr. McKee, a councillor, at the recent meeting.

Mr. McKee said that 33 people out of an approximate population of 87 in the village had come forward on their own initiative to sign the petition. He pressed the Council to go ahead with a scheme to light the road from the Haversham/Castlethorpe road junction to the village without delay.

After discussion, the Council agreed to ask the East Midlands Electricity Board for a quotation to install six lamps along this stretch of road instead of four as had been originally planned. If this quotation is considered satisfactory an order will be placed to put the work in hand.