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November 2021

Back on the Rails

Site of new Winslow station in 2009

The Monday Photo

Just on the left is where Winslow’s new railway station is being built.

It will give the town access to the East West rail project, and if you compare the photo with my more recent one of the recently cleared railway cutting, you’ll realise how overgrown it had become.

When I took this photo a dozen years ago I had no idea that the line was to be reopened. I had no idea that the iron footbridge I took this photo from was going to be demolished, either.

The brick bridge in the background is the one at the top of Winslow on the road to Buckingham.

This was the Buckinghamshire Railway. The first Winslow station was about a quarter of a mile beyond that bridge. It opened to passengers on 1st May 1850, and goods traffic began a fortnight later. The station would have sidings and a goods shed, and be quite an important station on the line.

At first the railway just connected Winslow with Bletchley and Banbury, but a year later the line to Oxford was finished and opened. The lines joined at Claydon Junction, renamed Verney Junction.

Winslow’s first station closed on 1st January 1968. I was eight, and unlike some boys I had little interest in trains. But I do remember walking across the fields to the iron bridge and watching the goods trains go by. In May 1993 the line closed to all traffic, after 145 years of service.

I was sorry to see the old iron footbridge go; it had been a landmark for me; a destination. It’s sad to see things from our childhood change or disappear, but this has always happened.

It might help to remember that whatever they are replaced with, it will be shaped by what had been before.


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Banking on Bricks

Winslow’s bank in the Market Square is a fine example of a Victorian brick building, complete with terracotta detailing.

This is my second post about Winslow’s first bank. The first post, with the timeline of the bank (it closed for good in April after 180 years) was last Thursday.

I had so many interesting photos of the bank revealing details I’d never consciously noticed before that I decided to make a second post, with more photos.

I really should have seen these details before, as I spent the first 26 years of my life in Winslow. Oh well, on with the photos.

Old Lloyds bank  WinslowI happened to be in the Market Square one day and took this photo of the bank. When I began to research the story, I realised I had much more to write about than I thought; too much for a Monday photo. In the end I had enough photos for two complete posts.

Old photos of the bank show a low wall with railings above it, between the left hand brick column and the corner of the bank.

Continue reading "Banking on Bricks" »

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Tall Tales at Stowe

R. Bradbury 090169

The Monday Photo

In 1957 this monument at Stowe received a lightning strike. It hit the statue of Lord Cobham that had stood on the top for over two hundred years.

There was nothing left of the statue but one wrist and a weathered piece of the head, and whatever was left of the feet. Three of the four lions near the base were also destroyed.

These two fragments, together with computer enhanced photos, were used to recreate the original statue.

In 2002 the new statue of Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham was craned into place. Like the original, at ten feet nine inches it is about twice life size and Lord Cobham is portrayed in Roman armour.

With the new statue on top of the column, a lightning conductor was installed, just in case the monument gets hit again. It’s 115 feet tall with the statue and near the top of the highest hill in the locality, so this is a wise precaution.

Sometimes the monument is said to be 104 feet tall, but this doesn’t include the statue; so both figures are correct.

The column is hollow with a spiral staircase to a roofed platform just under the statue; a belvedere, where visitors can admire the view. As usual with high viewpoints, you “can see five counties from here” on a fine day.

If the column doesn’t look quite vertical in the photo, that’s because it isn’t. It’s still stable, especially as the four buttresses were added in 1792.

The statue is in the grounds of Stowe House (National Trust) which you can reach via Stowe Avenue, but with my local knowledge I parked elsewhere and followed a public footpath into the grounds.

The monument was designed for the most part by Capability Brown, who also got married in Stowe’s church.

This photo was taken in 2009.

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Banked Corner

Market Square bank  winslowWinslow’s Victorian bank is up for sale. The chimney at rear right has been capped off and had its pots removed; you might just be able to see the vents inserted near the top. At top right of the photo, No. 21’s roof extends out from its rebuilt wall, and you can see the edge of the date plaque.

There’s been a bank here in Winslow’s Market Square for 180 years, but now the building, the last remaining bank in Winslow, is closed and up for sale. Here’s its timeline.

1841
The Bartlett, Parrott and Co. bank opens at 19 Market Square. This was in the old, probably 17th Century building that stood on part of the site where the Victorian bank is now.

Winslow is a good place to put a bank; it’s a market town, on a turnpike that’s part of a direct route between London and the West Midlands and Wales, bringing passing trade.

The post office is next door, another link with the rest of the country; communication was as important then as it is now.

Usefully, the new bank can be seen across the square from the front door of the Bell, the coaching inn we know today as the Bell Hotel. Some say the bank opened in 1844 not 1841, but it’s 1841 that is carved into the front of the bank.

The Market Hall on the square which might have blocked that view had been knocked down the year before.

Continue reading "Banked Corner" »

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Get the Point

Church of St James  Hanslope

The Monday Photo

Here’s the tallest spire in the whole county, and it’s 186 feet to the very top. This is St James the Great, at Hanslope.

The spire had originally been 200 feet tall, but in 1804 it took a lightning strike which destroyed the top; it had to be rebuilt and I think they lost some stone when the bolt hit.

The tower and spire were built in 1409 by the Rector Thomas Knight. It, er, towers above the rest of the church, which has at the far end a 12th Century Norman chancel. Much of the rest of the church was built between these two dates.

Spires are not common in North Bucks, but Hanslope, like Olney with it’s own church spire, is close to Northamptonshire, where spires are very popular.

Remember last week’s Monday Photo, where I showed you the bells of Hanslope church and mentioned how much the tower swung when the bells were rung?

Now you can see how tall it is. Stone is a lot more flexible than you think…

I used my Sony A6000 and 16-50mm zoom lens like this one for this week's photos. It's compact and light; a great camera for carrying around every day.


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More Fuel (for) You

Motor engineerDave's stamp. 14A Horn Street is now a private house, and Dave cannot be reached at this number any more!

Here’s a few more of Dave Beckett’s 1971 invoices from his car repair business, following on from last week.

But all these cars needed fuel; where could they buy it in Winslow? In 1971 there were four places to buy petrol in the town, Dave told me. Petrol cost about 34 pence a gallon then; equivalent to a bit over eight quid per gallon today, just over £1.76 a litre.

Continue reading "More Fuel (for) You" »

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