Books about North Bucks and Milton Keynes

Magic Flute Publishing started over a decade ago by publishing books related to the North Bucks-Milton Keynes area. This work continues.
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Wolverton and its neighbouring parishes have a surprisingly rich history, and these volumes try to tell that story from the earliest known settlements to the district’s present configuration as part of, or on the fringes of, Milton Keynes.
The district under consideration is Wolverton and its neighbouring parishes in North Bucks and those in Northamptonshire, north of the River Ouse. They have a shared history.
This first volume covers almost 2,000 years, from early settlement to 1838, when the arrival of the London and Birmingham Railway transformed the district.
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Wolverton and its neighbouring parishes have a surprisingly rich history, and these volumes try to tell that story from the earliest known settlements to the district’s present configuration as part of, or on the fringes of, Milton Keynes.
The district under consideration is Wolverton and its neighbouring parishes in North Bucks and those in Northamptonshire, north of the River Ouse. They have a shared history.
Volume II, Pure Republic, describes the period from 1838 to the out-break of war in 1914.
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This is a story of men in a rural region of the country who were required to uphold the law in the course of a century which saw major changes in the organisation of police services. It starts with those who were the part time unpaid parish constables acting solely within parish boundaries and in a wholly uncoordinated manner. It ends with a co-ordinated county-wide police force, a precursor of the regional force of today.
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Stony Stratford was an important stopping place on the Watling Street and soon after its foundation at the end of the 12th century it became an attractive resting place for royal entourages. The town was the scene of some famous events in English history and from the 18th century to the arrival of the railways in 1838 was one of the premier coaching towns in England.
The inn was at the centre of this trade and the town could always boast a good number and variety. At any one time there were 25 to 30 inns and alehouses in Stony Stratford.
This book describes the history of these inns and alehouses, which later became hotels and public houses. Every known documentary source has been investigated and the authors have been able to clear up some unanswered questions about earlier establishments.
A second section includes a compendium of all recorded licensed houses from medieval times to the present day. For good measure licensed houses in Old Stratford, Calverton, Wolverton and the Bradwells are included.
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In 1914, Great Britain, as it liked to call itself, had enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity and Stony Stratford was not excepted from this general well being. An assassination in far off Sarajevo would hardly seem to disturb that, but it did trigger a series of events that led to Britain entering the war on August 4th. Hundreds of thousands volunteered to fight against German aggres-sion and most believed it would be a very short war. Many came from Stony Stratford. In the end the Western Front bogged down in trench warfare in which millions of lives were lost for no progress. It changed everything. It transformed our understanding of warfare and transformed the society back home. A society which had a laissez faire government in 1914 and in which towns such as Stony Stratford largely administered their own affairs, became in 1918 part of a centralized regulation system.

Historian John Taylor captures in some detail the life of Stony Stratford as it was and as it changed during those four years. He describes the daily lives and efforts of those at home and the lives and deaths of those young men who volunteered to fight at the war front. And it was a volunteer army: recruitment was not an issue.
Against the background of war the affairs of Stony Stratford continued. Men and now women went to work, businesses continued to trade, the town and parish had to be managed, schools continued to educate, churches and chapels continued to care for their congregations, and there was sport and entertain-ment. John Taylor examines all this through contemporary sources and brings to life a picture of Stony Stratford as it was during those uncertain times.
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Like every other community in the country the ancient market town of Newport Pagnell was affected by the Great War which began on August 4th 1914. Nobody could have anticipated the change it was to bring about in society and Newport Pagnell was a very different place 100 years ago. In this important book historian John Taylor records the events of a century ago and illustrates the daily lives and efforts not only of those at home but also of those young men who were to experience the horrors of an unanticipated and prolonged trench warfare.
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Bletchley, Fenny Stratford and Water Eaton were all smaller communities than today’s urban sprawl would suggest. Bletchley Park was still a private residence and there were several other large homes in the district. Apart from the railway, modern industry has scarcely touched the Bletchley area. Nevertheless, 100 years ago these communities played their important part in the war effort and there are many stories to tell, and perhaps no-one is better placed to record these histories than John Taylor.
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In 1914 North Bucks was mainly rural with one large town at Wolverton and smaller towns in Olney, Newport Pagnell and Bletchley. The villages played their part in the war effort and in some cases made sacrifices out of propor-tion to their tiny population. This carefully researched book, drawing on contemporary sources, tells their story.
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100 years ago Wolverton was the second largest town in
Buckinghamshire and the district contributed over one quarter of the total number of the County’s soldiers to the war effort. In addition, Wolverton’s importance as a railway and manufacturing centre placed additional demands on the community. This is the first of two volumes in which John Taylor examines in detail all aspects of life in Wolverton during those war years.
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This is the second of two volumes in which John Taylor examines in detail all aspects of life in Wolverton during those war years. 100 years ago Wolverton was the second largest town in
Buckinghamshire and the district contributed over one quarter of the total number of the County’s soldiers to the war effort. In addition, Wolverton’s importance as a railway and manufacturing centre placed additional demands on the community.
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The announcement of a new town for North Bucks in 1967 was an important step for the area, and for the country. Traditionally, this was a farming area, serviced by small towns and villages, and, measured against the south of the county, was under-populated.
There was much discussion and argu-ment in the years preceding the announcement, and the concept changed from a new town between Wolverton and Bletchley, with a high population density, to a more wide-spread development over a huge area of 25,000 acres. The final decision incor-porated Wolverton and Bletchley into the boundaries of the new town, although it left out Newport Pagnell.
Milton Keynes, at the time a small village with a total population of 159, was to be the designated name of the new town. A total population for the new town was projected to be 250,000, a target which has now been achieved.
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The announcement of a new town for North Bucks in 1967 was an important step for the area, and for the country. Traditionally, this was a farming area, serviced by small towns and villages, and, measured against the south of the county, was under-populated.
There was much discussion and argu-ment in the years preceding the announcement, and the concept changed from a new town between Wolverton and Bletchley, with a high population density, to a more wide-spread development over a huge area of 25,000 acres. The final decision incor-porated Wolverton and Bletchley into the boundaries of the new town, although it left out Newport Pagnell.
Milton Keynes, at the time a small village with a total population of 159, was to be the designated name of the new town. A total population for the new town was projected to be 250,000, a target which has now been achieved.
This second volume describes the establishment of thye Milton Keynes Development Corporation and the work of the town planners, among the leading practitioners in their field, who shaped the vision for the future city.
This takes the story to 1970.
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This is the first volume in a series which collects stories from all communities within the Milton Keynes area too portray the richness of its history.
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Almost 175 years ago Wolverton was the talk of the nation. Steam locomotive power was able to transport goods and passengers between London and Birmingham at hitherto unheard of speeds, and Wolverton was, of necessity, the stopping point for refreshment and vehicle maintenance. The London and Birmingham Railway, several years in the planning, opened in September 1838. Within a year, a maintenance workshop at a midway point between London and Birmingham were complete and workers accommodation formed the beginnings of the town. The small town grew quickly on the back of the astonishing success of the railway and within a decade the population had outstripped that of the neighbouring coaching town of Stony Stratford.

While Wolverton survives today as a part of Milton Keynes, very few traces of the original town survive. Indeed there is very little evidence that the railway works, once stretching a mile westward from the station, once dominated the town and the area and at its peak provided employment for over 5,000. This book tells the story of the foundation and building of the new town in rural North Buckinghamshire and attempts to reconstruct the early settlement from surviving resources.
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The small, the trivial, the large, the important – the memories come tumbling out in Facebook conversations as people recall their growing years in Wolverton. The memories range from the 1940s to the 1990s while people recall little bits of life in Wolverton. The result is a unique (and very readable) portrait of growing up in Wolverton. The tiny details make their way to the forefront in this unique account – the last film shown at the Empire, toasting crumpets with a pronged fork over a coal fire, school pranks, long-vanished shops, a childhood without video games or mobile phones, 45 rpm record singles, fishing in the canal, the works whistle – all combine to provide a colourful history of life in the town. In these pages are captured the smell of freshly-baked bread, the taste of sherbet, chilly winter nights and the release of spring warmth. Seasons are remembered, newt ponds at the allotments, milk tokens, sheet music, street parties, schools and school teachers, darts and dominoes.
There are approximately 250 voices in these pages, each with their own personality, and this shines through these conversations as the contributors sharpen their wit and engage in friendly banter. Surely a most entertaining way to discover some of the history of Wolverton.
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This second volume of Facebook converstaions brings together well over 250 Wolverton people of all genera-tions and from many parts of the world to discuss the Wolverton they once knew and the Wolverton they now live in. In this volume we focus on Wolverton in transi-tion, essentially the post-Milton Keynes years, when Wolverton changed from being a self-sufficient railway town to form part of a much larger community.
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Step back in time more than a century to relive what life would have looked like in Woburn Sands, Aspley Heath and Wavendon on the Bed-fordshire and Buckinghamshire border. See the shops, businesses and houses of these inter-connected parishes as they were then, with the local people captured by photographers as they went about their daily lives. More than 200 local postcard images and period adverts have been gathered, not only of local views but also one-off events such as the 1911 Coronation Celebrations.
The Edwardian postcard craze really took off in Woburn Sands, thanks to its spa-like reputation for a healthy climate that you could enjoy on your holidays. Several local postcard publishers vied to get the most interesting pictures for sale, sometimes even on the same day as the event had happened. Some views are still easily recognisable today, while others have long since disappeared.
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