Bradwell Village and Milton Keynes
A new experience
The year was 1984 and we were living in Colchester when we had the news that my husband was being relocated to Milton Keynes. Where was Milton Keynes? It was a name that I had heard on the news but couldn’t place where it was. We checked it out in the map book and had a family trip to see where we would be living. The first impression was a very open bleak place as the February day we visited was bitterly cold and windy. However, once we had parked (all free in those days) and found the large City Centre shopping area our perception began to change. It was lovely and warm in the shopping centre and was a whole new experience to the High Street kind of shopping we were used to. The children were very impressed by a large Toy shop which unfortunately closed some time after we had moved. The next stage was to find some estate agents and start our search for a new home. After exploring some of the area we settled on a house in Bradwell Village and set things in motion. I continued to live in Colchester with the children while we were waiting to sell our house and take possession of the new one and my husband lived in lodgings during the week and came home at weekends. Fortunately, this state of affairs only lasted a few weeks and we finally arrived in Milton Keynes in May of that year.
It did not take long to get settled and start exploring the local area. We discovered Bradwell Abbey and the Sports field with the club house and bowls and tennis courts. We went through the spooky bridge which passes under the railway and over the brook and led to a pleasant walk along the brook which can continue up to and around Loughton Lake. Children had built a damn at a shallow part of the river and we were able to cross to what is known as the hills and the hollows there was also another area where stones are tumbled across the brook and it is possible to cross when the brook is not too swollen. We discovered the church and the Youth Hostel with the field adjoining the church where horses were being kept. We walked to the canal and discovered the remains of the Bradwell Windmill on the way. The village shop and post office were in Primrose Road which was quite close to where we lived being just across King George’s playing Field which our house backed onto. Walking round the Village we found the thatched cottages in Vicarage Road and the two pubs
The Victoria and the Prince Albert. A fairly high priority was to get the children settled into new schools. They both started at Bradwell Village Combined School which was severely overcrowded as Priory Common was still unfinished. Our daughter was in a classroom which was shared by two classes. This state of affairs continued until the school broke up for the summer holidays. Priory Common was due to open in September for the younger children and Bradwell Village was becoming a Middle School. However Priory Common was still not finished at the start of the new Term so our daughter had to bus to Two Mile Ash and transferred to Priory Common when it finally opened after Christmas, it was her 4th school in under a year. I went on to become one of the founder members of the Parent Teacher Association holding the post of Treasurer until my daughter left the school to go on to Bradwell Village Middle school. My daughter joined the local Brownies and our son transferred to the Bradwell Village cub pack where both my husband and I became assistant leaders. I later went on to become Akela until work commitments made it impossible for me to continue. I also did voluntary work with the children at Bradwell Village Middle School helping with a variety of things including helping small groups shop and cook their own meals. I also became a lunchtime supervisor and a welfare assistant at the school and was the local Avon lady for many years. I later worked at D W Roberts in
Wolverton until illness intervened and I was unable to work. My children went on to Stantonbury Campus until they left to go out into the world.
Changes we have seen
The City Discovery centre on Bradwell Abbey was not in use when we first came. My daughter kept her horse there in the stable block and we rented the two paddocks for grazing. The buildings have since been renovated and improved to turn the site into the Discovery Centre it is today. The field by the church was pasture with a building that was used as stabling, my daughter kept her first pony there. The building has since been demolished and the area planted with a footpath running through it. The field was a very pleasant place to sit in summer on a Wednesday evening when bell ringing practice was taking place at the church. The Village shop has closed and the Post Office moved to Heelands in Chapharms chemist shop. The local bus was a number 2 which used to run through Colley Hill, the bus numbers have changed several times and the route now lies through Rawlings Road and Loughton Road the current bus being a 33 or 33A, now hourly and not on Sundays. Parking charges have now been introduced to the City Centre. The Bradwell Windmill has now been restored and holds open days when it can be seen producing flour from grain. When we first moved toMilton Keynesit was possible to cycle to Wolverton across Bancroft where the redway passed up the hill through cornfields, houses have now been built on this land. The concrete cows were in a large meadow which was unfenced at the time. Behind the concrete cows the area was later fenced and turned into a paddock. The small area of grass adjoining the Sports field in Bradwell was later turned into a nature area with a pond and bulbs planted between the field and the red way which leads to the spooky bridge. Our local doctor’s surgery was located on Bradwell Common in two houses that had not had the dividing wall put in. This later moved to the City Centre to a purpose built Medical Centre, however the population continued to grow and eventually a new and larger Medical Centre was built on Bradwell Common.Milton Keynes is still a growing thriving place and I wonder how many other changes we will see over the coming years.