‘Everybody’s got a story to tell…’
History is not just about events. It's about people, their experiences, their triumphs, the way they live their lives and how they tell their stories. These exhibition panels mark the end of a project which was funded by the Local Heritage Initiative to collect the stories and memories of people who have worked on, or used, the railway at Bletchley. The information was gathered by local people using local resources and materials provided by Bletchley Community Heritage Initiative and Living Archive.
The railway has been an important part of the growth of Bletchley throughout 170 years. Many people moved here, worked here, and generations of families have been involved with the railway in some form or other.
The project started with a ‘Down Memory Lane’ event. Exhibitors included the LNWR society, Bletchley Model Railway Society, the late Arthur Griggs Railway Collection, Bletchley Park, Living Archive, Bletchley Historical & Archaeological Society and several personal collections. People brought along photographs and told their stories. These were followed up with in-depth interviews and over 30 hours of digital recordings have now been collected.
Year Seven children from two Bletchley Schools, Eaton Mill Combined and Knowles Middle, also got involved in the project. The children took part in a three-day textile workshop working with a local artist. Each school created two banners, one entitled ‘Welcome to Bletchley’, the other ‘Transport through the Ages’. They also interviewed train drivers who had worked at Bletchley.
A plaque situated on the Denbigh Hall Bridge on Watling Street, Bletchley has been restored by a stonemason. The plaque was originally commissioned by Sir Herbert and Lady Leon of Bletchley Park in 1920. It commemorates a time from April to September 1838 when the new London to Birmingham railway terminated at Denbigh Hall and passengers going any further north had to be transported by stagecoach to their destinations. This was until the line joined up at Bletchley to create the London to Birmingham railway link.
A team of volunteers received training from Living Archive in web page creation, photo restoration and oral history interviewing; and they helped to create this website, photo archive and a book recording the people’s story of Bletchley’s railway heritage: Where the Lines Meet.