Early Days- Norman

Living Archive- Personal Project

One Friday in 1973 my pregnant wife was browsing the property pages of the Daily Express only to come upon an advertisement on new property for the new city of Milton Keynes with the marketing name of ‘city of trees’.

At the time I was working for a building contractor whose offices were in Beckenham in Kent.

Anyway we decided to view the property on the site advertised at Stantonbury Fields and decided that we should relocate. Times were hard and money was tight.

It just so happened that my employer had 2 projects in the area and I was allocated both of these.

My wife had some health complications with her pregnancy and went into hospital for 3 months before the birth. Hence she was unable to accompany me on the couple of site visits I made that Autumn/ Winter to view first the footings then the brickwork built up to first floor joist level. The latter was in heavy snow. At the time the only grid roads built were the V7 Saxon Street and the V8 Marlborough Street going North to South and the H3 Monks Way and the H6 Childs Way headed East to West of the newly designated area of Milton Keynes.

We moved up in September 1974 using a hired ‘Luton’ box van and with the assistance of my father in law and a good friend/ work colleague. The first night there was a power cut and we retired early to bed.

In those days there was no City Centre for shopping, no hospital and the main towns in the vicinity of Bletchley and Wolverton both had half day closing mid week plus of course there was no Sunday Trading. Computers were in their infancy and, since I was on the road, I used to rely on carbon copies of worksheets for costing purposes as the original signed copy would be sent in the mail every week to my company’s head office.

We had an emergency one time when our infant daughter cut open her forehead and, as we had no phone, I had to ring the doctor from an unlit public phone box. We ended up taking my daughter to the Doctor’s private residence where the Doctor stitched the wound.

My work frequently required travel to London South of the River using my company Ford Escort and weeks were long in those days both for me and my family.

Now, some years later, I live just outside Milton Keynes in Olney having lived at Stantonbury until late 1978, then in Great Linford for 29 years until 2007.

In 2014 the vision of Milton Keynes has borne fruition.




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