Linda Frost

My house in New Bradwell

This is the story of the house where I live – our house 1870 to the present day. Nobody envisaged that the invention of the railways, and all that this entailed, would have such an impact on the sleepy little towns of Wolverton, Stantonbury and the coach town of Stony Stratford. Not only did it bring “The Works” and thousands of new jobs making a New Town. This, of course, made a lot of Builders very rich, making work for various trades, shops etc! I live in New Bradwell- a town formed from the original Stantonbury. A small village which boasted a Windmill (still standing) and little else, so becoming prime land for building houses to house all the new families who moved here to “The Works” in the mid 1800’s.

The house I live in now, was one such, although it has the foundations for two houses. Mr Kemp – one of the master builders building many of the new houses especially in New Bradwell – decided that, as the houses were opposite his building yard, he would build it as one.

Thus the house was built. There was a Reclamation Yard in the area and most of the builders sourced some of their material from there.

The house has a large front door with a beautiful stained glass window, several marble fireplaces, doors of several heights and width etc. Beams and stained glass windows make a beautiful back drop for the home of a master builder. Also on the site were a large workshop with fire place, and a huge building at the bottom of the garden which housed the Fire Engine during the War. There were tables along the far wall where painters stood to paint. Large round disks were formed from the many coats of paint made by the cleaning of paint brushes.

The house was, of course, lit by gas and some of the old pipe work still remains. The house had an upstairs bathroom and toilet, running cold water but no hot which had to be carried up the stairs and through long passages. There was a glass lean to which connected the two wings of the house.

Mr Kemp lived there with his brother Percy (who, when young, sustained an injury to his brain).

After Mr Kemp, the house was occupied by the Brownsell family of mother and father and six daughters – one of which was the mother of my husband’s friend.

It then became the property of Mr and Mrs Walsh and their son Harry. Mr Walsh worked as a civil servant and traveled a lot abroad. Their son Harry joined the Air force when he left school. During a test flight, the airplane blew up midair, killing all personnel. His name has been included on the list of airmen killed in service in our local Church.

During the War, a family from London occupied rooms there and I often saw their little girl at the upstairs window on my way to school.

After the death of their son, Mrs Walsh became depressed and they moved up north, leaving the house empty and up for sale.

We were looking for a different house and arranged to look ’round. I walked through the large imposing front door and immediately fell in love with it, as I could picture a large Christmas tree in the corner. We put in an offer which was accepted and on Good Friday 1970 we moved in.

That was over 40 years ago. The house is quirky, called by some of my friends The Tardis, it seems much bigger on the inside than out. Much money and a lot of love have gone into it since then and many parties and family gatherings. I like to think that the house has improved with love and has become not just mine but the children’ also. A home to be proud of. Thank you Mr Kemp.

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  • I opened this contribution to the archive because it was written by someone with my surname. However, we are not related. In it was reference to a dear friend – Harry Walsh. Harry was a year ahead of me at the grammar school. He appeared in, I think, the fourth form, his family having returned from service abroad. I think, also, that Harry had to go into the form below his age group because he had missed quite a lot of fourth form material. He must, therefore, have been a couple of years older than I was. A particular memory I have of him is of a trip to Northampton swimming baths on the back of his motorbike. I suspect my mother was really anxious about allowing me to do that, especially as it was a foggy day. But Harry was unusually mature for his age. He arrived at our house in Stony Stratford with a crash helmet for me (although they were not compulsory in those days) and drove very sensibly. Even on the way home, when the fog was really dense, I somehow felt safe with him. Harry was not my ‘boyfriend’, just one of my group of closest friends. His death at such a young age was a real tragedy. He was a thoroughly decent and likeable young man.

    By Barbara Frost (16/05/2020)

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