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Bletchley in 1926
The old sugar beet factory in Bletchley, which has now been demolished.

Sunday Citizen

Continuing our look at Bletchley in 1926, in order to service the increased residential developments, several improvements and expansions were made to the necessary facilities, including the completion of a filtration scheme for the water supply.

As a further advantage, due to the 'very satisfactory expansion of business during the past year', the Fenny Stratford Gas Light and Coke Co Ltd even announced a decrease in the cost of gas although it has to be said that, for the moment, they served virtually a captive market.

Yet proposals for an electricity supply by the Northampton Electric Light Company were being recommended by the Highways Committee, with the proviso that across private property the cables ran overhead but not along or across roads or streets.

Many businesses and manufacturing concerns would of course benefit from the introduction of an electricity supply but for the Vulcan Works in Bletchley Road it was the end of the road.

‘By Order of the Owners who are retiring' the foundry and the workshops were to be sold although as an ex employee Mr A Hurst continued to carry on a part of the business from a 'temporary' workshop in Denmark Street. (This 'temporary workshop' has only recently closed and now gives shelter to a completely different business!)

Another name synonymous for many years with Bletchley business was that of Weatherheads, the electrical retailers and at one stage their empire encompassed 14 branches.

The introduction of electrical superstores spelled their demise, however and only that at Woburn Sands now remains, itself to be closed in a few weeks time.

The Weatherheads business had begun with the approval for two houses in Bletchley Road to be converted into shops, for Mr E Weatherhead, who intended to then trade as a florist, fruiterer and seedsman.

With the enticement "Scotch Seed potatoes at rock bottom prices.

Give us a trial', at 73 Bletchley Road the shop duly opened on Friday, March 9, but sensing the potential popularity, it was Mr Weatherhead's son who steered the business towards satisfying the public's fascination with the then new tangled wireless sets.

This, throughout many years, proved a lucrative decision.

Amplifying the diverse range of commerce, now being attracted to the town came proposals to site, at a cost of £250,000, a sugar beet factory on land bordering the canal.

This was formerly Scrivens Farm but had been sold at the disposal of Mr Robert Hammond's estate at the turn of the century.

The factory, which continued until recent years, was supposed to be served by a railway siding but this idea was shelved following concerns about carrying the rail track over or across the A5, then a major arterial road.

The importance of the A5 proved an attractive point of sale when, 'as a going concern', the Fenny Stratford Motor Company, 'occupying a valuable position on the main London to Birmingham Road', was put up auction at the Swan Hotel.

The first bid was only for £2000, against an asking price of £3500 and in the event Mr E W Maclaren, of Croydon, bought the business for £2900, subsequently becoming an agent for Swift cars and Triumph, B.S.A, Douglas and Matchless motorcycles.