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Our Towering achievement - Mellish Court, Bletchley
Mellish Court, dominating the skyline for over 40 years. It was opened opened on December 8th 1966, with the first resident being Mrs Doris Gent.

Even at a time in the conflict when the outcome was far from certain, during World War Two Bletchley Urban District Council was making plans for the post war expansion of the town!

This would be primarily to accommodate the overspill population from London, and the numbers of wartime refugees, and personnel for Bletchley Park, that were pouring into Bletchley gave an early indication of the problems that might be expected, and the expansion that would be needed to the existing facilities.

As the war drew to a close, as a possible housing solution Bletchley councillors travelled to London to view a display of the new prefabricated type of accommodation, which was now being made available.

However, since the national shortage of fixtures and fittings would affect 'prefabs' just as much as permanent housing, in an innovative move they instead opted for a quota of traditional houses that, by using a steel structure, saved not only on cost, but also on the time necessary for their construction.

In fact as an additional benefit, due to the shortage of timber the amount that was allocated to each house could be used for other purposes, apart from the actual structure of the building, and the occupants of the steel framed houses could therefore be 'one up' on their neighbours by having smart wooden floors, instead of the utilitarian concrete!

Due to the housing shortage, at the end of the war many families in the town had little choice but to rent rooms but desperate for their own 'space' some were now squatting in the huts of disused local army camps - albeit with the tacit approval of the authorities.

Then in the years after the war new housing estates began to provide adequate accommodation for both locals and the new arrivals to the town, and in a solution typical of the 1960s a tower block of flats was even constructed, which still dominates the local skyline today.

The foundation stone of the 18 storey block of one and two bedroom flats, to accommodate 136 families, was laid in January 1966, by Robert Mellish, MP, the then Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

Designed by Mr F Henson of Stone, Toms and Partners Construction, the building, appropriately named Mellish Court, would be constructed at a cost of £465,000 by Bernard Sunley and Sons, on the Sunley-Allbetong system of industrialised building and, hailed as a method that saved time and labour, this system had been devised in Sweden.

Indeed, before the contract was placed Bletchley councillors had travelled to Sweden to view various examples.

On Thursday December 8 1966 with a golden key, Mr Mellish then opened Mellish Court, and the first tenant would be Mrs Doris Gent, a 55-year-old widow, who had lived for most of her life in London.

However, the concept of tower blocks was tarnished on May 16 1968 when part of the Roman Point tower block in London collapsed, following a gas explosion.