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It was in 1938 that my parents bought a brand new house in Greenshields Road (not far from the Denmark Street home) for around £800s. The building had three bedrooms, two downstairs living rooms, a kitchen with walk in pantry, and an upstairs toilet and bathroom. There were also an outside coal and coke store and an outside toilet. This was situated at the rear of the house in the area now showing some recent brickwork. Not surprisingly the plumbing froze solid at various times during the winter months making the toilet totally unusable.

The house was on a large new estate created in the mid 1930s and included the new roads: Phillpotts Avenue, Irwin Road, Rosamond Road and Greenshields Road. Castle Road was extended eastwards through the estate from just east of George Street to Newnham Avenue.

A further estate was also being developed between Newnham Avenue and Barker's Lane - two roads (Wendover Drive and Risborough Road) passed through the estate and houses built along them. Building ceased with the onset of WWII and the estate was not completed until well after hostilities had ceased

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On the south-west corner of the Denmark Street and Castle Road intersection George Langford ran his butcher's shop throughout the war years (right). The Langfords lived in Greenshields Road and were well respected by their neighbours - even more so at times of meat shortage!

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Opposite to George Langford's shop and at 167 Castle Road was a bakery operated for many years (until 1952) by Percy Northwood. Futher along Castle Road Mr and Mrs Ruff also ran a well patronised bakery on the corner of Pembroke Street. The family (including son, Raymond, who later attended Bedford School) lived above the shop.

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Opposite to the Ruffs' bakery the local post office and newsagency continues to ply its trade but its function as a post office ceased in 2005. A telephone kiosk had been in its pictured site since well before WW2. In the 1930s and 40s, when home phones were in the minority, this telephone was in continuous use, and more particularly in the war years when long queues to make calls were a common occurrence. In more recent years there has been a substantial modification to the facade of the shop but the frontage limits of the old building can be readily seen in the picture (right).

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In the 1930s and 40s this shop in Castle Road was a grocer's shop, probably a branch of the Consumers Tea Co. Ltd..

The first floor apartment was occupied for many years by Miss Cutteridge (later Mrs Lillo) who taught at the Goldington Road School where she earned the somewhat impolite nick-name, 'Miss Cutterbum', which, however, appropriately related to her prowess with the cane! The rather large and muscular Miss Cutteridge also taught pianoforte privately in her flat above the shop.

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The Bunyan Meeting Hall situated in Castle Lane behind the Bunyan Chapel (which fronted on to Mill Street) (right). In the early stages of the war the Goldington Road School used the hall for classes in order to accommodate the large number of evacuees billetted in the area, An ARP wardens' post was situated in the basement and the entrance was one of the two doorways to be seen below the main body of the hall.

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This house adjacent to the old fire station in Mill Street was used as a 'British Restaurant' during WWII. The following information is from 'Wikipedia' :

"Restaurants were exempt from rationing, which led to a certain amount of resentment as the rich could supplement their food allowance by eating out frequently and extravagantly. In order to restrict this certain rules were put into force. No meal could cost more than five shillings; no meal could consist of more than three courses; meat and fish could not be served at the same sitting.

"Establishments known as 'British Restaurants' supplied another almost universal experience of eating away from home. British Restaurants were run by local authorities, who set them up in a variety of different premises such as schools and church halls. They evolved from the London County Council’s Londoners’ Meals Service which originated in September 1940 as a temporary emergency system for feeding those who had been bombed out.

"By mid-1941 the LCC was operating two hundred of these restaurants. Here a three course meal cost only 9d (approximately twenty 'new' pence). Standards varied, but the best were greatly appreciated and had a large regular clientele. A similar scheme was run in other towns and cities" - including Bedford.

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St Cuthbert's Hall opposite the church was a venue for many meetings and social events particularly during the wartime years. For the author it was the meeting place on Sunday afternoons for the local male branch of the Crusaders Union. This very conservative religious organisation was ostenibly for those who went to Bedford School or Bedford Modern School.

Although its fundamentalist tenets were much frowned upon by the headmaster of Bedford School the weekly Crusader 'class' was generally well supported. It is probable, however, that many of those who attended, including the author, were somewhat sceptical of the prevailing Crusader dogma either at the time or later in life! I also suspect that the organised social activities, particularly during the holidays, were the main drawcard, as were those occasions when there was a combined meeting with the Girl Crusaders who held their regular Sunday meetings elsewhere in the town!

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