The Mail - Wolverton Works Men

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Extract’s from the Railway Men 1838 – 1986 by Bill West

The company put on a special workman’s train to carry these men morning and evening, picking up at Roade and Castlethorpe, the latter two serving as pick up points for Hanslope, Yardley Gobion and Potterspury men. The men from these last three places, instead of walking some six miles to work could, in the case of the Hanslope men, walk two miles down the road to Castlethorpe Station. The Yardley men came across a field, under the canal via a cattle road to Castlethorpe Station. The Yardley men came across a field, under the canal via a cattle walk, between Thrupp and Yardley Wharfs, crossing a plank at Castlethorpe Mill, and so to the station. The Potterspury men came through Furtho Village, down the road past the Navigation and so to the station. Before the introduction of the workmen’s train, all the men from these two villages, walked along the canal twpath to Wolverton, as did many afterwards who could not afford the fare. Wolverton Works supplied this Northampton train, which went via Blisworth. When Wolverton Shed went in 1882 to Northampton, a Works shunting engine did this service (manned by Bletchley Shed men) until the early 1920’s.

Around the turn of the century men from Potterspury formed a club with a view to purchase a horse and brake to convey them to and from Wolverton. The prime mover was George Dodson. This group of men call their transport The Mail, and it was hauled by a mare they called ‘Polly Stuart’. In the beginning they stabled them at the Bakehouse Farm, on the A5. After a short time the Duke of Grafton sold them the Rope Walk, a building where the old village craft had been carried out and where Ted Smith’s coach garage is now, and so they moved. At the Wolverton end, Polly was stabled in the Engineer’s yard during the men’s working period. in 1920, this transport had a tragic end. Travelling home one night in a violent storm, Polly was struck by lightning and  had to be destroyed. Polly’s duties were taken over by a Groses’ Bus of Northampton service to Wolverton Works continued until Ted Smith in 1927 brought a lorry used for general haulage during the day, and in the mornings and evenings placed forms within it for Wolverton Works men. Later he purchased Buses and the concern is still in operation today. During the same period, men of Loughton and Beachhampton formed similar clubs and brought horse-drawn conveyances, stabling in the Engineers and Victoria Hotel yards.






(c) 2012 Mark Russell -

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