Thought that you might be interested in seeing these photos, taken last week, of Babs’ charming childhood home. It situated in the picturesque village of Wendover, a few miles to the east of Aylesbury (my hometown).
I know the village well: Not only was I born there, at RAF Halton’s long-since-demolished hospital, but also lived there during the 1990s, as my parents did in the late Fifties/early Sixties.
Of course, I have asked my mum whether she and and my late father knew Babs, and yes, it transpires they did. Though they weren’t part of the same friendship groups (my parents were a few years older), they were acquainted, and my mum recalls chatting with Babs on occasion.
Incidentally, the room behind the tiny square window, up by the eaves on the side of the cottage, was apparently Babs’ bedroom. This little tidbit of information was gleaned from a post I published on the Wendover Facebook page, included amongst quite a number of responses from people claiming their mate/brother/friend went out with Babs...
I’ve few more Babs-related photos, all of which I’ll share in this thread at some point over the next week.
What an idyllic place to spend ones childhood. Bet its a bit drafty in the winter, but the summer in a picturesque leafy Buckinghamshire village must have been pretty awesome. That pub down the lane looks quite inviting too. Thanks for posting Michael.
Thank you very much for the pictures, Michael. Those houses look so inviting from the outside. What a lovely place to grow up in. I wonder how much they cost to buy these days.
I think the pub, whatever it is called, should be the venue of a future Oneforthedads meet up. I will certainly go there by any means possible!
We can drink to Babs , and all the others there!
Yes, the cottages do have quite a history. Locally, they’re known as the “Anne Boleyn Cottages”. There’s no definitive explanation as to why they acquired this name: one is that they were a wedding gift to Anne from her husband Henry VIII, whereas Wikipedia suggests that they were so-named because her father held the Manor of Aylesbury which included a part of Wendover - ownership of which passed to Anne.
Either way, they are indeed very picturesque, very old buildings.
Actually, these houses are quite snug, though I wouldn’t want to spend a winter in one without the luxury of central heating. The 400 year old house I occupied in Wendover didn’t have said, and despite the efforts of the various Calor Gaz heaters dotted around, the property was unbearably cold; it used to take me until May to thaw out.
Wendover is indeed lovely during the summer, and the pub you spotted (The Packhorse) is the place to go if you are an ale drinker - they really know how to look after their beers.
You’re very welcome! I’m delighted they have proved interesting.
Yes, they do indeed look very inviting, as is the pub, The Packhorse, known locally for its quality ales. It would make a great venue for a meet-up, though if food were to be involved, there’re more suitable establishments in the vicinity. The Packhorse, though, would be the perfect venue at which to raise a glass to Babs et al.
Thinking about it, there’s every chance Babs’ parents frequented The Packhorse. But then again, in the late Fifties/early Sixties, there would’ve been around nine pubs within five minutes walk of their front door to choose from.
Ask to current value of the property: you wouldn’t get much change out of £600k!
Yes, as a real ale fan, as are a number of other members I believe, the Packhorse sounds an ideal place to visit. I have never been to Wendover as far as I can remember, but it is now at the top of my list to go to.
Seriously, is there any interest from other members for a get together there. Either this year, perhaps now too late to arrange. Or more likely some time early next year? It seems a must to me.
Thanks for all this detail Michael, that you have given us about Babs’ old home.
Michael, you're selling the idea of a visit to Wendover very well indeed, especially if there's a village Inn nearby!
For a visit to be on the cards, a future occasion during British Summer Time would be an attractive proposal.
Wendover is well worth a visit, though I wouldn't suggest travelling vast distances to do so. Summer is certainly the best time as there are many very rewarding country walks that can be conducted from its centre, including one of my favourites: an invigorating stroll along the Ridgeway to the summit of Coombe Hill.
If there is genuine interest, I'll happily supply whomever organises the meet-ups with all the relevant details, along with a list of eateries.
There are six pretty decent pubs in Wendover. The Packhorse is a favourite of ale drinkers, though, with the Red Lion a close second. The King & Queen is worth a mention, if only for its vast array of gins!
A I mentioned to Hanaway2, a summer visit is certainly recommended.
Michael, you have certainly sold me on this. A journey to Wendover is a must in the near future. And a visit to as many pubs as possible is compulsory, I think.
Throwing this open to the wider Forum. Is there an appetite to go to Wendover for a meet up of Members, some time next year?
I am sure it can be arranged and should not be too difficult to get to for many of us.
Thanks Michael, that sure is 'old news', here is something that is also old, 1962 in fact. I saw this a while ago and i didnt bother with it as i thought it was just a quirky cover, but now you reminded me of it i've seen the contents, there is an article on page 25 called Babs and the Family, quite intriguing, I wonder if it has any pics of Babs picture postcard house rather than the drawn version on the cover?
Secondly, within the hallowed pages of "Our Story", Babs mentions her mother's dance school (The Mary Lord Stage School), which was based in Aylesbury, and how she would attend, and later help her mother with the classes.
Being a resident of said town, I thought I'd do a little research into where the classes were held. Again, with the kind assistance friendly folk who frequent the Wendover Facebook page, it was soon revealed that the function room at Aylesbury’s Victoria Club was the venue Babs' mum used.
The Victoria Club, which still stands, is to this day a workers’ club, which is subsidised (I believe) by the Rothschilds. I seem to recall hearing/reading that this subsidy dates back to the times when many folk from Aylesbury worked at Waddesdon Manor. These folks worked hard, and needed a recreational facility, hence the club was born. As I said, I’m not 100% sure about this, so don’t quote me!
Over the years, I’ve played many gigs there with various bands. It’s always fun place to perform, and has a very evident family atmosphere: because its a club that you have to be nominated to join, you often have many generations of the same family spending their leisure time there, as their ancestors did before than and their descendants will in the future.
Incidentally, my sister used to attend dance classes there in the Seventies, but this was long after Mary Lord had shut up shop.
Here’re two pictures of the building: one that looks a little more like it might’ve in Mrs Lord’s day, and a current one. The room Mrs Lord would have used is being the windows on the first floor. As you can see from the later photo, Aylesbury’s town centre is now resplendent with nail bars, betting shops, off-licenses, charity shops, and independent fast-food outlets that all claim to serves the U.K.’s favourite fried chicken.