1930 onwards

Beginnings | 1200AD - 1800AD | 1800AD - 1930 | 1930 - Present |

Houghton Regis Timeline - 1930 onwards

1930: Sidney Chaperlin at the Whitehead school until 1954.

Workmen widening the road at Chalk Hill (formerly Puddle Hill before the cutting) ~ chalk and gravel all being removed by hand.....Early 1930s


1931: Houghton Regis population 2,459. There are 667 houses in the parish.(source) Edward Leslie Burgin (National Liberal) elected MP for Luton constituency.

July 1931: The Parish Council posted notices inviting the public
 to tender their views on taking out a loan to purchase a Motor Fire Engine.
Source: Houghton Regis Town Council archives


1932: The Thorn “Meeting”, the parent church of Dunstable and Houghton Regis Baptist Churches, repaired and its churchyard improved.

1933: 1st April - Houghton Regis CP/AP was reduced by 663 acres to enlarge DUNSTABLE CP/AP; Houghton Regis CP/AP was further reduced by 380 acres to enlarge LUTON CP/AP. (M. of H. Order No. 77050. The South Bedfordshire Review Order, 1933).

1934: A.C.Sphinx established in south east quadrant of A5/Houghton Road/Brewers Hill Road junction.

1935: Northfields estate, Dunstable is completed.

1936: The old 'Kings Arms' is pulled down and replaced by the present building. The major part of Chantry Farm is conveyed from Annie Louise Franklin to Richard Oakley Andrews of Chalton Cross for £6500. (see Alan's Page)

1930s: The Pound Tree dies; this was in front of houses that face south towards the Green. The large pond opposite Kings Arms p.h is filled in.

1937: Christ Church is built in Clifton Street in Upper Houghton as a daughter church to All Saints, Houghton Regis. "Church of All Saints, Houghton Regis" was a new booklet produced by Francis W. Buckingham

1938: Colonel Dealtry Part's horse, Morse Code, won the Gold Cup in 1938. Col Part, pictured here leading the Hertfordshire Hunt past the Crown in East End, Houghton Regis, bought Houghton Hall from the Brandreth's in 1913. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 1943 and knighted in 1957. He died in 1961.

1939: Part of Houghton Regis is transferred to Luton. Child evacuees arrive from London; the school on the Green takes Infants dept. of the Lancing St. London County Council, raising the school roll from 97 to 156. The nearby Luton and Dunstable hospital opens.



1940s

Feb 1940: Meteorological Office Headquarters moves to Dunstable (at that time technically situated in Houghton Regis, today the site of Cookfield Close and Burnhill Close, Dunstable).

1941: No population census due to WW II.

1942: Dunstable Town Council prepare post-war plan for a Greater Dunstable.

1944: German bomb dropped in grounds of Northfield School.

1945: Will Warbey (Labour) elected MP for Luton constituency. Brewer's Hill Farm was destroyed by fire (Facebook anecdotes on Brewers Hill Farm)

1947: Local government boundary Commission rejected Luton’s bid for amalgamation with Dunstable. The Blundells's are at Poynter's Farm Houghton Regis. [Link]

1945-9: Gymkhana and Horse Show held annually in the grounds of Houghton Hall attracts 10,000 -12,000 people. Proceeds raise funds for Houghton Regis Memorial Fund.

1949: Parliamentary constituency changes; Houghton Regis becomes part of South Bedfordshire County Constituency.

1949/50: Woodlands Avenue is developed by the Luton Rural District Council.


1950s

1950: "The Dunstable Borough Gazette and Luton Journal"
In January it was reported that Dunstable Corporation were to pay £18,550 for Brewers Hill Farm under a compulsory purchase order. Also in January Houghton Rangers FC held a party for childrens players at the memorial Hall where a big tea was followed by a visit to Father Christmas and a film show.
In February a N0.6 double decker bus was pictured, having suffered a broken axle near the grass verge on Poynters Road, Houghton Regis, following a sudden freeze.
The Parish Council chose "Manor Park Estate" as a new name for a new estate.
The paper reported on the concerns of HR Parish councillors who had decided to send a letter complaining of the dust from the quarry. The council were, also, to ask for another telephone kiosk at the northerly end of Houghton High Street.
In the February 10th edition Edward Moeran expressed that the cement industry was a tight monopoly "which should be nationalised", but a letter the following week refuted that claim.
Edward Moeran (Labour) elected MP for South Bedfordshire constituency. Dunstable Liberal Club made a loss of £181 for the year.
In March a picture of an overturned railway truck at Sundon was printed following a collision. A clash of interest between cricket club and Football Clubs using the Village Green. Court of appeal allowed the appeals by the Ministry of Transport and Rugby Portland Cement Co. Ltd for authority to close parts of Totternhoe green ways to permit extension of chalk workings.

1951: Houghton Regis population 2,826. There are 803 houses in the parish.(source) Lovell Fensome and D. E. Fensome use a combine harvester for the first time at Thorn. Norman Cole (National Liberal & Conservative) elected MP for South Bedfordshire constituency.

1952: The Village Fair 1952; a fancy dress competition has 55 entries who parade along the High Street to the Green. In Nov. the Rev. L. Blackburn sat for 12 hours at All Saints to receive gifts for the church funds. £85 was raised. Also in Nov., Ernest Savery, a labourer of Bidwell Hill, was fined £1 at Luton Divisional Court for failing to have lights on a cycle after lighting up time on September 28th.

1953: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – villagers celebrate with a beer-barrel rolling contest though Houghton Regis High Street.

1954

Vauxhall Motors emerges from Vauxhall Ironworks and sets up in Dunstable. (see Falkes de Breaute). Frank Faiers at the Whitehead school until 1972.
On 01 Apr 1954, Luton Rural District Council is reduced to enlarge DUNSTABLE Municipal Borough, transferring 57 acres of Houghton Regis CP Area (The Dunstable (Extension) Order, 1954).

On display at Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton. This bike was used by Mrs George to carry her shopping in Houghton Regis in the 1950s. Photo: A D Winter.


From the Parish Council records: 
June - Meeting held at "The School Houghton Regis". A new road was being proposed by Luton Rural District Council, but the PC had no further news on it. PC were to request LDRC to remove of reduce in height the chalk ridge facing the cutting. Gibbs and Dandy to supply a Coronation seat to replace one seat. Houghton Rangers Football Club given permission to carry on playing football on the village green, provided the goalmouth "is made good to the satisfaction of the Village Green Committee". A draft conveyance relating to the transfer of the manorial rights of the village green was approved. A resident of Bidwell Hill Estate was to be asked not to ride his motor cycle on the footpath near the Baulk. Memorial Hall to be asked to inform its members not to park on the village green.

August - PC is concerned at the extent of the dust emanating from the storage place for gypsum, but appreciated efforts of Portland Cement to keep down the amount of dust emanating from the stack. LRDC to be asked to clean the lamps. The Coronation seat had been damaged (damage cost £1), police proceedings pending. A footbridge near Calcutt Farm was in need of repair.  PC to request more postboxes in the village.

Sept - HR Womens Institute request litter bins along the High Street. Hounds had fouled the paths, and Master in Charge was to be asked to use an adjacent field. Mr Bright of 32 Bidwell Hill had a town criers bell and wanted to hand it over to the PC; the clerk would arrange collection.

Oct - As HRPC had no official seal, the village green conveyance was to be executed by 2 councillors. Complaints that buses were using King Street, Albert Road and Queen Street to turn their vehicles instead of reversing into Cumberland Street from the High Street as agreed. Attention was drawn to the absence of a doctor in the village.

Nov - Speed of vehicles was a concern. Mr Russel of Leighton Buzzard applied to hold a fair in March 1955 on the Village Green, which was agreed.

Dec - Mr T Smith of Croxley Green offered to run two fairs for £50 in 1955, provided they were the only ones held in that year. Councillors resolved to rescind the previous letting agreement to Mr Russel and accept Mr Smith's offer. PC to ask Bedfordshire County Council for an additional road sweeper.

1955

A fireman on the Luton to Leighton Buzzard train is killed in a blow back accident. The train passed through both Dunstable stations without driver or fireman, and through level crossing gates, before being halted by the guard using vacuum brakes (#3).

From the Parish Council records: 
January - Residents were to be provided with forms to fill in about cement dust pollution. Transfer of manorial rights of the village green from Mrs E M. Part to the Parish Council. Documents to be deposited with Westminster Bank, Dunstable, for safe keeping.

February - Headpostmaster wanted to remove postbox at Mill Rd and put a larger one near Douglas Crescent; councillors did not approve. When ploughing his field, Mr Rooke at Calcutt Farm, had been asked to leave space for pedestrians to use the path. The parish had no doctor, but parishioners were on the lists of nine doctors out of the parish.  The precept was set at 2d in the £ for year ending 31/5/1956. The PC would apply for lamp wattages to be increased, and ask for lamps at Mill Road corner, Bedford Rd junction with High Street,  and at the Chequers to be lit all night. The clerk's salary was to be increased by £5 to £50pa from 1 April 1955.

March - Flowering trees had been planted on the village green. Eastern Electricity Board had been asked to clean reflectors on street lamps in the parish. Memorial Hall Fund Committee asked the PC to appoint representatives to sign conveyances for 2 strips of land adjoining the Hall. PC was concerned at the lack of accommodation in existing schools.

April - The rate for cutting The Green was 2s 9d per hour. A public enquiry would soon be held regarding compulsory acquisition of land in the Parish for housing.

May -  Vicar of the town had applied for use of allotment land for housing; Councillors strongly objected, as no other allotments in the Parish.

June - 7th was the public enquiry at offices of Luton Rural District Council. The PC was to instigate investigation into the effect of cement dust on woodwork and metals.

September - Attention was drawn to an offensive smell emanating from A.A. Allen & Sons, Knacker Yard, Houghton Regis. The sanitary inspector said later that the owner would install an approved oil burner to eliminate the small nuisance. But, in March 1956, the smell was still being reported.   PC was to ask Police to warn motor cyclists that it is an offence to use the footpath (Mill Rd to Old Cement Works, Bidwell) for motor cycling purposes. A Dr Miller attended the PC meeting in September saying there was a possible lack of iodine in the local water.

October - PC learnt that a new housing estate was to be built at Chalton Road. The PC advised the estate was to be called Leafields, odd one side, even the other. Col. D.C.Part complained that the fair had overstayed on The Green, beyond the terms of the conveyance to the Parish Council. The present 7.50 and 8.10 bus service from HR to Luton was unsatisfactory.

November - Tenders were received to run fairs on the village green; Mr E. Russel £35 for 2 fairs, and Mr T. Smith £50 for 2 fairs. The library was thought to be inadequate.

1956 

Met Office’s site in Drovers Way is sold to George Wimpey for £125,000. 200 acres of Houghton Regis land is subject to Compulsory Purchase Order by Luton Rural District Council. The Houghton Regis C.E. School (C.E. = Charity Endowed) school takes the name of its founder and becomes Whitehead Voluntary Primary School.

From the Parish Council records: 
Jan - A new bus running at 8.00 between HR and Luton was to start. PC precept was to be 2d in the £ for y/e 31/3/1957. The PC was to purchase a safe costing £20.

March - The rate for cutting the village green was now 3/- (15p) an hour. The PC were to take steps to acquire a playing field as the village green condition had been deteriorating due to all of its uses; a field adjacent to Manor Park and Houghton Hall was to be acquired. Two accidents involving speeding vehicles had occurred in Bidwell Hill area since the de-restriction of the speed limit.

April - Knackers Yard had been inspected, and no smell nuisance found. Village Green to be used by 'Luton Group, English Folkdance and Song Society' for folk dancing on 21 May 1956. Ear infections reportedly affecting many children in Manor Park. Mrs Elders at Dene Hollow drew attention to the state of the pond in Chalton Road. PC would enquire about it being drained as part of the Leafields work.

May- Minister of Education offered £330 towards erection of 2 tennis courts estimated at £1103.  PC to accept the offer.

June - PC were informed they could not get Playing Field from Commer Cars Ltd. PC resolved to ask Beds CC to make a compulsory purchase order on Field O.S. N0. 174; Commer Cars to be asked to release land at corner of field O.S. N0.175 to allow access to Rabbit Lane. PC to ask for telephone kiosk in Chalton Road in view of developments there. PC to ask LRDC for the name of the road leading from Chequers.

July - PC was asked by LRDC to decide the name of the road from the pond opposite The Chequers. Voting was 5-4 in favour of Sundon Road. A small part of the pond was shown on Mrs Elders deeds. Memorial Hall erection was proposed by Mem Hall Committee.

Sept- PC asked Beds CC for a seat near the church. The response in Oct. was negative. PC authorised clerk to buy a scythe to cut grass around seats on village green.

Nov - Conveyance relating to Mem Hall was progressing. Byelaws prohibiting cycling on certain footpaths were confirmed by the Home Secretary. PC to advise Post Office that preferred site of telephone kiosk would be junction East Hill Estate with Sundon Road.

Dec - £30.11. 0d had been collected by the parish towards Hungarian Relief Fund. Clerk was asked to write to APCM Ltd drawing their attention to the covering of vehicles when crossing the road from the works to the pit.

1957

Outcome of Compulsory Purchase Order Inspector’s enquiry is known. “The Hyde, Sundon Road”, “Firbanks” (2 acres near Drury Lane) , and 2 acres belonging to All Saints churchyard are excluded. Memorial Hall is built after years of fundraising.

From the Parish Council records: 
Jan - The precept for y/e 31/3/1958 would be 2d in the £. The Melton Mowbray Carnival Band would attend a fete being run by Memorial Hall Fund Committee on the village green. Land adjoining the Five Bells footpath to Bidwell had been sold for development. Beds CC were to be informed that these lands are recorded as common land : Village Green; Old Clay Pits, Bidwell; The Banks, East End; and Thorn Green.

Feb -  cycling was to be prohibited on the footpath facing the cement works down to French's Avenue; and Five Bells to Bidwell Hill estate was to be prohibited. The Memorial Hall would formally open on 15th June 1957. The Village Green is let out to County Primary School for £32 p.a and to Voluntary Primary School for £36 p.a. Pond - Mrs Elders is referred to LRDC if pond is a health issue.

Mar - A new housing estate was to be built off Poynters Road. PC suggested "Brandreth Avenue", but this already existed (in what is now Dunstable), so "Brookfield Avenue" was suggested instead.  Col. Part was unhappy at the PC applying for tennis courts at the Village Green; PC would send a message back saying it was not a structure, there was demand for it, and that they would keep him informed. A footpath at Chalk HIll was agreed for extinguishment. PC would enter a tug-of-war team in the Memorial Hall fete.

April - Clerk to protest 'at present increase in the emission of dust' at cement works.

July - Library staff from Dunstable were to spend 3 to 4 hours a week in Houghton Regis. Beds CC was looking to secure accommodation for a library centre. The Memorial Hall were to be asked to provide some space.

Sept - PC were to apply to Postmaster, Dunstable, for a Post Box at Douglas Crescent. Byelaws relating to Village Green were adopted and submitted to ~Ministry for approval.

Oct -  A petrol station was proposed opposite the Crown p.h. A Branch library had been opened at the Memorial Hall.

Nov - There was disquiet over a rise in bus fares.

Dec - Clerk was to write to Mrs Munroe, Houghton Regis Voluntary Primary School, drawing her attention to the cutting of The Green when parking her car.

HOUGHTON REGIS FAIR


1958

The Crown beat teams from the Five Bells, the Red Lion and the Chequers in the Houghton Regis beer barrel rolling relay along High Street on May 31 that coincided with the Memorial Hall fete day.  A 2,000 year old bread roll excavated at Puddle Hill. 24th March, Inauguration Day for the London – Yorkshire motorway was held at Slip End.

From the Parish Council records: 
Jan - Clerk to arrange personal accident insurance policy in respect of Members of the PC, such policy to cover the use of motor cycles by the Members. PC to arrange erection of 3 bus shelters at Woodlands Avenue, Village Green, and FIve Bells. The precept was set at 3d in the £ for y/e 31/3/1959, or 2d in the £ if bus shelters could be afforded. There was delay in lighting the new lamps. A kiosk in Park Avenue was being damaged.

Feb - Toughened glass panels were still being broken at kiosk. Steel sheets were to be used instead. PC were dissatisfied that letter box at Mill Road had not been replaced. Mr Meacham and Mr Parker of The Green were concerned about byelaws and access to their properties.

Mar - "Chantry Court was suggested as a name for a new cul-de-sac off Brookfield Avenue. A replacement post box was requested for opposite the Crown p.h.

April - The owner at 49 High St objected to a bus stop in front of their property. There was currently one post box in the village. Cutting the village green was priced at 3/- an hour (15p), not to exceed 4 hours per week. Soil was permitted to be deposited on The Green by Mr K Crosby. Only 2 bus shelters were to be ordered now for The Green and Woodlands Avenue. Paths on the new development, (Leafields?) were to be diverted.

July  - LDC to be informed that land in front of The Firs was owned by PC and maintained by CC. Beds CC to be asked to construct a footpath from Brookfields estate to Poynters Farm due to "heavy traffic". HR Relief Sewer scheme was causing damage to The Green by "storage of materials thereon"

Aug - Land adjacent to The Firs was to be developed. Schools were to be reorganised into age groups in HR. Clerk to draw attention to the need for extra accommodation at both schools. M1 was being constructed and deposits of earth were being left on Poynters Road; J. Laing & Co. to be asked whether the man engaged in cleaning the roads traversed by the lorries could not be more usefully employed in tidying the loads on the vehicles before departure from their loading points. Bus shelters were to go outside 47 High Street, Woodlands Ave, and The Green. The relief sewer scheme was causing traffic delays due to traffic lights and single lane traffic. There was a proposal to build two bungalows at The Firs. Attention of Messrs W & C French Ltd was to be brought to unsatisfactory access to "Tythe Farm" as mud from this was now being deposited from this access along the High Street.


Oct - New bus shelters would cost £54 less 5% if paid within 14 days, and cost £14 to be erected. PC offered "Mead's Close" as a name for a new cul-de-sac off Leafields. A letter box near The Chequers p.h was too small and Head Postmaster was to be asked to supply a permanent larger one.  Nominated people were to report any street lights out.

Nov - Vehicles parking on path near Red Lion. HR cricket club to bear expense of providing and laying paving stones along a worn area of the Green in front of the cricket pavilion. PC to ask Beds CC to consider providing a footpath from Crown p.h. to The Green. Clerks salary to be increased from £50p.a. to £55 p.a from 1/1/1959

Dec - PC to ask Beds CC to consider providing cats eyes along Poynters Rd from Brookfield Estate to Parish boundary. Concern at number of accidents near bend near Mill Road. Bus shelter had been erected in front of 49 High Street and the resident, Mr Baughan had engaged Messrs Booth & Blackwell Solicitors to act for him, as he had not consented.


1959

The nearby M1 opens.
The railway station of Dunstable North was in Houghton Regis, and people could go on excursions. More
The last passenger train from Dunstable North ran in 1962


From the Parish Council records: 
Jan - The PC put forward these names for new streets: Tythe Farm Road, Hilbury Road, Church Field Road, Dellmont Road, Ash Tree Road, Barn Close, Peel Street (for police houses, after Sir Robert Peel), Angel's Lane, Camp Drive, Beech Tree Way, Meadow Lane, Long Mead, All Saints Road, Vicarage Road, Hill Side, Thorn View Road, Dell Road. PC wanted telephone kiosk at Mill Road replaced and local directories to be supplied in the Parish. The precept for y/e 31/3/1960 was set at 3d in the £.. Clerk is authorised to purchase a portable typewriter for use on Council work. Mr H. Hines had not attended a council meeting in the past 6 months.

Feb - PC to apply to Beds CC for 30mph limit extension past Brookfield estate on Park Road North 'to a point on the Luton side of the bend'. Imperial Portable Typewriter Model 4 Serial 4T291, cost £28.10s. 0d. Mr Hines resignation was accepted. Clerk to write enquiring of trustees of Baptist Chapel if land could be released for a bus shelter. A review of boundaries meeting was to take place on 6/3/1959.

March - Baptist Chapel had refused to release land for bus shelter. PC to ask Dunstable Corporation to provide cats eyes on Poynters Road from Hadrian Avenue to Parish boundary especially as Poynters Road had no street lighting. A path between Tythe Farm Road and The Mead to be named The Links. Grass cutting was to be done at 4 shillings an hour. PC were in favour of being incorporated within the proposed County Borough of Luton rather than await the decision on its County District Boundary review with the possibility of its inclusion within the Borough of Dunstable which they strongly opposed.

April - Beds CC to oppose incorporation of 115 dwellings and 480 acres of Parish of HR within the proposed County Boundary.

May - PC perturbed at the number of unadopted roads in the parish. PC to ask LRDC for surplus soil from new estate to be deposited on The Green.Sewage might be leaking into Blue Waters.

June - APCM had been wanting to close up a footpath across the quarry to French's Avenue, so that they could extract chalk under it. PC objected strongly to this. APCM put in a planning application, Beds CC turned them down, and now APCM were objecting to the decision. PC resolved to organise a petition against the proposed diversion of this footpath.

July - Parochial Church Council asked for assistance to maintain the churchyard.  New Tythe Farm Estate roads suggested by PC and submitted to LRDC: Recreation Road, Black Thorn Road, Sycamore Road, Yew Street, Maple Road. Complaints were in about smoke and fumes from the chimney of the new gas works at Brewers Hill. Redevelopment of the village of HR was being considered and PC were asked if they would negotiate to save The Old Cage, High Street, Houghton Regis - matter deferred.

Aug - Agreement made between Beds CC and HRPC regarding Tythe Farm Estate diversions, except for Bridle Road. Smoke was discussed; it could be from railway engines, rather than gas works. LRDC would permit surplus soil from Tythe Farm Estate to be deposited on The Green at a nominal charge of £1 per load. St Michaels Avenue, Barrie Avenue, and Suncote Avenue were to be made up at the frontages cost. PC asked that Beds CC canvas Park Avenue to see if they would accept the road being made up at their expense (see Private Street Works Act 1892)

Sept - Statute fair on Village Green by Merrs T. Smith & Son would be 23-26 Sept.

Oct -  Merrs T. Smith & Son applied for sole use of The Green for two fairs during 1960 at cost of £50. PC agreed. A post box on a telegraph pole opposite Red Lion p.h. was in a dangerous spot according to Head Postmaster, but PC resolved it was "in a satisfactory position and should be retained on its present site". A footpath leading from Dell Farm to Calcutt Farm had been ploughed up.

Nov - Buses were turning on the land in front of the National School. For the first time the minutes refer to "Tithe Farm Estate". A series of measures to improve safety at Mill Road Corner are unveiled.

Dec - Mead Estates Ltd suggest Dalling Walk and Farm Close. PC suggested Walk be changed to Drive. PC had considered provision of 2 bus shelters outside APCM and would ask them to meet the cost of them.

1960s

1960

 The UK's first 'community service' television is introduced by Rediffusion in Houghton Regis.

From the Parish Council records: 
Jan - Draft byelaws for The Green to be resubmitted for Home Office approval. Precept for y/e 31/3/1961 to be 3d in the £.

Feb - Minister of Housing and Local Government had dismissed APCM Ltd appeal to divert a footpath across the quarry.  GAs and water mains were to go across The Green and rear of Woodlands Avenue. The Royal Motors Garage Ltd wanted to build an access to their premises from Drury Lane but PC objected on the grounds that the road was not wide enough to take vehicular traffic.

Mar -  Home Office suggested further byelaws for The Green. PC agreed to include and resubmit. Arrangements to be made to collect rates by LRDC 1 day a week at their office in Tythe Farm. Mr Catling was to be offered contract to carry out works improvements on The Green.

April - Mr A. Dickens was to cut the grass on The Green at 4 shillings and hour. Cost of turfing The Green £50. But by May, the soil deposited there had become a problem.

June - PC asked for priority over footpath signing due to rapid growth of Tithe Farm and newcomers from London. A new police station would be built, soon. More road names were suggested: Cherry Tree Walk, Short Path, Borders Way, School Walk, Leafe Road, Grove Road, Eddiwick Avenue, Hillborough Crescent, Kent Road. The 5:19pm relief bus had been withdrawn and the PC were to ask for reinstatement. Luton Corporation Transport to be asked to consider re-siting N0.6 bus stop in Wiliamson Street, Luton.

Williamson Street c1950, Luton Ref: L117026x
Francis Frith Website

July - Byelaws for village green to be adopted. From August grass cutting would cost 4s 3d an hour. APCM were to put up signage saying that the footpath in the quarry was dangerous. Aug - County surveyor advised that "major civil engineering work costing many thousands of pounds" would be needed to render the quarry path safe. Villagers were experiencing a 'marked increase' in the deposited matter in the HR area as previously recorded. PC to ask Chief Constable to arrange for the local Police Constable to devote the whole of his time to the Parish. 'Bunch of Nuts' on the village green proposed a garage and now needed permission to cross the grass. Pc to object to a link road from Industrial area in Dunstable to Houghton Road.

Sept - APCM were now submitting a new planning application to close the quarry footpath for the purpose of winning more chalk. PC to object, and to request retention of the footpath. Bus fare from HR to Dunstable was reported to be excessive. PC to ask for footpaths along King Street and Queen Street to be covered with a layer of asphalt.Salary of the parish clerk to go up by £20 from 1st October 1960.

Oct - A plank swing to be installed on the green near the roundabout. Developers Mead estates had suggested Haylot Court for a cul-de-sac on Leafields estate, but PC objected.

Nov - 'Hayley Court' now suggested for cul-de-sac off Leafields. The bus journey from Poynters Rd to Dunstable by direct route is similar to the distance from HR to Dunstable Town Hall and on this basis the fare of 4 1/2d was correct. PC oppose construction of a link road between HR and Dunstable as they consider a cycle track and footpath from the footbridge along Dog Kennel Path is sufficient to meet the needs of the parishioners. T.Smith & Sons offer £50 to run 2 fairs on The Green in 1961; PC agreed. PC to ask Beds CC for footpaths in Drury Lane, Bidwell Hill estate, Poynters Rd from Dunstable to Brookfield estate, Leafields estate to entrance to Tithe Farm estate opposite The Hyde, Chalton Road (Sundon Rd).

Dec -  PC to object to a new link road as it "emerged near a very dangerous bend and is also near the County Primary School" and suggested a road link emerging nearer Douglas Crescent would be more economical.


1961

Houghton Regis population 7,293. There are 2038 houses in the parish.(source). Parish boundary changes reduce land size of Houghton Regis. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Dealtry Charles Part of Houghton Hall dies in February.

From the Parish Council records: 
Jan -  Two infant and junior schools were scheduled for Tithe Farm estate; one was completed and one was being erected. HR Cricket Club ask for white rope to surround the cricket table on the green, but PC decline the request. Rates for y/e 31/3/1962 would be 2d in the £.. More names suggested for Tithe Farm: "The Cloisters" "The Priory" "The Covey". A deputation from PC were to meet with Vauxhall Motors ltd about their land development plans in the parish.

Feb - A part-time branch library was to be transferred from the old village hall to temporary accomodation from the end of February. PC to withdraw their application to make a path from "The Five Bells" a no cycling path. Memorial Hall to run a fete on the green in June. PC to object to proposal to acquire agricultural land near the M1 and residential areas of Luton and Dunstable in parishes of HR and Toddington that were being suggested as chalk extraction sites.

Mar - PC to approach Messrs Rootes Group Company to negotiate for a field between The Green and Manor Park.

Apr - Mr T. Clarke or 31 Drury Lane to cut the grass on the green at 4s 3d an hour. A circus would be charged £3 a day to be on the green on 28/29 April.

May - Byelaws for the green to be sent to schools to ask them to inform children about the byelaws. PC resolved that "the Dunstable Corporation be informed that the Parish Council are totally in agreement with the County Council in this matter and deprecate the attitude of the Borough Council in endeavouring to formulate proposals for the parish of Houghton Regis.

June - PC resolved that no material benefit would be derived by enclosing the Cricket table with a white rope on small posts. PC shown a plan with the proposed line of sewer across The Green. PC interested in leasing Tithe Farm Recreation ground from LRDC. PC show an interest in having a HALT sign at The Chequers p.h.  Tithe Farm Estate Tenants Association asking for a crossing at the beginning of Tithe Farm Road. Vauxhall Motors applied to use 13.5 acres of parish land north of Boscombe Road as a vehicle park and storage ground. PC resolved that the pond at Sundon Road was in an unsatisfactory condition and considered a nuisance due to its silting up.

July - PC to ask Senior Public Health Inspector to opinionate on the state of the Sundon Rd pond in regard to Public Health Act.

August - Inspector to report pond to Bedford CC.  London Rediffusion Services Ltd asked for consent to place overhead cables across  The Green, but PC refused, suggesting they would accept a proposal for an underground cable. PC agree to be legally represented to object to a Draft Order for closure of a footpath across the quarry.

Sept - LRDC were to be asked to erect a 6' high chain link fence around the Recreation ground. The bend at Mill Road was a cause for concern. Excess soil on the Village Green was to be levelled at a cost of £12. PC members were not swayed by the County Surveyor's report that suggested that drainage on Park Road North was adequate. The PC members were still requesting a "Halt" sign at Sundon Rd junction opposite The Chequers, when a "Slow Major Road Ahead" sign was being recommended by the Highways Committee. Highways would request a "Halt" sign at Bedford Rd junction with High Street. Members requested that street lamps for Leafields should be placed on the footpath, and not on the main highway.  Members were unhappy with the evening peak bus service from Luton. Motorcycling along Cemetery Path was a cause for concern.

Oct - A special meeting was called to agree to oppose any proposals to provide a new road from Dunstable into the Parish of Houghton Regis; to strongly object to any proposal to incorporate the Parish of Dunstable; to ask for boundary changes to give to the Parish an area of land now that was in Toddington to the east of Sundon Road; to suggest 5 electoral wards for HR. Members would assist in collecting signatures for a petition to oppose a Draft Order diverting the Cement Quarry Footpath.

A letter from LRDC stating that Thompson & Chipperfield want to extinguish fp 32 from Watling Street to Sewell Rd; PC to object. PC to inform Beds Education Authority that they are dissatisfied with school facilities for the Parish.

Oct -  County Surveyor was to arrange for a larger "Bend" sign at Mill Road; damage had been repeatedly caused to HR County Primary School gate and fencing. Luton Corporation Transport wrote stating that the evening bus service from Luton was adequate; PC to ask them again. PC to ask LRDC to erect a lamp on the path from HIgh Street to Angels Lane. Rediffusion Services requested permission to lay cables under The Green from Woodlands Avenue to bus stop. A deputation was received requesting a community centre on Tithe Farm Estate.

Nov - Village Green fencing. Rootes Group want to put up 6foot high close boarded fence with barbed wire around Houghton Hall. PC to advise them that they thought a Close boarded fence would be detrimental to the area amenities, and to ask for land for a footpath from Manor Park to the Village Green.

PC to object to an off licence at 161 High Street. T Smith & Sons advised to pay £75 for 2 fairs in 1962 and be asked to stay an extra day due to growing population;

Nov (2nd meeting) -  T Smith & Sons objected, suggesting £60, but PC voted to stick to £75. PC were concerned at condition of Poynters Road, especially during wet weather. A street lamp was approved to go near the Scout Hut in Cemetery Road. PC to make provision in its estimates for 2 bus shelters, 2 swings, 1 slide, 1 sandpit. PC concerned about inadequacy of bus services, and to write to Luton Corporation Transport. Police to be informed that cyclists without lights were using Dog Kennel footpath. The footpath across the quarry had been closed, even though it was the subject of an Inquiry on the application of the company for its diversion.


1962

From the Parish Council records: 
Parish Council Clerk's salary increased to £120 p.a. from 1st April.

January - There was news that the County Council had reached an agreement with Portland Cement Company to lower the path, fence it in, and tarmac it or use other material and remove a bridge. The path would be closed a couple of months for these works.

The precept for the y/e 31 March 1963 would be £700. The fair would run from mid-day Tuesday to depart the following Monday, for two fairs per year £75. LRDC were to apply for 'No Waiting' order from Townsend Terrace to the Kings Arms. LRDC to apply for a pedestrian crossing near "Green View" at entrance to Tithe Farm Road. LRDC prepared to offer 99 year lease to PC at a nominal rent. The conditions were written into the minutes. PC to accept this proposal and suggest £5 per year rent.

A road on Leafields was to be named Quadrant Developments. PC is greatly concerned at the inadequacies existing in the amenities and services in the Parish viz, schools, transport (probably the worst), electricity, gas, Highways, Shopping Centre, Clinic, Library, Community Centre, Recreation Ground, Youth centre, Youth Club and the proper maintenance of existing houses and fences. Inadequate surgery by the Doctors in the High Street, unsatisfactory condition at the access to Royal Motors Service Station from Drury Lane.

February - It was hoped that a new group doctors practice surgery would be built for use in 1963. PC to complain about the delay, as patients were having to wait outside due to lack of accommodation at the present surgery. The Tithe Farm Estate office for rent collections had closed. PC to ask for it to re-open, as it provided an essential service.

Rootes Group had modified their plans and would erect a green plastic covered chain link fence just inside the Green boundary. Rootes unable to agree to PC acquiring the meadow adjoining the Green on the west side. PC to ask for information about a compulsory purchase order on the small field adjoining Village Green. Village Green maintenance to be set at 4s 3d (21p in today's currency) an hour.

LRDC were to be asked about the position regarding demolition of cottages at 11-17 High Street; they were now in very unsatisfactory condition.

March - The unsatisfactory state of the doctor's surgery facility was again mentioned. LCt were to be asked to provide an extra 6.55am service from Houghton "to the library" due to pressure for services to Vauxhall. The PC was to ask Minister of Education to give priority to erect schools on Tithe Farm. An open Horticultural Show would be held on 26 May 1962 at Memorial hall by the Houghton Regis Horticultural Society. LRDC, under section 37 of the Town & Country Planning Act, 1959, were looking for planning permission to provide shops, community buildings, car parks on land at High Street, north side, between Bedford Road and Tithe Farm Road. The powers of the Village Green Committee were laid out in the parish minutes.

Litter picking had been put out to tender; three tenders had been submitted each at 30/- (£1.50p in today's currency) per week. Mr Bleaney and Mr Dickens from Drury Lane, and Mr Clark from Manor Park. Mr Bleaney was given the job. (editorial note: call me a cynic but I hope it wasn't just because  he was at the top of the alphabet!)

May - In May it was reported that slot machines had been removed from public conveniences and Luton Rural District Council were informed that the Parish Council would be happy for them to be kept open all night, but LRDC said they would continue to close them at 11pm. The W.I. were complaining about the state of litter and derelict houses in the village. The Parish clerk was to be allowed an administrative assistant, to be paid no more than 10 shillings a month. The Parish were to apply for a loan of £2500 towards Tithe farm recreation improvements, including machinery and playground equipment. LRDC wanted to acquire 11 acres of land at Blue Waters for use as a refuse tip; the Parish Council raised no objections.

Land in front of The Gables, East End, had been levelled and trees planted by resident Mr Crosby. He had asked for the trees to remain on this common land, but the Parish Council were to write requesting levelling the land within 14 days. Rootes Group were due to erect a chain link fence covered with green plastic around Houghton Hall. A litter collection service was to be provided for the village green at a cost of £1 10s 0d per week.

June 1962- A letter told the PC that the passenger train service between Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable North was approved for withdrawal from 2nd July 1962. An application for closure of the quarry footpath was withdrawn. The PC received a notice of application for an off licence premises to be called or known as "The Harvest Home". The owners of 11-17 High Street had written stating they would soon be demolishing those properties. The PC were to ask for toilets at Tithe Farm Estate. The PC were to object to proposed bus fare rises by Luton Corporation Transport. A caretaker would be appointed part time for the Tithe Farm recreation ground at £2 per week. The PC meeting notes carry a lengthy item about Blue Waters land and its ancient ownership.

July - the minutes of the PC show that they intended to purchase 3 bus shelters and fibre glass litter baskets. Bedfordshire County Council agree to pay 1/3 of costs of making up Park Avenue. PC would give financial assistance towards upkeep of church grounds, currently in an unsatisfactory condition. Houghton Regis was to be divided into 4 wards with one Rural District Councillor per ward. The Parish clerk's salary would be raised to £120 p.a. from 1st April 1962.

August - APCM were reported to be agreeable to providing a seat at Mill Road/High Street triangle junction. There was an application for a restaurant known as Oakwell Park, Thorne. There had been some progress on a proposed relief sewer to cross the Village Green.

October - a proposed 'No Waiting' ban from Townsend Terrace to Bedford Road was unsupported by the PC, after a survey had been carried out that showed there was no need for it. LRDC had reached provisional agreement from APCM Ltd to buy land at Blue Waters for the refuse tip. An existing footpath would be diverted. "The Old Cage", High Street, an area of some 99 square yards was to be sold by the PC to the LRDC for £1000 freehold.

November - T.Smith & Sons had offered to run two fairs in 1963 at a cost of £75. PC had suggested sites for housing an LRDC were to be asked to consider land acquisition.

December - frustration with the lack of lighting in Suncote Close prompted the PC to request Beds CC to erect street lights immediately, without waiting for other nearby roads to be made up. The PC requested that Poynters Rd be made up, so far as it was in Houghton Regis Parish. Beds CC were to be asked to re-site the pedestrian crossing in the village. A planning application for The Chequers prompted Cllr Strange to request deferring the application until such time as Beds CC had improved the dangerous corner near the pub.

1963

From the Parish Council records: 
The January meeting heard that the parish now had 2 full time constables. An agreement for the sale of "The Old Cage" had been drawn up.

In February voltage in St Michaels Avenue area had improved as Eastern Electricity had installed a new substation in St Michaels Avenue. It was not proving possible to make a footpath in Drury Lane without acquisition of land over the entire length, due to its narrowness. Six bus shelters were to be purchased.

From 12th March 1963, the library would open until 7pm on Tuesdays. The meeting register contains a descriptive report about dealing with packed snow on local roads and the inability of ploughs to do any good. The Village Green had been damaged by sewer contractors. 

1st May - Bye laws for the Village Green came into force.

In July Commer Cars Ltd were opposed to a cycle track on Dog Kennel Path and wanted Beds CC to provide a decent road to access Houghton Regis. The PC requested that a proposed road as shown on the town map should be deleted - this was a proposed road between Boscombe Road and Houghton Regis village. Tenders for a sports pavilion on the Tithe Farm Recreation Ground were considered. The winning bid was £1545.17s 0d by Context Joinery Company.


Houghton Regis quarry excavations on Puddle Hill in about 1963.
September 1963 -The Pond at Sundon Road had still not been filled in. The PC were asking for it to be filled in. A quotation for £264 was received for providing toilet facilities at Pavilion, Tithe Farm Recreation ground and was approved.

A report on The Pond at Sundon Road appeared in the meeting notes for October 1963. 2/3 of the pond was owned by Mr Caruthers of Dean Hollow, adjacent to the pond, and LRDC owned the other third by virtue of their ownership of the north side; previously the pond had belonged to Chantry Farm. Road surface water drained indirectly into the pond from a roadside ditch and directly from a few outlets adjacent to it. Despite the ownership difficulties, the County Council were prepared to fill in the pond but PC and LRDC would need to agree their contribution to costs.

Beds CC had offered to pay 50% of almost £400 to provide playground equipment at Tithe Farm Recreation ground. The PC agreed to keep a section of the Village Green below the playground, available and maintained as a junior football pitch. The Memorial Hall Committee  wanted to hold a large fete on the Village Green in early summer of 1964. The use of Tithe Farm Recreation by Houghton Regis Football Club was detailed. The club were unhappy at having to pay 17/6 per pitch when the condition of the pitch (flooding and stones), and access to it through mud, was poor.

November - Correspondence with the football club continued. Meanwhile, it was reported that 'a clump of trees at the rear of 105 Leaf Road, Tithe Farm Estate, is being used for improper purposes' in a letter from LRDC. The PC were to write back saying that toilets were being constructed at Tithe Farm Recreation ground.

The December meeting report carried a suggestion that rubble from the cottages at 11-17 High Street could be used as hardcore at Tithe Farm Recreation ground.


1964

An old tithe barn, thought to be 14thC is demolished; is is said that the timbers may have been too rotten to be preserved. The land is subsequently used to build Bedford Square shopping centre.

From the Parish Council records, meeting held at Voluntary Primary School: 
In January T Smith & Sons had offered £75 to run two fairs in 1964. A youth football team, self-funded, was to be allowed to play on a pitch at Tithe Farm without showers for 5/- (reduced from 7/6). Demolition of 11-17 High Street had commenced, but a wall at 19 High Street had collapsed and a timber shed damaged. The Parish clerk's salary was to be increased by £30 from 28 January 1964.

28 January 1964
The Parish Council suggested "St Andrew's Close" for old people's dwellings off "Easthill Lane, Houghton Regis" provided no objections were raised by the occupier of the property known as "St Andrew's". Eastern Electricity were still in need of a site for a sub-station for Manor Park area. LRDC had indicated willingness to lease some land out in Cumberland Street for this purpose. PC suggested "Northview Road" for a private area off Houghton Road.

A bus journey would be made from Tithe Farm at 8:35AM as about 100 school children from Houghton would be transferring to Northfields. Some passengers were being left at a stop near Brookfield Avenue. A bus service was leaving Empire Rubber Works in Dunstable 2 minutes before workers were finishing their shifts. LRTC were to be asked to investigate this and improve.

A quotation was approved to provide 2 hard tennis courts on the village green with green plastic covered chain link netting at a total cost of £1436.16.8d

February 1964
An application for a petrol filling station on "Air Force Field", Sundon Road, was to be submitted by Mr K. Crosby, of Crosby Motors Service Station. The site was said to be outside the development area (we think the area mentioned is today's playing fields at Houghton Regis Academy). Children were playing around parked vehicles on land at Tithe Farm scheduled for a shopping centre and a request was made to fence this land off. There was a request for a traffic warden at Sundon Park / Park Road North junction to assist school children going to Hillborough School from Brookfield/Woodlands Avenue.

March 1964
A Traffic survey for the Dunstable/Houghton Regis area had been completed by Bedfordshire County Council. The survey said that a new link road between Boscombe Road and Poynters Road was justified and should be proceeded with as a first priority. The PC agreed.

A sewer laid across the main green in front of the pavilion was needed to take surface water from the shopping redevelopment scheme, according to LRDC.

April 1964
12 sites were listed in the PC records for the siting of new litter bins. The County medical officer requested help to recruit more volunteers for a Hospital Car Service. A letter from the Head Postmaster, Luton, stressed that it was only the HRPC complaining that post boxes in HR were being filled to over-flowing, that the Post Office was alert to the needs of a growing development, and would react accordingly. Mr Hole of Voluntary Primary School, HR drew attention to "deplorable condition of the Green in front of the school". Cycling on footpaths was on the increase. Drainage on Sundon Road was unsatisfactory. Representations were to be made to Beds CC requesting a 30mph limit along Sundon Road. A request was to be made for a telephone kiosk at Suncote Avenue. Accounts were passed for £643 15s 2d, including £259 to the Bank of England.

May 1964
A new line of the sewer from the High Street would follow the road to Houghton Hall, cross the Green and connect with a ditch at the rear of 28 Woodlands Avenue. Work to extend the Sports Pavilion with a 9ft x 18ft room was quoted at £395 10. 0d. The HR Womens Institute had written in drawing attention to litter dropped along village streets, and to the "dilapidated cottages on both sides of the High Street". £118 10s 0d was quoted to add another room to the Pavilion, extending a wall in the shower room, rendering around baths, laying a concrete path from new boundary wall to pavilion entrance.

From 18 August 1964 meetings of the PC to be held at the Memorial Hall.

August 1964
11-15 High Street still held rubble, and this was to be fenced off. Three pitches were to be marked out at Recreation Ground.
On the Village Green, a letter from Messrs Commer Cars Ltd stated that the company will be improving the paddock laying to the west of the Green. In addition to levelling for grass sowing next spring, the old hedges were to be grubbed up leaving all useful trees. A green plastic link fence was to be erected along the Green frontage and a chestnut paling fence along Rabbit's Lane.

September 1964
The records have a transcript of correspondence between Houghton Regis Football Club and HRPC; the football club had concerns about three pitches - referee whistle confusion, for one.

A meeting between the chairman of the council (S.C.Clarke) and Secretary of Messrs Rootes Group had taken place; they had agreed that with approval of PC, the fencing on the western side of the Green should be approximately in a straight line from the existing access to the field on the western side of the Green, to the right hand side of the second buttress in the wall of Houghton Hall adjacent to the Council's Store Shed. PC agreed to this.

HR Football Club were requesting 16 5 foot high concrete posts be erected around the perimeter of the playing area at Recreation Ground; PC were not in favour. LRDC wanted to know if PC had any objections to closure of footpath from Angel's Lane to High Street during shopping centre development. T. Smith & Sons would hold their Annual Statute Fair at the lower end of the village Green due to tennis courts being erected at the top end. A cablegram was to be sent to Mr F J Alsop congratulating him on being selected for the British Olympic Team, and wishing him every success in the Olympic Games. Mr Tomlinson had written in complaining that footballers were coming into his property causing damage to collect their footballs, and could the pitches be re-sited?

20 October 1964
A Special Meeting was called to outline proposals for development of "Area 5". Resolved to ask LRDC to meet PC to discuss Area 5; request LRDC to acquire land between Vauxhall Motors Factory and Manor Park for council housing; to ask LRDC to consider preparing a Clearance Scheme for High Street between Townsend Fam and Cumberland Street.

October 1964
An electric sub station would be commissioned on 14 November 1964 for Manor Park and Cumberland Street. A new cul-de-sac at Leafields adjoining Longmead to be called "Renbanks" No reason was given and the PC suggested Alsop Close after the local Olympian. The Pc were to object to land south of the railway line at Sewell being used as a surface land tip.

Improvements were still wanted for Houghton Regis County Primary School, but a letter from Director of Education was far from hopeful of getting funding. LRDC would be willing to fence off the road side boundary of the pond at Sundon Road in an effort to stop it being used as a dump.

Sea cadets requested permission to march through Houghton Regis to the church, with fixed bayonets on 8th November 1964. PC had no objections.

1965

From the Parish Council records, meeting held at Memorial Hall
February 1965
"Area 5" development was discussed and objected to by the Parish Council. After all, Tithe Farm had already been developed and had increased the population by 3,500 to almost 10,000. And to develop this land would deprive the Parish of land available for residential development. Services were already unsatisfactory in the area, and they had fears that rates would have to be increased to provide essential services. Besides which, the location was too near to London and some Tithe Farm families had already returned there, or else some still worked there.

Residents of East Hill Lane had petitioned Luton Rural District Council because mail for East Hill Road was being confused with their own; the PC suggested that their road be renamed St Andrew's Lane.

March 1965
The Department of Education and Science had agreed a new 1-Form entry JMI school to be built on land at the rear of the present school which would then be demolished.

April 1965
A letter from Bedfordshire County Council on traffic flow through the High Street showed that 7,500 vehicles a day travelled through the area and that "no waiting" restrictions would have little effect in reducing accidents or improving traffic flow.

The last passenger train, the 'Skimpot Flyer' ran on April 24, 1965, out of Dunstable south railway station for Welwyn. Christ Church, the daughter church of All Saints, at this time in Dunstable, ceases as a place of worship. The Rediffusion network supplying u.h.f. relay of television to newer parts of Houghton Regis is commended with a Civic Trust Award for its amenity value.

 In 1965, 2000 vehicles per peak hour travelled on the Icknield Way A505, and although 1959 saw the completion of the M1 motorway, the problem of heavy traffic through Dunstable and Houghton Regis was not alleviated. Beds County Planning Department mull over the problem in this interesting film and possible solutions.

The last Skimpot Flyer
1966
Gwilym Roberts (Labour) elected MP for South Bedfordshire constituency. Carry On star Hattie Jacques opens the Bedford Square shopping centre in September. Certificate of Substantial Completion (link):  For a shopping development at Bedford Square, Houghton Regis, of agreement between Luton Rural District Council and Amethyst Properties Limited and Hammerson Property and Development Trust Limited.

1967

A replacement building for the Whitehead Voluntary Primary School next to the village green is erected in Angel Lane and is then called Whitehead C. of E. Primary School. Dunstable North Railway Station demolished. LUTON, ST.HUGH, LEWSEY is an Ecclesiastical Parish created from parts of Houghton Regis and Leagrave.

1968

Much of Tithe Farm estate is completed. On the other side of Sundon Road is fields, except for Council Offices on the site of present day Hammersmith Close, and “The Hyde”.

1969

Parkside Estate starts to be built on land east of Sundon Road. King Street is demolished to make way for Air Call building.


1970s

1970

David Madel (Conservative) elected MP for South Bedfordshire constituency.

1971

Houghton Regis population 10,491. Houghton Regis Cement Works closed.
During the 1970s Whitehead C. of E. Primary School was gradually changed to a Lower school and was called Whitehead Church of England Lower School.

1972

The Baptist church, opened in 1864 is demolished. . (Picture p.11) Margaret Jones at the Whitehead school until 1980.

1973

First elections to South Bedfordshire District Council 7th June;  formed out of  the municipal borough of Dunstable, Leighton-Linslade Urban District and Luton Rural District.

1974

Luton Rural District Council was abolished in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, combining with other districts to become part of South Bedfordshire (the area is now in Central Bedfordshire).

1975

Houghton Regis Baptist Church opens at Hammersmith Gardens, Parkside, in November. Fireworks through a letterbox leads to destruction of Whitehead Church of England Lower School. The 16th Century farmhouse (not the Prior's) is pulled down at Calcutt Farm.

By Lost-Albion
The train pictured here was on a line South East of Townsend Industrial Estate.  


1976

The first of two cement chimneys at the former Houghton Regis Cement Works is blown up. A steel ball took out the second one.
7 Enfield Close becomes the venue for The Church of England's Church of St. Thomas.
Lol Bright dies, a well know local gravedigger said to be often working at 1am in the morning.

1976: The base of the windmill that once stood at end of Mill Lane is still visible

1977

The Whitehead school is rebuilt, adding the areas first nursery class to it.

1978

The last of the two chimneys of the cement works is demolished with the aid of an enormous steel ball. Blue Circle Cement works continued as a shipping depot until the 1990s. Traffic lights are replaced with a roundabout at the junction of Houghton Rd/High St North in Dunstable.

1979

St.Vincent’s Roman Catholic. Church and Lower School is built.


1980s

1980

Houghton Regis officially becomes a town, having its own Mayor, and Councillors.

1981

Houghton Regis population 14,500. Sewell Cutting Nature Reserve opened. The Whitehead school adopts the full name of its founder and becomes ’Thomas Whitehead VA Lower School’ (VA = Voluntary Aided).

Leyland Bison 2 FYO 888V at Houghton Regis works, Dunstable. January 1982 By "Lost Albion", Flikr


1983

South Bedfordshire Parliamentary seat is abolished; Sir David Madel (Conservative) elected to serve in Parliament for the new constituency of South West Bedfordshire (held until retirement in 2001) of which Houghton Regis is a part. The first Houghton Regis Carnival is held on the Green in July. This first year there is only a fun day and no procession.

1984

A Grand Procession through the streets of the Town is added to the Carnival. Carnival Queen is Debbie Lyall, Princesses are Lisa Wilson and Natalie Bowker. Carnival founder and organiser Olive Burgess and her daughter Pam Gill. The Houghton Regis Carnival was a member of the National Carnival Guild of Great Britain and supported approximately 18 Carnivals every year and joined their processions.

1985

Reverend Henry Brandreth, the last of the direct line of Brandreth's dies.

1986

New club house is built for the Dunstablian's Rugby Club at Bidwell Hill, costing £400,000. Houghton Regis Community Centre opens on the High Street. The Church of England's Church of St. Thomas moves to new building in Lowry Drive.



1990s - present

1999

1st September, the Whitehead school becomes a Voluntary Aided Church of England School. Seventeen-year-old Kenneth Dixon, of Luton, died of stab wounds following a mass brawl on September 2, 1999 in Houghton Regis near Hillborough Crescent. 14 of those accused were convicted and given sentences ranging from two years to 11 years imprisonment.

2001

Houghton Regis population 16,970. Andrew Selous (Conservative) is elected to serve in Parliament for the constituency of South West Bedfordshire.

2006

7 June, Co-Op supermarkt on High Street is burnt down by an arsonist; Houghton Regis Community Centre above, uninsured, is also lost.

2008

Bedford Square re-developed to create new library, health centre, and community centre.

2009

Houghton Regis Skate Park opens at Tithe Farm Recreation Ground. Bedford Square Centre opens. Facilities include library and health services. 1st April, South Bedfordshire District Council merges with Mid Bedfordshire to form Central Bedfordshire Council. Bedfordshire County Council is abolished [link]

2010 

Houghton Regis News Desk is begun as a Facebook Page in February by local town councillor Alan Winter. New brick built pavilion for Bowls Club opens at Moore Crescent.

2012

Central Bedfordshire University Technical College is opened in Parkside Drive; Lord Baker plants a tree and HRH Prince Andrew visits on 9th October.

2015

A well, millstone, and foundations of a old farmstead are found during the construction of the Woodside Link road between Pastures Way and Parkside Drive.

Beginnings | 1200AD - 1800AD | 1800AD - 1930 | 1930 - Present |



Bibliography:

+ Book of Dunstable and Houghton Regis , 1985, Vivienne & Lewis Evans, ISBN 0 86023 223 9
+ Memories of Houghton Regis, Sue King, 2011, ISBN 978 1 906632 12 0
+ Old Houghton: Including Upper Houghton, Now Part of Dunstable, 1988, Pat Lovering ISBN 09509773 5 7
+ Royal Houghton: Story of Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, 1986, Pat Lovering ISBN 0 9509773 1 4
+ Some lines have been borrowed from http://www.dunstablehistory.co.uk/timeline.htm and
http://virtual-library.culturalservices.net/webingres/bedfordshire/vlib/0.digitised_resources/dunstable_timeline.htm
+ Met Office Dunstable, WW II : http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/54/a3793854.shtml
+ dunstablehistory.co.uk
+ Gary Cooper: mdb.com
+ Street Names in Houghton Regis, Houghton Regis Town Council
+ Thomas Whitehead School
+ Dealtry Charles Part, Wikipedia
+ visionofbritain.org.uk
+ Bedfordshire Library Resources
+ british-history.ac.uk (Publication: A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3; Author: William Page (editor); Year published:1912; Pages 389-394)
+ O'Dell, IJ 1981 Bedfordshire clergy and the Black Death. Bedfordshire Magazine 18/138, 54-58
+ #1 Walgrave, according to british-history.ac.uk
+ #3 railwaysarchive.co.uk
+ #4 There is a sketch map produced by the local historian,Worthington Smith, in 1904 which marks the “site of gibbet” and “gib arch” roughly midway between Puddle Hill and Thorn Turn on theWatling Street - just a short distance north of the chalk cutting. Puddle Hill has now virtually disappeared as a result of quarrying, and the large roundabout at the end of Leighton bypass has been built about 150 yards from Thorn Turn. If the Worthington Smith map is right, it means the gallows stood at the foot of the chalk hill rather than on its crest. John Buckledee
#5 History of Bedfordshire, Joyce Godber, 1969. p148
+ enotes.com/topic/Bedfordshire
+ enotes.com/topic/Reform_Act_1832
+ The compleat cook; or, The secrets of a seventeenth century housewife; Author: Rebecca Price; Madeleine Masson; Anthony Vaughan, ISBN 0710074441 9780710074447
+ Bedfordshire Community And Living Archives And Record Office
+ FWB = "Church of All Saints. Houghton Regis" Francis W. Buckingham, 1937. Book contains list of vicars of All Saints parish church from 1226-1928. Vicars of All Saints' Church pdf file .
+ pdf Google document "Houghton Regis Baptist Church
+ Wikipedia: List of British Prison Hulks





Recommended Reading

From Country Boy to Weatherman: A Houghton Regis and Dunstable Youth George Jackson tells the story of what it was like to live in Houghton Regis when he lived in an isolated house surrounded by fields that were to become the Parkside estate. Follow George's journey as he walks around the village and describes the things he remembers and the characters he used to meet.
Companion book to Old Houghton. A fascinating history of Houghton Regis


Old Houghton: Including Upper Houghton, Now Part of Dunstable Houghton Regis as you've never seen before. With a fascinating selection of old photographs of the village.


Memories of Houghton Regis The stories of people who spent their lives growing up in the Houghton Regis area, with memories of World War Two evacuees from London, the jobs they did, and the things they enjoyed doing.


Book of Dunstable and Houghton Regis A wealth of historical knowledge of Houghton Regis, the land allocation to create the market area of Dunstable, and the subsequent growth of the town and the village in this part of Bedfordshire.


Toddington and Houghton Regis (Chiltern Society Footpath Maps) Toddington and Houghton Regis maps.


Grave stones, Houghton Regis: Memorial Stone inscriptions of Houghton Regis Baptist Chapelyard


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