The Commercial Premises at Wing, Bucks in the mid 20th Century
by Ken Bandy

Introduction by Derek Bandy
Both Ken Bandy and I are descendants of William BANDY (1779-1817) and his wife Hannah GREEN who were the first Bandys to settle in Wing in 1800, when the population was just under 1000.  A hundred years later, in 1901, there were 48 Bandys in Wing, all of whom were descendants of this first couple, while the population of the village had risen to 1740.  In this article Ken takes us on a walk around this little village some 50 years on, in the mid 20th century, and recounts his memories of the place where Bandys live to this day.  I never knew Wing, my grandfather having left School Lane for London by 1900, nor my connections with it until I started genealogical research, but this description brings my grandfather's village to life for me.  - Derek Bandy



The Commercial Premises at Wing, Bucks in the mid 20th Century by Ken Bandy
Entering the village from Aylesbury, there were no commercial premises until after the Almshouses on the left. The first was:
1 The Dove, public house. Owned by Phipps Brewery of Aylesbury, it was the place where buses stopped to and from Aylesbury, Bedford and Luton. After the Dove’s double gates and some outbuildings that backed onto the pavement, there was another house before coming to a courtyard. In the far left corner of this courtyard was a single storey building that was 2 Fielder’s Fish and Chip Shop. (This was a development of the business which was previously conducted from an ex-RAF converted van.) On the other side of the entrance to the courtyard was 3 a butcher’s shop run by Mr Watson and later by Mr Chandler with a modern live-in flat extension at the first storey to the rear. for a few years in the early 1980's this butchers was run by Paul Bandy and his sign "P
aul Bandy Wing Butchers" could be seen by all the traffic passing through the village.
In the houses off Leighton Road at a right angle to the Dove there was, before my time, 4 a sweet shop run by a Mrs (Duckie) Westbrooke, and at the end of this row of about four houses another driveway. Across this driveway was 5 a cobbler’s run by Benny Pease. This shop was gutted by fire during the war, not as a result of enemy action, and Mr Pease thereafter carried on his business from a shed in his own garden in Church Street. The shop window was bricked up, a corrugated iron roof put on and the place used as a lock up garage thereafter, it being a great eyesore in the centre of the village.

Entering the High Street, there was a bungalow after the butcher’s shop and then a house with a large grassed area and stabling behind it known as 6 Bartle’s Yard . This house at some time traded in various things to do with horses. The shop that was latterly opened as 7 North’s Farm Shop and later housed the Post Office on the east side of the High Street was opened in the 1960’s. Prior to that there was a terrace of private houses.

Opposite 8 the Queen’s Head and on the east side, in the middle of this terrace, was 9 the Post Office , run by the Cleaver brother and sister (Chris and Gussie). As well as carrying on the Post business this shop sold sweets and various patent medicines. At the end of this terrace, before the passage to Prospect Place, was 10 another shop that was once a cycle shop and then converted to an electrical shop first run by a Mr Sherman and later by the Dive family . Before the present roadway to Prospect Place was opened, this area  had a 11 field behind an iron railing in which Joey Randall kept his pony and from which he carried on the business of village chimney sweep.  Before reaching 12 The Cock  there were 13 two semi-detached cottages (now demolished) that were used by Reg Pitchford and Harry Cooper as their builders’ office and shop.

Turning left into Church Street on the left side the second premise in the road was 14 Homeward Stores-a small grocery. Although in tone with the rest of its terrace, it had a large shop window and door that looked as though it was original. (Opposite this was the Pease garden in which the cobblers business was latterly transacted from a black wooden shed.) Further along on the left hand side, after the Methodist Chapel, was
15 Page’s Mill, opposite the village pump. The Mill was electrically driven and situated up a courtyard in a brick building behind some black wooden storage sheds, the area being entered by a large flat arch to the left of the shop. The shop was on the pavement and had a door divided into an upper and a lower part. The shop was fitted with various built in wooden bins and had a tiled floor. As well as various cereals and animal foods, it sold lemonade in returnable bottles. (After the shop closed, the garden of the house was concreted over and a garage opened known as Mill Motors.) There were no more commercial premises in Church Street or School Lane. (The name ’School Lane’ which used to apply to the street from the Church to its junction with the Aylesbury Road, was abolished when houses were numbered and the whole length become known as Church Street.)

Returning to the High Street, after the Cock Inn there was another row of about four terraced houses on the east side and then a small garden before 16 ‘Pop’ Roadnight’s sweet shop . This also appeared to be a purpose built shop with a large window and door to the pavement. It had various metal adverts for tobacco on the wall and above the entrance and was well stocked with shelves leaving little room for customers. In the terrace that follows was 17 Ede White’s green grocery . This shop also had a door horizontally split and apart from that seems to have been converted from a house, the area inside being very small and the window the size of a house window painted white with a grey frame and no name board. On the west side of the High Street there were only cottages from the junction with Church Street to the Congregational Chapel. Beside this and on the corner of Vicarage Lane was 18 the Co-op. This was one of the few purpose built shops and of typical Co-op architecture; square red brick with concrete surrounds to large windows on both the High Street and the Vicarage lane sides. Although only a grocery, through its links with the Leighton Buzzard Co-op of which it was a branch, other goods and services could be ordered including funeral arrangements. (After the chapel was demolished the Co-op built an adjacent butcher’s shop.)

Turning left into Vicarage Lane there were two further shops on the left hand side. The first was
a butcher’s shop originally run by the Oakley family who did their own slaughtering in sheds up the cobbled yard behind. The shop had an imposingly big window and a heavy beam across the top without any name but with a form of a buttress at each end. This shop was taken over by the Co-op as a butcher’s but was closed when they built their own butcher’s shop in the High Street. Beyond an extensive walled garden, came the large two storey brick house and shop of 20 W E Evans  who baked his own bread on the premises at no.17. His name was up on the blind east wall of the house as the shop had no frontage and was approached up the yard to the west of the house and straight into the bakery. A wooden granary built around 1820 stood behind the bakery.  It was removed in 1978 and is now preserved in the Chiltern Open Air Museum at Chalfont St Peter Bucks. 

Shortly before Church Walk and the Vicarage gate there was a house on the left owned by 21 the Mallett family . This was not a shop, but as they had a large orchard, it was used for selling apples in the autumn. Returning to the High Street, opposite Vicarage Lane was 22 a hardware shop  run by the Hathaway family. This shop was approached up two steps and had a large shop window. The paintwork was always a faded red colour and on the wall to the left of the window was a red cigarette dispensing machine, although it was never stocked with cigarettes. Continuing along the east side, after another house, there were two dilapidated brick houses overpainted with whitewash having corrugated iron roofs and owned by Bonham’s the bakers. One of these 23 was rented by Wally Beeson from which he ran a shoe repair business . He had a small square black and white plate above the door with his name on. The yard between these houses and 24 Bonham’s bakery  was entered by an arch closed with two large wooden doors. To the left was the bakery and the house and up the yard was stabling for the horse and cart that was used for deliveries. The shop was entered from the road by three very steep steps and as well as selling all types of bread, possessed a large refrigerator which allowed the sale of ice cream by the scoop in cones or between wafers. A wide range of cakes was available on Fridays and Saturdays. The shop was rendered in white painted pebble-dash.

At the top of Stewkley Hill the High Street becomes what is now known as Stewkley Road, but was then called Back Road. There were no commercial premises in this road until just past the junction with Littleworth. There was  25 another sweet shop run by a Mrs “Louie” Lovell from what was essentially a private house with a lot of brown wooden ornamentation over the window. Shortly after this we come to Rothschild Road.
Anne Randall (nee Bandy, 1846-1943) the Great-grandaunt of Derek Bandy kept a small shop selling general provisions and sweets in her front room in Rothschild Road in the 1920s.  In this road there were three shops. The first on the right 26 in a corrugated iron shed was another shoe repairers  run by Harold Cutler. Almost opposite this on the left was 27 a grocer’s shop  run by Mr Pretty. Another apparently purpose built red-brick shop with a cobbled forecourt. On the corner with the Leighton Road was
a ladies and gentlemen’s outfitters run by S W Piper and his wife. This shop was always well stocked without regard to fashion. Being a corner site with the entrance on the corner, there were large windows- one into Rothschild Road and another into Leighton Road which had to be covered with transparent blinds to stop the stock fading. The shop was heated by very comforting if somewhat humid paraffin heaters.

Returning to Stewkley (Back) Road, in the garden of the end council house opposite the Rothschild Road entrance, was 29 a wooden shed in which Mr Roper carried on the business of men’s hairdressing . This shed had room for about five people to wait on utility wooden chairs and two basins with ornately carved wooden supports. It was adequately heated and lit by electricity. On the windows facing the road there was cream paint halfway up which served to conceal the inside and also as a background to the lettering announcing that it was a hairdressers. (The Roper family also delivered daily newspapers while Sunday newspapers were delivered by Len Bandy from his house in Evelyn Close). 

30 At the end of the council houses was Green’s Dairy. This was a single storey building with a large front window and a steeply pitched pyramidical roof and various outbuildings housing bottling machinery. Eddie Green- who only had one arm,- delivered milk daily from a ladies bicycle with a wicker basket on the front in competition with the Co-op. During the day his sister served teas from the shop on marble topped tables with ornate ironwork legs, though the service, like the milk delivery, lacked speed and efficiency. (There was later a fish and chip shop built shortly further along and after the closure of Fielders.) Opposite the Dairy there was a house with a brown painted gate which I understand was at one time a blacksmith’s yard, but I do not remember it as such.

The junction of Back Road and Leighton Road was known as ‘The Handpost.’ Going around this corner and back towards the centre of the village, just before the village hall, there was 31 a garage  run by Eric Pantling. This garage originally specialised in cycles but later branched into electrical equipment and charged accumulators used for early radios. As cars became more popular it also carried out minor repairs and servicing up the yard and sold petrol from one pump in the forecourt. It too was a wooden building with overlapping boards painted green and a large front window. Before the village hall in Charlotte Cottage was the village doctor who also dispensed prescriptions.

At the junction of George Street and Leighton Road, set back in its own garden behind a low iron fence, was 32 a shop with a window of uprights and bars painted in white which was a watch and clock repair shop  belonging to Mr Powell. (This later became a ladies hairdresser.)

In Littleworth there was only one shop opposite 33 The Sportsman’s Arms.  Ken Bandy's Great-great-grandfather George (1832-1891) and his family were living in this pub in the 1881 Census and it appears from his children's marriage certificates that George was the landlord at least between 1874 and 1878, although he was described as a farm labourer in 1881.  Next to the third chapel of the village was
34 another butcher’s shop  owned by the Page family.
- Ken Bandy 2003