Mary Tabor talks about potential new town residents [Text only]

'They used to come down in coaches with their wives on a Saturday, they used to be driven round the town...'

Stevenage Museum

They used to come down in coaches with their wives on a Saturday, they used to be driven round the town and I used to have a microphone, say this is where the factory is going to be, in a wide open space, always remember Bay Tree Press because the cows were sort of grazing round, they just looked at it I don’t know if they believed it. We used to go to schools, as soon as there were any schools built, that was a tremendous carrot always that they were going to have these wonderful schools built for the children. That was what they were concerned with.

A lot of it was as I said saying what was going to happen and of course what they were interested in were the houses, then after lunch we use to have a question and answer session and also they used to see me individually about, again so often there were some individual problems well I’ve got a son who is going to start a technical course and such and such and will there be anywhere he could go. I’ve got a mother that might want to come too, all this sort of thing. Then of course they wanted to know when they were going to come, because the firm would have some sort of idea of when the factory would be finished that would probably be fairly definite, and they would want their employees to come the same day the firm did. We had to explain that was quite impossible and they have a certain number coming before and a certain number coming after and they would have to run transport both ways. We always found that if the first people were reasonably satisfied all was well because they went back and said yes its fine.

I think when you talk to people who came in the early days a lot of the wives say oh it was pretty awful to begin with. I mean it’s thrilling to have a new house they’re absolutely thrilled at it and it’s their first home and so on, but that wears off and then they could be desperately lonely they weren’t as you say apart from most of them either had children or were going to have babies. They weren’t working on the whole, they were at home, they were far away from friends and of course if they had lived in town all their lives, it was pretty ghastly to have to walk two miles to the shops and something like that. They began later to have mobile shops that used to go around, shops were, there was no talk at that stage about the town centre it was local neighbourhood shops the first ones were the Popple Way ones and the Rockingham Way ones.

This page was added on 16/04/2018.

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