Lavendon Bus Shelter


Lavendon bus shelter, located in the centre of the village beside the War Memorial, is largely taken for granted as being a simple but functional building erected to serve the general public. However, the construction of this simple shelter is testament to the voluntary spirit that can so readily be found amongst Lavendon folk. It was built at no cost to local residents by the village menfolk with materials readily donated by residents at a time of general austerity, and that nevertheless also served to mark the Coronation of 1953.

The following account of the building of Lavendon’s bus shelter is based on contemporary accounts contained in the local newspapers, the Northampton Mercury and the Bedfordshire Times and Independent.

Lavendon Bus Shelter on the right soon after its construction

Planning for the Shelter

In January 1952 the Lavendon Parish Council had a lengthy discussion about plans for a new bus shelter in the village. The Parish Clerk also reported that the bus company were considering improving the morning services.

A year later in February 1953 a public meeting was held in the Old School when it was announced that plans were likely to be passed and work begun shortly. Most of the materials required had already been promised. Another public meeting was held in the same month when the Parish Council Chairman, Mr A. E. C. Willey, reported that the site had been agreed by the district surveyor. The meeting finalised arrangements for the building to be completed by local voluntary labour.

Building Begins

The following month across the Easter week-end, many of the men of Lavendon gave up their time to work on the shelter, which in those times of austerity was lauded for being built without cost to the village. The large team of workers was organised by the Parish Chairman and also the Clerk, Mr Jessie Green. Most of the materials were donated by local residents and worthies. The shelter was built of local stone with a tiled roof and was completed in four weeks. It was constructed to be 12ft long by 7ft 6in wide, with two stones at the front inscribed “E.R.II. 1953”, and with two windows, seats, and a tiled roof.

The Opening Ceremony

Bus Shelter Opening Ceremony: Albert Willey (left) receiving the shelter from Frank Lay (right)

The shelter was opened on Saturday, 9th May 1953 and was constructed to mark the Coronation year.

At the opening ceremony the leader of the building team, Mr. Frank Lay, made a presentation of the shelter to the Parish Council. The Council Chairman, Mr. Albert Willey, accepted the gift on behalf of the local authority. Mr. Lay said that he and his team had done their best to make a good job. He hoped the shelter would be used for the purpose for which it was intended and not abused. Mr. Willey congratulated him on the “very sound and pleasing craftsmanship” of the building. Others spoke at the ceremony, including Mr. Fred Ingram (vice-chairman of the parish council), Mr. B. Avens, Mr. C. G. Creed and Mr. A. J. Cony (on behalf of the donors of materials). The Rector, the Rev, N. J. D. Pearse, also spoke. Replying on behalf of the voluntary workers Mr. Jessie Green said they especially wished to place on record their appreciation of Mr. Lay’s efforts as “clerk of works.”

Bus Shelter Opening Ceremony with Speeches

Thanks to the Builders

A couple of months later in July 1953, a whist drive was held in the Lavendon Ambulance Hall when the men responsible for building the shelter were presented with a photograph of themselves and the shelter, together with a letter of thanks signed by all members of the Parish Council. Mrs. B Avens presented the photographs, and Mr. Willey (chairman) and Mr. Jessie Green expressed the satisfaction of the council and the village with the shelter. Mr. R. C. Horwood and Mr. B. Avens were also present as representatives of the Parish Council. Those receiving photographs and letters of thanks were Mr. F. Lay, Mr. J. Panter, Mr. P. Spriggs, Mr. J. H. Green, Mr. F. Freeman, Mr. H. Freeman, Mr. W. Tompkins, Mr. G. Marshall, Mr. C. Newsom, Mr. A. Panter, and Mr. R Johnson.

The Bus Shelter Builders

The Builders abovefrom left to right: Ralph Johnson; Jess Green; Sonny (Alan) Panter; Wilf Tompkins; Frank Lay; George Marshall; Frank Freeman; Jack Panter; Wilf West; Charlie Newsom; Harry Freeman.

Donations of Time and Materials

The donors of materials were Mr. A. J. Cony (oak posts and beams), Mr. W R. N. Sanders (bricks and sand), Mrs E. M Van Oppen (timber), Mr. A. E. C. Willey and Mr B. Avens (cement), Mr. F. J Lay (tiles and sundries), Mr. R. Panter and Mrs. D. Bamford (windows), Mr. J. W Rothwell (lead), Mr. A. Bowyer (snow cement), Mrs. G. F. X. Hartigan (guttering), Mr. C. G. Creed (engraved commemoration stones), Mr. A Panter (paint), and Mr. H. Lineham (seats).
The workers were Mr. F. J. Lay, Mr. R. Johnson, Mr W Tompkins, Mr. F. Freeman, Mr. J. H. Green, Mr. G. Marshall, Mr J. Panter, Mr B. Holmes, Mr. F. Kitchener, Mr. H. Freeman, Mr P. Spriggs, Mr. A. Panter, Mr L. Panter and Mr. C Newsom.
Refreshments for the workers were provided Mrs. B. Styles. The plans were drawn by Mr. V. Barbosa.

©NBS Oct 2017