891/0/10044 OLD WOLVERTON ROAD
04-NOV-05 Former Wolverton Park Keeper's Lodge,
BUILDING: Park keeper's lodge
ARCHITECT: Not known, probably designed in-house by the LNWR.
MATERIALS: Brick (some elvations now painted), timber framing and some tile-hanging to first floor, red tile roof with ornamental ridge tiles.
PLAN:Squat L-plan, with porch in re-entrant angle.
EXTERIOR: Two storeys, with projecting gabled front façade with bay window to ground floor; jettied window with long four-light window to first floor above. Timber-framed first floor and gable, the latter with two small attic windows. To left single-storey porch with hipped tile roof set between gabled front and short gabled range projecting left. That range has has a timber-framed first floor and gable, while the opposite gable on the right side of the building has a timber-framed first floor with tile-hung gable. Tall brick stack rising from centre of roof, plus prominent lateral stack to rear of building with decorative plaque showing urn. Also to rear of building slightly timber-framed jettied projection on first floor to left of chimney. Flat-roofed single-storey extension to right side of building not of architectural interest.
INTERIORS: Not inspected. Reports and photographs suggest relatively little altered, with surviving original fireplaces, joinery, and staircase.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Low brick wall to front; iron railings to side.
HISTORY: Wolverton began to grow close to an existing canalside village after the London & Birmingham Railway (incorporated in the London & North Western Railway in 1846) established its works here in 1838, at a midway point between the two cities where engines could conveniently be changed. Locomotives were made here until 1861; thereafter carriage building largely took its place. In 1886 the works covered 37 acres and employed 2,000; by 1907 both figures had more than doubled, staying at these levels until the early 1960s. In 1986 the workforce was reduced to under 1,000. Today the works are largely vacant and some demolition has already taken place. Wolverton was incorporated in the new town of Milton Keynes in 1967, and although the town has retained its individual identity there has been some substantial redevelopment.
Wolverton Park, an LNWR company sports ground, opened on the north-east fringe of the town in 1885. Facilities included a football ground, running and cycling track, bowling green, and grandstand. The lodge at the park entrance is of 1885, and thus part of the original scheme.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The lodge, in the Old English style, is directly comparable with examples at Queen's Park, Crewe (another LNWR town), already listed at grade II. Although the ground floor which was probably originally bare brick is now part-painted, and there is an extension to one side, in general the lodge is little altered. Along with examples of 1887 and 1889 at Bournville and Port Sunlight, Wolverton's is reckoned one of the finest surviving Victorian company sports grounds in England (Inglis), and the lodge is an integral part of that.
SOURCES: J. Simmons, The Victorian Railway (1995); N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (2000); S. Inglis, `Because We're Worth It', Observer 21 Sept 2003