Club centenary

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For anyone interested in the local past a ‘must read’ are the two volumes of the ‘History of Milton Keynes’ by Sir Frank Markham. During the Second World War he was Churchill’s private secretary, and a plaque in the town records Winston’s covert journeys to see him at Stony Stratford. The story of Sir Frank, who was knighted in 1951, and was MP for the Buckingham constituency from 1951 to 1964, was told in a previous article. This photo was taken at the Stony Stratford Conservative Club where, as the retiring MP he was retiring as president of the club. The club was first registered on August 21, 1913 and on August 21, 2013 celebrates its centenary, an impressive achievement to be commemorated by various events throughout the day. Over the years the membership has been involved in much local fund-raising. In fact such benevolence became apparent soon after its inception, when of the several exiled Belgians given refuge in the town Monsieur Van-den-Broek, speaking in Flemish, included in a moving speech: “I thank you all for everything you have been, and are still doing, for the Belgian refugees in Stony Stratford.... I give special thanks to the Conservative and Liberal Unionist Working Men’s Club where we Belgians were introduced, and were made to forget many days of our exile by their tokens of affection, by lending us their local newspapers, and games.” The premises occupied by the club, 77 High Street, were built in 1840 apparently for John York, a local banker. His partner in banking was William Oliver and in 1830 there were Oliver and York Banks in Stony Stratford and Newport Pagnell. Around 1893 the premises became a private school run by Mrs Adeline Slade, which her mother in law before her death in 1892 had variously run at Hanslope, Great Linford, and The Elms in Stony Stratford. Around 1905 Adeline transferred the school to Clarence House in London Road.

However, she retained the name York House School and although the school closed in 1957 the name survives in the present York House Centre. The centenary celebrations of the club include many interesting photos of bygone Stony Stratford, and also the detailed story of the York House School.