In the 1950’s, Bletchley’s ambulance station was based in a house along Queensway, the town’s main shopping area. Most of the ‘front-line’ ambulances were housed in a nearby petrol station garage, owned by Thompkins & Moss. All the staff would move the coach ambulance vehicles at night, as they were kept at Tavistock Street, and then return to the main station. There was no local hospital at this time. The nearest ones were the Stoke Mandeville & Royal Bucks in Aylesbury and Northampton (which had the nearest casualty department) and the Luton & Dunstable. Three crews operated out of Bletchley and if called out they could be gone for up to 2-3 hours.
Ambulance staff did not undergo the same level of training that is required today. A first aid certificate was all that was needed and training was given by St. Johns ambulance in a wooden hut on Platform 2 at Bletchley railway station. An ambulance was basically a van with a stretcher and a box of bandages. The aim then was to get people to hospital as quickly as possible for treatment. Oxygen was not usually carried unless a doctor had requested it for a particular patient.
Senior Ambulance Technician Mick Peters talks about his first day and the uniform.
Text version.
Staff uniforms were very smart and always included a hat and tie but they were not very practical.

In the winter of 1961 Bletchley’s new ambulance station opened in Whalley Drive. Furniture from the old station was moved using the ambulances themselves. The new station seemed very modern - apart from the garage doors, which were very heavy and hard to push open. In winter they quite often used to freeze up altogether.

An official opening took place attended by the Mayor and a group of local Councillors and the garages were scrubbed from top to bottom especially for the occasion.

Three shifts operated - each with three crews, 7am - 3pm, 3pm - 11pm and 11pm - 7am. Extra people used to run the outpatients bus and everyone used to work through a roster that included a week of running the bus in between doing emergency work.

As the new city of Milton Keynes developed alongside Bletchley in the 1970’s and 80’s, the people’s voice demanding their own local hospital got louder. For some years a giant question mark stood on the proposed hospital site in Milton Keynes and cars sported orange stickers declaring ‘Milton Keynes is dying for a hospital! ' The hospital was duly built in the 1980’s and ambulances were then stationed there as well as at Bletchley.

Today ambulance staff undergo rigorous training and are expected to meet the standards set by the Government; known as ‘ORCON’ standards, which dictate the time in which an ambulance should reach the patient.

Ambulances are better equipped than ever before, with the crew able to give on-the-spot treatment. Bletchley station is still in operation today. Some of the staff have worked there for several years working through Bletchley’s changing times.
A final word from Mick.......
Text version.
Return to Local services.