A sense of community spirit amongst Bletchley's 'overspill' population was principally engendered by the fact that they were all going through the same experience. Everyone had to make an effort to get to know their neighbours and make new friends. As so many incomers had young families, Mums would get to know each other through their children. Mrs. Daphne Peacock recalls the Mother's Club that she enjoyed when her children were young - it gave the mothers a social life that enabled them to settle. Mrs. Sarah Smith, although born in Bletchley, belonged to an 'overspill' family and remembers growing up on the Counties estate, where all the children would happily join in games in the street.
Text version.
Sarah talks about her childhood.
Some companies would organise their own social events for their employees. Mr. Arthur Attwell instituted the London Brick Work Olympics in the 1950's. These took place regularly for many years and eventually involved not just the Bletchley works, but all of LBC's branches.
An annual event that drew people together during the 1960's and 70's, was the summer carnival. In August each year a procession of floats from various companies, organisations and local schools would pass through the centre of Bletchley and end at Manor Fields. In 1967, this event became part of 'Bletchley Week' with various events going over the days. Mr. John Christian, who co-ordinated the relevant publicity that year said that he wanted 'to show Bletchley off to as many people as possible.' A 'Personality Girl' competition was held - 1967's winner being Miss Susan Rainbow. Large numbers of Bletchley residents took part in Bletchley Week and Bletchley District Gazette used to give it extensive coverage. Indeed, the newspaper itself helped to promote community spirit amongst the 'overspill' population by regularly featuring articles and photographs relating to the incomers. In the 1950's, it even ran a 'Welcome to Bletchley' column.
Bletchley carnival - Queensway - during the 1970's.
The carnival. Left:1969. Right: 1970.
Residents of the Lakes estate created various clubs and groups in their area, with the support of the local vicar and a specially-appointed Council officer. In 1970, a football club - Lakes United - was founded. The estate became quite a community within itself.

In the 1950's and 60's, there was some ill-feeling on the part of some Bletchley locals towards the incoming Londoners. The rapid influx of many people used to a different way of life caused some resentment from those who wanted to see the town and its people remain as it was. Over the years, however, Bletchley and London folk have gradually settled into co-existence.

Nowadays, Bletchley's community spirit is undergoing a revival as various initiatives by the Council and other organisations are seeking to promote Bletchley - the town having been a little overlooked since the development of Milton Keynes.

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