Willen Daily Life

Shopping in Victorian Willen

As farm labourers, most of the inhabitants of Willen were quite lucky. Milk could be obtained from the farm and they had big gardens in which they could grow vegetables and fruit as well as raising chickens and a pig or two. But if you wanted anything else you had to go shopping, and shopping meant Newport Pagnell. In the days before fridges and freezers, most people would have had to go to Newport for fresh food almost every day. They would have travelled on foot or would have gone by horse and cart.
This picture shows Newport Pagnell High St. in the 1880s. The photographer stood near the church, with his back to Odell's ironmongers. Taylor's chemist is on the right and on the left, a shoe shop is having a sale, (nothing new there!) The strange arched contraption on the right is a water pump and a lady is working hard to fill some buckets. Notice the horse drawn vehicles on the road.
This picture shows the High St. from the other direction, Odell's ironmongers can be seen in the distance. This photo was taken a bit later, around 1908. Notice the children clustered outside the sweet shop on the right and the millinerís (hat) shop on the left. The portico of the Anchor was demolished in 1958. Benjamin Disraeli once used it as a platform to address an election meeting.
On Wednesdays a pig market was held in front of the Plough Inn which was a bit further up.The main market was held on market hill which would be behind the photographer for this photo.
The photographs were reproduced courtesy of Mike Pratt.