Dunstable

I'm from up North, and I'm off for an interview with a company in Dunstable, near Luton.  I'd have to re-locate to the area if I got the job.  Anyone been/live there, or have any info about it?
23:30 Fri 29th Jul 2005
 
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Hello c00ky83. I live in Dunstable. What do you want to know?
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Well, what's it like?  Big, small, village...nice place?  What about Luton - much going on there?  Thanks.

Wispy you don't say much yourself.  I lived in Studham, just near Whipsnade zoo for 10 years growing up (hmmm wispy, is that your birth year?) and I loved the whole area.  I still miss the hills (Downs), really pretty.  I am not sure what the town is like; I was too young for pubs but there are loads.  It's a fairly big town with some good shops I believe, some very good schools and is easily accessible to London and the South, if that helps. A very nice part of the world in my humble opinion.    Now, as for Luton..............

Hello sunflower68. It is indeed my birth year! I was in a bit of a hurry when I answered this question yesterday (hence the link). However, you've written more or less the same as what I would have, although the town has changed a little over the last 10-ish years. The traffic jams can be an absolute nightmare and although the town still has a few 'quaint' little shops, we often go out of town to do our shopping. Since you left, the Queensway Hall has been demolished and an Asda has been built in its place (adding to the traffic problems)! We still have a pretty good library and market on Saturdays and Wednesdays and the pubs and restaraunts aren't too bad either. We often visit Dunstable Downs, as it's a peaceful, relaxing place to go.

c00ky83, I hope you found the link useful and wish you success in your job interview and the possibility of moving to Bedfordshire.

Wispy I'm so glad it's just that you were in a hurry.  Glad too that Dunstable still sounds as much fun as it was....Shame about the Queensway.  I saw Tears for Fears there and got a kiss off Curt Smith ;) I went to Manshead but left the area in 1985.  I still visit with the family to take a kite onto the Downs. There used to be a lovely nightclub called Tiffany's cooky, you could check it out!

Question Author
Thanks a lot, sounds like a blast!  I'd love to try the club, but I'll be leaving in the afternoon... :(

This is in the centre of Dunstable, and is the pride and joy of the entire citizenry and the villages around. Any guesses as to what it is supposed to be ?

That corner looks familiar.  Didn't the place up for rent used to be a big sports shop, you could get trophies engraved too.  The jug must be near the market square/Asda?  Dunno Zmudge
Hello sunflower. Yes, the shop used to be a sports shop, then it was empty for a long while and opened again as a purely golf shop which lasted a long time then closed suddenly and after another long period it opened again as a furniture shop which did not last long and has now stood empty and tatty for quite a while. In the distance up the road you can see the old cinema which changed to bingo for years but that all finished and it is now a bar called Cubes. The odd sculpture is supposed to represent an amphora the ancient Roman two-handled narrow necked jar for wine or oil, and cost about �10,000 to put there. It is supposed to remind Dunstablians of the time that the Romans were there !! Immediately behind is Dunstable Library. Studham has changed a lot over the years - the shops, post office and garage have long since gone, one of the pubs nearly vanished but just staggered back, a bus service of sorts just hangs on and Buckwood Road is now a major traffic rat-run !!!  

sunflower 68, I was at the Tears For Fears concert, too! Didn't get a kiss, but came away with their autographs. Had a great time, apart from my then boyfriend, fainting and me having to take him outside for some air, so missed a couple of songs. Also had some good nights in Tiffanys years ago, but not too keen on Jumpin' Jacks as it's now called.

OMG Zmudge how good to hear about studham. The little sweet shop was called Maisies, by the village hall where I had my first snog.  I was just musing how that thing looked like an amphora...not! I worked in the kitchen of The Bell Inn when I was a teenager, nice pub.  Can't believe we went to the same gig wispy. We used to get backstage somehow when I was younger, also saw Rik Mayall, King, Paul Young and Hanoi Rocks.  I have such great memories of all of it; it really made an impression.  Do you both recall the Windsock and The California?

Yes, I had many a happy night in the quirkey old Windsock. Regarding the Cali, I used to go there more for the wrestling than the dancing, and saw Jackie Pallo, Mick McManus, the Royal Brothers, Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks amongst others !! Maisie ultimately passed away and her son John took over the shop, but his heart wasn't in it and it is now a large house. It was the Red Lion that nearly went under. The Bell soldiers on and a large dining area has been created incorporating the saloon bar. Did you know that The Bell featured in a number of episodes of EastEnder's last year? Also, when you worked at The Bell did you know a Maureen ? The Village Hall has recently been poshed up !!

Zmudge this just gets better!  As for the Bell Inn, that was my place, when the question of 'where were you at Live Aid?' was going around last month.  I was a 16 year old working in the kitchen, cooking and also serving the chips, salad , steaks etc.  Maureen rings a bell though and I would say no if I wasn't sure.  There was a fab lady at the bar, blonde short-ish hair, highlights, a smoker, used to like to nick the chips straight from the fryer.  She was lovely.  Ain't it funny how memories are! Please let me know if I could be right; I'm such a sentimentalist. x

As for the California, your link got me seriously netting earlier;   look what I came up with!! http://www.california-ballroom.info/

Let me know more on the 'Enders stuff....intriguing.  Also Zmudge can    you fill in a bit on where you were/are in the area.  Nosey old me eh?

Hello, sunflower.That link you found is very interesting, I did not know it existed - did you go to "memories" and "related items" and then scroll down to a photo of The Windsock ?  Part of the kitchen of The Bell where you stood and worked is built over a well hundreds of years old. In the time of Cromwell some Cavaliers were cornered in the kitchen, threw their swords down the well and pretended to the Roundheads that they were local yokels. It worked and they escaped. In recent years a distressed cook hanged hanged himself from the staircase of The Bell and now haunts the place (especially around 10.30 pm !!). You can see the village hall here and the house replacing Maisie's. The outsides of the cottages further up the road also appeared in EastEnders. Did you know Markyate and particularly Markyate Cell - highwaywoman Katherine  Ferrers and all that who used to stable horses in Studham (whom Margaret Lockwood portrayed in "The Wicked Lady") ? It's up for sale - if only I was forty years younger !!!

Actually he only hanged himself once !!

Aw  Zmudge ty for the piccie - got any more?  Can't believe it, Maisie's gone.  She was so patient when we used to come over after Brownies, spending ages choosing our sweets.  I had heard something about the Bell and the ghost, they hear rattling chains too.  I love all that stuff, very interesting.

What was the 'Enders scene?  Wonder why they came up especially to Studham?  I remember Harpers butchers up there ( I went to infants with the boy who lived there)

We only really used to go to Markyate for fish and chips, they were scrummy.  Isn't that a good website on the Cali? I only have a few distant memories of the place, especially when it was a skate park. The windsock was a fine looking place wasn't it?!

Yes, the fish and chips at Markyate are still the best for miles around !! From the Fish Bar to the Post Office which you can see in the distance was turned completely back to the 1920's a while ago for the film "Lucky Jim". It's a nice story and worth a look when it is repeated on BBC 1. The EastEnders characters were Terry and Irene who took a four day break at The Bell so say to patch up an argument. Terry got lost and so say again slept one night in a barn at the back of The Bell. A local Studham man is a pal of the producers. I don't have any other photo's of Studham as it's a bit of a sprawl what with Gunnell's Wood, Oldhill Wood, Holywell etc and the church is not photogenic. It's 60th anniversary War Week in Dunstable next week which has revived memories of the V2 rocket which fell on Studham Common not far from the Village Hall killing one person. Will have to sign off for the moment as a small group of people have appeared reminding me that it was my birthday yesterday and that it is appropriate to open a bottle or two tonight !!!!! 

PS. Just time to include that Maisies son John was in fact a Deep Sea Diver and is famous for having dived many times on the "Mary Rose" and rendering much assistance in raising her. I think that shop-keeping was a bit tame for him after that.

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