History of Sandy - Into the 20th Century
After The Great War
In the 1920's, further improvements to the quality of life in Sandy were made, with the construction of a sewerage system starting in 1922. Prior to this, most homes had trenches or cess-pits, which of course required regular cleaning out!
Electric street lighting came in 1927, although the lamplighter's job did not disappear for some time after, when automated timers were introduced. Sandy received annual visits from a travelling fair, which was sited on Red Lion Meadow, now the location of Budgens supermarket, Royal Mail Sorting Office and a car park. The fair was known as the "Feast", because it coincided with the patronal festival of St Swithun, in the third week of July. In more recent times, once the land was built over, the fairs have been located either on spare land in Engayne Avenue, or most recently, on the Pinnacle by the Sand Hills.
(Top picture is of the Red Lion in 1956, courtesy of Ken Page)
During the Second World War, Hazells Hall, along with Tetworth and Woodbury Halls nearby, was used as a base for RAF pilots running agents in and out of the local airfield, who after training by the S.O.E, were dropped in to the occupied European countries, many being flown out in the Lysander aircraft based at Tempsford, and specially adapted with side ladders for the purpose of a quick getaway. Also, there is a fuel storage facility adjacent to The Lodge (Headquarters of the RSPB) on the Potton Road. This was part of a national network of pipelines and tanks to feed the many wartime airfields in the area. It was constructed by Laing in 1942-3, from components manufactured by Whassoe of Darlington. The site now belongs to the Pipeline Agency and is still operational today.
After WWII, Hazells (sometimes spelled Hassells), was used as a hostel for the Womens Land Army. To find out more please click here to view an excellent article by Stuart Antrobus. There was also a short period of time from 1949, when the Hall was used as a hospital, being linked to Bromham Hospital near Bedford.
Bedford Borough Council has a detailed history of Hazells Hall.
Lower picture is of Hazells Hall, c 1940 (Photo: Courtesy of Heritage Environment Record, Central Bedfordshire Council)