History of Sandy -
Into the 20th Century
(Picture is an old Post Card view of Sandy High Street around the turn of the 20th Century) - Courtesy Sandy Historical Research Group)
In the early part of the 20th Century, Sandy was still very much a rural environment. Only a few of the streets were tarred over, and apart from some ribbon development along Cambridge Road, Bedford Road, St Neots Road, and the High Street, all of which linked into the Market Square, most of the land adjoining these roads was laid down to farming and market gardening activities. London Road was part of the Turnpike, linking London and the North, and there was some development in connection with passing trade.
Many in the community were land-workers, either employed by the larger market gardening concerns, or eking a living from the "Church Roods" to the east of St Neots Road. At the end of the First World War, the average income was still only about 25 shillings per week (1.25GBP, about 101GBP today*), and working hours were from around 4am to dusk most of the year. Council rents were 7 shillings per week (0.35GBP, about 28GBP today*).
* 2009 - Allowing for inflation
William Jordan's mill was opened adjacent to the Market Square, in 1905. He was grandson of the Jordan family over at Holme Mills, near Biggleswade, the original home of the Jordans cereal products so popular today. This mill, along with the one in Mill Lane, was one of over 450 independent flour millers operating in Bedfordshire. Today, Jordans at Holme Mill is the last remaining. William Jordan also sold coal, which was brought in by rail from the Nottinghamshire coalfields. There was a fire in 1971, and the flour mill was burnt down. In recent times (up until 2007), although the coal-yard remained, the coal order office has been in turn a pet shop and now an estate agents.
St Swithun's Church of England School dates back to Victorian times, and occupied a site at the top of St Neots Road until 1987, when the school was transferred to its present location in Ivel Road, next to the Rectory. The site has now been re-developed into housing (Greens Close - named after William Green, a Headmaster at the school).
All that remained of Jordans Mill in the centre of Sandy. Most recent use was a coal yard, but this was closed and has being re-developed into mixed residential use. McCann Homes retained part of the street scene adjacent to the site, including the old Coal Office, Nos 2 and 4 Market Square, the old Baptist Chapel in Pleasant Place but not Magnolia House. This was demolished despite a local campaign to save it - due to the building being 'unsafe' and the ground around it being 'contaminated'. Plans have now been accepted for a new building to include seven flats with access to the rear for vehicles. Building work has recently commenced (08/2010) and will probably be finished by late Autumn.
The first Council school was opened in 1905 in Laburnum Road. In the 1950's it was called Sandy County Primary. Now known as Laburnum Lower, the school has undergone extensive re-modelling internally, with some elements carefully executed to retain the look and feel of the original.
The school celebrated 100 years in September 2005.
Mrs J Pibworth is the current Head Teacher.
Sandy, in common with many town and villages up and down the United Kingdom, lost its share of young men who went off to fight the Great War. Those who died in the service of their country, are commemorated both in the Parish Church, and also by the War Memorial situated outside the recreation ground in Bedford Road. Click here to read details of the men who fell, from a website that has been set up especially to record memorials throughout the country. (Soldiers who were killed in the Second World War - 1939-45, are also listed, both in the Parish Church, and on the memorial).