Settling In by Kevin Adams was written for LAMK’s community musical documentary play Bigger, Brighter, Better! (1996). This followed Bletchley’s progress from 1946 -1966 from a sleepy country town to a bustling London overspill – a completely different concept from what would become the future new city of Milton Keynes. The song recounts the ‘million-pound’ feeling of a new resident who has moved into a brand new house from bombed-out or sub-standard tenements of London.
Although the Saints estate is so near the eleven tall chimneys of the London Brick Company’s works, the air there is credited with being the best in the district, and many ex-London mothers are saying that their children have never been so well in their lives.
(Bletchley Gazette, 27th July 1953)
When I walked through my own front door, it was just like I’d been given a million pounds… I think it was about a month before they put the fences up and then it was lovely ‘cause your garden you started from scratch – that was right up my husband’s street, to start his garden from scratch.
(Doreen Brace, LAMK 1996)
It was just after Christmas, 1954, we moved down here… The house in St John’s Road, Bletchley was lovely. We had a big back garden, alleyway between the two houses, three bedrooms… Next door neighbours, we had some good laughs. Good neighbours. If you were skint, you could always go and borrow something, or they’d come and borrow something off you. There was a lot of borrowing going on. Drop of milk, bit of sugar, bit of tea until tomorrow. That’s how we used to live. If there wasn’t that, you wouldn’t live… Never looked back, never looked back since I came down to Bletchley, neither of us. We done well.
(Ronald Flinn, LAMK 1996)
Images and primary source material from LAMK archive
The song is featured on the Living Archive Band’s album All That’s Changed Vol 1 (LAMK)