The coming of the railways made Padbury important. London could be reached by train via Bletchley in an hour and a half, this comparing very favourably with present day services.
A Mr Ambler was Station Master for over 50 years, presiding over his kingdom with great dignity. One wonders what he would have thought now that 'his station' has been demolished and a pleasant housing estate built there. Each morning milk-floats from the surrounding farms gathered at the station, bringing churns of milk which were put on the 'milk train' en route for London. The drivers of the floats were the link between the village and the outlying farms, taking back all the local news, papers and even shopping.

A local carrier, Mr Albert Morris, went to Buckingham weekly with his horse and cart and brought back necessaries for the village folk. Mr Madkins went daily round the local villages also with his horse and cart taking household goods, needles, cottons, laces, etc. while his sister, Miss Mary Ann Madkins made boiled sweets which she sold from their thatched cottage near the station. These were the only sweets obtainable in the village and so were very popular.

As the railways declined Padbury still retained its position of importance as the road at the other end of the village started to carry more traffic, including the local bus service from Aylesbury through Buckingham to Northampton. In recent years the traffic has increased considerably, carrying traffic between London and the Midlands. The main road through the village itself has also become very busy partly because of the building of the new city of Milton Keynes only twelve miles away.

In common with many other villages the occupation of the residents has changed over recent years. Agriculture formerly provided most of the work, there being at least fifteen farms of which most of the houses and cottages belonged to All Soul's College, Oxford. Farms have now been amalgamated and the farm houses sold off. Farm buildings such as barns and even cow sheds have been sold and turned into houses. As a result very few people work on the land, now commuting to places like Milton Keynes, Buckingham University and even going daily to London.

Even with these changes the continuity of village life goes on. Padbury Benefit Society has been in being for many years and in spite of social security and the National Health Service seems to go from strength to strength. The sight of a local band led by the Society Banner proudly held aloft by its Standard Bearer on its way to the special church service on a Sunday evening in May and parading the village on the Monday, before culminating in a very well-attended dinner held in the Village Hall is surely a sign of the continuity of village life in Padbury.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission

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