The avenue is actually two avenues, the first half, heading from the High Street was completed first. The second half, from the old Rectory towards the cemetery was afterwards. From W.G. Clarke’s “Guide to Brandon”, dated 1908 – “… a splendid avenue of lime trees, nearly half-a-mile in length, and reaching almost to the parish church … Until 1897 the avenue was only half the present length, but in that year a strip of land for the extension of the avenue, and for conversion into a public footpath, was given by Mr. Charles Gowing, of Hellesdon, and laid out by public subscription, “in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s reign”.
I used to walk from St Peters Approach up to school on the Market Hill. I remember the first school crossing man was Mr Roper. When he started it made the local press and I was among the kids in the photo. Mr Wilde lived in the cottage at the church gates next to the cemetery and he used to pollard the avenue trees most years, providing pea sticks for the allotment.
Walking from Wangford Hall on a Saturday afternoon to the Avenue cinema to see the likes of Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper etc. was a great delight to me.
We lived on London Road in the early 1950s and the cottage backed on to the Avenue. My grandparents lived at 2 The Avenue, and I was born there. I can remember folk having to take their washing to a row of wash houses with boilers that had to be lit - these were in front of the land where the old rectory and Dr Taylor's house stood - all demolished now. Some houses had outdoor toilets too. Some of the families I remember are Armiger, Bishop, Caban, Adams, Bailey. Mr Mutton lived in one of the bigger houses further down past Bank House. Our family name was Grudniok then. The women had to use a manual wringer to get the water out and then carry the clothes all the way across the Avenue, through their house to hang clothes out on the line in the gardens which faced on to London Road. Those cottages had outside toilets in small 'sheds' in these front gardens - they were right near the fence that bordered the path on London Road - not a lot of privacy! I believe they were emptied by a man called Jack Olley who came round at night with a cart! At some time in the 1950s, I think, these were upgraded to flush toilets - still outside though but bordering the Avenue instead of London Road!