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Maidenhead, Berkshire

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Maidenhead, Berkshire

For other uses, see Maidenhead (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 51°31′18″N 0°43′04″W / 51.5217°N 0.7177°W / 51.5217; -0.7177

Maidenhead
Taplow
Berkshire
Population 78,000 (2001)
OS grid reference SU889811
Unitary authority Windsor and Maidenhead
Ceremonial county Berkshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MAIDENHEAD
Postcode district SL6
Dialling code 01628
Police Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Maidenhead
List of places
UK
England
Berkshire

Maidenhead is a large town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It lies on the west bank of the River Thames (having shortly upstream been the south bank) and is 25.7 miles (41.4 km) west of Charing Cross in London as well as having a mainline station set to be the terminus of the Crossrail line.

History

Maidenhead's name refers to the riverside area where the "New wharf" or "Maiden Hythe" was built, perhaps as early as Saxon times. It has been suggested that the nearby Great Hill of Taplow was called the "Mai Dun" by the Iron Age Brythons. The area of the town centre was originally known as "South Ellington" and is recorded in the Domesday Book as Ellington in the hundred of Beynhurst.[1]

In 1280, a bridge was erected across the river to replace a ferry in what was then the hamlet of South Ellington.[2] The Great West Road to Reading, Gloucester and Bristol was diverted over the new bridge – previously it kept to the north bank and crossed the Thames by ford at Cookham—and mediaeval Maidenhead grew up around it.[3] Within a few years a wharf was constructed next to the bridge and the South Ellington name was dropped with the area becoming known as Maidenhythe (literally meaning "new wharf"). The earliest record of this name change is in the Bray Court manorial rolls of 1296.[2] The bridge led to the growth of Maidenhead: a stopping point for coaches on the journeys between London and Bath and the High Street became populated with inns. The current Maidenhead Bridge, a local landmark, dates from 1777 and was built at a cost of £19,000.

King Charles I met his children for the last time before his execution in 1649 at the Greyhound Inn[4] on the High Street, the site of which is now a branch of the NatWest Bank. A plaque commemorates their meeting.

When the Great Western Railway came to the town, it began to expand. Muddy roads were replaced and public services were installed. The High Street began to change again and substantial Victorian red brick architecture began to appear throughout the town. Maidenhead became its own entity in 1894, being split from the civil parishes of both Bray and Cookham.

Maidenhead Citadel Corps of the Salvation Army was first opened in the Town in the mid-1880s. Maidenhead Citadel Band was soon founded in 1886 by Bandmaster William Thomas who later became Mayor of the Town.

By Edwardian times, Boulter's Lock nearby became a favoured resort especially on Ascot Sunday, and the Skindles hotel developed a reputation for illicit liaisons.[5]

Governance

The town is part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, with an urban population of around 80,000. It was previously an independent municipal borough. The current MP for the Maidenhead Constituency is Theresa May (Conservative). May also serves in the Government Cabinet as Home Secretary. The mayor is Councillor Andrew Jenner (Conservative).[6]

Geography

The Maidenhead urban area includes urban and suburban regions within the bounds of the town, called Maidenhead Court, North Town, Furze Platt (which in 2012 gained a conservation area), Pinkneys Green, Highway, Tittle Row, Boyn Hill, Fishery and Bray Wick; as well as suburbs in surrounding civil parishes: Cox Green and Altwood in Cox Green parish, Woodlands Park in White Waltham parish, and part of Bray Wick in Bray parish. Bray village itself is still just about detached. To the east, on the opposite side of the river from Maidenhead, is the village of Taplow in Buckinghamshire. A few miles further on is Slough. To the north are the Cookhams, Cookham Village, Cookham Rise & Cookham Dean. Also nearby is the wealthy area of Pinkneys Green. These lie south of the Berkshire-Buckinghamshire border, which is formed by the River Thames (which then bends southwards to form the Maidenhead-Taplow border). To the south is the village of Holyport. Continuing by road to the South-East leads to the town of Windsor.

Maidenhead is the planned western terminus for the Crossrail line (to and through London).

On 12 July 1901, Maidenhead entered the UK Weather Records with the Highest 60-min total rainfall at 92 mm (3.6 in). As of April 2011, this record remains.

Religion

All Saints Church, Boyne Hill was completed in 1857 is one of the finest examples of the early work of the architect G. E. Street. The site is also regarded by many as the premier architectural site in the town. The Church, consecrated on 2 December 1857 by Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, became the first ecclesiastical parish in the Borough of Maidenhead.[7]

Character

Maidenhead is in England's Silicon Corridor along the M4 motorway west of London. Many residents commute to work in London, or to the towns of Slough and Reading.

Maidenhead's industries include: software, plastics, pharmaceuticals, printing, and telecommunications.

Although there are attractive residential and green areas in and around Maidenhead, the town centre is widely regarded as below par. In December 2007, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead set up the Partnership for the Regeneration of Maidenhead (PRoM), which in October 2008 launched a comprehensive 20 Year Vision and Action Plan for rejuvenating the town centre. Launch of the plan coincided with confirmation by central government that Maidenhead will be the western terminus of the new Crossrail project.[8] PRoM's plans highlight five key developments which will help shape the town for the future — a large new retail triangle at Queen Street/King Street, an upgraded transport interchange, relocation of the football and bowls clubs, linking Kidwells Park into the High Street and restoring the old waterway as an attractive feature and amenity in the town centre.

Maidenhead was home to the conference that agreed on the Maidenhead Locator System standard in 1980. It is located in grid square ​IO91pm.

The average house price in The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is £461,421.[9]

Community facilities

Research by the New Economics Foundation rated Maidenhead as an example of a clone town.[10] It offers reasonable High Street shopping facilities including Nicholson's Centre, a shopping centre on the site of Nicholson's brewery. The town also offers an 8-screen Odeon multiplex cinema, a leisure centre (with swimming pool), called the Magnet, and a bowling alley. There is also Norden Farm Centre for the Arts (an arts centre including a theatre). Help with shopping in the town centre can be provided by the Shopmobility service on the ground floor of Nicholson's car park.

Maidenhead Heritage Centre and Museum was established in 1993 and moved to permanent premises in Park Street in 2006.

Maidenhead Citadel Band of the Salvation Army still takes an active role in the life of the town.

The Waltham Place Estate on Church Hill includes an ornamental garden integrated within a 200 acre organic and biodynamic farm estste. It is promoted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.[11]

Transport


The (Brunel-built) Great Western Main Line passes through the town, calling at Maidenhead railway station and offering links to London and stations towards Bristol. It passes over Brunel's Maidenhead Railway Bridge (known locally as the Sounding Arch), famous for its flat brick arches.[1] Maidenhead Station is the beginning of the Marlow Branch Line from Maidenhead to Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and is one of the proposed termini for the London Crossrail scheme.[8] Furze Platt railway station also serves the northern area of Maidenhead.

Currently, rail services are provided by First Great Western who took over the Thames Trains franchise in 2003/4.

Local bus services are provided by First Berkshire & The Thames Valley, Arriva the Shires and Essex and Courtney Coaches.

The A4 runs through the town and crosses the Thames over Maidenhead Bridge. The town lies adjacent to junction 8/9 on the M4 motorway (accessed via the A404(M) and A308(M)). The M4 and M40 are linked by the A404(M)/ A404 which skirts the western side of Maidenhead.

The River Thames runs half a mile to the east of the town centre, and York Stream, which runs through the town centre, connects to the Thames via a system of disused waterways. A renewal scheme is in progress (October 2007) to reopen these waterways. The Jubilee River, part of the flood defence scheme, begins above Boulter's Lock nearby.

Sport

Situated on the River Thames, the town is a rowing centre. The Maidenhead Rowing Club organises the Maidenhead Regatta which, along with the Marlow Regatta and Henley Regatta, is often seen as a testing ground for olympic rowing athletes. Maidenhead has often seen winners go on to represent the United Kingdom at the Olympic games.

The town's football team, Maidenhead United, play at York Road, which is the oldest football ground in the world continuously used by the same team.

The Maidenhead Rugby Club was founded in 1921 and is the largest organised sports team in the town. It consists of fours men's teams, a women's team, and a large youth programme. The men's team attracts international talent from all over the world including American Tobin Thompson and Fijian Antinio Mawara.

In September 2011 the town hosted the first ever Maidenhead Half Marathon.

The town is also home to Maidenhead Sailing Club at Summerleaze lake which is home to one of the largest Albacore fleets in the area.

Institutions

The local newspaper is The Maidenhead Advertiser.

Maidenhead has been the home of Maidenhead Citadel Band of The Salvation Army since 1886.

Further educational institutions

State schools

Secondary Schools

Primary schools

  • Furze Platt Junior School (Furze Platt Infant School caters for reception-year2)
  • Courthouse Junior School
  • St Edmund Campion Primary School (RC)
  • St. Mary's Primary School (RC)
  • All Saints CofE Junior School
  • St. Lukes CofE School
  • Lowbrook Academy
  • Wessex Primary School
  • Larchfield
  • Oldfield Primary School

Independent Schools

  • St Piran's School (co-ed 3–11)
  • Claires Court School (boys 11–16)
  • The College (girls 4–16)
  • Ridgeway (boys 4–11)
  • Highfield School (girls 4–11)

The closest higher education institution is the Thames Valley University (TVU) campus at Slough (9.5 km (5.9 miles) to the east). Reading College (formerly TVU Reading) and the University of Reading are both approximately 21 km (13 mi) to the west.

Twin towns

Maidenhead is twinned with:

Each year youths from the four towns and Berlin Steglitz (twinned with Bad Godesberg) compete against one another in sports such as volleyball, football, athletics and swimming in the Twin Towns Sports Competition, hosted in turn by each of the five towns. In Maidenhead town centre there are roads named after each of the twin towns (Bad Godesberg Way, Frascati Way and St Clouds Way). Local schools often participate in student exchanges with pupils being exchanged between schools within the twinned towns. Windsor rifle club also competes biannually with their twin rifle club in Bad Godesberg.

In addition Windsor and Maidenhead are twinned with:

Notable people

A number of notable figures can be counted amongst Maidenhead's current and former residents. The actress Diana Dors resided for much of her life in the town,[14] in several properties, while the broadcaster Richard Dimbleby lived for sometime on Boulter's Island. Author Hugh Lofting, creator of Doctor Dolittle, was born in Maidenhead.[15]

Leicester City F.C. midfielder Andy King was born and raised in Maidenhead, attending Furze Platt Senior School from 2000 to 2005. He has since gone on to play for the Wales national football team. Chesterfield F.C. midfielder Sam Togwell was also born and raised in Maidenhead, and has made appearances against Chelsea F.C and Manchester City F.C.

Essayist and novelist Nick Hornby was educated at Maidenhead Grammar School (now Desborough School),[16] as were children's television presenter and radio show host Toby Anstis,[17] author and broadcaster John O'Farrell,[18] athlete Mark Richardson and well known "Dragon" Peter Jones.

Maidenhead's riverside location has drawn many celebrities, including Australian personality Rolf Harris and former broadcaster Michael Parkinson. The Spice Girls shared a house in Maidenhead for a year preceding their rise to stardom.[19]

The film director brothers Roy and John Boulting were born in Bray village on the outskirts of Maidenhead in November 1913.

The town is home to Sir Nicholas Winton whose heroic efforts rescued 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia during the run up to WW2. There is a statue of him at Maidenhead Railway Station.

The town was also home to Colonel Sir Walter de Frece and Lady Matilda de Frece, better known as Vesta Tilley.

Former disabled London Marathon competitor Patrick Sheehy lived in the town for just over 3 years

References

External links

  • The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Local community and forum website

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