Queensway, the main shopping street in Bletchley.
Bletchley shown within Buckinghamshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Milton Keynes|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||MILTON KEYNES|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Milton Keynes South|
Bletchley is a constituent town of Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, England. It is situated in the south-west of Milton Keynes, and is split between the civil parishes of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford and West Bletchley.
The town name is Anglo-Saxon and means Blæcca's clearing. It was first recorded in manorial rolls in the 12th century as Bicchelai, then later as Blechelegh (13th century) and Blecheley (14th–16th centuries).
Bletchley grew from an obscure hamlet on the road from Fenny Stratford to Buckingham with the arrival of the London and North Western Railway in 1845 and its subsequent junction with the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Line shortly afterwards. Bletchley grew rapidly to service the junction. Bletchley railway station was for many years an important node on the railway. It is now one of the four stations which serve Milton Keynes.
In the urban growth of the Victorian period brought by the railway, the town merged with nearby Fenny Stratford. Fenny Stratford had been constituted an urban district (with Simpson) in 1895, and Bletchley was added in 1898. The urban district was renamed Bletchley in 1911.
In the early 1960s, there was a further substantial expansion of the town, with people from London being relocated by the Greater London Council, mainly to a London overspill estate to the south of Water Eaton. The population of the urban district increased from 5,500 in 1921 to 17,000 in 1961.
It was The Plan for Milton Keynes that would bring the most dramatic change to the future of Bletchley.
Bletchley in Milton Keynes
Bletchley was included in the "designated area" when the "New City" of Milton Keynes was founded in 1967. Bletchley thrived in the early years of the growth of Milton Keynes, since it was the main shopping area. Bletchley centre was altered considerably when the Brunel Shopping Centre was built in the early 1970s, creating a new end to Queensway. (Previously, Queensway – formerly known as Bletchley Road – was a continuous run from Fenny Stratford to Old Bletchley). Bletchley's boom came to an end when the new Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre was built and commercial Bletchley has declined as a retail destination in recent years.
Bletchley and Fenny Stratford parish
The districts that make up this civil parish are Brickfields (includes the Blue Lagoon), Central Bletchley, Denbigh (including Denbigh North), Eaton Manor, Fenny Stratford, Granby, Manor Farm, Mount Farm and Water Eaton (includes "Lakes Estate").
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For many years, Denbigh has been an important employment area. Perhaps its most famous residents are Milton Keynes Dons F.C., in Denbigh North, and their former club sponsors Marshall Amplification, just across the old Watling Street in Denbigh West.
In 2005, large commercial developments occurred on the immediate outskirts of Bletchley, although still in the civil parish of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. The supermarket chain Asda-Wal-Mart and the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA built and opened large stores at Denbigh North, northeast of the town centre on Watling Street, and Tesco responded by expanding its store at the north-east edge of Bletchley/Fenny Stratford. Marks and Spencers have also announced plans to build a major development adjacent to the stadium. Whether or not these new developments accelerate the decline of the town centre remains to be seen.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a Local Nature Reserve, which attracts many local visitors every day. School children in Bletchley are often taken on trips to learn about the history of this site.
West Bletchley parish
The parish has a population of 20,994 according to the 2001 census. The districts and neighbourhoods in the parish are:
- Church Green (including Bletchley Park)
- Far Bletchley
- Old Bletchley
- West Bletchley (district)
- Whaddon (ward)
Most districts of West Bletchley Parish are residential, but the district of Bletchley Park is important enough to be summarised here.
Within the West Bletchley parish, in the Church Green district, is Bletchley Park, which, during the Second World War, was home to the Government Code and Cypher School. The German Enigma code was cracked here by, amongst others, Alan Turing. Another cipher machine was solved with the aid of early computing devices, known as Colossus. The park is now a museum, although many areas of the park grounds have been sold off for housing development.
Sport and leisure
Bletchley is in the Bletchley and Fenny Stratford electoral ward of Milton Keynes Borough Council, presently represented by two Conservative and one Labour councillors, and in the parliamentary constituency of Milton Keynes South, represented by Conservative MP Iain Stewart. Under the abandoned new parliamentary boundary plans, the area was to have been moved to the Buckingham constituency of Speaker of the House John Bercow, but these plans have now been delayed until at least after the next general election expected in 2015.
ONS Urban Sub-area
The Office for National Statistics has designated an Urban Sub-area for census purposes that approximates to the boundaries of the legacy Bletchley Urban District Council at the time of the designation of Milton Keynes. It also includes that part of Winslow Rural District that fell within the designation. In outline, the ONS Sub-area consists of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Civil Parish, West Bletchley Civil Parish and part of Shenley Brook End Civil Parish (specifically Furzton, Emerson Valley, Tattenhoe and Snelshall). At the 2001 Census, the population of the Sub-area was 47,176.
- "Milton Keynes Settlements – Population Projections 2001 to 2011 (using data for Blue Lagoon Park, Brickfields, Central Bletchley, Denbigh East, Denbigh North, Denbigh West, Far Bletchley, Granby, Mount Farm, Water Eaton and West Bletchley)". Milton Keynes intelligence Observatory. Milton Keynes Council Environment Directorate. 28 January 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2006.
- Official map of Milton Keynes showing original designated area boundary
- Bennitt, F.W (1933). Bletchley. H. Jackson.
- 'Parishes : Bletchley with Fenny Stratford and Water Eaton', Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 274–283. URL: Date accessed: 17 August 2009.
- Although Milton Keynes was designed as a 'New City' and is commonly referred to as 'the city' (to distinguish it from towns like Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford), it has yet to receive city status in the United Kingdom and is thus sill officially a town
- Map of Bletchley USa
- KS01 Usual resident population: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas, line 1809
- Edward Legg, Early History of Bletchley Park 1235–1937, Bletchley Park Trust Historic Guides series, No. 1, 1999