Clarence Street and The Town Hall[n 1]
Staines-upon-Thames shown within Surrey
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||TW18 and TW17|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Staines-upon-Thames, generally referred to by its traditional name Staines //, is a town on the River Thames in the borough of Spelthorne in Surrey, England. Before 1 April 1965 it was in the historic county of Middlesex. The town changed its official name from Staines to Staines-upon-Thames on 20 May 2012.
The town is within the western bounds of the M25 motorway, 17 miles (27 km) west south-west of Charing Cross in London. It is within the London Commuter Belt of South East England, Greater London Urban Area, surrounded in part by the Green Belt. Passing through the town and crossing Staines Bridge is the Thames Path National Trail.
Evidence of neolithic settlement has been found at Yeoveney, on Staines Moor. There has been a crossing of the River Thames at Staines since Roman times. The emperor Claudius sent the Romans into Britain in AD 43, and they settled in Staines the same year. Soon afterwards the first Staines Bridge was constructed to provide an important Thames crossing point on the road from Londinium (London) to Calleva Atrebatum, near the present-day village of Silchester. The name Staines comes from the Old English, and means "[the place at the] stone[s]". The equivalent Roman name was "ad Pontes" ("at the bridges") implying that there was more than one bridge and it is believed that these bridges traversed Church Island.
Staines, albeit spelt Stanes, appears in the Middlesex section of the Domesday Book of 1086, as a property held by Westminster Abbey. It was stated to occupy 19 hides of land, and had 6 mills worth £3 4s 0d, 2 weirs worth 6s 8d, 24 ploughs, meadows for 24 ploughs, and some cattle. It rendered £35.
A border stana, or stone, on the bank of the River Thames, dated 1280, still remains, indicating the western limit of the City of London's jurisdiction over the Thames. (Although familiarly known as the 'London Stone', it is not to be confused with the more famous - and probably more ancient - London Stone in Cannon Street in the City of London).
The barons assembled at Staines before they met King John at Runnymede in 1215, and Stephen Langton held a consecration there shortly after the sealing of Magna Carta. Sir Thomas More was tried in 1535 in a Staines public house, to avoid the outbreak of plague in London at that time. Kings and other important people must have passed through the town on many occasions: the church bells were rung several times in 1670, for instance, when the king and queen went through Staines.
Staines was a regular staging post with coaching inns. It was used for an overnight horse change on The Trafalgar Way in 1805, announcing the victory over the combined French and Spanish fleet and the death of Nelson.
The town was a major producer of linoleum after the formation of the Linoleum Manufacturing Company in 1864 by its inventor, Frederick Walton. Linoleum became the main industry of the town and was a major employer in the area until the 1960s. In 1876 about 220 and in 1911 about 350 people worked in the plant. By 1957 it employed some 300 people and in 1956 the factory produced about 2675 m2 of linoleum each week. The term 'Staines Lino' became a worldwide name but the factory was closed around 1970 and is the site is now occupied by the Two Rivers shopping centre, completed about 2000. A bronze statue of two lino workers in Staines High Street commemorates the Staines Lino Factory. The Spelthorne Museum has a display dedicated to the Linoleum Manufacturing Company.
The Lagonda car factory was on the site where Sainsburys is today. The town was the site of the Staines air disaster in 1972, at the time the worst air crash in Britain until the Lockerbie disaster of 1988. (Since the Lockerbie crash was a terrorist act in Scotland, the Staines crash remains England's worst air disaster, and Britain's worst air accident.) The crash was commemorated in June 2004 by the opening of a dedicated garden near the crash site, created at the request of relatives, and the unveiling of a stained glass window at St. Mary's Church, where a memorial service was held.
Staines Urban District
In 1894, the Local Government Act 1894 created the Staines Urban District: this status conferred additional powers and responsibilities compared with the few Rural Districts in Middlesex County Council. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, Middlesex, apart from the Staines, Sunbury-on-Thames and Potters Bar Urban Districts, became part of Greater London. Staines and Sunbury were transferred to Surrey and Potters Bar to Hertfordshire. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the Staines Urban District was combined with Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District to form the present-day borough of Spelthorne. Staines remains associated with the historical county of Middlesex through certain cultural and sporting affiliations, and until 1996 for postal purposes.
On 15 December 2011 the Spelthorne Borough Council voted 25 - 4, with 6 abstentions (including all the councillors for Staines ward itself) to change the name of the town to Staines-upon-Thames to try to boost the local economy by promoting its riverside location, and reportedly to discourage association with the fictional character Ali G.
The name change proposal originated with the Spelthorne Business Forum. A public consultation resulted in two to one approval, but there were some public objections, including one from the Staines Town Football Club which attempted to present 134 signatures to the council, but they were not received. Adopting the name change, the council resolved to call on residents, businesses and public organisations to use the name Staines-upon-Thames, and to call on the Surrey County Council and Runnymede Borough Council to use Staines-upon-Thames for all official business. Following a day of celebrations in the town including a regatta on the river, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Dame Sarah Goad DCVO, formally changed the name on 20 May 2012 at 2pm. Royal Mail adopted the new name in mid-2012, having previously stated that the name would remain as Staines on the Postcode Address File.
The town's proximity to London and Heathrow has attracted a number of companies: Bupa (healthcare) and Wood Group Kenny (Oil&Gas) have major offices, NDS (conditional access DRM provider, now owned by Cisco), Siemens Building Automation Division and British Gas (part of Centrica) have their national headquarters here. Samsung Electronics Research Institute (SERI), Samsung's U.K R&D Division, is based in the town.
The town centre is fairly compact and mainly focused on a wide pedestrianised High Street, housing many familiar names such as Waterstones, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, T.K. Maxx, JD Sports, Sony, McDonald's x2, Argos, Currys, PC World, Tesco, Waitrose, Monsoon, HMV and H&M. Smaller independent units can be found in Church Street, Clarence Street and the eastern end of the High Street. A market is held every Wednesday and Saturday in the pedestrianised High Street. It is one of the largest and busiest street markets in Surrey. A moderately-sized shopping centre (Elmsleigh) is directly behind the High Street. The Two Rivers retail park was opened in 2002 and is bisected by the confluence of the rivers Wraysbury and Colne. Retailers include Waitrose as well as a Vue cinema, gym and cafes. Outside the High Street there are other parades of shops like Stainash and Edinburgh Drive.
Culture, Community and Housing
The administrative offices of Spelthorne Borough Council are located at Knowle Green. The town has in the 2000s built a public landscape by the riverside conservation area with seating and sculptures to enhance the waterfront as a place to walk. The Town Hall is a Victorian blend of Italian and Flemish influences set in a small market square; (it was converted into an Art Centre in the 1990s, and later turned into a pub). Georgian townhouses line Clarence Street (named after a younger King's son, a Duke of Clarence). Church Street and Lammas Lane house the oldest properties clustered around the parish church of St Mary.  Most housing in the town is in garden plots and most neighbourhoods have green spaces such as (Staines Moor, Shortwood Common, Knowle Green, Leacroft, The Lammas and the sports fields and farms on the borders of Laleham which has, as with the Lammas, a riverside green park by the former Laleham (RC) Abbey, formerly Lord Lucan's Laleham House, and since the late-20th century notable listed luxury apartments in the post town, as is the case with Duncroft Manor. Staines Bridge spans the Thames with a three arch structure completed in 1832. Until the 14th century Staines was the tidal limit, but this is now downstream at Teddington. The town is the home of the fictional character Ali G and indie rock band Hard-Fi and several public houses have live music evenings.
The town has the following schools:
- Our Lady Of the Rosary, a Catholic school, opened in 1893
- Staines Preparatory School, an independent, ages 3–11 school, opened in 1935
- Matthew Arnold School, properly opened in 1954, though partially completed premises were also in emergency use during World War II
- Riverbridge Primary School, formed in September 2011 from the merger of three local schools: Kingscroft, Knowle Park and Shortwood, each of which retains its original site
- The Magna Carta School, a technology college with over 1200 students. It was opened in 1957, and is located in Egham Hythe, but it has a Staines postal address.
Several other schools have previously existed in the town, including:
- British School (Staines's first school opened in 1808; date of closure unknown)
- National Girls' School (1818-c.1825, 1844–1874, 1885-?)
- National Boys' School (c.1823-c.1830 and 1848–1874)
- British School of Industry for Girls (pre-1831-?)
- British Infant School (1833–1874 and 1885-?)
- Margaret Pope School, a merger and relocation of three previous schools (1874-?)
- Church of England Infants' School, Stanwell New Road (from 1890, renamed Shortwood in 1900)
- Shortwood County Infant School (renamed from C. of E. Infants' in 1900, merged into Riverbridge 2011)
- Wyatt Road Infants' School (1896–1974)
- Kingston Road School[s] (1903-1992 when replaced by Kingscroft; the original plural title denoted that there were separate schools for boys and girls; its site is now occupied by the town's new Police Station)
- Knowle Park County First School (1974-2011 when merged into Riverbridge)
- Kingscroft School (replaced and absorbed Kingston Road in 1992, merged into Riverbridge in 2011)
The closest further education institution to Staines is Brooklands College (formerly Spelthorne College) in neighbouring Ashford, approximately 3 miles to the east. Royal Holloway, University of London is situated 3 miles west of the town centre, off the A30 between Egham and Englefield Green.
Two affiliated senior association football clubs bear the name of Staines, namely Staines Town F.C. (senior status), and Staines Lammas F.C. (intermediate status). Staines Town play at the newly rebuilt Wheatsheaf Park ground and have recently been promoted to the Conference South. Staines Town enjoy a strong rivalry with Hampton & Richmond Borough. Staines Lammas were champions of the Combined Counties League Division One in the 2007-08 season and additionally run various age group teams. Staines is also home to several successful junior football clubs: Staines Town, Staines Lammas and Staines Albion, as well as girls' clubs Kempton Girls FC — Colne Valley and the U11, one of the best girls' junior clubs in Surrey.
Staines Rugby Football Club which used to play at the Lammas (a recreation ground on Wraysbury Road, which was also known as the Ashby Recreation Ground) relocated to The Reeves (on Snakey Lane, near Hanworth) in the 1960s but still proudly bears the name of the town with teams named Swans, Cobs and Mucky Ducks. The Club is in London 1 South league and offers a Mini and Youth section.
Staines Boat Club is situated on the river and competes at a national level.
Staines Swimming Club founded in the early 1900s and affiliated to the Amateur Swimming Association is based at Spelthorne Leisure Centre and provides competitive swimming from inter-club level up to national level.
Spelthorne Volleyball Club are also based at Spelthorne Leisure Centre and provide volleyball to a wide range of abilities and age groups.
There are also many local gyms in the area including the recently revamped Matthew Arnold Sport Centre which is home to a Lifestyle fitness suite. Based at the school of the same name on the Kingston Road, the centre's revamp has included a cv suite, spinning studio and dedicated free weights room.
There are also Staines clubs catering for rowing, sailing, cricket, hockey, running, rambling, martial arts (jujitsu), rifle & pistol shooting, bowls, chess, contract bridge, snooker / darts / pool / poker, as well as a district table tennis league.
The town is also home to T.S Thamesis, Staines and Egham Sea Cadet Corps. This is a uniformed youth organisation for young people aged between 10 and 18 years old. They meet at The Lammas.
Motorcycle speedway racing was staged at a stadium in Wraysbury Road. Events in 1938 and 1939 are well known but it is possible that a venue was active from at least 1931 as a team named Staines raced at Caxton Speedway (near Cambridge 1931 - 1933 inclusive). The stadium was also utilised for greyhound racing, as well as 'novelty' events such as cheetah racing.
Staines Stadium was famous from 1955 to 1960 during the early days of stock car racing in England, and featured in the 1955 movie "Stock Car" among others. 
Other sports which were once held in Staines but are no longer to be found there include: boxing (there were weekly programmes off the High Street in the 1930s, and local hearsay suggests bare-knuckle events were held at the Crooked Billet earlier in the 20th century); wrestling (bouts were included in boxing programmes of the 1930s); motorcycle football (a club existed in the 1960s; and American football (a short-lived team called Staines Removers entered the Budweiser League in 1988, but failed to start the season, although they did play some friendly matches at their base on The Lammas).
The town's station is Staines railway station and it is a stop on all services between London Waterloo and Weybridge (for the South West Main Line), Reading (for the Great Western Line) and Windsor and Eton Riverside. Semi-fast services serve the Waterloo to Reading Line, being the operator's secondary main line. Taxis are available from the station. The bus station is a five-minute walk from the railway station, with services in all directions including to Thorpe Park and Royal Holloway College. Staines-upon-Thames is also a short distance south of Heathrow Airport.
- Rail infrastructure projects
There were proposals to build a new railway line, Airtrack, connecting the South West Main Line and/or London Gatwick to Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 station. As part of these proposals, the former Staines High Street railway station was to be rebuilt by Two Rivers Shopping Centre and the High Street in the direction of Wraysbury railway station, using a generally unused arc from north to south in the town centre, towards Weybridge on the South West Main Line. In 2011 the Department for Transport announced it had decided that this would not go ahead because extra trains would delay road traffic using the level crossing at Egham. The existing Staines station would have an additional platform built instead on the relevant arc.
Neighbouring towns and villages are Egham, Wraysbury, Ashford, Stanwell, Laleham and Chertsey. About 3 miles north east of Staines-upon-Thames is Heathrow airport. The area between Egham and Staines-upon-Thames town centres is known as Egham Hythe.
- The Lucan family, at Laleham Abbey until the 1930s
- Norman Hunter, author
- Matthew Arnold, poet
- Denny Laine, musician
- Steve Holley, musician
- Terence Dackombe, writer Spitting Image; actor The Krays, Cockneys vs Zombies
- Christine Keeler, actress / showgirl involved in the Profumo Affair
- Bobby Davro, comedian
- Bill Nankeville, athlete
- Richard Murdoch, Murdoch Close, off Cherry Orchard was named after him
- Hard-Fi, indie rock band
- Richard Archer, musician
- Jon Tickle, television personality
- Nina Wadia, actress
- Matt Lapinskas, actor
- Danny Blanchflower, former captain of Tottenham Hotspur F.C., was living at Woodlands Nursing Home, Rookery Road, at the time of his death in 1993, having lived at a private address in Staines in the immediately preceding years
- All Alone, important war pigeon
A number of local newspapers are available in Staines-upon-Thames; these include:
Notes and References
- Ordnance Survey map, courtesy of English Heritage
- Populations of Settlements by Borough (2001) — Surrey County Council
- "New sectors and localities to 20 July 2012" (PDF). Royal Mail Address Management Unit. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- "Staines-upon-Thames renaming decision made". 16 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Fred. S. Thacker The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs 1920 - republished 1968 David & Charles
- Surrey Domesday Book
- 'Staines: Introduction', Susan Reynolds, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3: Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington (1962) pp. 13-8. British History, a historic documents site from the University of Portsmouth and the History of Parliament Trust. Date accessed: 4 February 2006.
- Samuel Lewis (editor) (1848). "Staines". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- Commemorated on a plaque in Staines Town Hall, a pub-restaurant
- Spelthorne Council Minutes 15 December 2011
- Spelthorne Borough Councillors by ward 2011-2015
- "Staines becomes Staines-upon-Thames to shake off Ali G link". BBC. 2012-05-20. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Business leaders back Staines name change". getsurrey. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Staines-upon-Thames 'sounds like pollution'". getsurrey. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Staines set to rebrand as Staines-upon-Thames". getsurrey. 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- BBC report
- Spelthorne Borough Council - Planning Policy
- Ordnance survey website
- "Riverbridge Primary School". Riverbridge.surrey.sch.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Welcome to Staines Rugby". Stainesrugby.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Staines Swimming Club". Stainesswimming.org. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- K-Point Internet Solutions - Warrenpoint, Newry, County Down. "The Dictionary of Ulster Biography". Newulsterbiography.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
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