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Loddon Lily statue by Sainsbury's near Winnersh Crossroads
Winnersh shown within Berkshire
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
The village is located around 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of the town of Wokingham and around 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Reading, and is roughly bounded by the M4 motorway to the south, the A329(M) motorway to the north, and the River Loddon to the west. The parish extends beyond the M4 to cover the estate village of Sindlesham.
The name "Winnersh" comes from the Old English word 'Winn' meaning meadow or pasture and 'ersc'(or earsh) meaning stubble field or park. This implies that Winnersh consisted of cultivated areas of land centuries ago. It has been mentioned in documents since the late 12th century as a description of the area. Winnersh was originally one of the four 'Liberties' of the parish of Hurst.
Winnersh was largely developed during the railway age. The South Eastern Railway built the North Downs Line in 1849, but the station now known as Winnersh was not opened until 1910, and was originally named "Sindlesham and Hurst Halt", so clearly Winnersh as a village did not exist in the form that it is today (the station is fairly central in the current village). The station was renamed Winnersh Halt in 1930.
Housing and then light industry followed the railway, and now Winnersh has two stations, Winnersh and Winnersh Triangle, the latter also being the name of the industrial estate that it serves. Modern Winnersh exists mostly as a sleeper town. Relentless housing development on all sides will soon see Winnersh exist as part of an urban continuum between Reading and London.
Today the centre of the area is best known by the "Winnersh Crossroads", the junction of the A329, the Wokingham to Reading road, and the B3030 (King Street Lane towards Sindlesham, Robin Hood Lane towards Hurst).
One of the main focal points of Winnersh is the Winnersh Crossroads, which also has its own bus stop. This crosses Reading Road with King Street Lane and Robin Hood Lane. It also has a long and varied history.
In 1840 it was a farm, being named King Street Farm in 1899. The area was then known as Winnersh Corner in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1935 the farm name was changed to Allnatt Farm, and between 1939 and the early 1950s, an imports company Sale Tilney occupied the site, dealing in and assembling tractors from America.
Following this was the Crimpy Crisps factory, which was on the site for around 20 years. The factory also produced nuts and raisins. Crimpy Crisps was subsequently acquired by Frito-Lay of America (owned by PepsiCo) and the factory was closed down and demolished.
Between 1975 and the early 1990s the site housed the United Kingdom headquarters of the American computer corporation Hewlett-Packard. They moved to part of the site of the old Binfield Brickworks in Amen Corner, Berkshire, having bought that land off the Bracknell businessman John Nike OBE DL.
Finally, in 1997, a Sainsbury's supermarket with 21,400 sq ft of sales area was built on the site. It was opened by the then Chairman Lord (David) Sainsbury himself. The store was almost doubled in size to 39,320 sq ft in 2004. This extension was built over part of the original car park, so Sainsbury's purchased the adjacent Ruralcrafts Garden Centre (which was originally the H Billyard Nursery between the 1950s-1970s, before becoming Ruralcrafts in the 1980s) to replace those parking spaces over part of their land. In 2015, the Sainsbury's store was further extended to 46,297 sq ft, to make it similar in size and layout to their large superstore off Bagshot Road in Bracknell. Building over part of their car park for a second time, Sainsbury's extended over the rest of the former Ruralcrafts site for their replacement car parking spaces.
Winnersh is situated on the main road between Reading and Wokingham, and also on the railway line between Reading and London Waterloo. The train station was recently lengthened to accommodate full sized trains on this service. There is also one train service which goes to Gatwick Airport to allow Forest School pupils who live in Crowthorne or Sandhurst to return home without the need to change at Wokingham Station
In 1997 the main Sainsbury's superstore, which stands at the Winnersh Crossroads, was opened. It is one of the biggest superstores in the area.
The Reading Showcase Cinema multiplex is just inside the Western edge of Winnersh. It is particularly noted for being built on a flood plain for the river Loddon, but the building is raised to a sufficient level as to be unaffected.
Opposite to this is the Winnersh Garden Centre, now part of the Wyevale chain.
The Forest School is in Winnersh and was relocated there in 1957. Many of the boys come from the large catchment area to attend the school.
Winnersh has only one pub, The Pheasant situated at Winnersh crossroads, opposite Edmunds Tyres & Exhausts. The Pheasant also has a hotel annex which serves a number of businesses on Winnersh Triangle industrial estate.
The 2001 census recorded 7939 people living in 2,953 households in the parish. Of these homes, 2,444 were Owner Occupied, 290 were Social Rented homes, 195 were Privately Rented and 24 homes were Rent Free. Below are some other facts the census data revealed about Winnersh:
7,431 people live in an unshared house or bungalow, 238 people live in flats or maisonettes, 182 live in caravans or other temporary structures.
The 2001 census also recorded the following ethnic breakdown: White 94.19%, Asian 3.22%, Mixed 1.04%, Black 0.58%, Chinese 0.37% and Other 0.58%
The religious breakdown in 2001 was as follows: 5,716 Christian, 32 Buddhist, 77 Hindu, 17 Jewish, 84 Muslim, 99 Sikh, 38 Other Religion, 1,397 No Religion, 479 Religion not stated.
There were 5,842 people of employable age (between 16 and 74) in Winnersh, of whom 4,339 were in employment. Of people who were not working 588 people were retired, 371 people were looking after their families, 200 people were full-time students, 120 people were sick or disabled and only 103 people were unemployed.
In popular culture
- Golden Globe-winning BBC sitcom The Office namechecks Winnersh when Ricky Gervais as David Brent muses on his future: "My world does not end with these four walls. Slough's a big place, and when I'm finished with Slough, there's Reading, Aldershot, Bracknell, you know, I've got – Didcot, Yateley. You know. My – Winnersh, Taplow. And because I am my own boss, I can.. Burghfield."