Maidenhead

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Template:Infobox England place with map UA Maidenhead is a town in Berkshire, England, and has a population of around 60,000. The town is part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It lies on the west bank of the River Thames and is situated 25.7 miles (41.3 km) west of Charing Cross in London. Maidenhead's name originated from the wharf built on the river in 1297.

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

Maidenhead's industries include: computer software, plastics, pharmaceuticals printing, and telecommunications. The town is also a boating centre. Maidenhead was home to the conference that agreed upon the Maidenhead Locator System standard.

The current MP for the Maidenhead Constituency is Theresa May (Conservative). The mayor is Councillor Margaret Cubley (Liberal Democrat).

History

Maidenhead is recorded in the Domesday Book under the name of 'Ellington' in the hundred of Beynhurst; the modern town of Maidenhead, however, originates from South Ellington.

The busiest part of the district was along the River Thames near the Great Hill of Taplow, ideal for both trade and access to the sea. This Hill was known to the Celts as the Mai Dun, and its corresponding wharf as the Mai Dun Hythe. It is from this wharf that the area became known as Maidenhuth, eventually superseding the name South Ellington.

In 1280 a bridge was erected across the river to replace the ferry and the Great Western Road was diverted in order to make use of it. This 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 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, which is now a branch of the NatWest Bank. A plaque commemorates their meeting.

A significant river resort in the 19th century, Maidenhead was notably ridiculed in Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome:

Maidenhead itself is too snobby to be pleasant. It is the haunt of the river swell and his overdressed female companion. It is the town of showy hotels, patronised chiefly by dudes and ballet girls.

With the railways beginning to expand in the mid-19th century, the High Street began to change again. Muddy roads were replaced and public services were installed — modern Maidenhead appears.

Twin Towns

Windsor & Maidenhead are twinned with St Cloud in France, Bad Godesberg in Germany, Frascati in Italy and Kortrijk in Belgium. 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 the twin towns in Germany, Italy and France (Bad Godesberg Way, Frascati Way and St Clouds Way) and subways painted in the colour of each country's flag.

Attractions

Maidenhead 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), a bowling alley and Norden Farm Centre for the Arts (an arts centre including a theatre).

However, research by the New Economics Foundation rated Maidenhead as an example of a clone town. [1]

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

Transport

The world famous Maidenhead Railway Bridge, with the road bridge in the background

The (Brunel-built) Great Western Railway passes through the town, calling at Maidenhead railway station and offering convenient links to London and stations towards Bristol. Brunel's Maidenhead Railway Bridge is famous for its flat brick arches. Maidenhead Station also serves as one of the beginning of the branch line from Maidenhead to Marlow, and is one of the proposed termini for the London Crossrail scheme.

The A4 runs through the town and crosses the Thames over Maidenhead Bridge, and the town lies adjacent to junction 8/9 on the M4 motorway (accessed via the A404(M) and A308(M)).

The River Thames runs half a mile to the east of the town centre, and the Jubilee River flood defence scheme begins at Maidenhead.

Environs

Surrounding Maidenhead are:

  • to the east: on the opposite side of the river, the village of Taplow. A few miles further on is Slough.
  • to the north: the Cookhams (Cookham Village, Cookham Rise & Cookham Dean). 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: the village of Holyport. Continuing by road to the South-East leads to the town of Windsor.

Schools

Maidenhead Grammar School was converted into a (boys) comprehensive school in the 1970s, and renamed Desborough School. Maidenhead High School, similarly, became Newlands Girls' School. To the western side of the town is Altwood C of E Secondary School. Maidenhead is also home to St Piran's School, Claires Court School (boys), The College (girls) and Ridgeway private prep schools; as well as Furze Platt School which caters for junior to college level students and Courthouse Junior School.

Famous Residents

A number of notable figures can be counted amongst Maidenhead's current and former residents. The essayist and novelist Nick Hornby was educated at Maidenhead Grammar School (Now Desborough School), as were children's television presenter and radio show host Toby Anstis, author and Broadcaster John O'Farrell and the athlete Mark Richardson.

Maidenhead's riverside location has drawn many celebrities to move here, including artist and television presenter Rolf Harris, journalist and television presenter Michael Parkinson, popstar Howard Jones and Red Dwarf actor Chris Barrie. Countdown's Carol Vorderman lives in nearby Pinkneys Green and children's television presenter Timmy Mallet and television personality Ulrika Jonsson both reside in Cookham. All five Spice Girls are known to have shared a house in Maidenhead for a year preceding their rise to stardom, and Maidenhead's Redroofs Theatre School has produced such renowned artists as Kate Winslet.


External links

File:Maidenheadarms.PNG
Arms of Maidenhead