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Maidenhead is a town within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenheadmarker, in Berkshire, Englandmarker. It lies on the River Thames and is situated west of Charing Crossmarker in Londonmarker.

History

Maidenhead's name, strictly speaking, refers to the busy 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.

1280, a bridge was erected across the river to replace the ferry and the Great Western Road was diverted to make use of it. This led to the growth of Maidenhead: a stopping point for coaches on the journeys between London and Bathmarker and the High Street became populated with inns. The current Maidenhead Bridgemarker, 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 , on the High Street, which is now a branch of the NatWest Bank. A plaque commemorates their meeting.

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 appeared. It became its own entity in 1894, being split from the civil parishes of both Bray and Cookhammarker.

A map of Maidenhead from 1945
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. Maidenhead Citadel Band of the Salvation Army still takes an active role in the life of the town.

Governance

The town is part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenheadmarker, and has a population of around 60,000. It was previously an independent local government borough. The current MP for the Maidenhead Constituencymarker is Theresa May (Conservative). The mayor is Councillor Jesse Grey(Conservative).

Geography

The Maidenhead urban area includes urban and suburban regions within the bounds of the town, called Maidenhead Court, North Town, Furze Platt, Pinkneys Greenmarker, Highway, Tittle Row, Boyn Hill, Fishery and Bray Wick; as well as suburbs in surrounding civil parishes: Cox Greenmarker and Altwood in Cox Green parish, Woodlands Park in White Walthammarker parish, and part of Bray Wick in Braymarker parish. Bray village itself is still just about detached. Immediately surrounding Maidenhead are to the east, on the opposite side of the river, the village of Taplowmarker. A few miles further on is Sloughmarker. To the north the Cookhamsmarker (Cookham Village, Cookham Rise & Cookham Dean). Also in this area is the wealthy area of Pinkneys Greenmarker. 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 Holyportmarker. Continuing by road to the South-East leads to the town of Windsormarker.

On 12 July 1901, Maidenhead entered the UK Weather Records with the Highest 60-min total rainfall at 92 mm. As of July 2006 this record remains.

Maidenhead is located in grid square in the coordinate system named after it.

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 Sloughmarker and Readingmarker.

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

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead last year set up the Partnership for the Regeneration of Maidenhead (PRoM), which has just (October 2008) launched a comprehensive 20 Year Vision and Action Plan for rejuvenating the town centre. Launch of the plan cooincides with confirmation by central government that Maidenhead will be the western terminus of the new CrossRail project. 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.

The average house price in The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is the highest in the UK BBC news report, February 2007.

Community facilities

Maidenhead library
Research by the New Economics Foundation rated Maidenhead as an example of a clone town. 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.

Transport

Maidenhead Railway Bridge as Turner saw it in 1844
The (Brunel-built) Great Western Railway passes through the town, calling at Maidenhead railway stationmarker and offering links to London and stations towards Bristolmarker. It passes over Brunel's Maidenhead Railway Bridgemarker (known locally as the Sounding Arch), famous for its flat brick arches. Maidenhead Station is the beginning of the branch line from Maidenhead to Marlowmarker, Buckinghamshire, and is one of the proposed termini for the London Crossrail scheme. Furze Platt railway stationmarker 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.

The A4marker runs through the town and crosses the Thames over Maidenhead Bridgemarker. The town lies adjacent to junction 8/9 on the M4 motorway (accessed via the A404 and A308). 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 waterwaysmarker. A renewal scheme is in progess (October 2007) to reopen these waterways. The Jubilee Rivermarker, part of the flood defence scheme, begins above Boulter's Lockmarker nearby.

Sport

The town is also 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 Roadmarker, which is the oldest football ground in the world continuously used by the same team.

Institutions

The local newspaper is The Maidenhead Advertiser.

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

Schools

Berkshire College of Agriculturemarker is based in Maidenhead. Maidenhead Grammar School was converted into a (boys) comprehensive school in the 1970s, and renamed Desborough Schoolmarker. Maidenhead High School, similarly, became Newlands Girls' Schoolmarker. To the western side of the town is Altwood C of E Secondary School and also Cox Green Secondary School. Furze Platt School to the north of Maidenhead caters for junior to college level students; Furze Platt Infant School for younger children, Furze Platt Junior School for junior school aged children and Furze Platt Senior School, (link shown) for years 7 to 13. Maidenhead is also home to St Piran'smarker School, Claires Court Schoolmarker (boys), The College (girls), Highfield (girls) and Ridgeway private prep schools; as well as Courthouse Junior School. There are two primary catholic schools one situated near Altwood C of E Secondary School called [29722] St Edmund Campion Primary School and [29723]St Mary's Primary School situated on Cookham Road.

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).

In addition Windsormarker and Maidenhead are twinned with:

Notable people

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

Essayist and novelist Nick Hornby was educated at Maidenhead Grammar Schoolmarker (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, including Red Dwarf actor Chris Barrie. 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 Schoolmarker has produced Hollywood star Kate Winslet.

References

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4606587.stm news.bbc.co.uk
  2. http://www.angelfire.com/nj/writeups/maidenhead.html
  3. http://www.thames-search.com/maidenhead.html
  4. http://www.theweeweb.co.uk/public/author_profile.php?id=90
  5. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/nick-hornby-mad-about-the-boy-686011.html
  6. http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/uploads/media/77/3331.pdf
  7. http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/catalog/interview.htm?command=search&db=twmain.txt&eqisbndata=0385606087
  8. http://www.theedge-uk.com/chris_barrie.htm
  9. http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608001458/Spice-Girls.html
  10. http://www.gossipcheck.com/celebrities/Kate+Winslet/


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