Postcards from Slough
Postcards from Slough

Note: Pages about areas of Slough such as this one are based on historic or accepted common usage rather than the artificial boundaries of the wards as set up by the Local Government Boundary Commission.

Baylis, Farnham and Stoke

These areas of Slough lie to the north-west of the town centre. Farnham is home to most of Slough Trading Estate and the Farnham Road shopping area, the rest of the ward and its two neighbours are residential.

 

Baylis House

Baylis House is part of a complex of five listed buildings. Baylis House, the former service block and Godolphin Court are Grade I listed. The former coach house and its outbuilding are Grade II listed as are the walls and pavilions surrounding Baylis House.

Baylis House is a Grade II listed building

 

Baylis House was built on the site of the ‘Manor of Bailis’ in the late 17th century for Dr Gregory Hascard, Dean of Windsor. It was completed in 1696 and Hascard owned it until his death in 1708 when Dr Henry Godolphin took ownership. Godolphin had been made Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral the previous year and later took up his previous role of Provost of Eton College.

 

Godolphin died in 1733 and ownership passed to the Osborne family. Distinguished tenants at the time included Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, and Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of Rosslyn, who died at the house in 1805. From 1830, Baylis House became the Saint James Roman Catholic School. The school farmed about a hundred acres and managed its own dairy, bakery and brewery. Although these enterprises helped to support the school, it became bankrupt in 1907.

The rear of Baylis House

 

The house became home to the Food Reform Establishment and later it became a hotel but its condition was in decline. The house was bought by Slough Borough Council in 1939 but the onset of the Second World War meant that planned improvements had to be postponed. During the war Baylis House became the headquarters of Air Raid Precautions or ARP. Post war the grounds were developed as a sports centre. A fire in 1954 led to the removal of the third storey. Baylis House is now a hotel and conference centre.

 

There is some uncertainty as to the architect of Baylis House. It may have been Sir Christopher Wren but John James is also a strong contender. James designed the third storey in 1726 and continued with further extensions into the following decade. He is also credited with designing the stable block, now converted for business use and known as Godolphin Court, also designated a Grade I listed building.

Mandarin Duck at Baylis Pond

 

Jamia Masjid Islamic Centre

In the 1980s, the Marystrong Church in Stoke Poges Lane was purchased by the Muslim community and converted into a mosque. It was soon outgrown so the old building was demolished to be replaced by the Jamia Masjid Islamic Centre. It was completed opened for use in 2000 but the official opening was in 2001. Guests have included Yousuf Islam, formerly pop singer Cat Stevens.

Jamia Masjid Islamic Centre

 

The Polish Association in Slough

In 1939 Poland was attacked from the west by Germany and from the east by Russia. After two months the superior forces of the invaders overran Poland. Millions of Poles were forced from their homes and many escaped to other countries.

 

In 1941 Germany attacked Russia. Many Poles that had fled their country along with refugees from countries in Eastern Europe fought with the Allies throughout the rest of the war. Post war there were several Polish refugee camps in the area of Slough, possibly because the town was new and needed workers for its development.

 

In the early 1950s the Polish Club was formed and met in the annexe of Baylis House, initially with about 50 members. As the Iron Curtain came down over Eastern Europe in 1956, the Polish refugees realised there would be no early return to their homeland and the membership of the club grew. In 1976 the Polish Club bought the building in Stoke Poges just outside the border of Slough and named it ‘Gryf’ meaning griffin, a mythical creature that like the phoenix, rose from ashes. The club itself is now known as the Polish Association in Slough.

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Postcards from Slough gratefully uses images from Grace's Guide.

www.gracesguide.co.uk

 

 

Postcards from Slough contributes material to British Listed Buildings and uses the site for cross referencing purposes.

www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk

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