Postcards from Slough
Postcards from Slough

Slough's Neighbourhood

Slough lies in the Thames Valley just 18 miles to the west of Central London in an area full of interesting and famous places to visit. Here is a selection of just a few of them.

Windsor Castle

Standing just 2 miles south of Slough town centre, Windsor Castle has been a major residence of English and British monarchs for over 900 years. It was commissioned by William the Conqueror soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The castle dominates this part of the Thames Valley and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

River Thames

Motor launch Blue Ripple at Boveney Lock

 

The River Thames is about a mile from my home and Boveney Lock is just an few hundred yards along the bank. It is one of my favourite resting points on any cycle trip involving the Thames. The motor launch Blue Ripple was built in 1939 and has clearly been lovingly maintained by its owners.

 

A few facts about the Thames:

  • Lechlade is the highest lock on the river.
  • The Thames was named Thamesis by Julius Caesar. It is still known locally around Oxford as the Isis, after the Roman goddess of fertility (from Egyptian mythology).
  • It is about 210 miles (340km) long and at Teddington the river still has one-third of its journey to the sea to go.
  • Apart from flowing through the capital London, the Thames flows through or past such distinguished towns or cities as Oxford, Abingdon, Reading, Henley, Cookham, Marlow, Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton.

Eton College

Eton College Library

 

Founded in 1440 by Henry VI, Eton College lies just a mile and a half south of Slough town centre and some 2·5 million bricks made from the brickfields of Slough were used in its construction. Attendance to the school these days is over 1,300 pupils between the 13 and 18 years old.

 

The school has had many distinguished graduates including nineteen British Prime Ministers. Among them are Robert Walpole, the first prime minister; Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington; William Pitt the Elder; William Gladstone; Anthony Eden; Harold Macmillan; Alec Douglas-Home and David Cameron. Other Old Etonians include Princes William and Harry; the poets Thomas Gray and Percy Bysshe Shelley; comedian and writer Hugh Laurie; actor Patrick Macnee; spy Guy Burgess and author George Orwell.

Ascot Racecourse

The grandstand at Ascot

 

One of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, Ascot hosts 9 of the UK’s 32 annual Group 1 races. The racecourse lies approximately six miles south-west of Windsor Castle and is host to the annual race meeting Royal Ascot. It dates back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. Windsor also has a major racecourse on the south bank of the Thames.

Dorney Lake and the 2012 London Olympics

Half of an eight at Dorney Lake

 

Dorney Lake was the venue for rowing at the 2012 London Olympics and an estimated 230,000 spectators witnessed Great Britain’s dominance of the sport. Out of 39 medals available in rowing events Team GB won 9 which were a significant portion of the total 65 medals that Great Britain won coming third after the United States (104) and China (88) overall.

 

Top five countries for rowing

 

Team

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

1

Great Britain

4

2

3

9

2

New Zealand

3

 

2

5

3

Germany

2

1

 

3

4

Denmark

1

1

1

3

5

Czech Republic

1

1

 

2

 

Burnham Beeches

Burnham Beeches in the autumn

 

Covering an area of 540 acres, Burnham Beeches has been owned and managed by the City of London Corporation since it purchased it in 1879 for Londoners to enjoy. The woodland is rich in wildlife especially fungi and insects and it is a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Cliveden

There has been a house at Cliveden since 1666 but the present-day Italianate structure designed by Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament, was built in 1851. The most famous resident of Cliveden was probably Lady Astor who was the first woman to serve as a Member of Parliament from 1919.

 

In the 1960s the house was the focus of the Profumo affair. John Profumo was Secretary of State for War in the Macmillan government of 1960. He became involved with prostitute, 19 year old Christine Keeler, while staying at Cliveden. She was also seeing Yevgeny Ivanov, a naval attaché at the Russian embassy. Profumo eventually admitted the affair and resigned in 1963.

 

Nowadays Cliveden is owned by the National Trust and is run as a hotel. The gardens and house are a beautiful tourist attraction.

Heathrow Airport

Photo: © Dennis Flint

A British Airways Airbus A380-800 passing through a cloud whilst climbing away from Heathrow Airport

 

The centre of Heathrow Airport lies about 7 miles south-east of the centre of Slough, but the perimeter of the airport is less than half a mile from the eastern boundary of Colnbrook. Heathrow is used by over 90 airlines which fly to 170 destinations worldwide. 67 million passengers use the airport annually, 11% of which are domestic travellers; 43% are short-haul international travellers and 46% are long-haul. The airport uses two runways, has four passenger terminals (a new Terminal 2 is under construction) and a cargo terminal.

My name is Gary Flint. To make comments on the contents of this website please click below:

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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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