This Georgian house was built on the Windsor Road in Slough and was owned by the great astronomer William Herschel and his family. In the back he built a large telescope to make his obesrvations.
The quality of the photograph suggests that it was taken either just pre Second World War or more probably post war possibly as late as the 1950s.
This photograph of the rear view of the property is significant because the circular flowerbed in the left foreground is where Herschel positioned his famous 40ft telescope.
I have developed a surprising passion that I never thought I would have about any aspect of Slough and it’s because of these two photographs. It occurs to me that Observatory House and its gardens would have made an ideal setting for Slough Museum and a cultural centre. Slough inevitably decided that this building, along with many others, that it was too good for the town and the developers were allowed to bring in the bulldozers to destroy it so that it could be replaced by some ugly development.
Slough, being on the London to Bath Road, was a natural first stop out of the capital (or last if you were going the other way). Several coaching inns were built along the route and it was a major beginning to the early growth of Slough. Sadly many of this historic buildings have gone, partly due to the advent of the Great Western Railway but also to develop the land supposedly for more profitable business again usually with the ugliness of a modern era.
The last surviving inns from the coaching era are the Red Cow at Upton and the Three Tuns at Salt Hill. Inns that either no longer exist or that have been converted to another use include:
The Bear (Slough)
The Black Boy (Slough)
The Castle (Salt Hill -1964)
The Crown (1618)
The Pied Horse (Slough)
The Red Lion (mid-1600s)
The Reindeer (1618)
The Swan (Salt Hill)
The Swan (Cippenham)
The White Hart (mid-1600s)
The White Horse (Cippenham)
The Windmill (Salt Hill 1700s-1882)
Never a coaching inn to my knowledge, the Swan in Lower Cippenham was converted into flats and became ‘Swan Place’. A nice touch is the pub sign at the front.
The White Horse
One such example was the White Horse on the south side of the Bath Road near the Huntercombe Spur of the M4 Motorway west of the town. It was about twenty metres west of Brook Path.
The inn was destroyed ‘accidentally on purpose’ at some time in the late 1980s to early 1990s. The site is now occupied by the very attractive, picturesque and historic Northgate Vehicle Hire and Van Monster.
Postcards from Slough has not yet been able to obtain any photos of the exterior of the pub and the author can’t really remember what it looked like even though it was a regular haunt. There are some clues as to the era that that pub was built in from this photo of the interior.
This photo of the entrance sign offers a number of clues. The ceiling beams in the top right look genuine rather than false polystyrene ones found in some pubs and inns. The colour version shows that the bricks were probably local Slough red bricks. The most telling feature however, is the style of the brickwork of the pillar.
The pattern is known as Stack Bond as the bricks are stacked one above the other rather than overlap as in Running Bond or Flemish Bond etc. If used to build a wall stack bond is very weak compared to the overlapping bond types. Using it in a pillar, where the force on it is downwards it doesn’t matter so much. This type of bond is not used very much if at all these days but does help date it to possibly the 19th century.
A memory from the author – ‘When I was in my early twenties it was one of ‘my pubs’ because it was fairly central to a few of my mates. We would meet up for an evening’s drinking and there was no need for any of us to be a driver. At the end of the evening we could walk home in our respective directions, all of us too tight to use cabs.’
Postcards from Slough would be very grateful if anyone can provide verifiable information on how and when this inn was destroyed or provide a photograph of the exterior of this pub that we can use. Pease click on the comments button below to send an E-mail. Progress will be posted on this page:
Postcards from Slough would like to express our thanks to Dawn Shrewsbury for her contribution to this article.
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