Things you may not have known about Milton Keynes

I lived in Milton Keynes while I was studying at the Open University and then later commuting from Milton Keynes to London. It’s a rather unusual town in being a totally ‘new’ town, the layout of the vast majority of it was planned from scratch. The information here is a selection of facts from a sheet that was part of the welcome pack all new students received at their inductions to the Open University. I’ve deliberately dropped a number of facts which are probably quite outdated now, but I’ve kept in the more historical and interesting ones. Although Miton Keynes was a new town, it is sited in amongst some very historical sites such as Bletchely, Bletchley Park, Stony Stratford, Newport Pagnell, Wolverton, etc.

Have fun and maybe you can use some of the information for a quiz or two?

  1. The station and Winter Gardens were used as locations for the film “Superman IV”
  2. No modern building in Central Milton Keynes is more than 6 storeys high (I wonder if that is true today?).
  3. About 20 million trees were planted in Milton Keynes.
  4. The Church of Christ the Cornerstone was the first purpose-built ecumenical church in the UK.
  5. The Point was the first multiplex cinema in Britain, built in 1979
  6. When in opened in the 1979 the Central Milton Keynes Shopping centre was the largest in Europe.
  7. Midsummer Boulevard is so called because the on the Summer Soltice the sun rises at it’s east end.
  8. The Peace Pagoda in Willen Park was the first to be built in the western hemisphere.
  9. 1,000 cherry and cedar trees grow around the Peace Pagoda in memory of those killed in all wars.
  10. The Gyosei School in Willen Park is the only purpose-built Japanese school in Europe.
  11. In 1862, Billy Smith of Woolstone claimed to be the first man to cultivate a farm entirely by steam.
  12. During World War II, 12,000 people worked at Bletchley Park decoding enemy communications.
  13. Due to the use of carrier pidgeons at Bletchley Park during the war, all birds of prey were killed.
  14. If London was built to the same density as Milton Keynes it would cover East Anglia.
  15. Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre is unique for its size in its being lit by natural light.
  16. The Open University is based in Milton Keynes and was the world’s first degree-awarding distance learning institution.
  17. The aqueduct across Grafton Street, built in 1991, was the first in Britain for 50 years.
  18. Carbon fibre technology, developed for motor racing, was used to repair Haversham Bridge.
  19. If traffic lights replaced all the roundabouts in Milton Keynes, 20 minutes would be added to a journey across the city.
  20. Since 1865 a Royal train has been garaged at Wolverton and is still staffed by Wolverton men.
  21. There are over 500 miles of dedicated bridleways, footpaths and cycle tracks in Milton Keynes.
  22. The Redway was originally to be called the Pedway, being a cross between pedestrian and pedal.
  23. The grid road system enables drivers to reach any part of the city within 15 minutes.
  24. Tickford Bridge in Newport Pagnell was built in 1810 and is the oldest iron bridge still in daily use.
  25. The phrase “Cock and Bull story” derived from the two inns in Stony Stratford High Street.
  26. The “Cock horse” in the nursery rhyme refers to a horse rented from the Cock hotel in Stony Stratford.
  27. Watling Street was the main coaching route from London to Holyhead.
  28. The Roman Villa at Bancroft was discovered in 1967 by a man walking his dog.
  29. The mound behind Milton Keynes library was the Saxon moot for the Secklow Hundred.
  30. Linford Wood, Shenley Wood and Howe Park Wood are vestiges of ancient woodland.
  31. The world’s first electronic computer was built at Bletchley Park.
  32. The Olney Pancake Race has been run, on and off, since 1445.
  33. Over two thirds of the borough of Milton Keynes is countryside.
  34. The Cathedral of Trees at Newlands is based on Norwich Cathedral.
  35. Emberton Country Park was the first designated country park in Britain.
  36. Milton Keynes’ ice skating facility was used for practice by Torvill and Dean.
  37. The Concrete Cows were created by American artist Liz Leyh, using scrap building materials.
  38. 90% of England and Wales is within 5 hours coach drive time.
  39. Wolverton was originally a new town established in 1838 by the London & Birmingham Railway.
  40. Printers McCorquodale & Co. set up in Wolverton to provide work for railwaymen’s daughters.
  41. Bletchley was the home of Caves Solid Beer. Sold in slabs, water was added to make a drink.
  42. In Saxon times, there was a Royal Mint in Newport Pagnell.
  43. Newport Pagnell is home to the only vellum and parchment factory in Britain.
  44. WD40 “The motorists friend” is produced in Milton Keynes. Only 6 people know the recipe.
  45. Robert Hooke, a student of Christopher Wren, designed Willen Church.
  46. Following the Norman conquest, Hugh d’ Bolebec received the manor of Linford. His son founded Woburn Abbey.
  47. A priory was founded in Bradwell in 1154 by Benedictine monks. The chapel c 1350 remains.
  48. Milton Keynes was used as a location for the Michael Caine film “The Forth Protocol”.
  49. The oldest domestic building in the area is in Milton Keynes village and dates from 13th Century.
  50. Tyringham House was designed by Sir John Soane, designer of the Bank of England.
  51. Gayhurst Manor, near Newport Pagnell, was given to Sir Francis Drake, who sold it within a day.
  52. Chicheley Hall was home to navel hero Admiral Beatty.
  53. Rectory Cottages in Bletchley (c. 1400) is a timber-framed hall noted for its hammer-beam roof.
  54. John Bunyan (of “Pilgrim’s Progress”) was garrisoned in Newport Pagnell during the Civil War.
  55. The Chantry House in Watling Street, Fenny Stratford was the guild house of the Guild of St Margaret and St Katherine founded in 1493.
  56. John Wesley preached under a tree in Stony Stratford, part of which remains in Market Square.
  57. Charles Dickens visted Stony Stratford and based a character in Bleak House on a resident.
  58. Sir Everard Digby, who built Gayhurst Manor, was executed for his part in the Gunpowder Plot.
  59. Poet William Cowper and Rev. John Newton who lived in Olney wrote “Amazing Grace”.
  60. The film “Withnail and I” was shot in Stony Stratford.
  61. Theophilus Eaton, founder and first Governor of New Haven, was born in Stony Stratford.
  62. Bradwell windmill was built in 1817 and has been restored as working mill.
  63. McDonalds restaurant in Central Milton Keynes in 1998 had the highest turnover in Europe.
  64. The Beanhill estate was one of the first important commissions for architect Norman Foster.
  65. Oliver Cromwell’s son died of smallpox in Newport Pagnell during the Civil War.
  66. In April 1483, the Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) found 12 year old King Edward V in Stony Stratford and took him to the Tower of London for ‘safekeeping’.
  67. Highwayman Dick Turpin is believed to have visted The Swan at Woughton-on-the-Green.
  68. War-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill had apartments at Bletchley Park.

 

————————————

(#) 101 Facts About Milton Keynes (1998), “Be A Tourist” Competition, Tourism Development Dept, Milton Keynes Council, Milton Keynes.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

No Comments

Post a Comment

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com