Now considered a charming and bustling market town, Maidenhead has its very own fascinating history which is largely overlooked. Coined the ‘Bruges of Middle England’ for its quaint charisma and buzzing social scene, the town has become an attractive place to live in Greater London, but it was once a central part of the capital’s history.
We’ve delved in and discovered how the area has changed over the years, making it the fantastic location it is today.
An Evolving Market Town
With its quaint and traditional buildings, Maidenhead has retained some of its original architecture. The history books date it right back to around 100 AD, when it was a thriving farming community for the Romans. Some remains of Roman villas can still be found in the area, and they’re well worth a visit, but now the streets are lined with grand red-brick Victorian homes.
Feeling very much like one of London’s suburbs, the River Thames runs right through the town, offering picturesque running routes and activities, with plenty of chilled picnic spots in the summer months. And the town is conveniently located just 30 miles from central London.
A Royal Past
You can expect opulence near to your doorstep in Maidenhead as Windsor Castle, the official residence of the Royal Family in Berkshire, is just 20 minutes outside the town. The grand castle was built back in the 11th Century by William the Conqueror, who wanted a fortress to secure his power in England.
It was transformed in medieval times by previous kings Henry III and Edward III, and it even survived the Civil War (of 1642-1651), WWII bombing and the infamous fire of 1992 to become one of the most magnificent buildings in the country, not to mention the largest inhabited castle in the world.
An Area Struck by Two World Wars
Like many areas across the country – particularly in and surrounding London – Maidenhead suffered greatly during the World Wars. The town remains steeped in war history, and includes a special monument unveiled in August 2015 to commemorate WWI soldier Captain Thomas Tannatt Pryce for his unwavering bravery.
With the announcement of WWII, the town became the homestead for the Air Transport Auxiliary, a vital organisation established for civilians to take RAF warplanes to factories, maintenance units and front-line squadrons. The ATA really put Maidenhead on the map, playing a huge part in the Allied victory. It also kickstarted active women’s campaigns for equal rights: the ATA was largely operated by women, making it rather revolutionary.
The Future of Maidenhead
Now Maidenhead offers the right blend of the trendy and the suburban, so you can enjoy a lively social scene without the hustle and bustle of city life in the heart of London.
If you’re looking for a drink and bite to eat, Hand & Flowers on Queen Street is a lively pub serving a selection of stone-baked pizzas and plenty of fine wines, with a dose of live music most days. Or stop by riverside pub Boulters to enjoy a beer and high-quality pub food on the outdoor terrace. Jenner’s Café is also a stunning spot along the water for a daytime nibble.
We have a selection of stunning apartments situated on the town’s main high street, available to rent in early 2017. With Maidenhead station just around the corner, it’s the perfect spot to commute into London. Complete this form to arrange a viewing.