History of Bracknell in Old Photos & Film

Categorised as Berkshire
History of Bracknell old photos old film local history

Bracknell is a town of 83,000 people located in the south east corner of the county of Berkshire, close to the border with Surrey.

Originally just a village, Bracknell found itself allocated as a ‘New Town’ by Local Authority (Council) town planners in 1949. Consequently its population and buildings have grown rapidly into a large town, absorbing many small communities into its suburbs.

Because it’s just 34 miles west of Central London and is surrounded by wooded countryside, the town enjoys high levels of employment, is home to many leading UK companies, and is relatively wealthy compared to many parts of England.

But the 1960s shopping centre was falling out of favour so in 2017 The Lexicon Centre was opened as part of a £750 million pound regeneration by the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (comprising Legal and General and Schroder) and Bracknell Forest Council.

Thanks to Carl Winterbourne on Unsplash for the image at the top of this page.

Bracknell Old Photos (1950s)

This series of black and white photos show the town as it developed over the 1950s.

Duke of Edinburgh Visits Bracknell (1955)

This footage from the British Pathé shows the Duke of Edinburgh visiting Berkshire in 1955.

First, he arrives at Farley Hall, a Grade 1 listed house dating from 1729, which nestles in the heart of the Berkshire countryside at Farley Estate. There, H. M. Lieutenant for Berkshire, Mr. H. A. Benyon, received the Duke.

Next, the Duke tours the factory of Tyrrel Holland & Co. Ltd, high class tailors.

Then the new Cricket Club Pavilion is officially opened by the Duke who unlocks the door.

The next stop is the Fluidrive Engineering Co. Here the Duke tours the factory.

Now the Duke visits 6, Lindenhill Road, home of Mr and Mrs Wells. Mr Wells works as a machine operator in one of Bracknell’s new factories. 

Then the Duke plans a tree to commemorate his visit.

Finally, the Duke of Edinburgh completes his official visit by laying the foundation stone of the new Church buildings. The Bishop of Oxford officiates this event.

Lots of people watch, and we see clips of local housing.

Miss Agness Barker’s 100th Birthday (1956)

Miss Agnes Barker celebrated her 100th birthday in 1956. British Pathé recorded the old lady sitting in bed, attended by her niece Miss F. Barker to the left, and Mrs E. Kitchen on her right. 

She holds the large greetings telegram sent to her by Queen Elizabeth II.

16 Meadow Way (1965)

Denis Godliman filmed this short 1 minute clip on his cine camera. The filming was also undertaken at 16 Meadow Way Bracknell. 

The baby filmed at the tail end of the video is Anthony Willis, son of Molly and Alan Willis.

Whilst this is a short clip of a family event, it’s a nice record of the people who lived in Meadow Way in the 1960s.

Hilarious Police Recruitment Film (1973)

This Police recruitment film, ‘Anything Can Happen’, is absolutely hilarious. It shows how much of the profession has changed.

There’s talk of getting to know the area, including the ‘local cars’. Plus, a house came with the job!

Much of what the officers say would get them sacked these days. If you’re a woman thinking about signing up? Well, a WPC driving the little police car was breaking the glass ceiling!

Worth watching for comedy value alone, but also shows a variety of local places back in 1973.

Bracknell Folk & Roots Festival 1988

In the 1980s South Hill Park was the venue for the popular annual Bracknell Folk & Roots Festival. 

This half hour programme, digitised from a VHS video, records some of the 1988 festival and interviews some of the event’s artists.

Includes Maddy Prior & June Tabor who performed as the Silly Sisters, Hungary’s Marta Sebestyen & Muzsikas, Roy Bailey & Leon Rosselson, kora masters Dembo Konte & Kausu Kuyateh, and some traditional morris and clog dances. 

Met Office QA Lab in Bracknell (1990)

This video was produced for the UK Met Office in 1990, but was shelved because of sound and visual quality issues.

It covers the work of the Quality Assurance Laboratory based in Western Road, which later moved to Exeter and was ultimately disbanded.

The museum instruments shown in the final scenes later transferred to the Science Museum’s reserve collection storage facility at Wroughton, Wiltshire.

Reorganisation Breakfast in GSD

Photos of a breakfast to celebrate the new reorganization in GSD. 

Does anyone know what company this was or where it was based?

Bracknell Festival – From the Ruins (1994)

This is a 1994 home video of a performance at the Bracknell Festival in South Hill Park.

Flooded Berkshire (2007)

A video from July 2007 showing the traffic struggling through water logged roads. 

Michael Schumacher At Mercedes Factory HQ (2009)

At an official event at the Mercedes HQ, Ross Brawn and Nick Fry formally announced the new driver, Michael Schumacher.

Queen Bees On South Today (2010)

The elite ice hockey team, the Bracknell Queen Bees, featured on South Today in June 2010.

Bracknell Town Centre Before the Bulldozers (2013)

The summer of June 2013, recording the town centre after the shops had closed and before the bulldozers arrived.

“This is a video of the derelict part of Bracknell Town Centre after the shops have close but before the bulldozers came in.  Literally a last chance to see a relatively unimproved 1960s style shopping centre before its destruction.”

Town Centre Before Redevelopment (2013)

At the end of 2013, work started on overhauling the 1960s town centre. Many of the structures would disappear or change beyond recognition.

This is a home video capturing the sights and sounds of the old town centre just as it was about to change. Starting with the noisy escalators in Charles Square, the footage records the fountain which was also a clock.

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