Glimpse history through old images of Maidenhead in Berkshire, England.
Maidenhead Floods 1939
In 1939, heavy rain on the Berkshire Downs led to severe flooding in parts of Maidenhead.
Berkshire – Floods (1939): British Pathé
In 1960, Maidenhead was home to 30,000 people (it was just over 70,000 in 2020), and was a very different place to today.
In this marvellous black and white film you see many streets, public buildings, a bus and the very busy bus stops, bin men at work, the local electricty board, many local businesses, as well as a lot of local people.
The temporary traffic lights at Hills Street were due to be made permanent.
We also see a row of old houses about to be demolished. (Was it Stander Row?)
Mr Bayford from the Public Health team is seen talking to the owner of Steventon’s Stores (“Phone 386”!)
The commentary was provided by the Mayor, who is also seen on screen performing duties and catching a bus. At home, his poor wife looks like more like a servant than his life partner.
They show some of the councillors, at work in their paid jobs.
- R.H.A. Bell, Mayor, Senior Electrical Engineer, Local electricity board
- Councillor Wayne, runs old family tailoring business
- Alderman Carter, ‘businessman’ (looks like a housebuilder?)
- Mrs Westland, a widow who ‘lives a retired life with her son’
While the traffic is much lighter than today’s roads, we see pedestrians struggling to cross the road. Meanwhile, the pavements are packed with people going about their daily lives.
We then see a Town Council meeting beginning its session.
I am Mayor of Maidenhead 1960 – Graham Nash on YouTube
In attendance were the councillors, the Town Clerk, Aldermen (the elders of the council), the Borough Surveyor, the Borough Treasurer, the Medical Officer of Health, the Borough Librarian and members of the public (who may have included local newspaper staff).
The agenda starts with the question of whether to apply for a government grant to improve a council property on Denmark Street.
Apparently this was something Councillor James had been pressing for over some time. Alderman Carter had to abstain from the vote because it was a building project connected with his private business.
Councillor Wayne then wanted permission for traffic signals at the junction of the High Street and King Street.
It was also reported that of 100 samples of milk taken for quality assessment by the public health department, 97 were assessed as Grade 1.
And the Borough Librarian reported that library membership had increased by more than 500 people in the past year.
Meanwhile, school children in Mill Park had damaged the trees, so the council would be asking for the Headmaster to deal with these children.
They also rejected the proposal of a higher springboard at the (outdoor) swimming pool, because it was not sufficiently deep enough.
Parsons Lane was having new concrete street lamps installed.
The old property at 10, Market Street was also approved for demolition.
Meanwhile, approval was given to purchase new land so the development of the new Meadow Lane council housing estate wouldn’t be delayed.
They also approved the revised tender of the materials to construct the new Town Hall and Civic Centre. The short film ends with the Mayor laying the Foundation Stone for this new building in St Ives Road.
What he didn’t realise was that in 1967 the new Town Hall’s frontage was to feature as the Hospital in Carry On Doctor, with Barbara Windsor pictured filming a scene there.
Note that in 2021, the future of the 1962 building was in doubt, as £14 million was needed to renovate the property so moving to new premises was one of the options under discussion.
Old Photos of Maidenhead
This video showcases some old photos of Maidenhead taken in 1967.
They include old photos following the Maidenhead Hospital fire, and an armistice parade of Maidenhead Sea Cadets in St Luke’s Road on 11th November 1967.
A couple of the images are from areas around the Thames and a shot from Edinburgh.
Maidenhead. Berkshire. A few photos from 1967. Copied from slides. – David Garside on YouTube