Marlow Off The Beaten Path

  • Broadmoor Social Services Department - outside!
    Broadmoor Social Services Department -...
    by easyoar
  • Reading - also on the Thames
    Reading - also on the Thames
    by easyoar
  • Big Ben, London, on the River Thames
    Big Ben, London, on the River Thames
    by easyoar

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Marlow

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    Seven Cornered Alley

    by nebulaflash Updated May 15, 2005

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    7 cornered alley

    between All Saints Church, which is next to the bridge, and The George and Dragon pub is an alley. If you walk down in it you will find it comes out to a road. Across the road is another alley which has seven corners before you reach the other side. My advice is to take someone with you and not walk it alone, although I don't know of anyone being hurt there. However the walls made of brick are high and you won't be seen while you're in there.

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    Crowthorne

    by easyoar Written May 2, 2005

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    Broadmoor Social Services Department - outside!

    To anyone in the UK, Broadmoor is infamous. Apparently, it is (was) the first custom-built criminal lunatic asylum in the world and received its first patients in 1863. Broadmoor is Crowthorne's major claim to fame (not that it necessarily wants it!)

    The building itself is classically Victorian, although very recently building work has hidden some of this. The hospital houses about 500 men, and 120 women.

    The book, the 'Surgeon of Crowthorne' is written about a very dangerous Broadmoor inmate (many years ago) who was very well educated, and was responsible for a large chunk of the first dictionary to be published (the Oxford English Dictionary).

    There have been some very well known inmates of Broadmoor over the years including one of the Kray twins, but probably the most famous 'guest' at present is Peter Sutcliffe (A.K.A. the Yorkshire Ripper) who was responsible for killing a lot of women in the 1980s from memory.

    In 1952, an inmate escaped and killed a little girl in a local village. This caused a huge demand for an alarm system if anothr inmate were to escape. to this day, the Broadmoor Siren is tested every Monday morning at 10am and can be heard for many miles. An all clear is then sounded 2 minutes later. However I can only really remember one escape from Broadmoor, and that was quite some while back, it certainly isn't common, and nobody in Crowthorne ever appears to be concerned by it.

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    Wokingham

    by easyoar Written May 2, 2005

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    Wokingham's Old Town Hall

    Wokingham is another sleepy market town in Berkshire. It's reasonably large, but still retains its old charm and a lot of old buildings. Back in the days when it was customary to demolish old buildings and replace them, Wokingham was suffering at the expense of the rapidly growing Reading, so little change took place - which these days is definitely good news for Wokingham! Wokingham used to have the highest density of pubs per square mile anywhere in the country. There were over 50 just in the small town centre. These days many have closed down as I guess the town just couldn't support them all.

    Probably the best known of Wokinghams landmarks is the Old Town Hall right in the middle of the twon centre. This is lovely redbrick building which is at its most ornate on special days for the town when it is decked out in yellow flags with the Wokingham acorn on (an early name for Wokingham was Oakingham).

    In less politically correct days, Wokingham was famous for its cock-fighting and bull-baiting. It was also home to highwaymen and a band of local brigands called the 'Wokingham Blacks' whose crimes ranged from poaching to murder. These days Wokingham is a sleepy little town and has none of these 'exciting' activities going on.

    See my Travel Tips on the Lucas Hospital (the only grade 1 listed building in Wokingham), The Old Town Hall, The Signal Box at the Railway Station and more.

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    Finchampstead

    by easyoar Written May 2, 2005

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    Blue-tit in flight, Finchampstead

    Over the years Finchampstead seems to have got bigger and bigger, and these days it is hard to identify exactly where it starts and where it finishes. Around 25 years ago Finchampstead was little more than "the village", which was little more than the row of houses by the playing fields and playground, and around to Finchampstead church which is on top of the hill overlooking the playing fields, and possibly as far as Gorse Ride. Then around 20 years ago a largish estate of houses got built outside of this area, and this became North Finchampstead. These days North Finchampstead seems to have stretched all the way to the Queensmere Roundabout on the A321 and Nine Mile Ride Roads, although some of this area is Finchampstead Wokingham as the distinction between the two towns becomes vaguer. This latter area is also know as Wokingham Without (a historical name), but has more recently been interpreted as being the part of Wokingham without any shops, playgrounds or amenities of any sort - even a local pub got turned into apartments around 2002-2003.

    A fairly recent phenomena is the emergence of the Finchampstead Large Cat - on the internet it is also known as the Wokingham Big Cat, see:
    http://www.getwokingham.co.uk/story.asp?intid=2070

    However never having seen any evidence of this despite knowing the local woodland quite well, I will stay neutral as to the existence of this cat!

    Sites well worth seeing in the area (see my tips for more details) are The Finchampstead Ridges, St James' Church, Wellingtonia Avenue with the Californian Redwood Giants, Simons Wood and Heath Lake and Finchampstead Playing Fields, where you can watch a game of cricket on a summer evening.

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    London - still on the Thames

    by easyoar Updated May 2, 2005

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    Big Ben, London, on the River Thames

    Whilst most people know that (London is the capital of England, many foreigners to England get confused of the difference between England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Whilst England is in all of these, none of them is actually the same.

    Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales. This is the whole of the larger of the two Islands (Ireland is the smaller island to the west). The United Kingdom on the other hand is made up of Great Britain plus Northern Ireland (the Republic Ireland is made up of the island of Ireland minus Northern Ireland).

    Anyhow, back to the subject of (London. London is a very big city which can have very big traffic problems. It is in my opinion though, a very good city for tourists to visit. Whether this be for the shopping (even if you just want to visit Harrods) or the sites (London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Saint Pauls cathedral, Lifeguards Parade, the Parks, the list goes on...), (London has something for pretty much anyone.

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    Windsor

    by easyoar Written May 2, 2005

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    Windsor Castle

    The reason most people visit Windsor is because of the Royal connection.

    The Queen still lives in Windsor Castle quite often (she has several official residences and moves between them).

    It is this Royal Residence that brings most tourists to Windsor. This is Windsor Castle. It is the oldest continuously inhabited royal residence in Britain, and was initially built out of wood in 1070 by William the Conqueror.

    King George V was so fond of Windsor castle, he changed his family surname from a very Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, no doubt in an attempt to Anglicize the Royal Family at the same time!

    Windsor is also quite a historic town, and has some very old and interesting buildings, as well as some seriously expensive property! You do need to be pretty affluent to live there...

    A nice walk in Windsor is off from the Castle down the 'Long Walk' which is what you can see in the picture here. It can get pretty busy at times, and if you are really lucky, you might see one of the Royals out with their horses!

    Windsor is also very close to the River Thames.

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    Goring-on-Thames

    by easyoar Written May 2, 2005

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    Goring River Lock

    Goring-on-Thames is well known locally for having very expensive property prices and for being a bit posh! It's a little unusual being on the banks of the river Thames. It sppears to straddle both sides of the Thames, but in actual fact as you cross the road bridge over the Thames, you change both counties and towns.

    Goring is also a rather sleepy Thames town, and is probably even sleepier than Marlow.

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    Reading

    by easyoar Updated May 2, 2005

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    Reading - also on the Thames

    I've lived in or around Reading for most of my life, so I obviously have some affection for the place. Reading is a town that is constantly changing. Twenty years ago it was a bit of a dump. These days a lot of the dingier areas have been renovated or completely rebuilt and some bits of Reading are actually quite nice. A good example of this is the Oracle Centre. The outdoors part of which around the canal has a very cosmopolitan feel as there are many restaurants and bars along the canal side.

    Many years ago, Reading was famous for the 3 B's. These days there is some dispute as to exactly what the 3 B's stood for (Beer, Bricks?), but there is no doubt as to one of them - Biscuits.

    The firm that made these biscuits (which is unfortunately no longer in existence) has had a long and benevolent relationship with Reading. This biscuit making firm is Huntley and Palmers. The biscuits made by Huntley and Palmers put Reading firmly on the map. They were bought out by Nabisco some years back. Whilst Huntley and Palmers may not mean much to people outside the UK, anyone in Britiain of around 30+ or so will immediately know the name.

    Note:- This picture shows the Kennet and Avon canal, NOT the Thames!

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Marlow Off The Beaten Path

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