A Brief History of Bracknell

Bracknell is a new town created in 1948, situated in the Bracknell forest area, which has been settled since the Iron Age. Evidence of the area’s rich history is abundant: there is a Bronze Age barrow at Bill Hill, and Caesar’s camp is a hillfort which was built by the Celts and pre-dates the Roman invasion.

Bracknell covers the old village of Easthampstead. This was first mentioned in the Domesday book and means “homestead by gate”. This refers to the fact that at the time, this part of Berkshire was all part of the forest of Windsor. The gate referred to allowed deer to move to another part of the forest. Easthampstead Park was a favoured royal hunting lodge in Windsor forest during Tudor times. Catharine of Aragon was banished there until her divorce was finalised.

As urbanisation increased, the forest diminished and new roads were built linking the villages and ultimately London. By 1847 Bracknell had become a small village, which was situated on the main road to the west of England. The railway came to the town in 1856.

In 1948 the decision was made to make Bracknell a new town with a population of 25,000. The original intention was to make it a “self-contained country town combining the amenities of town life with the advantages of the country” and in 1949 it was duly declared a new town. New industry was to be developed to attract people to the town.

Originally the rich farmland around the area was supposed to be protected, but the excellent transport links of the town, with fast access to the M3, M4, M25 and Heathrow Airport as well as train links to London, have meant that the town has expanded far beyond its original boundaries and into the surrounding countryside.

The profile of businesses and industry in the town has changed over the years of its existence. Manufacturing has now all but ceased in Bracknell, and instead the town has concentrated on attracting high tech industries. The fact that it is only an hour from London has meant that blue-chip organisations such as GMAC, Cable & Wireless, Dell, BMW, Fujitsu, 3M, Panasonic and Waitrose have set up their headquarters in the town.

Arlington Square is a business park in Bracknell, where many of the major organisations have their offices. The park was first opened in 1995 and offers modern offices in Bracknell in a landscaped environment. The business park has been specially developed to give a pleasant working environment with plenty of green space.

The park is designed as an out of town Business Park but is actually located in the town, which offers many advantages. There is ample parking but it is only a short walk to all the facilities on offer in the town such as food and other shops, as well as leisure facilities such as a fitness centre and a bowling alley.

The town centre is a 1960s design, which the town council are now working to regenerate with new shops and facilities. This, together with the excellent strategic location and transport links of Bracknell, will make it an even more attractive location for businesses to settle in.

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