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Maidenhead Bridge and River Thames - - 205285.jpg
Thames Riviera Hotel (left) and Maidenhead Bridge (built 1777) from across the River Thames
Maidenhead is located in Berkshire
Population 70,374 (2019 est.)
OS grid reference SU889811
• London 30 mi (48 km)
Unitary authority
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SL6
Dialling code 01628
Police Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°31′18″N 0°43′04″W / 51.5217°N 0.7177°W / 51.5217; -0.7177

Maidenhead is a market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the county of Berkshire, England, on the southwestern bank of the River Thames. It had an estimated population of 70,374 and forms part of the border with southern Buckinghamshire. The town is situated 27 miles (43 km) west of Charing Cross, London and 13 miles (21 km) east-northeast of the county town of Reading. The town differs from the Parliamentary constituency of Maidenhead, which includes a number of outer suburbs and villages (including parts of Wokingham and Reading) such as Twyford, Charvil, Remenham, Ruscombe and Wargrave.


Maidenhead High St - - 137057
Maidenhead High Street

Maidenhead's name stems from the riverside area where the "New wharf" or "Maiden Hythe" was built, perhaps as early as Saxon times. It has been suggested that the nearby Great Hill of Taplow was called the "Mai Dun" by the Iron Age Brythons. The area of the town centre was originally known as "South Ellington" and is recorded in the Domesday Book as Ellington in the hundred of Beynhurst.

In 1280, a bridge was erected across the river to replace a ferry in what was then the hamlet of South Ellington. The Great West Road to Reading, Gloucester and Bristol was diverted over the new bridge. Previously, it had kept to the north bank and crossed the Thames by ford at Cookham, and medieval Maidenhead grew up around it. Within a few years a wharf was constructed next to the bridge and the South Ellington name was dropped with the area becoming known as Maidenhythe (literally meaning "new wharf"). The earliest record of this name change is in the Bray Court manorial rolls of 1296. The bridge led to the growth of Maidenhead: a stopping point for coaches on the journeys between London and Bath and the High Street became populated with inns. The current Maidenhead Bridge, a local landmark, dates from 1777 and was built at a cost of £19,000.

King Charles I met his children for the last time before his execution in 1649 at the Greyhound Inn on the High Street, the site of which is now a branch of the NatWest Bank. A plaque commemorates their meeting.

When the Great Western Railway came to the town, it began to expand. Muddy roads were replaced and public services were installed. The High Street began to change again, and substantial Victorian red brick architecture began to appear throughout the town. Maidenhead became its own entity in 1894, being split from the civil parishes of both Bray and Cookham.

Maidenhead Citadel Corps of the Salvation Army was first opened in the town in the mid-1880s. Maidenhead Citadel Band was soon founded in 1886 by Bandmaster William Thomas, who later became mayor of the town.

By Edwardian times, nearby Boulter's Lock became a favoured resort, especially on Ascot Sunday, and Skindles Hotel developed a reputation for illicit liaisons.


Maidenhead map 1945
Map of Maidenhead from 1945

The Maidenhead urban area includes urban and suburban regions within the bounds of the town, called Maidenhead Court, North Town, Furze Platt (which in 2012 gained a conservation area), Pinkneys Green, Highway, Tittle Row, Boyn Hill, Fishery and Bray Wick; as well as built-up areas in surrounding civil parishes: Cox Green and Altwood in Cox Green parish, Woodlands Park in White Waltham parish, and part of Bray Wick in Bray parish. Bray village is linked to Maidenhead by the exclusive Fishery Estate which lies on the banks of the Thames. To the east, on the opposite side of the river from Maidenhead, is the large village of Taplow in Buckinghamshire which almost adjoins the suburban village of Burnham, Buckinghamshire, which is in itself part of the urban area of the large, industrial town of Slough. To the north are the Cookhams, Cookham Village, Cookham Rise and Cookham Dean. To the west is the area of Pinkneys Green. These lie south of the Berkshire-Buckinghamshire border, which is formed by the River Thames (which then bends southwards to form the Maidenhead-Taplow border). To the south is the village of Holyport. Continuing by road to the South-East leads to the historic, royal twin towns of Windsor and Eton.

Maidenhead was originally the planned western terminus for the Crossrail line (to and through London) until Reading station, situated 13 miles (21 km) southwest of Maidenhead, was chosen.

Maidenhead lies immediately west of the Taplow ridge; a wooded spur of the Chilterns which rises dramatically above one of the most scenic stretches of the Thames. The ridge is crowned by the spectacular Cliveden House which can be seen from various parts of the town.

The distances between Maidenhead and surrounding towns are as follows:

Maidenhead has a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the northern outskirts of the town called Cannoncourt Farm Pit, where the largest hand axe of the paleolithic era in Britain was discovered.

On 12 July 1901, Maidenhead entered the UK Weather Records with the Highest 60-min total rainfall at 92 mm (3.6 in). As of July 2015, this record remains.


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Classic Victorian architecture—All Saints' Church, Boyne Hill

Maidenhead clock tower was built for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee and is located outside the railway station.

Maidenhead Clock Tower - - 210322
Maidenhead clock tower outside the railway station

Maidenhead Bridge was built in 1777. It takes the A4 over the Thames to join Maidenhead to Taplow.

All Saints' Church, Boyne Hill was completed in 1857 is one of the finest examples of the early work of the architect G. E. Street. The site is also regarded by many as the premier architectural site in the town. The church, consecrated on 2 December 1857 by Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, became the first ecclesiastical parish in the Borough of Maidenhead.

Boulter's Lock is a lock on the river Thames on the east side of Maidenhead. It adjoins Ray Mill Island.


Although there are attractive residential and green areas in and around Maidenhead, the town centre was heavily redeveloped in the 1970s/ 80s and subsequently has lost much of its traditional English market town character. Research by the New Economics Foundation rated Maidenhead as an example of a clone town and the town centre is regarded as in need of improvement. In December 2007, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead set up the Partnership for the Regeneration of Maidenhead (PRoM), which in October 2008 launched a comprehensive 20 Year Vision and Action Plan for rejuvenating the town centre. Launch of the plan coincided with confirmation by central government that Maidenhead will be part of the new Crossrail project. PRoM's plans highlight five key developments which will help shape the town for the future. A large new high rise retail and residential development called 'The Landing' is due for construction shortly, along with an upgraded train station and transport interchange, movement of the football and bowls clubs and linking Kidwells Park into the High Street. The Chapel Arches retail development is currently under way, restoring the old Thames tributaries which run through a historic section of the town centre as an attractive feature and amenity in the town. New apartments, boutique stores and restaurants, bars, and cafes are to be a feature of this new waterfront quarter of the town centre.

Maidenhead was home to the conference that agreed on the Maidenhead Locator System standard in 1980. It is located in grid square ​IO91pm.

The average house price in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in 2011 was £461,421.

Community facilities

Maidenhead library, Berkshire
Maidenhead Library

Maidenhead offers High Street shopping facilities including Nicholson's Centre, a shopping centre on the site of Nicholson's brewery. The town also offers an eight-screen Odeon multiplex cinema, a leisure centre (with swimming pool), called the Magnet, and a bowling alley. Help with shopping in the town centre can be provided by the Shopmobility service on the ground floor of Nicholson's car park.

Maidenhead Heritage Centre and Museum was established in 1993 and moved to permanent premises in a former pub in Park Street in 2006.

In the Boyne Hill area there is Norden Farm Centre for the Arts (an arts centre including a theatre).

Waltham Place Estate on Church Hill includes an ornamental garden integrated within a 200-acre (80 ha) organic and biodynamic farm estate. It is promoted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The Reitlinger Open Space on Guards Club Road is named after Henry Reitlinger, a leading collector of fine art. On his death in 1950, the collection was vested in a trust, the Henry Reitlinger Bequest. The trustees were his adopted daughter, Mrs. M. Cocke, and a Maidenhead solicitor, who chose to house the collection at Oldfield House, now a private residence; the building dates back to 1892.


The (Brunel-built) Great Western Main Line passes through the town, calling at Maidenhead railway station and offering frequent, direct services to London, Reading, Newbury, Didcot and Oxford. Additionally, there are less frequent direct services to Banbury, Hereford, Worcester and Great Malvern. It passes over Brunel's Maidenhead Railway Bridge (known locally as the Sounding Arch), famous for its flat brick arches. Maidenhead Station is the beginning of the Marlow Branch Line from Maidenhead to Marlow, Buckinghamshire, Furze Platt railway station on this branch also serves the northern area of Maidenhead. Rail services have been provided by Great Western since 2003–04.

Local bus services are provided by First Berkshire & The Thames Valley, Arriva Shires & Essex and Thames Valley Buses. The A4 runs through the town and crosses the Thames over Maidenhead Bridge. The town lies adjacent to junction 8/9 on the M4 motorway and is accessed via the A404(M) and A308(M). The A308(M), A404(M) and A404 form the Marlow and Maidenhead bypass which also acts as an important link between the M4, to the south of the town, and M40 at High Wycombe. The River Thames runs 12 mile (800 m) to the east of the town centre, and York Stream, which runs through the town centre, connects to the Thames via a system of disused waterways. A renewal scheme is in progress to reopen these waterways. The Jubilee River, part of the flood defence scheme, begins above Boulter's Lock nearby.

The Crossrail project which is now expected to be fully opened in mid-2022, after previously being expected to be completed by December 2018. In the initial plan for Crossrail, Maidenhead was expected to become the terminus for the line, which is now known as the Elizabeth Line. However, after consultation Crossrail Limited and Transport for London decided to extend this to Reading, which also serves as a major hub for the Great Western route. The route will double the current timetable from four services an hour (operated by the existing Great Western Railway route) to eight services an hour (combining both Elizabeth Line and GWR services). Two services an hour from Paddington to Reading have been taken over by Crossrail's precursor company, TfL Rail.

Just 2 miles to the south-west of the town lies White Waltham Airfield, a base for general aviation and flight training.


Maidenhead is in England's Silicon Corridor along the M4 motorway west of London. Many residents commute to work in London, or to the towns of Slough and Reading.

Maidenhead's industries include: software, plastics, pharmaceuticals, printing and telecommunications.

Twin towns

Maidenhead is twinned with:

  • France Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, France (since 1957)
  • Germany Bad Godesberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (since 1960)
  • Italy Frascati, Lazio, Italy (since 1972)
  • Belgium Kortrijk (Courtrai) West Flanders, Belgium (since 1981)

Each year youths from the four towns and Berlin-Steglitz (twinned with Bad Godesberg) compete against one another in sports such as volleyball, football, athletics and swimming in the Twin Towns Sports Competition, hosted in turn by each of the five towns. In Maidenhead town centre there are roads named after three of the twin towns (Bad Godesberg Way, Frascati Way and St Cloud Way). Local schools often participate in student exchanges with pupils being exchanged between schools within the twinned towns.


Situated on the River Thames, the town is a rowing centre. Maidenhead Rowing Club organises the Maidenhead Regatta which, along with Marlow Regatta and Henley Regatta, is often seen as a testing ground for olympic rowing athletes. Maidenhead has often seen winners go on to represent the United Kingdom at the Olympic games. The town's football team, Maidenhead United, play at York Road, which is the oldest football ground in the world continuously used by the same team. Maidenhead United were crowned champions of National League South at the end of the 2016/17 season. Due to this, the team were automatically promoted to the National League (fifth tier of English Football) for the 2017/18 season. The Maidenhead Rugby Club was founded in 1921 and is the largest organised sports team in the town. It consists of four men's teams, a women's team and a large youth programme.

Notable people and businesses

A number of notable figures can be counted amongst Maidenhead's current and former residents.

  • Wing Commander Clive Beadon and his second wife, Jane Beadon lived in Maidenhead the last years of their lives
  • The actress Diana Dors (1931–1984) resided for much of her life in the town, in several properties
  • The broadcaster Richard Dimbleby (1913–1965) lived for some time on Boulter's Island
  • Maidenhead's riverside location has also drawn many celebrities, including former broadcaster Michael Parkinson (b. 1935)
  • Spice Girls shared a house in Maidenhead for a year preceding their rise to stardom.
  • Author Hugh Lofting (1886–1947), creator of Doctor Dolittle, was born in Maidenhead.
  • Essayist and novelist Nick Hornby (b. 1957) was educated at Maidenhead Grammar School (now Desborough School),
  • Children's television presenter and radio show host Toby Anstis (b. 1968),
  • Author and broadcaster John O'Farrell (b. 1962),
  • Athlete Mark Richardson (b. 1972)
  • "Dragon" Peter Jones (b. 1966).
  • The film director brothers Roy (1913–2001) and John Boulting (1913–1985) were born in Bray village on the outskirts of Maidenhead in November 1913.
  • Andy King grew up in Maidenhead, and attended Furze Platt Senior School. He plays for Leicester City and helped them win the Premier League title in 2016.
  • Pinkneys Green a small village near the town was home to Sir Nicholas Winton (1909–2015), whose heroic efforts rescued 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia just before the outbreak of World War II. There is a statue of him at Maidenhead Railway Station.
  • Arthur and Ron Hacker formed the company Hacker Radio Ltd in Maidenhead in 1959, producers of fine transistor radios that for a time in the 1970s brandished the Royal Warrant of Appointment
  • The town was also home to Colonel Sir Walter de Frece (1870–1935) and Lady Matilda de Frece, better known as Vesta Tilley (1864–1952).
  • Former disabled London Marathon competitor Patrick Sheehy lived in the town for just over 3 years.
  • Edd China (born 1971), an English TV presenter, mechanic, motor specialist and inventor lives and works here.
  • Mary Ann Browne (1812–1845) was a British poet and writer of musical scores.

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