Maidenhead is a town and unparished area within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It lies on the River Thames and is situated 25.7 miles (41.4 km) west of Charing Cross in London.
Maidenhead's name refers to 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 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.
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 suburbs 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 itself is still just about detached. To the east, on the opposite side of the river from Maidenhead, is the village of Taplow in Buckinghamshire. A few miles further on is Slough. To the north are the Cookhams, Cookham Village, Cookham Rise & Cookham Dean. Also nearby is the wealthy 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 town of Windsor.
Maidenhead is the planned western terminus for the Crossrail line (to and through London).
On 12 July 1901, Maidenhead entered the UK Weather Records with the Highest 60-min total rainfall at . As of April 2011, this record remains.
Online Historical References
Nineteenth Century Local Administration
English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.
During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.
Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.