There are things for which you never quite forgive your parents, like my Mum chucking a half-brick through the store room door window and me ending up in Heatherwood Hospital having stitches in my eyebrow and chin, but worse than that, years after the event, finding out that your Mum has lied to you.
As a small boy the New Town I lived in was a great place; We played football all day in the park, (jumpers for goalposts) we dammed the Splash round the back of our house, by digging out the clay banks, building temporary dams so the main dam builders had time to work on the principal structure which held water up to our thighs, (The Green Man came round our house on his bike and told Mum & Dad about that one) and scrumping apples from the Old Manor’s orchard.
Our town was also popular with royalty. It was rumoured that the Shah of Persia was going to visit, to see how New Towns should be built as he was planning to build a clutch of them back in Persia. I was never too clear where Persia was, but it sounded far away and exotic.
However, Mum made it quite clear to me, repeatedly, that the Shah of Persia would not be coming if I didn’t eat my greens. I ate my horrid greens dutifully for months, not wanting to be blamed for the Shah’s non-appearance.
Indeed, he did come, and toured our town in an open-top Rolls-Royce. I seem to recall that he waved directly at me, obviously grateful that I’d done as I was told and had personally made his trip possible. He particularly liked our town centre, with it’s wonderful Broadway. It’s said that in that far away exotic land there are three or four Broadways modelled on our own.
Well if the old bugger were alive today he would be deeply saddened. They’ve flattened the Broadway. It’s going to be “regenerated.” So, Dyasons fish & chip shop, Woolies, Mac Fisheries, Fine Fare, Tescos, where Mum used to get book-fulls of Green Shield Stamps, and the Co-op department store with its pneumatic cash-tube that thundered around the building, have now all gone.
I had a last look around the place last summer before the demolition crews moved in. They had already smashed up the trees that had lined the way. Now it’s just a huge windswept dustbowl with towering piles of crushed concrete aggregate. I only had my very old phone with me with its ropey old camera but I’ve cobbled together a few images, just so the Shah can have one last look at the place. You can click on each picture to blow it up.
The tall slim building at the end of the Broadway is the 3M building. It had once sported a fabulous illuminated digital clock. We were dead impressed by that. The cows in the neighbouring village of Binfield weren’t that impressed though as their milk yield dropped dramatically after the 3M Building was put up. You could see it for miles around, especially at night.
But now, they’ve decided to tear that down too. Here’s one last longing look at the old girl. She’s very unloved these days:
I expect they’ll be after this leviathan next.
UPDATE: SATURDAY 21st JUNE 2014:
Here’s what the town centre looked like a few days ago: Notice that all is left is the security camera. Modern times…
BRACKNELL TOWN CENTRE. THE SECURITY CAMERA REMAINS... – CLICK TO ENLARGE