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Bletchley, Milton Keynes

For other uses, see Bletchley (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 51°59′38″N 0°43′55″W / 51.994°N 0.732°W / 51.994; -0.732

Bletchley

Queensway, the main shopping street in Bletchley.
Buckinghamshire
Population 33,950 [1]
OS grid reference SP872336
    - London  43m 
Unitary authority Milton Keynes
Ceremonial county Buckinghamshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MILTON KEYNES
Postcode district MK1-3
Dialling code 01908
Police Thames Valley
Fire Buckinghamshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Milton Keynes South
List of places
UK
England
Buckinghamshire

Bletchley is a constituent town of Milton Keynes,[2] in Buckinghamshire, England. It is situated in the south-west of Milton Keynes, and is split between the civil parishes of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford and West Bletchley.

Bletchley is best known for Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain's World War II codebreaking organisation, now a museum.

History

Origin

The town name is Anglo-Saxon and means Blæcca's clearing.[3] It was first recorded in manorial rolls in the 12th century as Bicchelai, then later as Blechelegh (13th century) and Blecheley (14th–16th centuries).[4]

Development

Bletchley grew from an obscure hamlet on the road from Fenny Stratford to Buckingham with the arrival of the London and North Western Railway in 1845 and its subsequent junction with the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Line shortly afterwards.[4] Bletchley grew rapidly to service the junction. Bletchley railway station was for many years an important node on the railway. It is now one of the four stations which serve Milton Keynes.

In the urban growth of the Victorian period brought by the railway, the town merged with nearby Fenny Stratford. Fenny Stratford had been constituted an urban district (with Simpson) in 1895, and Bletchley was added in 1898. The urban district was renamed Bletchley in 1911.

In the early 1960s, there was a further substantial expansion of the town, with people from London being relocated by the Greater London Council, mainly to a London overspill estate to the south of Water Eaton. The population of the urban district increased from 5,500 in 1921 to 17,000 in 1961.

It was The Plan for Milton Keynes that would bring the most dramatic change to the future of Bletchley.

Bletchley in Milton Keynes

Main article: Milton Keynes

Bletchley was included in the "designated area" when the "New City"[5] of Milton Keynes was founded in 1967. Bletchley thrived in the early years of the growth of Milton Keynes, since it was the main shopping area. Bletchley centre was altered considerably when the Brunel Shopping Centre was built in the early 1970s, creating a new end to Queensway. (Previously, Queensway – formerly known as Bletchley Road – was a continuous run from Fenny Stratford to Old Bletchley). Bletchley's boom came to an end when the new Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre was built and commercial Bletchley has declined as a retail destination in recent years.

Bletchley and Fenny Stratford parish

The districts that make up this civil parish are Brickfields (includes the Blue Lagoon), Central Bletchley, Denbigh (including Denbigh North), Eaton Manor, Fenny Stratford, Granby, Manor Farm, Mount Farm and Water Eaton (includes "Lakes Estate").

Denbigh

For many years, Denbigh has been an important employment area. Perhaps its most famous residents are Milton Keynes Dons F.C., in Denbigh North, and their former club sponsors Marshall Amplification, just across the old Watling Street in Denbigh West.

In 2005, large commercial developments occurred on the immediate outskirts of Bletchley, although still in the civil parish of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. The supermarket chain Asda-Wal-Mart and the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA built and opened large stores at Denbigh North, northeast of the town centre on Watling Street, and Tesco responded by expanding its store at the north-east edge of Bletchley/Fenny Stratford. Marks and Spencers have also announced plans to build a major development adjacent to the stadium. Whether or not these new developments accelerate the decline of the town centre remains to be seen.

Denbigh North is also the location of the new Stadium:mk home of Milton Keynes Dons F.C. since the summer of 2007.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a Local Nature Reserve, which attracts many local visitors every day. School children in Bletchley are often taken on trips to learn about the history of this site.

West Bletchley parish

Main article: West Bletchley

West Bletchley civil parish covers that part of Milton Keynes that is south of Standing Way (A421), west of the West Coast Main Line and north of the Varsity Line.

The parish has a population of 20,994 according to the 2001 census. The districts and neighbourhoods in the parish are:

  • Church Green (including Bletchley Park)
  • Far Bletchley
  • Old Bletchley
  • West Bletchley (district)
  • Whaddon (ward)

Most districts of West Bletchley Parish are residential, but the district of Bletchley Park is important enough to be summarised here.

Bletchley Park

Main article: Bletchley Park

Within the West Bletchley parish, in the Church Green district, is Bletchley Park, which, during the Second World War, was home to the Government Code and Cypher School. The German Enigma code was cracked here by, amongst others, Alan Turing. Another cipher machine was solved with the aid of early computing devices, known as Colossus. The park is now a museum, although many areas of the park grounds have been sold off for housing development.

Sport and leisure

Bletchley has a Non-League football club Bletchley Town F.C. and a rugby union club, Bletchley RUFC, both of which play at Manor Fields.

Politics

Bletchley is in the Bletchley and Fenny Stratford electoral ward of Milton Keynes Borough Council, presently represented by two Conservative and one Labour councillors, and in the parliamentary constituency of Milton Keynes South, represented by Conservative MP Iain Stewart. Under the abandoned new parliamentary boundary plans, the area was to have been moved to the Buckingham constituency of Speaker of the House John Bercow, but these plans have now been delayed until at least after the next general election expected in 2015.

ONS Urban Sub-area

The Office for National Statistics has designated an Urban Sub-area for census purposes that approximates to the boundaries of the legacy Bletchley Urban District Council at the time of the designation of Milton Keynes. It also includes that part of Winslow Rural District that fell within the designation. In outline, the ONS Sub-area consists of Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Civil Parish, West Bletchley Civil Parish and part of Shenley Brook End Civil Parish (specifically Furzton, Emerson Valley, Tattenhoe and Snelshall).[6] At the 2001 Census, the population of the Sub-area was 47,176.[7]

References

  • Edward Legg, Early History of Bletchley Park 1235–1937, Bletchley Park Trust Historic Guides series, No. 1, 1999

See also

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