Slough is a town in Berkshire, England, about 20 miles (30 kilometres) west of central London. It is bisected by the A4 and the Great Western Main Line. In 2011, the population of Slough was 140,200 and the most ethnically diverse outside London in the United Kingdom with the highest proportion of religious adherents in England. Before 1974, Slough was in Buckinghamshire. Slough is home to the Slough Trading Estate, the largest industrial estate in single private ownership in Europe.
The first recorded uses of the name occur as Slo in 1196, Sloo in 1336, and Le Slowe, Slowe or Slow in 1437. It first seems to have applied to a hamlet between Upton to the east and Chalvey to the west, roughly around the “Crown Crossroads” where the road to Windsor (now the A332) met the Great West Road. The Domesday Survey of 1086 refers to Upton, and a wood for 200 pigs, worth £15. During the 13th century, King Henry III had a palace at Cippenham. Parts of Upton Court were built in 1325, while St Mary the Virgin Church in Langley was probably built in the late 11th or early 12th century, though it has been rebuilt and enlarged several times.
From the mid-17th century, stagecoaches began to pass through Slough and Salt Hill, which became locations for the second stage to change horses on the journey out from London. By 1838 and the opening of the Great Western Railway, Upton-cum-Chalvey’s parish population had reached 1,502. In 1849, a branch line was completed from Slough station to Windsor and Eton Central railway station, opposite Windsor Castle, for the Queen’s convenience.
Slough has 96 listed buildings. There are Four Grade I: St Laurence’s Church (Upton), St Mary the Virgin Church (Langley), Baylis House and Godolphin Court. There are also Seven Grade II: St Mary’s Church (Upton-cum-Chalvey), Upton Court, the Kederminster and Seymour Almshouses in Langley, St Peter’s Church (Chalvey), The Ostrich Inn (Colnbrook), and King John’s Palace (Colnbrook) and Grade II listed structures include four milestones: Beech, Oak and Linden Houses at Upton Hospital, and Slough station
1918 saw a large area of agricultural land to the west of Slough developed as an army motor repair depot, used to store and repair huge numbers of motor vehicles coming back from the battlefields of the First World War in Flanders. In April 1920, the Government sold the site and its contents to the Slough Trading Co. Ltd. Repair of ex-army vehicles continued until 1925, when the Slough Trading Company Act was passed allowing the company (renamed Slough Estates Ltd) to establish an Industrial Estate. Spectacular growth and employment ensued, with Slough attracting workers from many parts of the UK and abroad. During World War II, Slough experienced a series of air raids, mostly in October 1940 (the largest number of people, five, dying as a result of one on the 13th), and an emergency hospital treating casualties from London was set up in Slough. Local air raid deaths and deaths at the hospital account for the 23 civilian lives recorded lost in the borough area. After the War, several further large housing developments arose to take large numbers of people migrating from war-damaged London.
In the 21st century, Slough has seen major redevelopment of the town centre. Old buildings are being replaced with new offices and shopping complexes. Tesco has replaced an existing superstore with a larger Tesco Extra. The Heart of Slough Project is a plan for the large-scale redevelopment of the town centre as a focus and cultural quarter for the creative media, information and communications industries. It will create a mixed-use complex, multi-functional buildings, visual landmarks and a public space in the Thames Valley. Recommendations for the £400 million project have been approved, and planning approval was given by Slough Borough Council’s planning committee on 9 July 2009.Work began in 2010 for completion in 2018.
Slough has a senior non-League football team, Slough Town F.C., who currently play in the Southern Football League Premier Division, which is the 7th tier of football in England. Slough Hockey Club – The Ladies 1XI are currently in the top tier of English Hockey. The Men’s 1XI are in MBBO Regional 1 whereas the Men’s 2XI are in MBBO Division 3. Slough Rugby Club are currently in the 5th Tier of the Rugby system. The town has produced many Olympic class athletes as part of the ‘Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow Athletics Club’