Monday, January 23, 2017

Milton Keynes before Milton Keynes

The plan to build a new town called Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire was agreed on 23 January 1967 - that is, 50 years ago.

Some will tell you that the name was plucked out of the air, but there always was a village of Milton Keynes.

Here is J.H.B. Peel writing in his Buckinghamshire Footpaths (1949):
In Broughton you turn rightward along a lane into Milton Keynes, as fine a small English village as you are likely to encounter in these parts, or, for that matter, in any other parts. 
Milton Keynes is a homely place. Fields encroach upon the dusty by-lane, and brim over the scattered cottages. There is nothing here of the conventional beauty spot, for indeed no one seems to have heard of the place, save the handful of its inhabitants; and these think so well of it that they rarely leave it, and then only upon compulsion like Falstaff. 
I have known and loved Milton Keynes since I was a boy, but at no time in my legion pilgrimages thither have I met a stranger.
I have faint memories of my family's first canal holiday in 1965 or 1966, when the banks of the Grand Union must still have been as Peel knew them.

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