Milton Keynes—All You Need To Know

50-Years Of Milton Keynes 1967—2017

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Milton Keynes is great for business

Why 1LG Digital chose Milton Keynes as a base for our web design studio in 2000

Due to its great road, rail and airport connections, coupled with modern business facilities, 1LG Digital set up its web design studio in Milton Keynes in 2000. And within London only an hour away via the M1 and fast rail links, it's also a great choice for a web design agency doing business in London—hence we have many clients in London.

Milton Keynes: a new garden city built for the 21st Century between London & Birmingham to alleviate housing shortages in London after WWII

In the 1960s, the Government decided that a further generation of new towns in South East England was needed to take the projected population increase of London, after the initial 1940s/1950s wave. On 23 January 1967, the Government Housing Minister Anthony Greenwood formally announced plans to create a ‘New Town’ or city for 250,000 people in North Buckinghamshire, South Central England. Covering 21,870 acres of mainly farmland and undeveloped villages near Bletchley, the new town would be called Milton Keynes, as it already existed within the area, along with several other towns and villages, some dating back to the 10th – 13th centuries.

Milton Keynes New Town

Once established, the New Town of Milton Keynes contained around 40,000 people. By 1981 it had risen to 123,289. 50 years later, by 2017 more than 261,000 people call Milton Keynes home and by 2026 the population is expected to increase to over 300,000.

The butt of many jokes about ‘concrete cows’, those unfamiliar with Milton Keynes will be unaware of the area’s rich history.

Before construction began the area was subject to detailed archaeological investigation, which exposed evidence of human settlement since Neolithic times. Most of the eighteen medieval villages that existed before the New Town was created, still exist within its boundaries and are at the heart of their respective districts.

milton keynes sign

Milton Keynes New Town

Northeast of CMK, Newport Pagnell market town dates back to the 10th century. Stony Stratford to the northwest, serving Watling Street (old Roman Road) travellers and 30 stage coaches a day between London and the North, dates back to the 12th century.

Due to the juxtaposition of The Cock and The Bull coaching inns in Stony Stratford, on the main London to Chester and North Wales turnpike, it is claimed locally that the common phrase “a cock & bull story” originated here.

While the 1793 Grand Junction Canal and the 1840 London & Birmingham Railway stimulated the local economy, the coach trade on the Stony Stratford turnpike collapsed with the arrival of the railway, taking many businesses with it.

cock hotel stony stratford 1950

Wolverton Carriage Works

Fortunately, Wolverton was the halfway point on the rail route between London and Birmingham, where engines changed and passengers alighted for refreshments, creating work for thousands of people in the area at Wolverton Works.

Bletchley was to become an important railway town too with a railway station established at the 1846 junction of the London and Birmingham railway with the Bedford branch. In 1850, another branch from Bletchley to Oxford was built, later to become the (Cambridge / Oxford) Varsity Line. Originally a small village in the Fenny Stratford parish, Bletchley soon outgrew and absorbed its parent.

wolverton carriage works

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park was a former private estate located in Old Bletchley. Code-named ‘Station X’ Bletchley Park was the central location for the British and Allied main code-breakers during World War II.

It housed the Government Code and Cypher School GC&CS and regularly penetrated the secret communications of the ‘Axis Powers’ most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz cyphers.

According to British Intelligence history, the ‘Ultra’ intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by 2 – 4 years, without which the outcome of the war would have been uncertain.

bletchley park

Milton Keynes — the Birth of a City

This video was filmed 50+ years ago—a lot has changed since then

Milton Keynes in 2015

Getting there...

Milton Keynes — 50 years later

All grown up...

CMK Milestones
1967— 2017

MILESTONE DATA COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA

The 1960's

  • 1961 Census: Population of districts to become the Borough of Milton Keynes = 52,931
  • 1967 Designation
  • 1969 The Open University moves to its new headquarters in Walton Hall.

The 1970's

  • 1970 First section of new city grid road system (H2 from V4 Watling Street). The Stables presents its first concert.
  • 1971 First major housing scheme (Galley Hill, Stony Stratford).
  • 1971 Census: Population of future Borough of Milton Keynes = 66,949; population of designated area = 46,500
  • 1974 Stantonbury Campus opens; first major grid road (V8 Marlborough Street connects Bletchley to Stantonbury (for New Bradwell and Wolverton); work begins on the Shopping Building (now The Centre MK); the first balancing lake (Willen Lake) is finished. Borough of Milton Keynes is created (as a district of Buckinghamshire until 1997)
  • 1975 The first office building in Central Milton Keynes (Lloyds Court) opens.
  • 1979 First concert at Milton Keynes Bowl (Desmond Dekker/Geno Washington); Margaret Thatcher opens the Shopping Building.

The 1980's

  • 1980 A5D opens, bypassing Watling Street; Peace Pagoda dedicated at Willen.
  • 1981 Homeworld, Central Library, Willen Hospice
  • 1981 Census: Population of the Borough of Milton Keynes = 123,289; population of designated area 95,800
  • 1982 Central Milton Keynes railway station officially open. 1983 Caldecotte balancing lake ready.
  • 1984 A421 road connects to the M1 motorway at Junction 13; Milton Keynes General Hospital opens (renamed Milton Keynes University Hospital in 2015).
  • 1985 Britain's first multiplex cinema, The Point, opens. 1986 Energy World; new County Court; Forte Crest Hotel (now Holiday Inn); Gyosei school (closes 2002).
  • 1987 Woughton Marina opens.
  • 1989 Furzton balancing lake, Bradwell aqueduct (first aqueduct on Grand Union in over 100 years).

The 1990's

  • 1991 Census: Population of the Borough of Milton Keynes = 179,252; population of designated area = 144,700.
  • 1991 Church of Christ the Cornerstone was completed; De Montfort University opens Milton Keynes campus. (Closes 2003).
  • 1992 Milton Keynes Development Corporation wound up, replaced by Commission for New Towns; Kingston District Centre; Woodhill (HM Prison).
  • 1994 Westcroft district centre.
  • 1996 National Hockey Stadium opens.
  • 1997 Borough of Milton Keynes unitary authority
  • 1999 Milton Keynes Theatre, Art Gallery and new Visitor Centre.

The 2000's

  • 2000 Xscape opens.
  • 2001 Census: Population of Borough of Milton Keynes = 207,063; population of designated area = 177,500.
  • 2003 Wimbledon F.C. moves to the former England National Hockey Stadium.
  • 2004 ("MMIV") Wimbledon F.C. renamed and relaunched as Milton Keynes Dons F.C.
  • 2007 Stadium MK opens and Milton Keynes Dons move in.
  • 2007 The Hub & Vizion developments are completed at the western end of the town centre
  • 2008 University Centre Milton Keynes opens.

The 2010's

  • 2010 former England National Hockey Stadium is demolished, construction begins on Network Rail National Centre. Milton Keynes Shopping Centre is grade II listed. IF: Milton Keynes International Festival is launched.
  • 2011 Census: Population of Borough of Milton Keynes = 248,800
  • 2012 Network Rail National Centre (Quadrant MK) officially opens.
  • 2015 Three of the 2015 Rugby World Cup matches were played at Stadium MK.

The 2020's

  • 2010 former England National Hockey Stadium is demolished, construction begins on Network Rail National Centre. Milton Keynes Shopping Centre is grade II listed. IF: Milton Keynes International Festival is launched.
  • 2011 Census: Population of Borough of Milton Keynes = 248,800
  • 2012 Network Rail National Centre (Quadrant:MK) officially opens.
  • 2015 Three of the 2015 Rugby World Cup matches were played at Stadium MK.
  • Series of events and exhibitions to celebrate 50 years since the original designation.

Milton Keynes in 2017
— 50 Years On

In 2017 the fastest growing City in the United Kingdom celebrates its first 50 years

50 years ago, Milton Keynes was a building site. Throughout the UK it’s known as the city with the most roundabouts, green open spaces with thousands of trees, and of course the iconic concrete cows. But there’s a lot more than that to the New Town. Today it’s probably the best connected, fastest growing City in the UK, with a resident population of close to 300,000 people and even more who travel into CMK to work each day.

concrete cows milton keynes

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