infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Bracknell
shire_district= Bracknell Forest
shire_county = Berkshire
region= South East England

static_image_caption=Charles Square, Bracknell
population= 50,131 (2001) [ [ Office for National Statistics - Neighbourhood Statistics for Bracknell (Parish)] ]
constituency_westminster= Bracknell
post_town= BRACKNELL
postcode_district = RG12, RG42
postcode_area= RG
dial_code= 01344
os_grid_reference= SU870693
latitude= 51.416
longitude= -0.749

Bracknell is a town in the Bracknell Forest borough of Berkshire, England. It lies 18 km (11 miles) to the south-east of Reading, 16 km (10 miles) southwest of Windsor and 53 km (33 miles) west of London.

The town is surrounded, on the east and south, by the vast expanse of Swinley Woods and Crowthorne Woods. The town has absorbed parts of many local outlying areas including Warfield, Winkfield and Binfield.


The town covers all of the old village of Easthampstead (though not all of the old parish) and the hamlet of Ramslade. Easthampstead has a very long history. There is a Bronze Age round barrow at Bill Hill. Easthampstead Park was a favoured Royal hunting lodge in Windsor Forest and Catherine of Aragon was banished there until her divorce was finalised. It was later the home of the Trumbulls who were patrons of Alexander Pope from Binfield.

Bracknell is a Saxon word meaning 'Bracken-covered Hiding Place'. One of the oldest buildings in the town is the 'Old Manor' public house, a 17th century brick manor house featuring a number of priest holes. Next door once stood the 'Hind's Head' coaching inn, where it is said Dick Turpin used to drink. It is believed that there were once underground tunnels between the two, along which the famous highwayman could escape from the authorities. In 1723, the Grenadier Guards had a battle with the infamous bandits called the 'Wokingham Blacks' near the town.

Oscar Wilde is said to have visited South Hill Park and subsequently named a character Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Earnest". He was also a regular visitor to the town with his wife, Constance.

Barack Obama's stepmother lives in Bracknell and he visited for his half-brother-in-law's Stag Night in 1998. Keiza Obama, the first wife of Barack Obama Senior, was family guest of honour at Barack Obama Junior's inauguration for the US Senate [ [ Barack Obama Wiki] ] .

New town

Bracknell was designated a new town in 1949, [ [ English Partnerships] ] in the aftermath of the Second World War. The site was originally a village-come-small-town in the civil parish of Warfield in the Easthampstead Rural District. Very little of the original Bracknell is left. The location was chosen over White Waltham, an alternative possibility, because the Bracknell site avoided encroaching on good quality agricultural land. It had the additional advantage of being on a railway line.

The new town was planned for 25,000 people; it was intended to occupy 1,337 hectares of land on and around ‘Old Bracknell’ in the area now covered by Priestwood, Easthampstead, Bullbrook and Harman’s Water. The existing town centre and industrial areas were to be retained with new industry brought in to provide jobs. [ [ New Town Development Corporation] ] However, the town has since expanded far beyond its intended size into farmland to the south, and major expansion is now, as of 2008, under way to the west of the town at Peacock Farm, and on the site of the former RAF Staff College. [ [ The Parks, Bracknell] ]

The town centre is a 1960s design, and considered by many to be in need of a major refurbishment. The Borough Council is therefore working in partnership with the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (Legal & General and Schroders) to regenerate the town centre with new shops and facilities to be built.

At the heart of most Bracknell neighbourhoods is a church, a small parade of shops, a primary school, a community centre and a pub, there is a church in Crown Wood School (part of Easthampstead Baptist Church The neighbourhoods varied in size from 3000 to 9000. Pedestrianisation was a key idea, as was the construction of a ring road, and segregation of industrial areas from residential areas. [ [ New Town] ] [ [ Neighbourhoods] ]

A feature of a number of the estates that causes great confusion for outsiders and newcomers alike is the fact that streets only have names, not titles - in Birch Hill, Crown Wood, Great Hollands and others there is no 'Road', 'Avenue', 'Street', just 'Frobisher', 'Jameston', 'Juniper', 'Jevington'. The residential streets are, however, named in alphabetical order starting in Great Hollands, with As, through Ds, such as Donnybrook, in Hanworth, Js, such as 'Jameston' and 'Jevington' in Birch Hill, and beyond. The exceptions are streets in the Wimpey Homes area of the town, where street names such as Hornby Avenue and Packenham Road can be found.


The town was successful in attracting high-tech industries, and has become home to companies such as Panasonic, Fujitsu (formerly ICL) and Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens (originally Nixdorf), Honeywell, Cable and Wireless, Avnet Technology Solutions and Novell. Its success subsequently spread into the surrounding Thames Valley or M4 corridor, attracting IT firms such as Cable and Wireless, DEC (subsequently Hewlett-Packard), Microsoft, Sharp Telecommunications, Oracle Corporation, Sun Microsystems and Cognos.

Bracknell is also home to the central Waitrose distribution centre and head office which is on a 70 acre site on the Southern Industrial Estate. Waitrose has operated from the town since the 1970s. The town is also home to the UK headquarters of BMW Group.

Manufacturing industry has largely disappeared since the 1980s. Former significant sites included Clifford's Dairy in Downshire Way and British Aerospace (originally Sperry Gyroscope) now occupied by Arlington Square. The Thomas Lawrence brickworks on the north side of the town was famous for 'red rubber' bricks to be found in the Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Cathedral, and in restoration work at 10 Downing Street and Hampton Court Palace.

The most visible landmark in the town centre is Winchester House, formerly owned by 3M and informally known as the "3M Building", as it had the 3M logo in large illuminated red letters in a prominent place at the top of the building. It is a twelve-storey structure and it can be seen from over a mile away. It used to house the company's UK headquarters before being abandoned in favour of new premises in Farley Wood on the town's northern edge in 2004 – since then, the building has had the 3M logo removed and has been heavily vandalised inside. It is also due for demolition. The town was also the home of Racal and Ferranti Computer Systems Ltd. The Met Office maintained a large presence in the town until 2003, when it relocated to Exeter in Devon.

"Arlington Square", a 22 acre (8ha) business park (first stage completed in 1995), is home to several of the town's businesses. Others are on the Western and Southern industrial areas.

Local government

Bracknell was made a civil parish in its own right in 1955. It has a town council. Under the Local Government Act 1972, the entire Easthampstead Rural District became the Bracknell District on 1 April 1974. It was granted Borough status, when it changed its name to Bracknell Forest in 1988. When Berkshire County Council was abolished on 1 April 1998 (and the non-metropolitan county was reclassified as a ceremonial county), Bracknell Forest became one of the unitary authorities which together make up Berkshire.


The town covers areas previously in the parishes of Easthampstead, Warfield, Binfield and Winkfield. The town's centre lies just north of the Railway Station with completely pedestrianized and much undercover shopping around Princess Square, Charles Square and the Broadway. There are 'out-of-town' shops, a multiscreen cinema and ten pin bowling complex at the Peel Centre. Just to the west are the Western and Southern Industrial Estates, either side of the railway line. There are many residential suburbs (see settlement table below) of varying dates, the oldest being Priestwood and, of course, Easthampstead Village.

The former RAF Staff College buildings in Harmanswater, now closed, was part of the Joint Services Command and Staff College. This site is now, as of 2008, being redeveloped for housing by Wimpey, with an estimated 730 houses on the college's former site. The south-western corner of the town remains rural around Easthampstead Park and the wooded Yew Tree Corner. Another new housing development called Jennett's Park is however being built nearby at Peacock Farm. There are large ponds at Farley Wood and the Easthampstead Mill Pond between Great Hollands and Wildridings, and two lakes at South Hill Park. The Bull Brook emerges above ground just within the bounds of the suburb of Bullbrook.


In the south of the town is South Hill Park, a mansion dating from 1760, although much rebuilt, that now houses a large Arts Centre. The Wilde Theatre was opened in 1984, named after Oscar Wilde who created the character 'Lady Bracknell' in his play The Importance of Being Earnest. South Hill Park has been home to a number of major music festivals over the years: [ [ The Hawkwind Chronicles] ]

* 1975 - 1990s Bracknell Jazz Festival
* 1970s - 1980s Bracknell Folk Festival ("The Handsome Mouldiwarp Festival")
* 1988 - Womad Festival
* 1980s - 1990s - Bracknell Music Festival / South Hill Park Festival

Bracknell has been used in the filming of many TV shows and films, such as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Martins Heron) and Time Bandits (Birch Hill). [ [ IMDB - Movie Database] ] . Waterside Park was used for the exterior of the police HQ in TV detective series Pie in the Sky. Bracknell has also featured in the 1991 Roger Daltrey Film Buddy's Song. The Offence (1972), a psychological thriller with Sean Connery and Ian Bannen, was filmed in Bracknell. There are scenes in the town centre, on Broadway, Charles Square and Market Street. The flat for Connery's character was filmed at the listed Point Royal, and the bulk of the outdoor scenes were taken around Wild Ridings, specifically Arncliffe, Crossfell, Mill Pond and Mill Lane.

Bracknell is featured in the Playstation 3 title "Resistance: Fall of Man" set in 1951, as the location at which power conduits travel deep underground south-east England to power the Chimeran fortresses.

Tracy Beaker actress Dani Harmer was brought up in Bracknell.


Bracknell has two railway stations, Bracknell and Martins Heron, both of which are on the Waterloo to Reading Line, originally built by the London and South Western Railway and now operated by South West Trains. As a consequence of the frequent service on this line, Bracknell is now a major commuter centre with its residents travelling in both directions (westwards to Reading and eastwards to London (Waterloo)).

The town has good road links and is situated at the end of the A329(M), mid-way between Junction 3 of the M3 and Junction 10 of the M4 motorways. A proposed motorway link between the M3 and the M4 – to be called the M31 – would have passed to the west of the town centre, but only the section that is now the A329(M) and the A3290 was built. [ [ Proposed M31] ]

Local bus services are provided by First Group and Courtney Coaches.

port and leisure

Bracknell Town Football Club are members of the Southern Football League Division One South & West, and play their home matches at Larges Lane. The Bracknell Bees Ice Hockey Club are former national champions, who currently play in the English Premier League. The town is also represented by teams playing rugby [ [ Bracknell Rugby Club] ] , hockey [ [ Bracknell Hockey Club] ] and cricket. [ [ Bracknell Cricket Club] ]

The town has a large leisure centre, which includes swimming and athletics facilities, whilst there is also the Coral Reef Water Park, the Downshire Golf Complex and Esporta, the Royal County of Berkshire Club. The John Nike Leisuresport Complex houses a dry ski slope and an ice rink, and there are convert|2600|acre|km2 of Crown Estate woodland at the Look Out Discovery Centre. [ [ Look Out Discovery Centre] ] A number of organisations are active in the area, including several troops of Scouts, and the Bracknell Forest Lions Club, which was formed in 1968 to help those in need. [ [ Bracknell Lions Club] ]


The area has various schools including Brakenhale School, Easthampstead Park School, Garth Hill College, Ranelagh Church of England School and St Margaret Clitherow Primary School. Bracknell and Wokingham College of further education is also based in the area.


External links

* [ Bracknell Town Council]
* [ Bracknell Forest Borough Unitary Authority]
* [ Royal Berkshire History: Bracknell]
* [ Bracknell Town Centre]
* [ Bracknell Regeneration]
*PDFlink| [ BFBC Report: "A Sustainable Transport Strategy to Support the Regeneration of Bracknell" (Tim Cuthbert, Jon Freer)] |~20MB

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bracknell — Bracknell …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bracknell —   [ bræknəl], Stadt (New Town) in der County Berkshire, England, westlich von London, 48 800 Einwohner; meteorologisches Forschungszentrum; Akademie der Royal Air Force; moderne Industrien in drei Industrieparks.   Geschichte:   Bracknell wurde… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Bracknell — 51.413333333333 0.75388888888889 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bracknell — Recorded in the spellings of Bracknell, Bracknall, Brecknell and Brecknall, this surname is English. It is definately residential, and almost certainly originates from the town of Bracknell in the county of Berkshire. If not, then the origination …   Surnames reference

  • Bracknell — Original name in latin Bracknell Name in other language Bracknell, Braknel, braknl, bu la ke nei er, Бракнел State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 51.41363 latitude 0.75054 altitude 81 Population 76103 Date 2011 03 03 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Bracknell — /brak nl/, n. a town in E Berkshire, in S England. 71,400. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bracknell — ► C. de Gran Bretaña, en Inglaterra, condado de Berkshire; 48 752 h …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bracknell — Brack|nell, Lady a character in Oscar Wilde s play The Importance of Being Earnest …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Bracknell — Brack•nell [[t]ˈbræk nl[/t]] n. geg a town in E Berkshire, in S England. 101,900 …   From formal English to slang

  • Bracknell — /brak nl/, n. a town in E Berkshire, in S England. 71,400 …   Useful english dictionary

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