A lot of historical buildings in Slough, Berkshire, have been lost, but we have one in the centre of town that is Grade II Listed. And that is Slough train station. For Tyler, this is one of his favourite places to go – somewhere he can sit and watch endless trains, and where we catch our trains on days out.
We can see it from our apartment window too, and most weekends we see steam trains running through, as well as super-long car-carrier trains, freight trains, high speed trains, little trains – you name it, they all come through Slough station. Thanks to its age, it does have a really interesting history. Here are 6 things I bet you never knew…
1) Queen Victoria has visited
Did you know that Slough Station had Queen Victoria visit back for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 1897? It was looking very grand then, with this photo showing the Royal Family about to commence their journey by carriage from Slough Station to Windsor Castle.
Source: Slough History Online
Our present Queen visited Slough train station in 2017 too, which was very exciting for locals. Lily and I managed to watch the whole thing from our window.
Here is a photo of young Tyler in front of the station, over 100 years since Queen Victoria visited. Amazing to think the scene above happened on this exact spot, that many of us walk over every day.
This photo is from 1905, and you can see the station looks almost exactly the same as above, even the chimneys are still there.
Source: Slough History Online
A close-up of the clock and the roof detail today. It’s actually a really beautiful piece of architecture, and I love the little porthole windows.
2) This is Slough’s 5th train station
Did you know that the present Slough Station opened in 1884? It was actually Slough’s fifth station, built in a French Renaissance style favoured by the Great Western Railway in the 1880s.
3) Eton College stopped Slough having a train station
Now here is an interesting fact. Did you know that in the early 1800s, there was no station at Slough because of opposition from Eton College? They were worried the temptations of London would be too easily accessible for their students! There was an Act with a clause which forbade the construction of a station within 3 miles of Eton College without the permission of the Provost and Fellows of the school. But trains still stopped in Slough to pick up passengers, even without a station, and they bought their tickets from the nearby North Star Tavern. Eventually the first station got built in 1840.
4) The Slough to Windsor train line was built for the Queen
Did you know Queen Victoria took her first ever train journey from London Paddington to Slough in 1842? The journey to Windsor was continued by horse and carriage. The Slough to Windsor train line was later built for the Queen to travel to Windsor more easily. And to think, many of us use this line all the time for £3 return – on a real royal route!
5) There used to be Royal Hotel opposite the station
There used to be a grand Royal Hotel opposite the station, on the site where the bus station is today. When the Slough to Windsor train line was built, people stopped using the hotel and it just went out of business and was later demolished.
Here are some more interesting details from inside the station. See, if you look a bit closer whenever you’re standing around waiting for a train, have a look for these little glimpses of history.
6) There is a 120-year-old dog in the station
Did you know there’s a stuffed dog that over 100 years old on display on Platform 5 of Slough Station? He’s called Station Jim and he died suddenly in 1896.
You can read more about Station Jim below, it’s quite fascinating. I look at this dog whenever I am waiting for a train to London, and I still can’t believe he was a real dog.
The back entrance of the station. This side is a little less loved today with potholes in the road, but still beautiful with its architectural features.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little history lesson. It just goes to show, every town has an interesting history – even Slough.
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