Thatcham

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Thatcham
The Broadway, Thatcham - geograph.org.uk - 725456.jpg
The Broadway
Thatcham is locatit in Berkshire
Thatcham
Thatcham
Thatcham shawn within Berkshire
Population 22,824 (Parish, 2001)
OS grid reference SU511676
Ceevil pairish
  • Thatcham
Unitary authority
Ceremonial coonty
Region
Kintra Ingland
Sovereign state Unitit Kinrick
Post toun THATCHAM
Postcode destrict RG18 an RG19
Diallin code 01635
Polis Thames Valley
Fire Royal Berkshire
Ambulance Sooth Central
EU Pairlament Sooth East Ingland
UK Pairlament
List of places
UK
Ingland
Berkshire
51°24′18″N 1°15′50″W / 51.405°N 1.264°W / 51.405; -1.264Coordinates: 51°24′18″N 1°15′50″W / 51.405°N 1.264°W / 51.405; -1.264

Thatcham is a toun in Berkshire, Ingland 3 miles (5 km) east o Newbury an 15 miles (24 km) wast o Reading. Aften regardit as Breetain's auldest toun, it covers aboot 8.75 square miles (23 km²) an haes a population o 23,000 fowk (2003). This nummer haes grown rapidly ower the last few decades frae 5,000 in 1951 an 7,500 in 1961.

It lies on the River Kennet, the Kennet an Avon Canal, the A4 road an the course o a Roman road. It is servit bi Thatcham railwey station on the line atween Newbury an Reading an aw. Employment is providit bi a nummer o licht industrial units.

History[eedit | eedit soorce]

The aurie haes evidence o occupation datin frae prehistoric times[1] an is leetit in the Guinness Warld Records as the strangest claimant tae bein the auldest continuously inhabitit place in Breetain. The well-preservit remains o a Mesolithic dounsets datin frae 7,700 BC[1] hae been foond in its vicinity. Thare is evidence o Bronze an Airn Age dounsets an o a Roman toun an aw.

The name mey hae been derivit frae that o a Saxon chief cried Tace (or perhaps Tac or Tec), who established a veelage in aroond 500.[2][3] The dounset wis kent as Taceham - ham meanin veelage in Saxon. It is possible that the name mey hae come frae the Saxon thaec (thatch) n aw. Whauriver it came frae, the name Taceham persistit till efter the Norman conquest in 1066 afore goin throu several minor chynges til the current ane wis adoptit in the 16t century.

Auld Bluecoat Schuil, biggit in 1304

The toun haed a period o great prosperity aroond 1304[4] when the Chapel o St. Thomas the Martyr on the A4, nou cried the Auld Bluecoat schuil, wis constructit. At this time the population wis lairger than Newbury's[2] but declined as a result o the Black Daith which decimatit the aurie in 1348.

Thare is a Norman pairish St Mary's Kirk which wis lairgely reconstructit in 1857. This is believit tae be biggit on the same steid as a earlier Saxon kirk. It wis previously kent as St. Luke's an aw.

n 1121 Keeng Henry I foondit the great Abbey o Reading an endowed it wi mony gifts o land, includin the Manor o Thatcham. At the same time Thatcham Hunder ceased tae exist, the wastren pairty bein transferred tae Farcross Hunder, an the remainder tae the Hunder o Reading.

In 1141 Thatcham Kirk, previously the property o the Diocese o Salisbury, wis grantit tae Reading Abbey bi the Empress Mathilda, who at the same time confirmit her faither's gift o the manor tae the Abbey.

A lairge aurie o Thatcham, includin the manors o the burgh an Colthrop, wis bocht bi Brigadier-General Waring frae James, Duke o Chandos in 1722. Waring subsequently biggit Dunstan House, tae the north o Thatcham veelage, an enclosed a lairge pairk aroond it, plantit wi trees arrangit in the troop poseetions in the battles in which he haed focht. When his stryndants put his estates up for auction in 1798, Dunstan House failed tae sell an wis pulled doun. The land is nou a hoosin estate cried Dunstan Pairk.

Monkey Marsh Lock biggit in 1723, ane o anerlie twa turf sidit locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal

Twa mills wur biggit at Colthrop in 1472, ane for corn an ane for fullin. The latter wis probably convertit efter the decline o the cloth trade. Thir mills wur replacit bi a paper mill biggit on thair steid bi 1799. This Colthrop Mill belangit tae the Reed Group in the twintiet century, an producit packagin materials.[5]

Syne 1900, industry haes been attractit tae the aurie. The Colthrop Buird Mills (closed doun in 2000), whaur paper haed been producit for ower 200 years, grew vera quickly, pairticularly efter its acquisition bi the warldwide Reed Paper Group. The Sterling Cable Works wis established nearbi an AWE Aldermaston an AERE Harwell, thegither wi the RLC Depot at Station Road, (which sadly closed doun in 1999) hae aw brocht employment an increasin prosperity tae the aurie. This growthe haes in turn brocht a further influx o population an haes attractit numerous businesses tae the toun.

The development o industrial steids on the eastren side o the toun introducit naitionally kent names such as Sony, B.O.C. Transhield, Thermalite, Panasonic an The AA Operations Centre tae Thatcham.

Toun centre facilities wur greatly enhancit in 1997 when a toun centre impruivement scheme wis carriet oot in the Broadway an the High Street. Shoppin facilities include twa supermercats in the toun centre an associatit smawer retail ootlets in arcades which supplement businesses awready established in the toun.[6]

Govrenment[eedit | eedit soorce]

Thatcham is pairt o, an the admeenistrative centre o, the destrict admeenistered bi the unitar authority o West Berkshire. Thatcham is a ceevil pairish an aw which includes Colthrop, Crookham an Thatcham Reed Beds.

Twinnin[eedit | eedit soorce]

The toun is twinned wi:

Geografie[eedit | eedit soorce]

Thatcham lees three miles east o Newbury. The Great Bath Road (nou the A4), the Great Wastren Railwey line, the river Kennet an the Kennet an Avon Canal aw cross the pairish frae east tae wast. Thatcham railwey station lees tae the sooth o the toun. The River Lambourn joins the Kennet in the wast o the pairish near Ham Mill. The River Enborne forms pairt o the soothren border o the parish.[7]

Thatcham Reed Beds[eedit | eedit soorce]

Main airticle: Thatcham Reed Beds

Tae the sooth o Thatcham lees the Thatcham Reed Beds Site of Special Scientific Interest, notifee'd in 1974. It is important naitionally for its extensive reedbed, species rich alder woodland an fen habitats. The latter supports Desmoulin's whorl snail (Vertigo moulinsiana), which is o naitional an European importance. A lairge assemblage o breedin birds includin naitionally rare species such as Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti) is an aa associatit wi the reedbed, fen an open water habitats foond at Thatcham Reed Beds.[8]

Floodin[eedit | eedit soorce]

Thatcham durin the 2007 floods

On Julie 20, 2007, pairts o Thatcham wur floodit durin a period o sustained hivy rain, durin which 3 times the average Julie monthly rainfaw hit the toun in juist 24 oors. While the rivers did no burst, the quantity o water flowin doun the hills frae Cold Ash an Bucklebury made mony roads impassable an strandit hunders o pupils at Kennet Schuil who tree'd tae wade wi rope athort Stoney Lane. Approximately 1100 properties wur affectit in this period, wi mony residents bein forced tae muive oot intae mobile hames.[9]

Economy[eedit | eedit soorce]

Thatcham ratins[eedit | eedit soorce]

To mony fowk in the UK, the name "Thatcham" is maist strangly associatit wi the approval ratings for caur security seestems issued bi the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre near the toun (see link belaw). For instance, "Thatcham Cat 1" (or juist "Cat 1" is the approval for a combined car alarm an immobiliser, "Thatcham Cat 2" is for a staundalane immobiliser an "Thatcham Cat 3" is for additional pheesical security devices such as steerin wheel locks.

Education[eedit | eedit soorce]

On the A4 is a sma kirk schuil, umwhile a chapel foondit in 1304. It wis convertit tae a Bluecoat schuil bi Lady Frances Winchcomb in 1707, providin free eddication for 30 poor boys o the parishes o Thatcham, Bucklebury, an Little Shefford, an apprenticin some o them. It discontinued follaeing the attainder o Lord Bolingbroke, who wis the landawner an the anerlie survivin trustee. The schuil re-opened for 40 boys in Juin 1794, an continued in existence till 1914.

A Naitional schuil wis biggit in 1826 on Clapper's Green, land donatit bi William Mount.

Thare wis an' a' a Breetish schuil attached tae the Congregational chapel. Berkshire Record Office haulds the minutes for 1900-19, 1952-60.

Thatcham’s seicontary schuil is Kennet Schuil. It is a Acadmey as o the 1st Aprile in 2006 wis the heichest achievin comprehensive schuil in Wast Berkshire uisin contextual value addit results.[10] In the same year it wis an aa ratit as ane o the heichest achievin schuils in Ingland, rankin as the 101st best comprehensive in the Guardian's league table, based on A-level results[11] an 303rd based on GCSE results.[12] Kennet is an aa ane o vera few schuils in Ingland tae hae three specialisms, Technology College,[13] Airts College,[14] an maist recently Language College.[15]

A primary schuil is named efter Francis Baily, the renouned astronomer who wis frae an auld Thatcham faimily, an who wis eventually buried in the faimily vault unner the parish kirk.

Transport[eedit | eedit soorce]

Thatcham railway station is served bilocal services bi First Great Western fraeReading tae Newbury an frae Lunnon Paddington tae Bedwyn. A leemitit nummer o services stairtin frae Reading continue tae Bedwyn. It is an aa served bi a semi-fast HST service frae Paddington tae the Wast Kintra. Thatcham station wis opened on 21 December 1847 as pairt o the Berks an Hants Line to Hungerford[16]. Traffic throu the station increased when the line wis extendit tae Taunton in 1906. The station remained as pairt o the Great Western Railway (GWR) til the naitionalisation o the railways in 1948. Efter the sectorisation o British Rail in 1982 the station became pairt o Network South East till the pynt o privatisation. Frae 1996 services wur providit bi Thames Trains till the franchise merged wi First Great Western.

Maist local bus services are providit bi Newbury Buses, a diveesion o Reading Transport Ltd.

Sport an leisure[eedit | eedit soorce]

Thatcham Toun gemme at Waterside Pairk

Thatcham haes a fitbaa club, Thatcham Town Football Club which wis foondit in 1894, who currently play in the Soothren League Diveesion Ane Sooth an Wast. Thay play thair hame gemmes at Waterside Pairk next tae the River Kennet.

Thare is a cricket club in Thatcham cried Thatcham Toun Cricket Club who play in the Thames Valley League, the Berkshire League an the Borders Sunday League. The Club haes fower senior sides an a nummer o colt sides. The first recordit match wis Gentlemen o Thatcham an The Gentlemen o Aldermaston bein played at Thatcham Marsh on Julie 19t 1786.[17]

Henwick Worthy Sports Ground[eedit | eedit soorce]

This sports grund is ideally situatit on the A4/Henwick Lane in Wast Thatcham wi approximately 130 caur pairkin spaces an space for coaches. Thare are excellent ootdoor facilities includin 11 gress pitches for fitbaa an rugby, 2 cricket pitches, an airtificial pitch, 3 tennis courts an 2 netbaw, a basketbaw court an childer's play aurie. 14 chyngin rooms are available. Newbury an Thatcham Hockey Clubhouse is based at the sports grund an its clubhoose is situatit thare.[18]

The Nature Discovery Centre[eedit | eedit soorce]

A local attraction is The Nature Discovery Centre situatit at Thatcham Lake, a floodit gravel quarry near tae the Thatcham Reed Beds. The Nature Discovery Centre opened in 1995 an currently attracts ower 75,000 visitors each year. A further estimatit 75,000 visitors uise the surroondin site for recreational activities throughoot the year. Thare are a nummer o paths, a widden sculptur trail an bird hide. The Visitor Centre haes a café an affers an extensive programme o events.[19]

See an aw[eedit | eedit soorce]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

Freemit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]

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