At the end of the 18th century Slough was still an agricultural community but the Industrial Revolution had started to influence the way the farming community worked.

For example, the usual practice of preparing the soil for planting with a horse-drawn plough, then scattering the seed by hand before lightly harrowing the soil to bury the seed to the optimum depth, was being substituted by Jethro Tull’s seed-sowing machine.

Work is here underway to establish the military vehicle repair depot on the site of the former Cippenham Court Farm, 1918. Courtesy SEGRO.

Work is here underway to establish the military vehicle repair depot on the site of the former Cippenham Court Farm, 1918. Courtesy SEGRO.

Later a steam engine tractor would pull the seed-sowing machine across the field quicker and more precisely.

At the same time hand production methods were being replaced by mass production using machines. New technology was introduced into constructing roads, railways, canals and buildings and spread worldwide.

Slough was not left behind in this transition and began making a major contribution from the early 19th century. This has helped to make a huge increase to the prosperity of the inhabitants.

Our family came to the village of Datchet in the mid-18th century where they lived in a tiny cottage on the Horton Road.

The art deco-style main gate to the Slough Trading Estate from the Bath Road, Slough. Courtesy SEGRO.

The art deco-style main gate to the Slough Trading Estate from the Bath Road, Slough. Courtesy SEGRO.

They grew their own vegetables and kept a few pigs and chickens.

The men were agricultural labourers and craftsmen.

The women did the cooking and washing for a large family and worked as servants in the big houses. The children had little education until the Church school was completed in 1862.

The Herschel family lived in a large house on the Common where Herschel built his 20ft telescope with the help of the craftsmen from the village using their building expertise.

Other craftsmen learned the art of casting telescope mirrors and the skills of grinding and polishing the mirrors. Other villagers worked in the Upton workshops assembling the completed telescopes, ready for Herschel to carry out the final inspection.

This was purchased by the Government in 1917 to be used for a depot to repair military vehicles in WWI and eventually became the Slough Trading Estate. Courtesy Buckinghamshire Archives.

This was purchased by the Government in 1917 to be used for a depot to repair military vehicles in WWI and eventually became the Slough Trading Estate. Courtesy Buckinghamshire Archives.

This is an early example of farm workers learning skilled trades enabling them to increase their earnings.

Other men with manual skills helped to develop the ancient brickmaking industry, while others dug the arm of the Grand Union Canal into London from Slough to take bricks to London.

By this time Brunel’s Great Western railway was running from Paddington to Slough and onto Maidenhead where it needed to cross the Thames.

Once more Brunel came to the rescue and he built the finest brick arch in the country.

The most essential need was water for domestic and industrial use. Slough had the answer.

Below the chalk there were artesian wells.

The ICI Paints factory in Wexham Road, Slough was acquired by Dutch Company AkzoNobel in 2008 who closed it in 2016. The site was then sold to a real estate company, who are developing the site with a mix of commercial and residential units..

The ICI Paints factory in Wexham Road, Slough was acquired by Dutch Company AkzoNobel in 2008 who closed it in 2016. The site was then sold to a real estate company, who are developing the site with a mix of commercial and residential units..

The one at Black Pots at Eton was large enough to produce sufficient for most of the Slough area.

The quality of the water was first class, compared with that from river Thames which supplied Windsor.

An analysis of the ‘hard water’ showed that it contained fluorides.

Dentists found that the teeth of children in Slough had fewer caries (holes formed by decay), and this was due to the small amount of fluoride in the water.

The pace of industry grew quickly and more companies moved to Slough and gave employment to people who came here from the depressed areas of Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The First World War was a catalyst for manufacturing vehicles and aircraft and the development of high strength metals.

Men went off to the war in Europe and women took their place in the factories and service Industries.

My Auntie Jane left school at fourteen to work at the Admiralty Compass Observatory, where she spent many years painting radioactive substances onto compasses with an artist’s very fine brush which she licked into shape with her lips!

There were no Health & Safety regulations back then!

A major problem after the First World War was how to deal with all the redundant vehicles and equipment abandoned after the fighting ended.

Again Slough had the answer. The Government acquired a large area of land next to the Farnham Road and the railway, which became known locally as “The Dump”..

The industrialist Sir Nigel Mobbs then saw an opportunity to refurbish all the vehicles and sell them. This was the origin of the Slough Trading Estate.

Magnificent new factory blocks equipped with basic facilities were built and rented to companies including Mars, High Duty Alloys, Crane Packing and Intertype.

The Grade II listed Horlicks building in Stoke Poges Lane, Slough. The factory closed in 1918 and the building is being renovated and converted into luxury flats, at the same time maintaining its historic building appearance. This picture was taken in

The Grade II listed Horlicks building in Stoke Poges Lane, Slough. The factory closed in 1918 and the building is being renovated and converted into luxury flats, at the same time maintaining its historic building appearance. This picture was taken in

Other major companies grew up on other sites around Slough such as ICI Paints (Dulux), and Horlicks. All these companies needed trained staff that led to the building of the Slough College of Further Education.

This offered courses to students partly designed by the companies and led to national qualifications in engineering and management.

The residents of Slough and their ancestors, from many parts of the world, should be very proud of their contribution to the development of agriculture equipment, horticulture, canal construction, brickmaking, the railway and roads, through to the growth of the Slough Trading Estate.

You or your family may have worked on the Slough Trading Estate and may have a story to tell, if so do drop us a line relewin@btinternet.com.