The town of Slough, once in Buckinghamshire, now in Berkshire, grew to become Buckinghamshire's largest town, but its origins are as a very small hamlet, which was part of the parish of Upton-cum-Chalvey.
There are a number of reasons for the phenomenal growth of the town, perhaps, the most important originated from the ending of the First World War, and the Depression which followed. At the end of that war, Slough was chosen, by the Government, to be the location for the storage of the huge quantity of motor vehicles and machinery brought back from France. As a result, these unwanted stores, were used as a basis for developing light industry on 600 acres of land in the area. Within a quarter of a century the 'Dump' became an important Trading Estate, bringing many workers from all parts of the country, consequently the small country town became a Borough and acquired the right to have its own Member of Parliament.
Slough does, however, have an interesting history, which predates its huge modern existence and appearance. The first recorded reference to Slough was in the reign of Henry III (1216 - 1272), when Osbert de Slo and William de Slo appear in a list of men of Upton. The modern spelling, appeared for the first time in the accounts of Eton College between 1443 and 1444, which was built from bricks made in Slough.
In 1786 William Herschel, astronomer to George III, and discoverer of the planet Uranus, came with his sister to live in Slough, where he built in his garden the biggest telescope of that time. Herschel's residence in Slough led the famous French scientist, Louis Arago to describe the, then, village as "... the place in the world where most discoveries have been made. The name of the village will never perish".
Slough was also the place where Queen Victoria embarked for her first train journey in 1842, making a journey to Bishop's Bridge, near Paddington.
On the 1st January 1845, Slough was the scene of a murder in which John Tawell, who had recently returned from Australia, murdered his former mistress, Sarah Hart, by lacing her drink of porter with prussic acid. Tawell was spotted leaving the scene of the crime, and the police were alerted. However, Tawell managed to reach the train station and catch a train before the policeman and Dr. Champneys, who was accompanying him, could arrest Tawell. The doctor, however, quickly remembered the new electric telegraph, recently installed to transmit messages between stations, and a description of Tawell was forwarded to London, where on the train's arrival Tawell was apprehended. He was convicted of murder at Aylesbury Assizes, and hanged on the 28th March 1845. The case created a sensation, as it was the first time that the electric telegraph had been instrumental in trapping a murderer.
Slough has another famous son in James Elliman, who started as a draper of Chandos Street. Like most families of the time, the Ellimans had certain favourite recipes and prescriptions for common ailments, which were handed down through the generations and carefully guarded. Amongst these was a formula for a linament, which James made a quantity of for some friends and relatives. So popoular was it, that in 1847 James embarked on the manufacture and wholesale distibution of what became known as 'Elliman's Embrocation'.
The product became world famous and made James and his sons very wealthy, but they did not forget the local people of Slough, donating land for playing fields, and making bequests amounting to £100,000 during his lifetime.