Part Three - Our Industrial Revolution
At the end of the 18th century Slough was predominantly a rural area and the surrounding countryside still had many of its ancient commons and greens and open fields. Slough Farm was in the centre of the village and Chalvey Manor Farm, Upton Lea Farm, Upton Court Farm and Plough Leys were all to be found within a mile. But the agricultural scene was changing. One by one Inclosure Acts were passed, releasing land from the restrictions of common grazing rights and giving landowners and farmers the opportunity to revolutionise their farming. This also opened up the possibilities for other uses for the land.
An educational survey of 1816/18 gives a total population of about 500 for the two villages of Slough and Upton. The other village in the parish of Upton cum Chalvey had a population of just over 400. Land which had once been farmland was being developed for houses and shops and, in 1823, 21 shops and small businesses were advertised in the local trade directory. By the 1820's Upton Church was in very poor condition and the decision was made to build a new one near Slough. St Mary's Church was opened in 1836, although it did not yet have this name. During the same year the Union Workhouse was opened (the site of which is now part of Upton Hospital). It became the old people's home, orphanage, home for unmarried mothers, lunatic asylum, and doss house for the unfortunate men, women and children who had become destitute. It was not a pleasant place, but was not as bad as some other workhouses.
At this time Slough was still an important coaching village and The White Hart was a receiving house for the mail which came by foot postman from Colnbrook.....