This week’s Bygones is reaching for the skies to highlight some images of the town and its suburbs in the 1970’s and ‘80’s, at a time when the area was expanding fast, all taken from the air.

Bracknell was designated as a ‘new town’ in 1949, being preferred to another site at White Waltham, near Maidenhead, because the railway line was already close by.

The proposed settlement initially was planning for a population of 25,000, eventually this was revised to accommodate 60,000 people, replacing the medium-sized Berkshire market village, based around its High Street.

Most of the photos shown here date from the 1980’s and before and show the town centre in its second incarnation, with the 3M building and the new shopping centre.

Another landmark which almost mirrors this ‘second coming’ of regeneration, is Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, which is pictured here being expanded.

The hospital was originally known as the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, having opened to patients in 1864.

After the escape in 1952 of John Straffen, who then murdered a local child, the hospital set up and alarm system, designed to alert residents in the area should a dangerous patient abscond.

This alarm is tested every Monday morning at 10am for two minutes, after which a single tone ‘all-clear’ is sounded for a further two minutes.

The large amount of housing built around Bracknell is depicted here as the suburb of Great Hollands is being constructed in 1971, with Mill Lane leading north toward the Southern Industrial Estate.

Our next photo looks north up the Binfield Road and is taken from just above the town centre and was originally published without a caption, only giving a clue that the “Bracknell by-pass” was in the bottom left-hand corner.

This was printed, in a series of images over many weeks, in an effort to engage News readers to have some fun trying to spot their own home or workplace.

The rapid expansion of the industrial areas in and around the outskirts of Bracknell is also evident in another of our birds-eye photos.

It is interesting to note that the top right of the image shows the area before the A329(M) was constructed around the twin bridges roundabout, the two rail bridges can be seen in splendid isolation.

The final two pictures of the town centre will be familiar to most Bygones readers as they show the area now occupied by the last regeneration, which of course is minus the £M building and, of course, is the site of the Lexicon shopping centre.