Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for WINDSOR

WINDSOR, a town, a sub-district, and a district, in Berks. The town stands on the river Thames, at the termini of two branch railways from respectively Slough and Staines, 22 miles W by S of London. The name, signifying "the winding shore," alludes to sinuosities of the Thames in its vicinity; belonged originally to Old Windsor, 2¼ miles to the SE by S; and was written by the Saxons Windlesofr and Windlesora. The town grew around the nucleus or early portions of Windsor Castle; and has always, till the present time, owed its main consequence to the contiguity of that royal residence-Its chief thoroughfare goes curvingly through its centre, from the Thames; is about ½ a mile long; and bears the names successively of Thames, Castle, High, and Park streets. Its aggregate structure, as to either alignment or architecture, viewed apart from the royal palace, is of little interest. A block of model cottages was erected by the late Prince Consort; and another block, adjoining these, was erected in 1866. A house, at the foot of the Hundred Steps, and demolished in 1860, is supposed to have been the house of Mrs. Page, in Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor." The Duke's Head public-house, in Peascod-street, took its name from Villiers, Duke of Buckingham; and was a resort of that duke and of Charles II. The town hall was built, in 1686, by Wren; is a plain edifice; and contains portraits of nine British sovereigns. Infantry barracks, for 1,000 men, are in Sheet-street; and cavalry barracks, for the same number, are in Spital-road. A house of the naval knights of Windsor, founded in 1728, is in Datchet lane. A bridge across the Thames was built in 1823; has three granite piers, supporting three castiron arches; and is 200 feet long and 29 wide. A large market for meat, poultry, and butter, adjoins the town hall. The theatre, in Thames-street, was built in 1815, at a cost of nearly £6,000; and has capacity for 700 persons. A literary institute, as a memorial of the late Prince Consort, was built in 1868. A hideous statue of Queen Anne is on the N side of the market place; and a pillar, commemorative of the jubilee of George III., is at Bachelor's Acre. A magnificent mausoleum of the late Prince Consort stands ½ a mile E of the town, and is noticed in our article on Frogmore. The railway from Slough is carried across the river, a little above the town, by a handsome bridge, of very peculiar construction. The railway from Staines crosses a little below the town, terminates immediately at the base of the Castle, and has a private entrance for the Queen. The parochial church of New Windsor stands in High street; was rebuilt in 1822, at a cost of £14,070; and is a spacious structure, in a plain pointed style. Holy Trinity church stands in Clarence-crescent, and was built in 1843. All Saints church stands in Frances-road, and was built in 1864. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists; royal free and industrial schools, built in 1862, at a cost of £4,898; two other endowed schools, with £170 and £56 a year; national and British schools; a working men's association, with reading rooms and library; a conventual penitentiary, or house of mercy, and an orphanage, at Clewer; a convalescent hospital, in connection with the house of mercy, built in 1866, at a cost of £12,000; two endowed suites of alms houses, with £51 and £21 a year; a soldiers' alms-house or hospital, erected in 1784-6; an endowment for the naval knights, yielding £1,943 a year; two endowment-funds for respectively apprentices and widows, yielding £169 and £139; a dispensary, a lying-in institution, and general charities £204.

The town has a head post-office,‡ a telegraph station, two banking offices, three chief inns, and a police station; is a seat of petty sessions, quarter sessions, and county courts; publishes two weekly newspapers; carries on the brewing of ale, chiefly for the London market; and has a weekly market on Saturday, and fairs on Eastar-Tuesday, 5 July, and 24 Oct. Its shops and other business-establishments are much superiorto those of most other towns of its size; and serve, not only for the town itself, but for a populous and very wealthy neighbourhood. Not fewer than upwards of 100 gentlemen's seats are within 7 miles of it; and the attractions of the royal palace, the races at Ascot, and the fitness of the adjacent reaches of the Thames for fishing and boating, draw many visitors. Measures for improved drainage, both of the town and of the environs, were projected near the end of 1865. The town was chartered by Edward I.: is governed, under the new municipal act, by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors; sent two members to parliament several times before the reign of Henry VI.; continued to send two from the time of Henry VI. till 1867; and was reduced, by the reform act of that year, to the right of sending only one. The borough boundaries are the same municipally as parliamentarily; and include the extra-parochial places of Windsor Castle, and parts of the parishes of New Windsor and Clewer; and they were proposed, in the Boundary Commissioners' report of 1868, to be so extended over Clewer and Eton as to include about 4,000 more inhabitants. The corporation revenue is about £2,050. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £4,542. Real property in 1860, £51,239; of which £883 were in gasworks. Electors in 1833, 507; in 1863, 619. Pop. in 1851, 9,596; in 1861, 9,520. Houses, 1,577.-The Marquis of Bute takes from the town the title of Earl; and Archbishop Reynolds, Bishop Ramme, B. Rogers, the musician, Foster, the master of Eton, and H. Davis, the writer against Gibbon, were natives.

The sub-district contains all the borough, all the rest of New Windsor and Clewer parishes, and parts of Old Windsor and Egham parishes. Pop., 13,621. Houses, 2,276.—The district includes also Egham sub-district, and comprises 22,407 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £9,872. Pop. in 1851, 19,389; in 1861, 21,301. Houses, 3,843. Marriages in 1866, 131; births, 675,-of which 43 were illegitimate; deaths, 468, -of which 140 were at ages under 5 years, and 14 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,341; births, 5,345; deaths, 4,039. The places of worship, in 1851, were 12 of the Church of England , with 5,634 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 697 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 590 s.; 5 of Wesleyans, with 768 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 40 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 150 s. The schools were 25 public day-schools, with 2,233 scholars; 36 private day-schools, with 81 6 s.; 25 Sunday schools, with 1,685 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 10 s. The workhouse is in Old Windsor.


(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Windsor PLU/RegD       Berkshire AncC
Place: Windsor

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