Where? Marlow, Buckinghamshire, is about 35 miles west of London, between Henley and Windsor, on the River Thames. Home to around 14,000 people – and if you’ve lived here for 40-odd years, you’ll feel like you know most of 'em when you walk down ‘The Street’ on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Other things you’ll know about Marlow…
1. Holy Trinity C of E Middle School was for several years in the 70s known as ‘Holy Bog’ – due to the spray-canned grafitti declaring it as such on the sign outside. Hands up who was responsible… Detention!
2. You still call the Wiltshire Road estate ‘Colditz’. It all started because of the cold design with interlinking black sections. It wasn’t long before all bus drivers knew what ‘A return to Colditz’ meant.
3. There’s old Marlow and new Marlow – nothing geographical… The old school have lived there forever – the Platts, the Rockells, the Bristows etc. And the new bunch have moved in, with money and four-by-fours. Likewise, there are the bits you see on telly (that fancy floating house on Grand Designs) and the bits you don’t (the toilets behind Boots).
4. The pubs. There used to be a whole lot more… RIP the Cherry Tree, the Bank of England, the Crown and Anchor, the Red Lion, the Crown… And then there are those that have changed out of all recognition: The Coach (formally The Coach & Horses), Claytons (The Clayton Arms), The Britannia… And the one you’re ever so glad has literally risen from the flames: The Two Brewers.
5. You laugh when out-of-towners debate whether Bisham on the other side of the river is BISS-ham or BISH-am. Likewise, Burgers tea shop and baker’s: a soft or hard ‘g’? Just ask Bernard B himself.
6. When the cinema existed, you’d come out of the film at 10.15pm and belt up the Street to The Ship and just make last orders at 10.30pm. Linda and Julian would welcome you with welcome arms…
7. You miss that distinctive smell of hops in the High Street of an afternoon back when Wethereds brewery was still doing its stuff. Mind you, after it closed in 1987, at least it spawned Rebellion down at Marlow Bottom – you can still get a whiff and a decent pint down there.
8. Marlow ‘does’ chefs. And you know Heston and Tom by their first names.
9. And we do Olympics – especially rowing. Still, you’ve always thought that stautue of Sir Steve is a bit dodgy – his tummy looks a bit on the post-kebab side… Love the gold postbox for Naomi Riches, mind you.
10. You’re dead proud that Mr Clooney decided to have his post-wedding party just up the road. Gives us girls a glimmer of hope. Married, shmarried!
11. More celebs… You’ve bumped into Ricky Gervais in Smiths (a lot), Ulrika Jonsson in Starbucks (even more) and taken communion at All Saints with Tom Chambers – ooh, that handsome one off Strictly.
12. It’s ‘big’ Sainsbury’s and ‘little’ Sainsburys – and some of us still call the latter Budgens or even Bishops.
13. How come Higginson Park seems a completely different size and shape when the fair and Regatta are on?
14. Hairdresser’s and cafes – how many does one town NEED? Meanwhile more and more shops stand empty because the rents are too high…
15. Other shops you miss… Chalks, The Chocolate Box, The White Swan, Oscillation, The New Penny, Woolworths, House & Gardens, Stepwins…
16. There’ll never be a McDonald’s but you’re still proud of our Wimpy! In the early 70s, it was THE place to be seen. And who remembers it being The Sugar Bowl before that?
17. You enjoy tuning in to our very own community radio station: Marlow FM 97.5
18. Ultimately, Marlow’s about the people… We miss Richard with his supermarket trolley and woolly hat… but we do like those singing ukulele twins near the gold postbox.
We LOVE you, Marlow!
Now take a wobbly walk down the High Street and see if you spot anyone you know…