Saturday, September 29, 2007

Coordinates: 51°25′60″N 0°29′51″W / 51.433315, -0.497382
Staines is a Thames-side town in the Spelthorne borough of Surrey and part of the London Commuter Belt of South East England. It is a suburban development within the western bounds of the M25 motorway and located 17 miles (27 km) west south-west of Charing Cross in London.

The name Staines is thought to derive from Old English for 'stones', due to a long-lost site of monoliths in nearby Stanwell. Others believe the name to derive from 'St Anne's in the Thames'.
There has been a bridge since Roman times (hence the Roman name of the town Pontes). Claudius led the Romans into Britain in 43 AD and they settled in Staines the same year. Soon after this invasion the first Staines Bridge was constructed to provide an important Thames crossing point on main road from Londinium (London) to Calleva Atrebatum, near the present-day village of Silchester.
Staines appears on the Middlesex domesday map in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Stanes. It was held by Westminster Abbey. Its domesday assets were: 19 hides. It had 6 mills worth £3 4s 0d, 2 weirs worth 6s 8d, 24 ploughs, meadow for 24 ploughs, and some cattle. It rendered £35.
During the period 1642–48 there were skirmishes on Staines Moor and numerous troop movements over Staines Bridge during the Civil War.

Early history
Staines was the major producer of linoleum, a type of floor covering, after the formation of the Linoleum Manufacturing Company in 1864 by its inventor, Frederick Walton. Linoleum became the main industry of the town and was a major employer in the area up until the 1960s. In 1876 about 220 and in 1911 about 350 people worked in the plant. By 1957 it employed some 300 people and in 1956 the factory produced about 3,200 sq yd. of linoleum each week. The term 'Staines Lino' became a world-wide name but the factory was closed around 1970 and is now the site of the Two Rivers shopping centre. A bronze statue of two lino workers in Staines High Street commemorates the Staines Lino Factory. The Spelthorne Museum in Staines has a display dedicated to the Linoleum Manufacturing Company.
Staines, or more accurately Egham Hythe on the opposite bank of the Thames, was also the home of the Lagonda motor car. The Lagonda site is now a Sainsbury's supermarket.
Staines was the site of the Staines air disaster in 1972, at the time the worst air crash to have occurred on British soil, until the Lockerbie disaster of 1988. The crash was commemorated in June of 2004, with the opening of a dedicated garden, created at the request of relatives, near to the crash site, and the unveiling of a stained glass window at St. Marys Church, where a memorial service was held.

Modern history
In 1894, the Local Government Act 1894 created the Staines Urban District of Middlesex. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, most of the rest of Middlesex became part of Greater London while Staines Urban District was transferred to Surrey. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the Staines Urban District was abolished and its area combined with that of the former Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District to form the present-day borough of Spelthorne.

Staines Urban District
The proximity to London and Heathrow have attracted a number of companies: BUPA (medical insurance) and LogicaCMG (telecommunications and IT consultants) have major offices, NDS (conditional access and DRM provider) and Siemens Building Automation Division have their national headquarters here. Samsung Electronics Research Institute, Samsung's U.K. R&D Division is based in Staines.

Staines is the home of the fictional character Ali G and rock band HARD-Fi.
The administrative offices of Spelthorne Borough Council are located at Knowle Green. The town has recently unveiled a revitalised Thames-side with landscaping and sculptures. The Town Hall (now a bar) is a pleasant Victorian blend of Italian and Flemish influences set in a small square. Some well preserved Georgian town houses line Clarence Street (named after the Duke of Clarence). Church Street and The Lammas house some lovely Georgian and Victorian properties clustered around the parish church of St Mary. Most housing in the town is middle class in nature with plenty of green spaces (Staines Moor, Shortwood Common, Knowle Green, Leacroft, The Lammas and Laleham Abbey to the immediate south). Staines Bridge spans the Thames with a graceful three arch structure. Until the 14th century Staines was the tidal limit, now downstream at Teddington.
Thorpe Park, an amusement park with several distinctly themed areas, is near to the town.

Staines has a fairly compact town centre mainly focused on a wide pedestrianised High Street, housing most familiar names such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, TK Maxx and Monsoon. Smaller independent units can be found in Church Street, Clarence Street and the eastern end of the High Street. A market in the pedestrianised High Street is held every Wednesday and Saturday. It is one of the largest and busiest street markets in Surrey. A moderately-sized shopping centre (Elmsleigh) is directly behind the High Street. A retail park was opened in 2002 called Two Rivers which is bisected by the confluence of the rivers Wraysbury and Colne. Retailers include Waitrose as well as a Vue cinema, gym and cafes.

Staines has two football clubs; Staines Town F.C. and Staines Lammas F.C.. Staines Town play at the newly rebuilt Wheatsheaf Park ground and are currently in the Ryman Premier League. Staines Town enjoy a strong rivalry with Hampton & Richmond Borough.
Staines is also home to Staines Boat Club. Located on just the opposite bank from the main town, Staines is home to rowers from Junior level all the way up to elite rowers. Also Staines holds a regatta on the river for rowers each year at the end of July. A very well supported event.

Staines Sport
The nearest station is Staines mainline station serving Waterloo, Weybridge, Windsor and Eton Riverside and Reading. Taxis are available from the station. The bus station is a five-minute walk from the railway station. Staines is also a short ride south of Heathrow Airport. There are plans to build a new railway, called AirTrack, from Staines to Heathrow Airport.

Staines neighbouring towns and villages are Egham, Ashford, Stanwell and Laleham. About 4 miles north east of Staines is the large Heathrow airport.
The area between Egham and Staines town centres is known as Egham Hythe.

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