Here's a trip back in time to when Milton Keynes housing estates were being built

Photos show newly-built estates looking spick and span in the 1970s and 1980s

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 4:26 pm
An aerial shot of early Milton Keynes

On the January 23 1967, a Designation Order from the government decreed that the new town of Milton Keynes should be built on over 20,000 acres of land in North Bucks.

The new town was to encompass the existing towns of Bletchley, Stony Stratford and Wolverton, as well as other smaller villages. In fact, it was named after one of the smallest settlements - Milton Keynes Village.

A newly-formed Milton Keynes Development Corporation employed the most forward-thinking architects and planners to design our grid road system and housing laid out in grid squares.

The first new area to be built was Lakes Estate, pictured looking smart in the 1970s. Building began in 1968 and lasted until 1975. The area was designed to house an 'overspill' of people from London and was built under a funding agreement between Bletchley Urban District Council and the Greater London Council (GLC). Parts of the estate such as Serpentine Court are now decrepit and are due to be demolished and replaced.

These grid square would house their own semi-autonomous community and each community would have its own local centre and often a school.

Thousands of people from all ver the UK came to settle in the brand new houses on brand new estate to watch the new city being built around them.

Today, some of these estates are in need of major regeneration while others have mellowed and improved over time. Today, as part of our weekly nostalgia series, we take a look back at those exciting early days of MK.

Netherfield, with its terraced flat-roofed houses, was one of the earliest completed rental housing grid squares in Milton Keynes. Built between 1972 and 1977, its1,043 houses formed the largest rental scheme in the city. The first houses were available in 1974 and by 1981 2,650 people had moved in, making it the fourth largest new housing community in Milton Keynes. Today the estate is badly in need of regeneration.
Stantonbury was stepped in history and got its name from the Old English term for 'fortified building by a farm on stony ground '. It once housed the manor of Stantone, which was recorded in the Domesday book. The estate was built with a large and ultra progressive secondary school, known at the time at Stantonbury Campus. The school later changed hands and today, after a major government and Ofsted concerns, is due to be taken over by private academy trust.
The estate of Fishermead started in 1973. The first schemes took the form of three storey terraces with flat roofs backing onto generous landscaped squares but, as development progressed, other designs were explored. Built right next to the city centre, the estate was at the heart of MK. Today it is another area in need of regeneration.
Bradville was built on a scenic spot, with a section of the Grand Union Canal and the old railway walk running through it. Here, you can see the estate being built, with Monks Way in the background, obscured by trees.
Great Holm was a later estate, with building beginning in 1982. Before this, it had been farmland in the parish of Loughton. Here you can see the early stages of houses being built,
Coffee Hall, shown here in the 1970s, was one of the earlier new estates, along with Netherfield and nearby Beanhill. Roads on the estate are named after old London coffee houses, such as Rochfords and Lloyds - hence the unusual name.
People in the town of Newport Pagnell, pictured here in the 1970s, watched Milton Keynes being built all around them, but it was actually excluded from the 1967 designated area. The two places join at the M1 but planned new development will bring the 'new city' even closer. Today, older people in Newport Pagnell still take umbrage when their town is described as part of MK!
Milton Keynes' history wouldn't be complete without a mention of the concrete cows. The famous herd consisting of three cows and three calves, was created with local children using scrap materials in1978 by Canadian artist-in-residence Liz Leyh, In 1979 one of the calves was kidnapped by students, who demanded a ransom. Nobody knows whether the cash it was paid or not but the calf was never seen again.