Our scenic route through the best of Britain’s towns and cities continues with five things you didn’t know about Aylesbury.
First known as Aeglesburge in Anglo-Saxon times, most likely due to the castle within the town from which the –burg is given to town names, the town of Aylesbury was given over to William the Conqueror and recorded in the Domesday Book notably as one of his own regular haunts rather than a town given to one of his lords in return for their support. William agreed to let the townspeople run the town their own way on the proviso that whenever he came to stay, he was provided with “straw for the monarch’s bed, sweet herbs for his chamber, and two green geese and three eels for his table”. As you do.
Centre for health
Dr Ludwig Guttmann became famous throughout Europe for his pioneering work in treating spinal injuries. Given the right facilities upon his arrival in England during the Second World War, Guttman was setting great standards in rehabilitation. The good work being done at Aylesbury’s Stoke Mandeville Hospital led to some of his patients being able to compete in specialist events; these events became known as the Stoke Mandeville Games – an early version of the Paralympic Games we recognise today.
As a stop on the way out of London, Aylesbury became a popular point for trade along this busy route. Although it was late to the party in terms of regional distribution – the canals did not reach Aylesbury until an extension to the Grand Union Canal in 1814 – its status as a commercial centre and flour production hub kept it in the upper echelons of burgeoning British industry.
Though born in Canada, actress and TV presenter Lynda Bellingham was educated in Aylesbury; her roles have been as diverse as Loose Women presenter and voiceover on a documentary series about serious musicians N-Dubz. Speaking of musicians, self-deprecating singer-songwriter John Otway is also from Aylesbury.
Aylesbury just so happens to be a beautiful place to visit as well; so why not take a trip through there; it’s part of our latest Route To Ride!