Finding our way around Maidenhead, the Royal Borough’s lesser known town

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This Spring we’ve been getting to know one half of the famous Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Less in the limelight than its smaller cousin, Windsor, we had an inkling that Maidenhead still had plenty of tales to tell.

Historically Maidenhead evolved as a key stopping point for travellers en route from London to the West Country and continued its prominence following the advent of the railways. Once Isambard Kingdom Brunel built his world-famous Sounding Arch Bridge across the Thames, the town evolved into a sophisticated Thameside resort.

Maidenhead has continued to experience change in recent years. There’s been plenty of new housing built and some key routes into the town centre have changed too. As a result, the Council has created new “quarters” in the town, to help foster a sense of identity, particularly within the new housing developments.

The inevitable result of all this change is that the existing wayfinding scheme, installed in 2011, is out of date. The construction of the original scheme has proved a struggle to update, in particular information had been printed directly onto glass behind locked boxes – with missing keys to boot. So we’ve been tasked with updating it.

First, we made a detailed audit of the existing signage, identifying what could be retained and what needed to be replaced. Then we proposed a revised scheme that filled in the gaps to give users the information they need.

We’ve proposed some new fingerposts and have redesigned the monolith facia to add in space for more information, opportunities to add in “what’s on”, and ensuring that all maps are “heads up” for visitors.

We’ve also widened the scope of the mapping to capture the River Thames. It’s an important part of the town both historically and today, so is a key feature to help visitors orientate themselves. This approach also supports the Council’s ambition to encourage active travel, so we’ve made sure to highlight the greenway that runs through centre of town as well as accessible routes to the riverside and along the river.

Sue Manley, strategy director, said:

“Maidenhead has an interesting story to tell, but it’s been hidden under out-of-date signage. Our main focus is to make the information useable and useful and encourage people to make the most of the town’s active routes through the town and by the river.”

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