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101 Facts about MK

Milton Keynes FactsThink you know Milton Keynes? Well, here's a few facts that just might surprise you...

  1. Milton Keynes Borough covers 119 square miles.
  2. Milton Keynes was the last and largest of the new towns.
  3. No-one in Milton Keynes is ever more than half a mile from a park.
  4. In 2015, centre:mk, intuMK and Xscape welcomed over 44 million visitors between them. 
  5. More than 22 million trees have been planted in Milton Keynes.
  6. The Church of Christ the Cornerstone was the first purpose-built ecumenical church in the UK.
  7. 71.5% of all business in Milton Keynes started up in the city.
  8. There are more show homes in Milton Keynes than any other UK city.
  9. Midsummer Boulevard is so called because the sun rises at its east end on the Summer Solstice,.
  10. The Peace Pagoda in Willen Park was the first to be built in the western hemisphere.
  11. Red Bull Racing F1 team, who are based in MK, won four back-to-back Constructors and Drivers Championships in 2010/11/12/13.
  12. The first MK Marathon was run in April 2012 and is known as the “Green Marathon”.
  13. In the 1860s, Billy Smith of Woolstone claimed to be the first man to cultivate a farm entirely by steam.
  14. The Cowper & Newton Museum in Olney, was once the home of poet William Cowper.
  15. During World War II, 10,000 people worked in secret at Bletchley Park decoding enemy communications.
  16. MK has over 5,000 acres of parkland, rivers, lakes and woodland.
  17. The Point was the first multiplex cinema in Britain and opened in 1985.
  18. The city is based on a North American-style grid road network.  All main roads use an H or V which indicates whether they run horizontally or vertically.
  19. Milton Keynes makes its own beer at the Concrete Cow Brewery.
  20. If London was built to the same density as Milton Keynes, it would cover East Anglia.
  21. The centre:mk is unique for its size in being lit by natural light.
  22. The Open University was the world’s first degree-awarding distance learning institution.
  23. The equine star of Stephen Speilberg’s epic War Horse is Joey from the Devil’s Horsemen based in Milton Keynes.
  24. 2012 Gold medal winning long jumper Greg Rutherford grew up and still lives in MK.  His winning jump was 8.31 metres.
  25. The Stables is Milton Keynes premier live music venue and was founded by the late Sir John Dankworth and his wife, Dame Cleo Laine in the grounds of their home at Wavendon.
  26. The aqueduct across Grafton Street, built in 1991, was the first built in Britain for 50 years.
  27. 7.5 million people live within a one hour drive of Milton Keynes.
  28. The Cock Horse nursery rhyme refers to a horse rented from The Cock Hotel in Stony Stratford.
  29. The Stewart Grand Prix motor racing team (now Red Bull Racing) was established in Blakelands, moving to Tilbrook in 1998.
  30. In 2011 the estimated population of Milton Keynes was 245,750 and is expected to be 284,400 by 2021.
  31. Snozone in Xscape boasts two 220ft high real snow slopes, topped up each day with fresh snow.
  32. Since 1971 over 1,600,000 have studied with the Open University.
  33. 20% of jobs are provided by 23 establishments
  34. There are over 20,000 parking spaces in Central Milton Keynes.
  35. Since 1865, a Royal train has been garaged at Wolverton; the most recent was fitted out in 1977.
  36. There are over 343 kms of dedicated bridleways, footpaths and cycle tracks in Milton Keynes.
  37. The Redway was originally to be called the Pedway, being a cross between pedestrian and pedal.
  38. 1,000 cherry and cedar trees grow around the Peace Pagoda in memory of those killed in all wars.
  39. A steam tram connected Stony Stratford and the Wolverton Works from 1887 to 1926.
  40. National Cycle Routes 6 and 51 pass through Campbell Park.
  41. Tickford Bridge in Newport Pagnell was built in 1810 and is the oldest iron bridge still in daily use.
  42. The phrase “Cock & Bull Story” derived from the two inns in Stony Stratford High Street.
  43. 60% of establishments employ no more than five people.
  44. Watling Street was the main coaching route from London to Holyhead.
  45. The Roman Villa at Bancroft was discovered in 1967 by a man walking his dog.
  46. The world’s first semi-programmable electronic computer, Colossus, was built at Bletchley Park.
  47. The Olney Pancake Race has been run, on and off, since 1445 and is still run today - but only by women.
  48. Over two-thirds of the borough of Milton Keynes is countryside.
  49. The mound behind Milton Keynes Library was the Saxon moot for the Secklow Hundred.
  50. Charles Dickens visited Stony Stratford and based a character in Bleak House on a resident.
  51. The Cathedral of Trees at Newlands is based on Norwich Cathedral.
  52. Together MK Council and MK Parks Trust maintain over 6,335 acres of public open space.
  53. The extensive Redway system offers more than 300 kms of safe access for walking and cycling.
  54. There are 15 lakes and 11 miles of canals in and around the city.
  55. Milton Keynes’ ice rink (Planet Ice) was used for practice by Torville and Dean and has been used for ITV’s Dancing on Ice.
  56. Newport Pagnell is home to the only vellum and parchment factory in Britain.
  57. Milton Keynes’ own orchestra, the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, has performed all over the world.
  58. The Concrete Cows were created by Canadian Artist, Liz Leyh, using scrap building materials.
  59. Milton Keynes has over 200 works of public art.
  60. 25% of establishments in Milton Keynes are sole traders.
  61. 90% of England and Wales is within five hours coach drive time.
  62. 50% of Milton Keynes’ population is aged under 35.
  63. There are over 2,000 listed buildings in the Milton Keynes area.
  64. Wolverton was originally a new town established in 1838 by the London & Birmingham Railway.
  65. In October 2015, Milton Keynes was a host city for the Rugby World Cup with three matches being played at stadiumMK.
  66. Bletchley was the home of Caves Solid Beer.  Sold in slabs, water was added to make the drink.
  67. In Saxon times, there was a Royal Mint in Newport Pagnell.
  68. An average of five new companies move to Milton Keynes every month.
  69. The ‘motorist’s friend’, WD40, is produced in Milton Keynes.  Only six people know the recipe.
  70. Fenny Lock is the smallest canal lock in the country.
  71. Milton Keynes has more bridges than Venice and a longer shoreline (around its lakes) than Jersey.
  72. The oldest domestic building in the area is in Milton Keynes Village and dates from the 13th century.
  73. When it was suggested the Concrete Cows be moved, 800 commuters signed a petition protesting.
  74. Following the Norman conquest, Hugh de Bolebec received the manor of Linford.  His son founded Woburn Abbey. 
  75. In December 2011, over 60,000 people took to the streets to watch Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber drive their F1 cars on the boulevards in Central Milton Keynes.
  76. Highwayman Dick Turpin is believed to have visited The Swan at Woughton-on-the-Green.
  77. In 2012 BBC’s Celebrity Masterchef featured contestants catering for ex-codebreakers at Bletchley Park.
  78. A slip of the Glastonbury Holy Thorn used to flower at Shenley Church End every Christmas.
  79. The ten day MK International Festival has taken place bi-annually in July since 2010 and has attracted over 90,000 visitors each year.
  80. The Quadrant:MK, headquarters of Network Rail, opened in 2012, covers a massive 400,000 sq ft and 3,000 people go to work there every day.
  81. Milton Keynes is home to a 40ft long, 15ft tall Tyrannosaurus Rex (at Gulliver’s Dinosaur Park).
  82. The National Bowl is a grass amphitheatre with a capacity of over 65,000 and has seen world class performances from Queen, David Bowie, Robbie Williams, Bruce Springsteen, Take That and The Prodigy.
  83. MK Theatre is the most successful theatre outside the West End; the auditorium ceiling can be lowered or raised depending on the scale of the production.
  84. The MK Dons Football Club is based in the city at stadiumMK which is a 30,000 all seater stadium, over 1,000,000 people have watched football there since it was built in 2007.
  85. A priory was founded in Bradwell in 1154 by Benedictine monks.  The chapel, c 1350, remains.
  86. John Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress) was garrisoned in Newport Pagnell during the Civil War.
  87. The Chantry House in Watling Street, Fenny Stratford, was the guild house of the Guild of St Margaret and St Katherine, founded in 1493.
  88. John Wesley preached under a tree in Stony Stratford, part of which remains in Market Square.
  89. Poet William Cowper and Rev John Newton, who lived in Olney, wrote Amazing Grace.
  90. The film Withnail and I was shot in Stony Stratford.
  91. Robert Harris’s best-selling book 'Enigma' and the ITV series 'The Bletchley Circle' is set in Bletchley Park.
  92. Theophilus Eaton, founder and first Governor of New Haven, USA, was born in Stony Stratford.
  93. There are five international airports within 90 minutes drive of Milton Keynes.
  94. Bradwell windmill was built in 1817 and has been restored as a working mill.
  95. World-famous Aston Martin cars were built in Newport Pagnell.
  96. The Beanhill estate was one of the first important commissions for architect, Norman Foster.
  97. Oliver Cromwell’s son died of smallpox in Newport Pagnell during the Civil War.
  98. More than 3,000 companies have relocated to the area.
  99. Rectory Cottages in Bletchley (c 1400) is a timber-framed hall noted for its hammer-beam roof.
  100. In April 1483, the Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) found 12 year old King Edward V in Stony Stratford and took him to the Tower of London for “safekeeping”.
  101. And finally, the five UK cities with the most roundabouts are Milton Keynes, East Kilbride, Swindon, Basingstoke and Cwmbran. Milton Keynes has 130 roundabouts but the number is growing all the time.