Citizen

Eighty years as a borough

Slough in 1938

The Slough urban district was incorporated by Royal Charter as a municipal borough in 1938, and the local authority became Slough Borough Council.

As well as the change of name, this meant the council had the right to elect a Mayor, and to have its own Coat of Arms.

We were granted the SBC Coat of Arms and a motto “Fiducia et vi” meaning 'By confidence and strength' on 3 September 1938, exactly one year before the declaration of war.

We elected the first Slough Mayor, Edward Thomas Bowyer, on 9 November 1938, an independent politician representing Upton.

The Official Charter of Incorporation was presented to Mr Bowyer, by the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. To mark the occasion, a series of events were held from 14 to 17 September. These consisted of parties, variety shows and fairs - including a parade of coaches and horses - as well as ceremonial functions. Official visits were made to schools and hospitals around the town, and there was a carnival on the final day of celebration.

Slough Borough Council moved into the new Town Hall which had been built the previous year, costing £35,000. 

In 1938 the Trading Estate had 214 manufacturers occupying 275 factories, and we were preparing for war again, with the R. Malcolm Company on the Trading Estate manufacturing, amongst other things, “main plane fillets, tail plane leading edges, etc” for the Supermarine Spitfire.

In a 1938 Slough and Eton Express, Slough was described as ‘London’s Industrial Centre’.

We had a reputation at the time as a low wage town, already attracting unemployed workers from other parts of the UK. The Trades Union Congress surveyed the area in 1938 and found wages varied from the lowest £2 a week at DM Davies to the highest £3 a week for skilled work at Black and Decker – a company that still trades here.

A three bedroom semi-detached property sold for just less than £600.

During 1938, the National Council of Social Services set up a group to look at how to meet the needs of the civilian population in wartime – this subsequently led to the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux opening after declaration of war.

Slough Youth centre started its football team in 1938; when a few years later its players returned from national service to discover they were now old boys, they added the initials OB to the club name – and still play as SYCOB, although they have relocated to the north of Slough now.

A population estimate in 1939 identified 50,620 residents in Slough, but in the Official Souvenir for the Slough Charter celebrations it showed there were 54,830 residents, with 14,819 dwellings. This was a significant increase from 16,397 residents and 3,703 dwellings in 1921 and 33,530 residents in 1931.

This mace was used by the town from the borough's chartership in 1938 until 1974, when the borough's coat of arms and regalia were changed to represent the fact Slough had been transferred from Buckinghamshire to Berkshire.

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