History of MK

    Check out our potted history of Milton Keynes with some key moments highlighted over the past 50 years!

    1967

    Development of the new town of Milton Keynes began following its formal designation as a new town on January 23rd. Its purpose was to help alleviate London's chronic housing problem and to provide a commercial centre for Buckinghamshire. It was called Milton Keynes after the existing village of that name.

    1968

    Milton Keynes Natural History Society (MKNHS) is founded.

    1969

    The Open University, the world’s first distance learning university, formed at Walton Hall. The first students enrolled in 1971.

    1970

    Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine found The Stables in the stable block of their home.

    1973

    Bletchley Leisure Centre opened with its iconic pyramid building which housed the pool, later redeveloped. The Milton Keynes Museum was founded by volunteers as the Stacey Hill Society.

    1974

    Under the Local Government Act (1972), Milton Keynes District was formed by the merger of the urban districts of Bletchley, Newport Pagnell and Wolverton, Newport Pagnell Rural District and part of Wing Rural District. The district was awarded borough status in the same year. The Community Workshop in Galley Hill was opened.

    1975

    Inter-Action MK is established at Peartree Bridge, offering a venue dedicated to community arts. Milton Keynes City Orchestra is established by Hilary Davan Wetton with a remit to use classical music to transfer the city’s image.

    1976

    The Railway Cottages in New Bradwell were restored by MK Development Corporation to create an alternative type of living for residents. The Street became a Cooperative.

    1978

    Liz Leyh creates the Concrete Cows at Stacey Hill Farm (now Milton Keynes Museum).

    1979

    Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre was opened in September – the first ‘shopping mall’ in the UK. The Milton Keynes Bowl opened with a Soul in the Bowl concert.

    1980

    The Nipponzan-Myohoji monks and nuns establish the first Peace Pagoda in the Western World, above North Willen Lake.

    1981

    The Central Library & Art Gallery opens and remains as such until MK Gallery is built in 1999.

    1982

    The Central Train Station opens, creating the fast links between MK and London Milton Keynes College was established bringing together the Wolverton & Bletchley colleges.

    1984

    Living Archive established in Wolverton one of the most successful living history archives. Campbell Park opened and later transferred to the MK Parks Trust and became a hub for outdoor arts, events and public art. MK Hospital Opened after a campaign started in the 70’s titled "Milton Keynes is Dying for a Hospital”.

    1985

    The Point (the first multiplex cinema in the UK) open for business, it remained as a cinema until 2015.

    1986

    Energy World Housing Exhibition at Shenley Lodge opened – the culmination of many years collaboration with the Open University on a number of energy efficient housing projects across the city. Work continued afterwards developing the ‘Milton Keynes Energy Cost Index’ which later became the ‘National Home Energy Rating’ and this work formed the basis of the calculations behind the Energy Performance Certificate required when anyone sells a home in England.

    1989

    The first commercial radio station for Milton Keynes was established in 1989 under the name Horizon Radio.

    1992

    The Milton Keynes Development Corporation was wound up. The Parks Trust was officially inaugurated. HMP Woodhill, at Milton Keynes, was opened in July. City Church opens with artwork commissioned across the whole building from the spire to the windows.

    1993

    Bletchley Park opens to the public to share the secrets of the site and its contributions to WWII.

    1995

    The National Hockey Stadium was opened and remained in use until its demolition and replacement by the Network Rail Head Offices.

    1997

    Milton Keynes Borough was made a unitary authority, independent from Buckinghamshire County Council.

    1999

    The Milton Keynes Theatre & Gallery were opened (later to separate becoming MK Theatre and MK Gallery) after a 25 year campaign.

    2000

    The Xscape complex was opened: home to the UK’s first indoor real snow and, at the time, longest ski slope.

    2001

    The population of Milton Keynes borough according to the census was 207,063. The population of the urban area (including Newport Pagnell) was 184,506.

    2002

    Milton Keynes Lightning ice hockey club was founded.

    2004

    Milton Keynes Dons Football Club was founded. It had formerly been Wimbledon F.C. who had controversially relocated from London to play in Milton Keynes. The 'Dons' part of the name is a reference to the former club.

    2005

    The estimated population of Milton Keynes Borough was 224,500. British Touring Cars fill the streets with an estimated 12,000 people visiting Milton Keynes to view the cars as they parade up and down the boulevards.

    2006

    The estimated population of Milton Keynes Borough was 224,500. The Parks Trust took over the maintenance and upkeep of MK’s green spaces.

    2007

    stadiumMK home to MK Dons F.C., was opened by HRH Queen Elizabeth. The Stables expands with ‘Stage 2’; offering a more intimate performance space. The National Museum of Computing opened in 2007. The commercial shopping centres look to the arts to drive up visitors with Light Fantastic; an aerial light and sound show outside M&S with 50,000 spectators.

    Milton Keynes celebrates it's 40th Birthday. A competition to design a Birthday logo for the City was launched and the resulting 40th logo was utilised across the City. In the summer of 2007 a Birthday Party for the City was held.  The celebrations were called the Big Moo.  Arriva made all bus fares 40p for the event,  there was a Battle of Britain fly-over,  a commemorative first day cover and a successful Official Guinness Book of World Records attempt for the most number of people face painted a Cow!  Even MK Dons Chairman Pete Winkelman got involved with his face being painted as seen on the Commemorative edition of GO! From MK Citizen.  The event was covered on ITV and BBC news programmes. The weekend long party saw over 25,000 people involved, joining in the fun and making the 40th a year to remember. 

    2008

    Milton Keynes Dons won promotion to League One after winning the League Two title. Milton Keynes’ Fringe Festival is established by artist Sally Annett with a contemporary programme of installations, exhibitions, performances and experiments.

    2009

    The Royal Train Sheds; once home the Royal Trains, was reopened as award winning apartments. Bletchley Leisure Centre is redeveloped and launched with artists commissions both inside and outside of the building made by Vanessa Dell and the community.

    2010

    Milton Keynes hosts its first ever International Festival.

    2011

    An estimated 60,000 people watch local F1 team Red Bull Racing hit the streets of Milton Keynes as they celebrated back-to-back World Championships with their cars and drivers on their Homerun event.

    MKFM starts trial broadcasts from its iconic pod outside Xscape starting with two broadcasts during July and December.

    2012

    The multi-million pound Network Rail national headquarters building opens in Central Milton Keynes.

    2013

    International Artist Gordon Young opens his newest piece; MK Rose in Campbell Park for celebration, commemoration and contemplation.

    MKFM launches on DAB Digital Radio, test broadcast began on the 14th of February with the full time service starting in the May.

    2015

    MKFM launches its long awaited service on 106.3FM from its new studios at Intu Milton Keynes.

    stadiumMK is host to three matches in Rugby World Cup 2015 and Milton Keynes welcomes the world. A new library at Kingston is opened which is largely self-service and volunteer run.

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