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The English town of Slough is located on the Thames Valley bordering Greater London in the historic county of Buckinghamshire. It was first recorded by the Domesday Survey of 1196 with the name of written as “Slo,” and in 1336, it was recorded as “Sloo”. It was first spelled “Slough” as it is today in 1443 or 1444, though all three were used, apparently willy-nilly, until the 19th century.

Its residents are living in one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the United Kingdom. Beginning in the Roaring Twenties, people began moving to Slough from other countries looking for work.

Beginning in the middle of the 17th century, Slough was a stopping off point for stagecoaches between Bath and London. In 1727, an Act of Parliament established the Colnbrook Turnpike Trust which managed the Great West Road from Maidenhead Bridge to Cranford Bridge. Slough and Salt Hill were the places that stages would change horses on the trip from London. Coaching inns, houses or inns where travelers were able to get rest, and food, and the proliferated in Slough and the surrounding area. A station, however, was not immediately bult until June of 1840. The first train voyage Queen Victoria ever made was from Slough Station to Bishop’s Bridge in June of 1842.

In 1786, astronomer William Herschel and his younger sister Caroline, who was also an astronomer, moved to a house on Windsor Road, where William would live for the rest of his life. The house was eventually known as Observatory House, due to the fact that it was where Herschel’s homemade, famed 40-foot telescope, the largest in the world at that time, resided.

Slough remained a tiny village until the development of the railways with the advent of the Great Western Railway in the mid-1800s. The Great Western Railway opened in Slough in June of 1838.

Perhaps most compelling is the murders at Ostrich Inn and many people believe the pub is haunted. The Ostrich Inn is among the oldest pubs in all of England, having opened in 1106, during the reign of King Henry I.

During the 17th century, the landlord of the pub was John Jarman. An enterprising man, Mr. Jarman thought he should be able to get more money from his richest tenants, so he built a trap door in the best bedroom in the house. The trap door emptied into the kitchen of the pub, into a gigantic vat of boiling water. When a rich guest would decide to spend the night, Jarman would take them to the “Blue Room” for the night. It was a plush room compared to the others, and guests quickly agreed to stay there.

John would get the rich guest drunk, and once the guest fell asleep, John Jarman, frequently with the assistance of his wife, would activate the trap door, which would tilt the four-poster bed all the way backward, dumping the guest, headfirst, into the boiling vat below. The couple would then rummage through the late guest’s belongings and steal whatever was of value. Then they would release the body in the River Colne.

This ploy worked well for the couple until they killed a famous clothier. Reportedly, his horse got out of the inn’s stable, and the villagers spotted it and began looking for Mr. Cole. They knew that he had last been seen at the pub, and soon found his body in the Colne. In the end, Mr. and Mrs. Jarman were convicted of 60 murders at the Ostrich Inn and each was hanged.


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