Milton Keynes? Where's That?

By 1980 Milton Keynes had been designated a new city for well over a decade and you’d have expected people to have heard about this brash new city being built in the north corner of Buckinghamshire.

But in the information unit of Milton Keynes Development Corporation we knew better for it was to our desks that all the misdirected letters and enquiries came.

The letter addressed to Milton Develop The Corporation got it more right than most, and certainly more right than the sender of a letter addressed to Mr Milton Keynes.

But my all-time favourite was the envelope that turned up addressed to the Milk and Cheese Development Corporation.

As for MKDC’s original headquarters, built around the once-stately Wavendon Tower, that too seemed to floor enquirers. Somehow the Post Office managed to work out who the letters sent to Wabendon Tolder and – another favourite – Wavendon Troll – were meant for.

For all the millions that were spent on those ‘wouldn’t it be nice if all cities looked like this’ ads in the Sunday supplements and London Underground, my suspicion is that Milton Keynes did not become a household name until Noel Edmonds decided to make it – and the concrete cows – the butt of endless jokes on his national radio show.

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