Moving from old to new Milton Keynes

A new life in Great Holm

Foundations of our new home in 1984
Foundations of our new home in 1984
Construction of our new home
Construction of our new home
Lodge Lake being landscaped in 1985
Lodge Lake being landscaped in 1985

In 1984 we decided to undertake a big adventure – to move to one of the new areas of ‘Milton Keynes’. I was here before ‘Milton Keynes’, having been brought up in ‘Wolverton’ then living for the first 16 years of married life in ‘Stony Stratford’. My husband’s family lived in ‘Bletchley’ – they had moved here from ‘London’ in 1959.

Where to go?

We looked around the estates that were currently being built. We felt that we would feel more at home in ‘Great Holm’.

The history of Great Holm – what there is of it!

‘Great Holm’ had only recently come into existence with building beginning in 1982. Before this, it had been farmland in the parish of ‘Loughton’ – its name coming from an old field name which appears on the ‘Loughton’ map dated ‘1769, Great Holme’. Somehow the “e” has been lost! ‘Holme’ means flat land by a river, submerged in times of flooding. No river here – just ‘Loughton Brook’ – but this is the area where one of ‘Milton Keyne’s’ balancing lakes – ‘Lodge Lake’ – has been constructed. ‘Lodge Lake’ takes its name from a farm that was nearby, just across ‘Bradwell Road’ in ‘Loughton’. Long gone is ‘Little Loughton Windmill’ c1360, which was in a field appropriately named ‘Windmill Hill.’It seemed to be the only thing of note in this area before 1982. One of the first things we noticed about ‘Great Holm’, on moving here, was how windy it was. We live not far from where I think the windmill was sited, in the region of ‘Bowood Court’.

The theme of the street names chosen for ‘Great Holm’, was royal residences and stately homes. A pun on ‘great homes’? Our new house was to be built by ‘Wilcon Homes’, in a street called ‘Hampton’. This is shown on the 1984 ‘New City Map’, 4th edition, but curiously, at this time, ‘Hampton’ is shown to extend to the H5 ‘Portway’ grid road. Later, this end section became part of ‘Attingham Hill’, itself having had a name change from ‘Arundel Hill’ as shown on the 1983 map!

Living in Great Holm

We were one of the first families to move in to the ‘Edgecote Park’ development in July 1985. So we lived on a building site for the next couple of years. It was not just watching our house and others being built that provided interest. ‘Lodge Lake’ was being landscaped and a ‘Redway’ constructed next to it. A large mound of earth in the centre of ‘Great Holm’, was being made into a play area. Opposite to it, ‘Holm Base’ – our Community Meeting Place, a facility provided by the ‘Development Corporation’ – was in its finishing stages.

Getting involved in the community

In 1989, our son was born, and I then felt more a part of the community. We went to ‘Mums and Toddlers’ together in the ‘Meeting Place.’ At 3 years old he started playgroup there. When he was 4 ½ years, he began his school days at ‘Holmwood First School’. I soon became a parent helper and went in one afternoon a week. I really enjoyed helping the children with a variety of activities.

I became really involved in the community when I became a ‘Parish Councillor’ for’Great Holm’ on ‘Loughton Parish Council’ in 1991. Nearly 19 years later, I am still there but now on the local NAG (Neighbourhood Action Group) as well!

Great Holm today

Well, 25 years have flown by and I’ve now lived longer in ‘Great Holm’ than anywhere else – and it’s not only me that’s wearing out! The long slide in the play area, on the manmade hill, has started to slip down and the rest of the play equipment is old and shabby. So regeneration is beginning – any day now a £90K total refurbishment will take place.

Over the years, ‘Great Holm’ has acquired a fire station, ‘The Grebe’ pub, ‘Hilltops’ (a really excellent health centre which will soon have a pharmacy), ‘Great Holm General Store’ and ‘The Kam Tong Garden’ – a Chinese restaurant overlooking the lake.

‘Great Holm’ is a good estate to live in. It is well placed at only half a mile from ‘Milton Keynes Central’ railway station and just over a mile to the city centre (with its great shops and other facilities). In contrast, it also has pleasant open areas around ‘Lodge Lake’ with ‘Loughton Valley’ linear park nearby, for walks though the ancient village of ‘Loughton’ to the ‘Teardrop Lakes’.

The original of this contribution was created as part of the My Recollections website – a collection of stories and memories written by a group of learners on a Living Archive creative IT course.

Comments about this page

  • My family lived just outside Milton Keynes, in a village called Wicken, for just over a year, then in the Milton Keynes suburbs from 1987 to 1989. We lived in an area called Heelands. Previously we had lived in Hertfordshire for about a year and a half after my dad got a job there and we moved down from Scotland.

    I was reasonably happy there. I remember there being parks within easy reach, a bike track, the Redway, and a play area right behind our house in Heelands. My brother and I attended Bradwell Middle school, then I went by coach to a private school in Bedford from 1988 to 1989, as my parents didn’t fancy the Upper Schools in our catchment area. They were trying to protect me after hearing about drugs problems and, in one of the schools, pupils calling teachers by their first names, which they (my parents) didn’t approve of. Bless them.

    I remember us as a family going for nice walks, my brother and I playing with the local kids in the aforementioned play area, riding our bikes along the Redway and on the bike track, and other kids skateboarding on the Redway. Despite our young years, we were allowed to wander off to another nearby park, and were always safe.

    Of course we would also go to the shopping centre in Milton Keynes (as we had also done whilst living in Wicken if my memory serves me correctly), which I found fascinating.

    There was a local church with fun stuff on for children, and we would play games in the church hall on Friday night, and sometimes play outdoor games too.

    I have always had an active imagination, and would scribble stories, both at home and for school essays, partially based on my own childhood experiences, with some extra adventure weaved in.

    In 1989 we moved back up to Scotland. I did miss Scotland sometimes, and wasn’t against moving to Scotland itself at all, but wasn’t very happy with the particular area of Scotland we moved to, and longed to return to Milton Keynes, or somewhere near Bedford.

    I think it is a combination of 80s nostalgia and where we lived until ’89, as I love a lot of things 80s, but I can truthfully say I enjoyed the parks and other such facilities in MK, and although I was shy and sensitive and had a few issues with being teased at school, I still made some friends and on the whole enjoyed the carefree life where we were. What I mean by this is I miss my carefree childhood days in Milton Keynes. Perhaps I took it too much for granted at the time.

    By Linda Pirie (22/11/2021)
  • I love Milton Keynes and I love Great Holm, I have lived in MK since 1984 and have lived in Great Holm since 1999. Always looking to find out more of where I live and what it would have been like all those years ago.

    By Craig Kelly (05/09/2018)
  • We are endeavouring to find out whether a property in Edgcote (number 39) was built with a double garage or a single garage. Does anyone have any of the original plans for Edgcote properties

    Many thanks in advance for your response


    By Kay (04/03/2018)
  • Very interesting, this brings back a lot of memeories!

    Does anyone who lives on Great Holm who bought their house from new still have any of the original developers sales brochures? In particular the Broseley Estates at Huntingbrooke and Westwood Close? and the Wilcon Homes estate?

    If you could help, please could you contact me on

    By Marc (13/03/2015)
  • Very good ,but I grew up in Loughton in the fifties,and I would imagine Great Holme is built on Scots farm but I am not sure,I grew up in Fog cottages wich where the railway cottages surounded by farms & countryside at least twenty miles in each direction,Over the fields one way you had Bletchley and the other way up the common past Linford wood was Bradwell & Wolverton where my dad worked in the works,Where MK station stands today was where my house stood and a small railway platform where dad caught the train to work ,The cottages where up Common Lane and up the road was Fullers farm ,winding on round to the common and Linford wood,I went to Shenley infants when a Mrs Cox was head mistress Hope you enjoyed this bit of information and if you need anymore please get in touch,

    By Josephine Mabbutt (12/05/2014)

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