Slough is a large town in Berkshire, England. It is situated in the Thames Valley and within the Greater London metropolitan area at the intersection of the M4, M40 and M25 motorways. The A4 and the Great Western Main Line pass through the town. Crossrail provides connection to central London.
Slough's population is one of the most ethnically diverse in the United Kingdom, attracting people from across the country and the world for labour since the 1920s, which has helped shape it into a major trading centre. Slough has the highest concentration of UK HQs of global companies outside London. Slough Trading Estate is the largest industrial estate in single private ownership in Europe with over 17,000 jobs in 400 businesses. Blackberry, McAfee, Burger King, DHL and Lego have head offices in the town.
Before the 19th century, the main businesses of Slough were brickfields and agriculture. The bricks for the building of Eton College were made in Slough. Later, as the Great West Road traffic increased, inns and pubs sprang up along the road to service the passing trade. Until the town developed as an industrial area, fruit nurseries were prominent in the local economy; the Cox's Orange Pippin apple was first raised in Colnbrook around 1825, and the dianthus "Mrs Sinkins Pink" was first raised at some point between 1868 and 1883 by John Sinkins, the master of the Eton Union Workhouse, which lay in Slough.
Starting in the 1920s, Slough Estates Ltd, the operator of the original Slough Trading Estate, created and operated many more estates in the UK and abroad. For many years, Slough's economy was mainly manufacturing-based.
In the last 20 or so years, there has been a major shift from a manufacturing to an information-based economy, with the closure of many factories (some of which had been in Slough for many decades). The factories are rapidly being replaced by office buildings. Hundreds of major companies have sited in Slough Trading Estate over the years, with its proximity to London Heathrow Airport and good motorway connections being attractive. In the 1960s, Gerry Anderson's film company was based in Slough, and his Supermarionation series, including Thunderbirds, were filmed there.
The UK headquarters of Mars, Incorporated is in Slough, the main factory having been established in 1932 by Forrest Mars Sr. and Frank C. Mars. It produced the Mars Bar in Slough over 70 years ago. The European head offices of major IT companies such as BlackBerry, McAfee, Computer Associates, PictureTel and Compusys (among others) are all in the town. O2 is headquartered in the town across four buildings. The town is also home to the business support organisation Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group and National Foundation for Educational Research, which is housed in the Mere.
Recent new offices include those of Nintendo, Black and Decker and Abbey business centres. The registered office of Furniture Village lies in the town.
The motor trade has long been represented in Slough. Citroën has its UK headquarters in the town. Ferrari, Mercedes, Fiat and Maserati have offices in the town.
Slough has a population of over 164,000 people. Slough also forms part of the Greater London metropolitan area which has a population of over 14,372,596 people. Slough is the #386 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 1.8238 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.
Slough is twinned with: Montreuil, France.