10 things which 1990’s kids can no longer do in Bracknell

With rebuilds and regenerations, activities of the 90’s have died and been left in the past, only to live on in our memories

Bracknell Bandstand being demolished
Just one of the things 1990s kids can’t do in Bracknell

Out with the old and in with the new.

This is definitely appropriate when it comes to talking about Bracknell and how times have changed childhood experiences.

It seems a shame that nineties children and noughties children will experience completely different things, however we are all allowed nostalgic moments of looking back and reflecting at what used to be.

And Oh my, things are different.

No Iphones, No Xbox, No Smart TV’s

We couldn’t talk about seeing the latest viral vine or the top notch banter being had on Facebook.

How did we live?

Well, we embraced our surroundings and the little things, that now make us smile when we think back.

We didn’t think we would miss them at the time, but now they’re gone (as well as our childhoods). If only we could build a time machine and warp back to the good years – throw me in it and send me back.


“I will meet you at the bandstand”

Bracknell town centre bandstand
The Bracknell bandstand

A phrase once commonly used in Bracknell Town Centre , now sadly confined to the past.

If you and your friends were going shopping or to hang out, you would stand around the bandstand searching for familiar faces.

Due to the regeneration , our old meeting spot was one of the first items to turn to rubble as it was demolished in 2015 along with a large part of the Charles Square area.

We have to accept it as not being part of the ‘New Bracknell’ however hard it may be.

Although when the regeneration is completed in 2017, we will have to start meeting at Nando’s or Primark.

I know its not the same, but time is a healer,


Oh, the burn

Physical Education gave us all a break from the Maths and Science class rooms and gave us freedom to run around and be free from our desks.

This was before the installation of new 3g artificial surfaces, at schools such as Easthampstead Park and Garth Hill.

These pitches were solid, sandy and rough.

Whether you were first to get picked or left until the end, we have all experienced falling and sliding on them, pulling ourselves up, looking down at our knees and finding that smooth, undisturbed skin had been replaced with blistering red, stinging infernos which made us dread our next bath.


Coral Reef

Swimming pool party
Coral Reef pool party (Image: Stewart Turkington)

Another item which is not quite dead, and will return, but the original is gone forever.

In 2017, a new Coral Reef will open, boasting greater disability access and updated facilities.

But fond memories of the original includes getting dragged around on the rapids trying to locate your friends and family.

Flying down water slides and not quite being brave enough to go down the fastest slimmest one, in the fear that you might get stuck, and going in the jacuzzi and standing on the bubbles.

One sad memory for myself was ignoring the don’t run sign and smashing my chin on the floor. Those stitches taught me to never break the ‘law’ again.


The 3M mystery

Old office block building
The old 3M building

The unwanted landmark.

The biggest enigma of Bracknell.

Like the mysteries behind Amelia Earhardt or Crop Circles, Bracknell citizens were mystified as to what the building was or its purpose.

Us kids didn’t understand it either. Even our parents seemed clueless, and when Mum and Dad don’t know, nobody knows.

We always used to look up at it though and think about all the hidden treasures and amazing things that could be behind those aging walls.

Giant piles of gold, or a secret building where top secret activity took place. In reality it was probably more spider webs and birds nests and unwanted pests.

Therefore it is strange that we were all a bit upset when it was finally demolished in 2014.


Easthampstead Park School facilities

School frontage
Easthampstead Park School

If you attended Easthampstead Park School in the 90’s, there is a possibility that you may have used the Conference Centre for some of your lessons.

The mansion, which dates back to 1868 used to act as part of the school grounds until in 1994, when all school activities were moved onto just one site.

Meaning now that if you have a lesson you don’t like, you don’t have to lug yourself and your bag across acres of ground to get to it.


The Market

Being taken by your parents or grandparents around the markets in town was definitely a large memory of my childhood.

I can still recall the strange concoction of scents from the fruit and veg stand and the butchers.

Unlike salt and pepper or lemon and lime, this was not a match made in heaven.

This one I feel is also missed by the older generation. I miss it purely for nostalgic reasons, my Grandad on the other hand misses it for its cheap sausages and cut price steaks.


The Waterclock

Old clock fountain in Bracknell
Arty: the clock fountain in Bracknell town centre

I know, here comes the regeneration again.

First they take the bandstand, tough, I know.

Then they take the waterclock.

(Holding back tears)

Where else will we find it acceptable to get into swimming costume and run around the middle of a busy shopping centre, without grabbing the attention of the authorities.

There was also that one kid who stood in the middle of the clock where the big burst of water came out of. Admired for their bravery by the rest of us who stuck with the small knee high ones.

Although we were all a bit scared in case the force of the water shot them into the atmosphere, but I can confirm zero Bracknell based children entered space in the nineties as a direct result of Waterclock activities.


Night Life

I was too young for this. I was playing with cars and drawing on walls, but the nightlife in Bracknell has changed somewhat according to the bigger kids of the 90’s.

Masquerades, which was a big club at the time, closed down.

Frisco Jacks, another big club at the time, closed down.

There is a pattern developing.

Both were great for dancing the night away and forgetting it all by the morning.

There are still clubs to go to in Bracknell, however options are not as vast as they may have been before.


The Iron Bridge

In Bracknell, we are very proud of our new iron bridge with its large distinct arch, its our little Wembley.

The new bridge however was part of, here comes that word again, regeneration.

The bridge which links between Great Hollands and Wildridings used to have small rails on either side and looked very dated compared to the new.

New parts of the bridge was appearing everyday, to patch up the old parts that had fallen off or worn out.

I still remember however peaking over it and playing yellow car with my friends.

It was also hugely fun to ride down on with a bike and you would always see the younger generation racing across it.

You can still do this with the new one, but again the old one is extinct and part of the old Bracknell.

Shame.


Pick and Mix in the town

Ok, there is two things I miss here.

One is Woolworths. Poor Woolies.

The other is the Woolworths pick and mix.

For me, when I went to town, this the first place I was going.

Filling up my bag with Red Lips, Cola Bottles and Gummy Bears.

Filling up responsibly of course though, as you were charged by the weight, Gobstoppers and Gumballs were avoided, and items like Flying Saucers were grabbed by the handful.

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