A Conversation for The Broadmoor Siren

Monday mornings

Post 1

Mol - on the little netbook

This brought back memories - I grew up in Wokingham, and there was (and probably still is) a siren right next to our school.

I can remember two occasions in the 70s/80s when the siren went off not at 10am on a Monday. The first time would have been at about 3.30pm, when we were walking home from school - Mum made us run the rest of the way. The second time I remember tuning in to the police radio frequency and listening as the police hunted the escapee.

You do get used to it every Monday morning, though, and it meant that the teachers had to stop droning for five minutes - there was no way anybody could talk over it.

Mol


Monday mornings

Post 2

Itchy Ron

Hi Mol,

Thanks for that memory - it brings it all to life!

In researching this, there was some difference of opinion as to where the exact positions of the sirens are, so I didn't cover it. I have seen references to a Wokingham siren on the A329 Reading Road at the junction with Holt Lane, and also a reference to a siren at a school on the A329 London Road, presumably the one opposite Binfield Road. Are either of these your school?

smiley - cheers Icy


Monday mornings

Post 3

Mol - on the little netbook

There are two sirens in Wokingham and both are on the A329 if memory serves. One on the Reading side of Wokingham - Holt Lane sounds right. The other next to St Crispin's School (by the bike sheds), but up a bit from Binfield Road - it's next to the petrol station opposite Barratt Crescent.

My primary school, Westende Junior, is also right next to the siren. So I lived with it for many years!

Good entry, btw - forgot to say that in my original post.

Mol


Monday mornings

Post 4

AndrewJP

Thanks for the excellent entry. I can add a little more information on the locations of the sirens, as it's something I've spent a little time researching.

In addition to the two mentioned in Wokingham, I can offer the following:

- Bagshot - On the A30 London Road, right by the Archaeology Centre.
- Bracknell - Near the station but on the opposite side of the railway. This siren can also be seen from “The Point” car park.
- Chavey Down - By a skateboard park off Long Hill Road.
- Camberley - On top of the Main Square car park (you can’t actually see this one but if you go there at 10:00 on a Monday morning you’ll certainly hear it!).
- Crowthorne - At Broadmoor itself. I think it’s on a large scaffold outside the grounds but you can’t get very close and it’s difficult to make out. It doesn’t seem like a great idea to start looking at things through binoculars right by the hospital…
- Crowthorne - By the station.
- Sandhurst - In the grounds of Sandhurst School.
- Sandhurst - Templar Close off Scotland Hill.

I make that ten, and I'd be most grateful if anyone has any clues as to the whereabouts of the remaining three. If I find them, I’ll let you know.

There is quite a lot of conflicting information regarding the locations but I have seen (or at least heard!) all the above, including those in Wokingham, recently.

One in the grounds of the TRL at Crowthorne disappeared within the last few years.

I took a picture of the Bracknell Station siren a few years ago and it can be seen here:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/andrew_pollard/Bracknell2.jpg

Thanks again.

Andrew


Monday mornings

Post 5

Itchy Ron

Hi Andrew - thanks for that information. Maybe any local researchers can help keep this list up to date.

I'm on the Bracknell Southern Industrial estate, so the siren I can hear would appear to be the one opposite the station. I guess it's on the council depot in Old Bracknell Lane West.

The Members were from Camberley, so the one that drove them mad was presumably the one in the town centre.


Monday mornings

Post 6

AndrewJP

I'll certainly update the list if I find out any more. In fact, it seems that the siren in the TRL may still be there after all. Next time I'm off work on a Monday, maybe I'll go double check!


Monday mornings

Post 7

Itchy Ron

I drove past the one at Mol's old school the other day (see above) - good distinctive example, if you're looking to get photos or anything.

I'll have a look for the TRL one myself this week, although I won't be there when it's sounding.


Monday mornings

Post 8

AndrewJP

I'm pretty sure it's there although it's very hard to see. I reckon it's about where the arrow is on this link:

http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=484225&y=165690&z=1&sv=484225,165690&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf&dn=832&ax=484225&ay=165690

From the Old Wokingham Road, you can see a scaffold with what appears to be a siren on the top. If you do check it out and it's not a Monday, binoculars might be useful!


Monday mornings

Post 9

Itchy Ron

Andrew, I did drive up that way this morning. I didn't have time for a proper inspection, but I didn't see a scaffold or mast. I did see what may have been a siren unit on top of the largest office block.


Monday mornings

Post 10

poison_dwarf69

You could hear the siren as far away as Farnborough. I remember hearing it every week as a small child & my Mother telling me what it was.

I can also remember the escape in 1991 & the other alert in 1993 as the school I was at (Farnborough Hill) called us all into the hall & said that the Broadmoor Alert had sounded & we were all being sent home & that parents had been called to pick us up. The people whose parents they hadn't been able to contact would be getting taken home by Teachers & sixth-formers that had cars.


Monday mornings

Post 11

Itchy Ron

Hi Poison Dwarf, and welcome to h2g2 smiley - smiley

I didn't know you could hear it in Farnborough. Do you know where the siren was? Maybe it was the one at Sandhurst, but that must be a couple of miles away.

I wonder if the schools would go to the same trouble today - now that we have tagged offenders living in our community anyway?

smiley - cheers Icy


Monday mornings

Post 12

van-smeiter

Great entry and brought back lots of memories smiley - cheers I went to the same school as mol (though several years later) and the siren effectively signalled the start of first break because there was no point in the teachers carrying on for the last five minutes of the lesson.

I remember two escapes (particularly the 'wolfman' one) and I'm sure panic was raised on the odd occasion when there was a problem with the all-clear signal. when we started school, our parents had to fill out a 'Broadmoor form' (I don't often mention this as people start to look at you funny when you do!) There were various options on the form in regard to what the parents wanted the school to do in the event of an escape. Because we lived a few minutes walk from school and my sister was at school with me, I was allowed to walk home while hundreds of other kids had to hang around in the hall.

Are there any figures for the number of attempted escapes at 10 o'clock on monday mornings? Would seem like a good time to try! smiley - whistle


Monday mornings

Post 13

Itchy Ron

Hi Van smiley - smiley - and thanks for your memories.

Yes, you'd think they could have called it something more discreet than 'the Broadmoor Form'. smiley - laugh

I don't remember reading about attempted escapes at 10am Monday. Perhaps they should have regular recapture drills - have a couple of unshaven people in straightjackets run up Crowthorne High Street, followed by a man with an outsized butterfly net.

Probably wouldn't work in Bracknell, though. You'd lose them in seconds.


Monday mornings

Post 14

Mol - on the little netbook

smiley - laugh I'd forgotten the Broadmoor Forms!

Mol


Monday mornings

Post 15

Psikick

I was felling trees in the grounds of Wellington College a couple of years ago (ie 2008). The college is next to the station in Crowthorne.

Being a relatively local resident, I was aware of the test alarm. What surprised me was how loud it was that near the tower! There aren't many things that can drown out the buzz of a chainsaw, and I honestly couldn't hear it over the wail of the siren!


Monday mornings

Post 16

Itchy Ron

Hi Psikick, and welcome to h2g2 smiley - smiley

That's an impressive way to measure the loudness. I guess you were probably hearing it through ear defenders too?

smiley - cheers Icy


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