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  1. ITV Report

A look at the landmarks of Milton Keynes as town turns 50

  • Video report by ITV News Anglia's Chloe Keedy

Milton Keynes has been mocked for its concrete cows and many roundabouts, but since the town was created 50 years ago, it's become home to some iconic local - and national - landmarks.

The world famous Concrete Cows were created in 1978 by the Canadian artist Liz Leyh and a group of local schoolchildren.

A much loved piece of public art, they've also been subjected to several vandal attacks over the years - painted pink; dressed up in pyjamas and at one point even beheaded.

The Cows moved back to their original home at the town's museum in April last year.

Concrete cows have become synonymous with Milton Keynes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I think first of all it was a joke about Milton Keynes. People thought that we even had to have concrete cows - everything was concrete and even the living things had to be concrete as well.

"That of course is totally wrong - there’s very little concrete in MK it’s mostly brick and we’ve got live cows running through the city centre in the park."

– Bill Griffiths, Director, Milton Keynes Museum
Milton Keynes has more than 5,000 acres of parkland, rivers, lakes and woodland. Credit: ITV News Anglia

If Milton Keynes does have a reputation for being a concrete jungle, it might be something to do with the fact it's home to no less than 130 roundabouts.

The town is actually covered in more than 5,000 acres of parkland, rivers, lakes and woodland. In fact, no-one in Milton Keynes is ever more than half a mile from the nearest park.

130
Number of roundabouts in Milton Keynes (and counting)

Willen Park is home to the first Peace Pagoda to be built in the western world.

It sits alongside one of the town’s fifteen lakes, which together with 11 miles of canals mean Milton Keynes has a longer shoreline than Jersey.

Milton Keynes has 15 lakes. Credit: ITV News Anglia
5,000
Acres of parkland in in Milton Keynes
15
Number of lakes in Milton Keynes
11
Miles of canals in Milton Keynes

Just outside the town is Bletchley Park - where code-breakers worked in secret during the Second World War. Their success at cracking German codes is credited with helping to bring the conflict to an end.

Another institution that has attracted some of the country's brightest minds is the Open University. It was established in the town in 1969 as the world's first degree awarding distance learning institution.

Credit: ITV News Anglia

One of the town's most famous landmarks is Milton Keynes Bowl. It's played host to the likes of Michael Jackson and David Bowie, Queen and Take That.

"The Queen concert was the best, the way Freddie Mercury worked that crowd - he was a master at that crowd control.

"Green Day were good as well - when they were here they reminded me of Queen in a way. Another very successful concert.

"When you hear them all singing the songs on the way home after the concert you know it’s been a real success."

– Dick Selley, Site Manager, National Bowl
Milton Keynes was home to the first multiplex cinema in the country. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In 1985 Milton Keynes became home to the UK’s first multiplex cinema.

With its state of the art technology and 10 screens showing a huge array of films, the Point was credited with saving British cinema.

It couldn’t compete with the competition in a modern Milton Keynes, however, closing its doors for the last time in 2015.

The Open University was established in Milton Keynes in 1969. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Milton Keynes' landmarks are no stranger to the big screen themselves. In 1986 the final moments of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace were filmed outside Milton Keynes railway station.

In 1981 Cliff Richard roller-skated through Milton Keynes shopping centre for the video for his hit single ‘Wired for Sound’. When the centre opened two years earlier it was the longest shopping mall in the world.

More than a million people have watched football matches in Stadium MK since it was built in 2007. Credit: ITV News Anglia

One of Milton Keynes’ most modern landmarks is Stadium MK. Home of the MK Dons, it brought league football to the town for the first time nine years ago.

More than 1,000,000 people have watched football in the stadium since it was built in 2007.

In October 2015 it was filled with rugby fans as Milton Keynes played host to three matches during the Rugby World Cup.

Stadium MK is home of the League One football team MK Dons. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Milton Keynes is bidding to become the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

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