Mildenhall

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Mildenhall is a small market town and civil parish in Suffolk, England. It is part of the non-metropolitan district of Forest Heath and has a population of 9,906 people. The town is near the A11 and is located 60 km (37 mi) north-west of county town, Ipswich. The large Royal Air Force base, RAF Mildenhall as well as RAF Lakenheath, are located north of the town. The former is used by the United States Air Force, as the headquarters of its 100th Air Refueling Wing and 352nd Special Operations Group.

Mildenhall centres on a market place with a 16th-century hexagonal market cross and town pump. The town’s market is held here on every Friday and originated as a weekly chartered market in, it is believed, the 15th century. The Mildenhall Museum in the centre of the town contains displays of local history and wildlife, the history of the RAF base, and information on the Mildenhall Treasure. In 1934, Mildenhall was the start point of the MacRobertson Air Race to Melbourne, in Australia. Mildenhall currently (2011) has its own radio station, ZACK FM, broadcasting on 105.3 FM; the transmitter is located at the top of St Mary’s church and radiates 100 W. The station format is Classic Hits and broadcasts 24 hours a day with a mix of music, news and information Mildenhall is mentioned in passing in the Pink Floyd song ‘Let There Be More Light’ on the 1968 album A Saucerful Of Secrets as a speculated location for first contact between humanity and extraterrestrial life.

Due to the airbase, Mildenhall currently has the highest concentration of American residents in the country, as 18% of residents were born in the US.

Mildenhall railway station was the terminus of the Cambridge to Mildenhall railway until its closure in 1962.The museum is free and is open till 1:00pm everyday except Sundays

Mildenhall is perhaps most famous for the discovery in 1942 of the Mildenhall Treasure. Now at the British Museum, the treasure is a hoard of Roman silver objects buried in the 4th century. In 1946 the discovery was made public and the treasure acquired by the British Museum; Roald Dahl wrote an article about the find which was published firstly in the Saturday Evening Post, and later as “The Mildenhall Treasure” in his short story collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. The region between Devil’s Dyke and the line between Littleport and Shippea Hill shows a remarkable amount of archaeological findings of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

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