A Short History!
1970 – Marly-le-Roi was twinned with Leichlingen (Germany) and soon began looking for a British link – ‘twinning’, provisionally, with Cranbrook (Kent) – an arrangement which didn’t proceed beyond the planning stage. An Englishman, David Phipps, resident in Marly and closely involved with the Port Marly Rowing Club, suggested they consider Marlow because of the similarities – Rowing Regatta, on River, near Capital city, Town names etc. The then Maire of Marly-le-Roi, Jean Beranger, sent a ‘secret agent’, his deputy (maire-adjoint), Pierre Francheterre, to spy-out the land! Pierre reported back that he thought, this time, they might be on to a winner! With David Phipps as interpreter, contacts were made with Marlow Urban District Council’s Town Clerk, Tom Jackson, who thought it a good idea, put it to the Council and agreed to help arrange exchanges.
The Twinning started with the Schools and the Rowing Clubs. The first that Marlow itself knew about the exchange arrangements came with the arrival in 1971 of the first group of Marly schoolchildren led by a young schoolteacher, Patrick Gautier, who was to become a major player in the expanding twinning. Tom Jackson continued to organise Marlow’s side of the new link and was the incentive for the various exchanges which gradually developed between organisations in both towns. Soon there were regular exchanges involving both Sir William Borlase’s School and Great Marlow School with Marly’s Collège Louis Lumiere – the Marlow Players began their many years of successful twinning with Les Baladins de Marly, as did Marlow’s Firemen with Les Sapeurs Pompiers – and even the Marlow Police twinned for a few years. The original link, that between the Rowing Clubs, was the incentive for many others but lapsed after several successful years although personal friendships continue!
1972 – The exchanges had reached the point where the Marly-Marlow Twinning link could become ‘official’ and, on 16th June that year, the ‘Twinning Accord’ was signed in Marlow by Marly’s Maire, Jean Beranger, and Marlow’s Urban District Council Chairman, John Hester. The ceremony was repeated in Marly-le-Roi the following year – so beginning the regular exchanges between members of both Councils. (In the process, Marlow decided against a ‘three-way’ link including Leichlingen. Marly’s German twin moved upstream from Marlow – to link with Henley!).
1974 – Local Government re-organisation in England saw the demise of the Marlow Urban District Council and its replacement by Marlow Town Council. The new Council lacked the staff and resources of the UDC and was unable to support the Twinning link to the previous extent.
1980 – The lack of a viable organisation to promote and develop the Marlow-Marly-le-Roi links led a group of Twinning enthusiasts – including Roy Cadman, Mike Jackson, past-Mayor Gwenneth Pounds and others – to set-up the Marlow Town-Twinning Association (MTTA) in an effort to recover a stagnant situation and then further develop the Twinning. The MTTA is an independent, apolitical and self-financing organisation which is devoted to the promotion of Marlow’s Twinning links with Marly-le-Roi – and to any further links! In addition, the MTTA has its own direct exchange link with its sister organisation in Marly-le-Roi – Les Amis du Jumelage.
The MTTA, in conjunction with the other like-minded organisations in both towns, has managed to help Twinning expand to the extent where, in any one year, over 200 individuals travel each-way between Marlow and Marly-le-Roi on organised or individual exchanges.
Twinning Today in Marlow
In Marly-le-Roi, Twinning is largely co-ordinated by the Town Council (Le Conseil) and ‘Les Amis du Jumelage’ whereas, in Marlow, it is very much led by enthusiastic independent groups. The Marlow Players, our Firemen, the MTTA + its Pétanque Club and Golf Society, some Schools, the Royal British Legion, the Marlow Art & Crafts Society etc., and, the ‘official’ link i.e. Marlow Town Council, all ‘do their own thing’! We believe this is the best way. Additionally, the Rotary Club of Marlow has been actively twinned for many years with the Rotary Club of La Celle Saint Cloud / Bougival whose ‘terrain’ includes Marly-le-Roi.
Apart from its own direct link, the MTTA promotes ‘Twinning for All’ and works with the Town Council and other Marlow organisations in ensuring public support for Marlow’s links. We believe that Twinning is the best way to get to know the ordinary people of France and Europe generally and that we should not rely solely on a ‘political’ view of our continental friends!
The Twinning link between Marlow and Marly-le-Roi has existed very successfully for 40 years (1972 – 2012) and is still capable of expansion. Celebrations of the 40th Anniversary took place in Marly-le-Roi during 2012 when the Twinning ‘Accord’ between them was renewed.
Because of this success, Marlow has established a second twinning link! This is with the Budavár District in the heart of Buda in Hungary’s capital city, Budapest, which has been ‘bridged’ with Marlow for several years.
Marly-le-Roi is similar in size and population (approx. 18,000) to Marlow. It is situated on the River Seine about 12 miles (21 kilometres) west of Paris – between St. Germain-en-Laye and Versailles in the Département of Yvelines. The population is a ‘mix’ of traditional ‘Marlychois’ and ‘incomers’ – mostly from Paris but also from other parts of France and Europe. There is a large Portuguese representation in Marly, for example. As in Marlow, many people commute to work in the Capital. The ‘old Town’ – Vieux Marly – is relatively unspoilt and dates, largely, from the 17th Century. However, much of Marly is quite modern as it has developed steadily since the 1950s. Marly is home to several large ‘international’ companies e.g. Axa Insurance & Glaxo Smith Kline.
Historically, Marly-le-Roi is famous for being the site of Louis XIV’s ‘private’ Chateau (a ‘pied-a-terre’ away from the turmoil of Versailles). The Royal Park at Marly was laid-out rather like the Park at Versailles with lakes, fountains and cascades – unfortunately all now gone! One of the surviving features is the ‘Abreuvoir’ (Horsepond) which was enhanced in 1785 with two splendid Horse statues – Les Chevaux de Marly. These were removed during the Revolution and placed in Paris at the Place de la Concorde end of the ‘Grande Avenue’ – now the Champs Elysées. They became a famous Paris landmark until they were taken into the Louvre Museum in 1985 and replaced with replicas. Two further copies were placed back at the original site in Marly-le-Roi! For ten years the people of Marly celebrated the ‘return’ of their Horses at an annual ‘Fête des Chevaux’. This has now become an annual ‘Grand Fête’ each Summer.
Join Marlow’s Twinners!
MTTA is now the umbrella organisation for 2 separate sections, Marlow – Marly-le-Roi TTA (MMTTA) and Marlow – Budavár TTA (MBTTA).
MMTTA welcomes new Members at any time. You will be joining a vibrant organisation with an enthusiastic membership. Annual Subscriptions are: Family £8*; Individual Adult £5*. (Telephone 01628 471884 for more information and an application form.)
* (Prices at the time of publication)
TWINNING IS FUN! TWINNING IS FOR EVERYONE!