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This facility closed in the late 1970s and some projects and staff were transferred to RSRE (Royal Signals & Radar Establishment) near Pershore.
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An authoritative history of "Baldock's Middle Ages" (ISBN 0-905858-97-2) was compiled by Vivian Crellin, a former headmaster of the Knights Templar School, while local archaeologists Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews and Gilbert Burleigh published 'Ancient Baldock: the story of an Iron Age and Roman town' in 2007.
Baldock's position at the crossing of two important thoroughfares, the Great North Road and the Icknield Way has made it a stopping point for a number of illustrious visitors, including Charles I, who passed through Baldock en route for London after his arrest in 1648 In the 1960s and 70s Baldock was a centre of laser research at a MOD laboratory called SERL (Services Electronics Research Laboratory).
The town thrived where the old Great North Road and the Icknield Way crossed.
Despite the construction of the A1(M) motorway in 1963, which bypassed the town (and which was called the Baldock Bypass for some years), it was still a major traffic bottleneck until March 2006, when a new bypass removed the A505 road (part of the old Icknield Way to the east of Baldock) from the town.
The main theory of the origin of the name Baldock is as a derivation from the Old French name for Baghdad: Baldac or later Baudac, It is possible the Knights Templar used a name already in use, especially since the location was already a crossroads.
Other etymologies have been suggested, including Middle English "balled" meaning bald together with Old English "ac" meaning oak; and a conjectured Old English personal name "Bealdoc" meaning bold (with diminutive -oc suffix).There has been human activity on the site well before the modern town was founded.Prehistoric remains on Clothall Common date back as far as c 3000 BCE.Throughout the early 20th century a large number of pubs continued to operate, many of which were sustained by the adjacent and much larger town of Letchworth, which had no alcohol retailers prior to 1958, and had only two pubs and a single hotel bar until the mid-1990s.Its larger population had for many years visited both Baldock and Hitchin for refreshment.A medieval leper colony, on Royston Road, was located during excavations in 2003, having been thought for many years to lie to the south-east of the town on the former Pesthouse Lane (now Clothall Road), the A507.