THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY newsletter NUMBER 116 SUMMER 2000 A Golden Day WARM SUNSHINE glinting off the racing water, the summer blues of iris flowers and sky, the chink of tea cups, cool shadows under the trees and the slow, purposeful turn of the mill wheel, supplying the power for the grinding of corn into flour. These and so much more were there for the happy crowds at Pann Mill on National Mills Day on Sunday 14th May 2000. This was a day that was the culmination of so much hope and planning over so many years. Some of us will remember the first steps taken in the restoration of the mill wheel; also the need that was soon recognised that there would have to be some sort of shelter for the machinery. At that time the site was a bare, grassy plot with just trees growing and a river running through it. What a joy it has been to see Margaret’s beautiful garden take shape over the years and what a relief it was when Marks and Spencer became involved in the funding of the wooden mill building now on the site. Over the years Myra King and her team have courageously worked to fulfil the vision of Pann Mill’s machinery grinding corn again into flour. Sunday 14th May was the day when many of us gathered to celebrate the historic occasion when for the first time in 80 years corn was ground on the site, occupied by a mill as long ago as the Domesday Book, for human consumption. Reference was often made on the day to Jack Scruton MBE and how proud he would have been of this achievement. I think we all felt proud for Myra King and her team. Congratulations to them all for having the skills, resourcefulness and above all the determination to restore this part of High Wycombe’s heritage. Thank you also to all who worked to give us such a golden treasure of a day. Kathleen Peatey Squeeze…Squeeze…Squeeze We had a great deal of material for this issue that we have had to hold over to September, e.g. we could not have done justice to James Rattue’s real tour-de-force on local chairmaking. And there are various issues simmering which are likely to move forward in the next couple of months. The fate of the trees in Frogmoor is still undecided as we go to press. The Western Sector seems to be resolved and is now, in our view, ripe for further consultation. We had a very useful – and confidence-building – meeting with District Council officials about the Railway Station. Some interesting issues arose at the ANTAS meeting. More of all this in our Autumn issue. If you are not a member, make sure of your copy by joining the Society now! …caring about our town: past, present and future Registered Charity No. 257897 Honorary Secretary: Frances Presland, 61 Hicks Farm Rise, High Wycombe, Bucks. HP13 7SX. Tel: (01494) 523263 THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 2 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 Annual General Meeting 2000 THE SOCIETY’S AGM took place on 13 April. It expenditure as the project approached was well attended, some 60 members being completion. In the 1999/2000 accounting year, present. The chairman for the meeting was of this outweighed the very impressive fund-raising course Roger Lawson (except when the matter of work by the Pann Mill Restoration Group. The his re-election came to be considered). Society was able to carry these one-off items because of previous bequests from members The Hon. Secretary’s Report and it was not necessary to increase The report was Frances Presland’s first, and subscriptions. (Have you remembered the Society written copies were available for those attending. in your will? Previous generosity by members really has made a huge difference in the past year. – Ed.) The Society’s membership is up to 359 members (341 last year) plus 24 affiliated The Elections societies (typically residents’ associations). We Mr John Mayes remains Honorary Life President are affiliated to the Victorian Society, the Society and Mrs Kathleen Peatey MBE and Mrs Olive for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Scruton remain our Vice-Presidents. The Chiltern Society, the Open Spaces Society, Executive Committee comprises Mr Roger ANTAS, Transport 2000, the Wycombe Arts Lawson (Hon. Chairman), Mrs Myra King (Hon. Festival and the Wycombe Show Association. We Vice-Chairman), Miss Frances Presland (Hon. are registered with the Civic Trust and are a Secretary), Mr Nick Giles (Hon. Treasurer), Mrs registered charity. Newsletters are received from Pauline Cauvain, Mr John Gore, Mrs Evelyn Roe, most of these bodies, and help to inform your Mr Ron Sims, Mr David Turner, Mr Chris Executive Committee. Woodman and Mrs Annie Woodward. There are Frances’ report summarised in some detail the five vacancies and the Executive Committee work of each of the Society’s six groups. This would welcome anyone else who would be was a very instructive overview of the Society’s interested to serve. work during the year, which has of course also been reported in the Newsletter. Subscriptions The subscription rates remain at £5.00 The Hon. Treasurer’s Report individual, £7.00 family, £2.50 retirement Nick Giles reported that the Society’s balances pensioner and from £5.00 to £15.00 for had fallen from £3,103.46 in 1999 to £1,972.19 affiliated societies depending on their on 29 February 2000. The majority of excess of membership. (We have been pleased to see that at expenditure over income occurred on the Pann least one of those societies has been encouraging Mill account where there was heavy capital their individual members to join our Society. – Ed.) Planning Planning Policy Guidance on Housing IN MARCH this year, the Department of and by building where there is good access by Environment, Transport and the Regions foot or by public transport to jobs, shopping, published the latest edition of their Planning schools and other facilities, in order to minimise Policy Guidance Note No.3 (PPG3) on Housing. car dependence. Good quality design and a mix We had commented on a draft version about a of dwelling sizes, types and levels of affordability year ago. This is an important document, as are also called for. Other features of the County and District Councils must take its guidance include: requirements into account when preparing Plan, monitor and manage This aims to replace County Structure and District Local Plans, and in the existing ‘Predict and Provide’ system, which dealing with planning applications and appeals. looks 15-20 years ahead, by a scheme which The new guidance emphasises the need for continually monitors housing needs and sustainability and the protection of the achievements. Hopefully, this will result in more environment: for example, by giving priority to restraint in the allocation of greenfield land for re-using previously developed land within urban housing. areas rather than greenfield sites (target 60%), THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 3 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 Sequential approach This calls on local planning spaces per dwelling is to be looked on as an authorities when identifying housing sites for upper limit. their Local Plans, first to allocate previously Designing for Quality The guidance calls for developed sites, empty buildings etc. within imaginative designs which make more efficient urban areas, then urban extensions and finally use of land without compromising the quality of sites well served by public transport. Brownfield the environment. Designs should respect and first, greenfield last. enhance local character, and take safety, energy Densities The guidance calls for more efficient efficiency and crime prevention into account. use of land by avoiding housing densities of less This all sounds very promising! Let us hope that than 30 dwellings per hectare (approx. 12 per in practice this guidance will help to raise acre) and by encouraging densities of 30-50 per housing standards, enhance our towns and cities hectare, with even greater intensity in places on and delay the onslaught on our countryside. good quality public transport corridors. John Gore Car parking In future, 1.5 off-street car parking Latest Draft Regional Planning Guidance WE ARE now in the latest round of the lengthy the prudent use of natural resources. saga of drawing up new Regional Planning London and the South East form the most Guidance for the South East Region up to 2016, prosperous region of the UK. Even so, some which of course includes Buckinghamshire and parts are not as successful as others, and the Wycombe District. We commented on the first Guidance seeks to encourage economic success draft almost two years ago. Since then there has in these areas, which include the ‘Thames been an Examination in Public under Professor Gateway’ (north and south of the Thames from Crow’s chairmanship, at which he got himself a east London to the Thames estuary) and bad name with local authorities and ‘Priority Areas for Economic Regeneration’ (such environmental groups by stepping up the as coastal towns in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire estimates of new houses required across the and the Isle of Wight). Milton Keynes and Region. Now the Department for the Ashford in Kent are scheduled as ‘Potential Environment, Transport and the Regions has Growth Areas’, where planned sustainable published a new draft of what is called a ‘spatial development of jobs and homes will be strategy’ for the Region for further public concentrated. Wycombe District (or at least part consultation. This cuts the Crow housing figures, of it) is in the so-called ‘Western Arc’, which runs but suggests that Buckinghamshire should plan west of London roughly between the M40 and for some 4,150 dwellings per year, that is, about the M3 motorways. Here, local authorities are 1000 more than the earlier requirement. set the task of maintaining a thriving ‘high tech’ However, under the new PPG3 ‘plan, monitor economy without allowing ‘hotspots’ of skilled and manage’ regime (see PPG3 article above) labour or housing shortages or traffic this figure could change. The draft continues the congestion. new PPG3 theme by calling for at least 60% of new development to be on previously-developed As people concerned among other things with (brownfield) land, and for building at higher protecting our green fields, we ought to give this densities and on sites well related to public Guidance a warm welcome, but increasing transport services. housing density within towns has its dangers. Social unrest and crime could increase if Of course, the RPG does not confine itself to housing design is not done carefully and housing, although this subject arouses the most sensitively (remember the tower blocks of the controversy. It also covers core strategy, quality 1960s). People must be given enough space of of life, the environment, the economy, transport, their own. Of course, the Guidance concentrates water supplies, waste management and energy almost exclusively on the South East and across the Region. Generally speaking, the bordering Regions. Personally I would have liked Guidance can be commended for its vision which some suggestion that development pressures on focuses on promoting urban renaissance, a the South East ought to be reduced in order to prosperous countryside and a wider choice of assist some of the Regions to the north which travel options (to reduce dependence on the need a boost to their economies. private car), always bearing in mind the need for sustainability which encompasses economic John Gore success, social inclusion, maintaining environmental and cultural attractiveness, and THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 4 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 May 14th 2000 – National Mills Day And we put the “Mill” in “Millennium”! AN ABUNDANCE of water, a beautiful, hot sunny day and hundreds of visitors conspired to create a lively atmosphere and a marvellous sense of achievement when flour was ground at Pann Mill for the first time since the late 1920s. On a day when wind and water mills across the quality wheat from a known source is a good land opened their doors to the public, we second best. Later reports and tasting of bread attracted a huge crowd, keen to witness this from this first milling have been very historic event. Pann Mill became the only water encouraging. mill in south Bucks to be producing flour in We volunteers are an enthusiastic team of the traditional manner. (The aim of the Society novices, but we were guided and helped now is to set up regular milling days for the practically by local experts. In the long run-up sale of stone-ground wholemeal flour.) On the to milling, we have lost count of the times that ground floor visitors were able to look at an vital parts were completed, fitted, removed, assortment of moving cogs and wheels, and the refitted, adjusted, tightened, slackened, pared delivery of flour from the chute to sacks. Then or redesigned. As one can imagine, they could climb the ladder to the ‘stone floor’ manoeuvring half-ton millstones has not been to see grain being shaken into the eye of the easy either, within the confines of our small grinding stones. mill. Another extra burden we rightly had to shoulder was the matter of insurance and Apart from a few technical hitches early in the safety. Officers from the Fire Service, Thames day, we soon fell into milling mode. The French Water, BCC (Weights & Measures), WDC (Food Burr stones eased themselves into a good Hygiene, Risk Assessment, Safety at Work) and rhythm and settled to produce good quality our own advisory signs involved the group in flour. We were delighted to be able to use local hours of extra work. grain (Malacca wheat) from Kensham Farm, Cadmore End, which was generously sold to us There have been many peaks and troughs at a reduced price. Unfortunately, to mill during the 16 years since Marks & Spencer, in organically grown wheat would have been too 1984, donated £17,000 to create the building costly for us as a charitable society, but we to Colin Kennedy’s design. Volunteers have were assured by other millers that a high joined and left, and site disturbances have The team (left to right): Ian Barratt, Don Murray, Robert Turner, Peter Hazzard, Eric van Voorden, Annabelle Giorgietti, Owen Rush, Nick Dewey, John Mumford, Lesley Howe, Nick Gillott, Nick Turner(f), Helen Evans, Malcolm Connell, Pat Gerrard(f), Bianca Iaciofano, Gary Howard, Sarah Howe, Carina Iaciofano(f), Myra King, Karen Roberts, Margaret Simmons, Harry Turner(f). (f = exactly in front of someone else.) THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 5 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 been frequent as archaeological digs, heavy milling at our mill before proceeding to Lacey works plant, new watercourses, bridge Green Windmill. strengthening, bank reshaping and boundary fences caused our faithful gardener, Margaret Simmons, to throw her hands up in horror. Indomitable, she stayed with us and turned each upheaval into a challenge. The regular team has been strengthened by the addition of staff from Montgomery Watson, the Water and Environmental Consultants based in Terriers. Annabelle Giorgietti was instrumental in encouraging them to make a donation of £500. Team members have shared the restoration tasks with intelligence and determination (no job too small, and no prima donnas!) and my work as Project Leader was Team Leader Myra King is flabbergasted on getting a made easy by their constant good humour. A bouquet from our Chairman, Roger Lawson, as short promotional film has been made for the Town Mayor Peter Cartwright looks benignly on. Society’s use. Each member has brought a special skill and they will forgive me for not Other attractions were delicious home-made naming them individually. teas, wood turning, ceramics, the Energy & Efficiency team from WDC, Cottage Garden Local companies have helped us quite freely Plants and of course our own Membership and with their time, equipment and expertise over Publicity Group. the past six months. They include Bowens Scrap Metal, Isotemp, Ever Ready Tool Hire, But undoubtedly the STARS of the show were Ison, Jarvis Engineering, Thames Water, Savoir the four children who worked all day long with Faire Marquees and C Bond Electrical. tireless enthusiasm and no previous experience weighing, bagging and selling the flour to visitors. It had been difficult to predict what staff we would need for the task. What would be the demand? In fact, over 200 bags were sold at £1 each and without their help we would now be the owners of a ‘flour mountain’. The children’s role was appropriate. Pann Mill is not only part of our heritage, but is an educational asset to the town where future generations will be able to see, hear and smell this ancient but still relevant craft producing our staple diet. Myra King The bagging team, hard at work. Isn’t it fun? * * * Special guests on the day were the Town Mayor Peter Cartwright, the Chairman of the District And the Chairman ponders… Council David Cox, Councillor Malcolm There is however an important wider aspect of Blanksby and former Councillor Frances this “super day out in the sunshine”. Alexander. Local artist Lorna Cassidy came to enjoy the day and kindly donated a framed The work of the Planning and Transport print of Pann Mill in 1962. Barry Giggins, Groups, the Friends of the Rye and the former WDC Engineer, visited from Windsor Heritage Group, is in each case important but and was pleased to see his scale model of Pann is much involved in reviewing and evaluating Mill ca 1920 still being admired. Mr Reed, tutor information and data. It requires us to respond of West Herts College, came and saw the appropriately to proposals and conclusions of tensioning device in action which was designed our local authorities and other official agencies, and made by his students. Former Pann Mill or to our fellow citizens’ planning applications. volunteers Ian and Diana Stone came from Important as it is to maintain this stance of Shropshire to help for the weekend and the vigilance and reaction, the work seldom excites High Wycombe Film Society recorded the event the imagination of Joe Public who can only be for their archives. Greetings and good wishes relied upon to rouse from his early evening came from milling friends at Mapledurham slumber in front of the telly when his or her (Secretary of the National Wind & Watermills household is directly blighted by property Association), Warwickshire and as far away as development proposals or similar. the Isle of Man. Some visitors took in the first (concluded on p.7) THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 6 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 Planning this Quarter Roll-over jackpot District Local Plan to 2011 As expected, the !!! Quiz Time !!! Council issued its proposed Pre-Inquiry changes to the Local Plan in March, which the Planning Group reviewed. We decided to support a number of changes promising Calling all children 1 – 15 years old…There increased environmental protection, including were no replies to the puzzle in the Spring the addition of the Gomm Valley to the list of Local Landscape Areas, but to object to a Newsletter so this time, if you solve it you proposal to include retail warehousing on the could win a £10 Smiths token! former Gas Works site in Suffield Road. We thought this would undermine the viability of “Where in the town is the shops in the town centre and Western Sector, Hen and Chickens” and suggested as an alternative either active leisure pursuits or a hotel plus housing. More Send your answers to the Editor (address on recently, North Thames Gas submitted a back page) by 30 June. The first correct planning application for retail shops plus flats answer out of the bag will win. on the site, and we have objected to this in a similar vein. Questions set by Pauline Cauvain of our Heritage Group. Last issue’s question was “Where in the town can you find Abbey Barn Farm A company known as a village pump?” Answer: “Behind the Little Market Wycombe Option Ltd has applied to convert the House.” Abbey Barn Farm buildings into a hotel, and to add a golf driving range and tennis courts. We consider this to be an unsuitable development and encouraging the “customers” to share in a Local Landscape Area and have objected their memories, as they inevitably do. to it. We also pointed out that access to the I like the story of Tom Burt who, according to farm whether on foot or by public transport is local legend, built his house in the High difficult, and it would be undesirable to Street (No. 30) after finding a crock of gold. I encourage more traffic in this area. The reckon old Tom had the right idea, as I am a Council have suggested Wycombe Marsh great fan of town living myself. former paper mill site as suitable for a new hotel, and this would be preferable to Abbey Anyway, after “doing” the High Street, we Barn. made our way down Pauls Row, St Mary Street, Queen Victoria Street and Easton John Gore Street. Isn’t it good to see the old Post Office building brought back to life as Rigs Wine Bar? Also in Easton Street is another of my Arts Festival Heritage Trail favourite features of Wycombe, the ruins of St John’s Hospital – incredible to think they One of the High Wycombe Society’s have stood there for over 800 years. contributions to the Arts Festival was a Town Trail around the Conservation Area, held on The walk ended at Pann Mill and, as this was 14th May. National Mills Day, Myra and the team had pulled out all the stops to put on a great Mary Woodman, John Gore and I were to lead display. It is always a treat to see the wheel the trails, and we were waiting outside the turning, and this time there was a bonus! The Parish Church at 2.00pm. The weather was ancient, mysterious mechanism was working, wonderfully warm and sunny – at last! – and actually grinding flour. to our delight around 60 people had turned up! Pann Mill is always an attraction, and this must have been one of the busiest open days After John Gore had shown us all around the ever. There had also been a Water Trail Church, we divided into three groups and around the Rye, with participants coming in began the tour. It must have been a couple of for refreshments at the Mill. There were years since I led a trail, and I was quite plants for sale, energy-saving advice from surprised at how noisy the town has become Thames Water, and the Mill garden was on a Sunday, with traffic in the High Street, looking beautiful – truly a something-for- car radios and several shops open. everyone day. I never tire of looking at the buildings and And if I have persuaded one person to take a speculating on their illustrious past. Leading closer look at buildings in towns, then I will a town trail is a perfect excuse for pointing be well pleased. out the interesting bits, relating anecdotes Denise Lindsay THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 7 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 Society of Aldermen! Help! Help! A heart-warming spec- Yes, it’s the Hon. Sec. after you all to DO ial meeting of the things again… Wycombe District FUND RAISING! In the Autumn 1999 news- Council took place on letter, I wrote a piece on recruitment and said 8th May. The business the Society needed to be more proactive. To was to enrol three new some extent this has happened and the Honorary Aldermen. All Society is becoming involved in projects which were retired long- we hope will increase public appreciation and serving Councillors – awareness of High Wycombe. So we are Robert Barber, Eliza- currently working with the Wycombe District beth Barratt MBE JP Council on the Heritage Open Days weekend and Kathleen Peatey MBE JP. Both the ladies (see p.11) and hope to produce other have been members of the High Wycombe exhibitions and displays. Pann Mill is a very Society since the very early days, and each long-term project but is now becoming a real took on public service in addition to her role asset to the town. as mother and schoolteacher. Kathleen is of course now one of our Vice-Presidents. And Building restoration and upkeep, exhibition their mutual friendship goes back to their and display materials all cost money. Many schooldays. members make generous donations with their annual subscriptions and this is much Mrs Pam Priestley, today’s Leader of the appreciated. However, this money mainly goes Council, referred to Kathleen’s immense towards the ‘nuts and bolts’ running of the interest in the environment – her successful Society, and we would like to raise extra efforts to save the old housing in Green money to support these newer projects and Street, Saffron Platt and Hughenden Road. help with the increasing needs of Pann Mill. But for her, the obtrusive Wilkinson Sword Building would have been even higher. As To this end, I would like to form a fund- Chairman, Cllr Mrs Peatey had arranged for raising team, to work in association with the all Councillors to receive an oak tree to plant! Membership and Publicity Group. Do we have any budding (or retired!) entrepreneurs who Later she reminisced to me that in her early would be willing to share their ideas and help days there were some councillors who could get this project off the ground? If so I would always be relied upon to take the view of very much like to get in touch with you. If you developers. She herself was “reminded” after telephone me (01494 523263) and leave your she was elected that she was a member of the name and number, I will get back to you. Conservative Party now, not a representative of the High Wycombe Society! She gave the Frances Presland only possible reply: she would represent the interests of her electorate. Ponderings… (continued from page 5) Elizabeth Barratt devoted herself for many years to areas of less direct interest to the However, the activities revolving around the Society but no less Pann Mill Open Days are vivid, exciting, important for the customer-friendly and right there in front of town - to housing the visitors. A good time is had by all, whilst issues, developing the Society can promote its considered views partnerships with on a particular issue by an exhibition on site. Housing Assoc- The teas are consumed, the plants and iations. She was also publications purchased, and the High very active on youth Wycombe Society has a field day. So, whilst employment and our committee and members have good housing matters, reason to thank Myra King for her inspired and worked with leadership of the splendid Pann Mill Group in groups for the their achievements, we must also be thankful disabled and elderly that on a Mill Open Day, we can show people. When I another side of our personality, as a sociable spoke to her however, she said only how bunch of fun-inducing conservationists with a humbling it had been: the real heroes, she purpose, not just a group of serious-minded thinks, are those who work single-mindedly carers for the life of our town of High and unsung for a single cause! Wycombe and its environs. Many congratulations to both our Aldermen. Geriatricus Emeritus What a pity that no local press reporters – or a.k.a. Roger Lawson their editors – saw fit to attend the event. THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 8 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 LORNA CASSIDY is our truly local artist. She is Then the war ended, and it was back to not the only artist who lives locally – there are Holtspur. “I knew it was a hideous house, you many of those. But it is she who personifies know, … a horrible place.” St Mary’s School in High Wycombe because of what she creates: Gerrard’s Cross, and Beaconsfield New Town local landscapes around the town, were no better, but when she visited Wycombe screenprints, lithographs and etchings – where her grandparents lived at 1 Hampden generated in numbers that allow us all to buy Road – “that was a sort of revelation”. Not just one or two, with an emphasis on the changing the lively market, but “all these old factories, face of Wycombe: from the destruction of much still going”. In 1950 after School Certificate, of the centre of our Lorna left St Mary’s town in the 1960s to to join the Art School make way for the in Wycombe – then Octagon develop- situated behind the ment, to the demol- Technical College ition of Glenisters (once the Grammar just a couple of School) and closely years ago to be linked to the replaced by Safeway Furniture School. (or, more accurately, The art education their monstrous car was comprehensive – park). Furthermore, perspective, history with her mop of of art, life drawing – silver hair and her “You did everything familiar bicycle on really.” And in those which she travels days, you didn’t need absolutely every- to go to a big city for where, Lorna is The artist in her studio: the big press and a copper plate. a first rate art herself a feature of education: Lorna’s High Wycombe’s townscape! So it was with father paid £8 a term for her: “It was cheap, great pleasure that I received her agreement to and it was the best.” After two years she took be interviewed for the Newsletter about her life the Intermediate Exam – “the sad thing was and work. that only two of us passed” – and although she wanted to do painting, the headmaster said, Lorna was born in Holtspur, of parents who “You’re not a painter, you’re an illustrator,” had met as Christian Scientists. Her father was and that in due course led her into etching. a solicitor commuting to London but, when the war arrived and Lorna was still very young, he But then tragedy struck. Lorna’s much-loved was called up into the Royal Air Force and the father went to London as usual, and collapsed family moved initially to Honeybourne in the and died in the street from a heart attack – he Vale of Evesham, where they lived in the was not yet 50. Lorna was almost coached vicarage. through her final exam for the National Diploma in Design by a sympathetic teacher. Bourton-on-the-Hill was her inspiration. While Having demonstrated, triumphantly, a lack of Lorna’s mother was musical (her uncle, aptitude for teaching, in 1955 Lorna went to Frederick Bailey, started the Bucks School of work for Longmans in London but hated it – Music), Lorna “was never very good at that side “doing what I thought was silly things” – and of it”. Her calling was art. “I started painting, quit before Christmas. But she continued to and I was rather good at it.” In those days attend the London School of Printing part-time. paper of any kind was scarce and she used watercolour. She contrived to deprive her Then she took a succession of jobs in the younger brother of a paintbox he had been Wycombe area – a nursery garden (she still given by demonstrating her superior skills (a loves gardens) which is now Beaconsfield bowl of roses) to the vicar’s wife, and she shyly Garden Centre, and a milk round in Penn (she watched a local artist at work in the had learnt to drive on family holidays) which churchyard. So began – at the age of 9 - her finished when she broke a leg slipping down a love of views. By the time they left Bourton, she bank in Cock Lane! At this time, she also fitted had created a whole book of scenes of the in evening courses at the College – now in new village – “it was a beautiful place”. premises at the foot of Marlow Hill - where she THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 9 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 could use their press, and she worked as school at the top of the hill is going to be illustrator for a local publication called the disposed of, which is awful.” As a low rise “Bucks Interest Magazine”, which operated out building, Disraeli Middle School is well adapted of premises in Desborough Road. to its hilltop site – what will replace it? Lorna has watched Bellfield since the 1950s – In 1957 Lorna married and moved into her late culminating in the horror of the Safeway grandmother’s house in Hampden Road. A year supermarket – “such a hideous site I won’t go later the first of three sons, Paul, was born and up there and look at it.” She fought for the the pattern was set for the next phase of her survival of the 7-arch railway viaduct in life. In due course, she obtained from a friendly Temple End – only the 4-arch viaduct survives, neighbour a small press (which she albeit magnificently. And they’ve put in that subsequently replaced with a larger one) and “massive road system and it all seems to add set it up in the garage. She sold her work at up to a kind of Spaghetti Junction, doesn’t it?” craft fairs, and through her connection with the printer of the Bucks Interest Magazine she On her table lay an emollient letter from Peter Before the Octagon. In this beautifully detailed etching, we are looking across the building site, at the back of White Hart Street: Guildhall on the right, and to the left of the church porch is the original ‘Chequers’, allowed to decay by the owner and then destroyed. Today a ‘replica’ or, as Jack Scruton put it, a ‘fake’, stands in its place. wrote and illustrated in 1977 – Jubilee Year – Musset – “District Librarian, Wycombe and her book “25 Years in High Wycombe”. South Bucks”. As an almost daily user of the library, Lorna was decidedly miffed to hear that So print-making has been at the heart of a consultation meeting had been held on the Lorna’s creative life. Although we have two possibility of forming a “Friends of Wycombe Cassidys in the editorial living room, it was a Library” to which she had not been invited. She process I dimly understood, if at all! The is very attached to the existing library which, etching is created on a copper or zinc plate as a she explained, had very nearly been bulldozed: mirror image. Before each impression, ink is “You know, the blighters were going to pull it applied. Lorna enhances the process with an down and put up the predecessor of the Swan.” all-over tint (“aquatint”) applied by melting She had pointed out to “the blighters” that they resin dust on the plate. In principle, the hadn’t knocked down the Council offices but process should be applied identically for each had built on the back. That is how eventually print from the plate, but Lorna interprets that the Swan took shape. But Lorna is not rule liberally – “what’s the point?” – and in enthusiastic about the Swan. “I hate the Swan, practice some prints differ, whether slightly or it’s not an Arts Centre. I never go there.” And of substantially, from the others. course, she’s right. The Swan is a wonderful Lorna remains an active and involved member asset for the performing arts in the town, but of the High Wycombe Society. But her interest visual arts scarcely get a look in: “there’s only a in the fabric of our town has run long and deep passageway for pictures, which leads to a – indeed she remembers something she refers broom cupboard!” She pushes the current to as “Col Watson’s Society” which was our Swan programme leaflet under a book – forerunner, and she brings the perspectives to “hideous, hits you in the eye, horrible. The bear of one with a deep training in the visual publicity is an insult to me as an artist.” arts. As we began to talk, she glanced out of Lorna’s first exhibition was in the Red Cross the back window of 1 Hampden Road: “That THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 10 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 Knight (now demolished for “Spaghetti So, our engrossing couple of hours comes to an Junction”). Her thesis is that exhibition end. Lorna shows me down her “woodland” facilities “have got worse and worse and worse” garden which stretches way down the hill and she points the finger at the District towards Roberts Road. Finally, we take a look Council’s Leisure Department which, she says, at her bicycle! Why her dedication to a mode of “was set up as a kind of sporting effort – he’s transport now mostly used, in this country at got to do sport”. Her solution, when the new any rate, only by children? Well, “Have you Library in the Western Sector is complete, is to ever waited in the bus station?” I saw her convert the existing library into exhibition point. But that’s not all. She knows her father space, and connect it to the Swan for people to died prematurely of an undiagnosed heart visit in the interval. “That’s what you need, a condition. Her mother took up driving but, captive audience.” What a wonderful idea! All when she was too old to continue, found she you’d need, she explains, is “a few doors” and was not fit enough to get on a bus either. So somebody would have to work there for Lorna learnt the lesson. She has no plans to supervision. And she enthuses about the revert to her car which she had to use in gradual changes and additions to the library earlier years to take her work to craft fairs. She building over the years – “like a cathedral”. will stay super-fit on her humble bicycle. It is the time of the Wycombe Arts Festival. May we continue to see her on it for many Lorna points out that until Jack Scruton’s years to come! death, the High Wycombe Society usually staged an exhibition as one of its contributions An exhibition of Lorna Cassidy’s prints opens in (although perhaps one of the finest was the one Wycombe Museum on 10th June. She will after Jack’s death that celebrated his life). Now publish her new book, “50 years – Etchings of it just sponsors a single lecture (plus the High Wycombe” at the same time. The book escorted town trail of course). I muse to myself contains many beautifully produced that, while the Society is making good reproductions of her work, and also contains progress, we need to look to our past too. more biographical detail of her life. Quarterly meeting Housing and Green Belt Development FOLLOWING THE conclusion of the Society’s AGM on 13 April, a fascinating and well-informed talk was given by Tony Bosworth, Housing Campaigner of Friends of the Earth. Mr Bosworth’s talk centred on the problem of house building in the countryside, versus the use of brownfield sites. It is estimated that up to 3.8 million new Friends of the Earth would like to see a change homes will be needed by 2021, with 835,000 of in the tax regulations regarding the building them in the south east, contributing factors industry. At present, no VAT is levied on being a growing population, more elderly greenfield sites but there is VAT on labour and people, more young people leaving home and materials for urban conversions. This does the increase in divorce. nothing to further the cause, as the building industry is obviously motivated by profit. Problems associated with large-scale house building in the countryside include the threat Mr Bosworth concluded his talk by summing to the Green Belt, increased traffic and up Friends of the Earth’s aims: environmental pollution and an increased demand for water protection, social justice and economic supplies. Friends of the Earth recognise that prosperity. I’m sure we would all agree. people will always need homes, but they favour A vote of thanks was given by John Gore. a more cautious approach to the predicted requirements, and they would like to see more Denise Lindsay homes created in towns and cities. There is much scope in urban areas. Disused industrial sites can be built upon, as long as Hazlemere is not Terriers! any contamination is removed. There is a An eagle-eyed Councillor has pointed out to us surprising number of empty dwellings around – that the Equity and Law site – now christened 5,700 in Bucks alone. Disused warehouses and “Kingswood” by Berkeley Homes – is in offices can be converted into homes, a trend Hazlemere, not Terriers. We’re sorry for the which is becoming increasingly fashionable in inaccuracy! But where Berkeley Homes think many cities. Hazlemere actually is you will find even more interesting. More in the next issue… THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 11 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 Events The Heritage Group intends to have a display entitled “The Making of High Wycombe”, Coffee Morning, Saturday 1 July depicting Wycombe’s history from Roman times until the present day. Anyone who would like to help with this display would be very Following much activity this spring with welcome. We would also like to have live meetings, fund-raising and, of course, corn displays of traditional crafts and pastimes such grinding, we hope you will take this as: opportunity to meet other members socially over a cup of coffee. Lace making Carving The Wycombe Museum is a splendid venue Bodging ** with the added attraction of an exhibition of Music Lorna Cassidy’s work, reflecting her 50 years as an artist in High Wycombe. Are you (or is there anyone you know) willing to demonstrate a traditional skill? We are not We have a record number of new members this allowed to charge for people to watch quarter. Please come to welcome them. Bring demonstrations, but the demonstrators will be your family and friends. The museum grounds able to sell items. It would add to the event if are ideal for relaxing between the Saturday people were willing to dress in clothes chores and the shopping. appropriate to the period, e.g. Mediaeval, Victorian, etc. (but only if you want to). Have WYCOMBE MUSEUM 10.30AM-12.00 NOON we any budding wardrobe mistresses who can BRING AND BUY STALL adapt clothing for the purpose? COFFEE AND A CAKE £1 We also need volunteers just to keep an eye on things while demonstrations are taking place. Membership and Publicity Group If you are interested in helping with this event, or know anyone that would like to take part, please telephone and I will contact you. Not Quite so “Hidden” Bucks Finally, we do hope that you will be able to support this event. Look out for the posters Tour No.3 takes place on Saturday 8th July around the town, and a full programme will be 2000, and will follow the usual pattern of using available at our Wycombe Show stand on 2/3 our own cars, and setting off to find some of September. the locations described by Jean Archer. This Frances Presland time a couple of the places are not really Hon. Secretary “hidden” but are well worth a visit. Depart 9.15am for Jordans (talk at the Friends’ ** Sorry, James, that’s chair-leg turning! – Ed. Meeting House, Grave of Wm. Penn); Chalfont St Giles (Milton’s Cottage, Parish Church with Flower Festival). Lunch at Chalfont St Giles. Charity Market Stall – 29 April Memorial to Capt. Cook at The Vache, then the charming village of Latimer, and finishing at Probably our most successful ever, this event Chenies to visit St Michael’s church. raised £240. Very many items were donated Whether you’re a driver or navigator, or would with some larger goods boosting the profits. just like an enjoyable day out, why not join us? The sum raised conveniently swelled the coffers at a time when the Treasurer was beginning to Ann Simone wring his hands in despair! Membership and Publicity Group Many thanks to all who were involved – to those who generously donated such a variety of goods, to those who collected, sorted and Heritage Open Days priced the items and to those who manned the stall on the day. Many of you will be familiar with the Heritage Open Days weekends, which are co-ordinated Membership and Publicity Group by the Civic Trust. (This year the event is to be held on 16-17 September, NOT the 9th and Roger Lawson (Chairman) adds: 10th as stated in your Programme Card.) For “Even though I was unable to be present for this 2000 the event has been given a cultural event, I know that two people deserve special theme, and the Heritage Group is working in thanks – Olivia Price for kindly making her conjunction with Jo Tiddy, the Wycombe garage available for the storage of goods, and District Council’s Heritage Officer, on several Ann Simone for overseeing the organisation, ideas. which provided some unexpected challenges.” THE HIGH WYCOMBE SOCIETY 12 NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2000 Notices We extend our condolences to their families and friends. New Members We warmly welcome the following new members: A Busy Spring Mr and Mrs J Allison of Queens Road Very many thanks to all who have paid their Mrs A M Armour of Hythe, Kent subscriptions on time. Special thanks to many Mrs H M Blackwell of Deeds Grove who have included generous donations. The Society is most grateful for these extra funds. Mr and Mrs D N Clark of Rectory Avenue If you have not yet paid, are not sure how much Mrs E D Davis of Hatters Lane you owe, or have an out-of-date Banker’s Order, I Mr N Dewey of Abercromby Avenue would be pleased to answer any queries. Please Mr and Mrs A G Fooks of Park Farm Road get in touch with me at any reasonable hour Mr N L Gillott of Micklefield Road (tel. 01494 527978). Miss A Giorgietti of Rosebery Avenue PS. I am more an owl than a lark! Mr T Haynes of Amersham Road Annie Woodward Mrs K M Hearfield of Walton Drive Membership Secretary Master R Hogan of Forest Way Mr G Howard of Garratts Way Mrs C Last of Baronsmead Road Be creative! Mr and Mrs W E C Page of Trees Ave Hughenden Many thanks for all your excellent contributions Mr and Mrs A T Rees of Magpie Close, Flackwell this quarter (including those that we have had to Heath hold over until the next issue). Mr I J Rees of Saffron Road Mr and Mrs S Shaw of Totteridge Drive However, there is no “In My Opinion” this month because we did not receive any appropriate Mr J Tribe of Green End Road, Radnage material for it! Also, we have not had much in Master S K Ward of Micklefield Road the way of drawings and cartoons lately, and it would be very nice to have some more drawers Obituaries and cartoonists on our books. Material for the We regret to announce the following deaths: Autumn issue should reach the Editor at 29 Maybrook Gardens High Wycombe HP13 6PJ Mr L H Clarke (01494 528106) by 20 August, please. Mr J R W Huddart Chris Woodman (Hon Editor) Miss G R Vernon Please put these in your diary now – don’t wait for the next Newsletter or you’ll miss the September events! 2000 Saturday 1 July 10.30am-12.00noon Coffee Morning with Bring & Buy stall – see p.11. Wycombe Museum Take the opportunity, at the same time, to view the display of our member Lorna Cassidy’s etchings which is showing in the Museum from 10 June to 3 Sept (see also pp. 8-10). Saturday 8 July “Hidden Bucks” tour No.3 by shared cars, visiting another batch of places described in Jean Archer’s book (see p.11). Contact Ann Simone on (01494) 448773. Saturday/Sunday 2/3 September Wycombe Show – Millennium event on the Rye. Pann Mill will be grinding corn again on Sunday 3 September. Saturday/Sunday 16/17 September Heritage Weekend. See posters around the town, and the (and not as in your programme card!) Hon. Secretary’s appeal for volunteers on p.11. Wednesday 18 October 7.45pm Quarterly Meeting: The Work of the Historic Buildings Trust. Reggie Goves Centre Martin Andrew, Wycombe Dist. Council Conservation Officer. Friday 3 November evening Fund-raising evening for the Pann Mill project. Illustrated (date provisional – details later) talk on “The Life and Times of Marie Lloyd”.
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