HIGH WYCOMBE (/ˌhaɪ ˈwɪkəm/ ), often referred to as WYCOMBE, is
a large town in
* 1 History
* 1.1 Early history * 1.2 Trade and industrial development * 1.3 20th century
* 2 Modern-day
* 4 Politics
* 4.1 Notable MPs * 4.2 Local government * 4.3 Weighing the mayor
* 5 Education
* 5.1 Primary schools * 5.2 Secondary schools * 5.3 Independent schools * 5.4 Further and higher education
* 6 Media coverage
* 7 Notable residents (past and present)
* 7.1 Entertainment and the media * 7.2 Sports * 7.3 Other fields
* 8 Transport
* 8.1 Road * 8.2 Bus * 8.3 Coach * 8.4 Rail * 8.5 Air
* 9 Facilities and places of interest * 10 Industry * 11 Local attractions * 12 Recreation * 13 Housing * 14 Sport * 15 Closest cities, towns and villages * 16 Twin towns * 17 References * 18 External links
A map of
The name Wycombe appears to come from the river Wye and the old
English word for a wooded valley, combe , but according to the _Oxford
English Dictionary of Place-Names_ the name, which was first recorded
in 799-802 as 'Wichama', is more likely to be Old English 'wic' and
the plural of Old English 'ham', and probably means 'dwellings'; the
name of the river was a late back-formation. Wycombe appears in the
The existence of a settlement at
TRADE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
The paper industry was notable in 17th and 18th century High Wycombe. The Wye's waters were rich in chalk , and therefore ideal for bleaching pulp. The paper industry was soon overtaken by the cloth industry.
Wycombe's most famous industry, furniture (particularly Windsor
chairs ) took hold in the 19th century, with furniture factories
setting up all over the town. Many terraced workers' houses were built
to the east and west of town to accommodate those working in the
furniture factories. In 1875, it was estimated that there were 4,700
chairs made per day in High Wycombe. When
The town's population grew from 13,000 residents in 1881 to 29,000 in 1928. Wycombe was completely dominated socially and economically by the furniture industry and, consequently, there was considerable unemployment and social problems when the industry declined in the 1960s.
River Wye near Wooburn Industrial Estate
By the 1920s, many of the housing areas of Wycombe had decayed into slums. A slum clearance scheme was initiated by the council in 1932, whereby many areas were completely demolished and the residents rehoused in new estates that sprawled above the town on the valley slopes. Some of the districts demolished were truly decrepit, such as Newland, where most of the houses were condemned as unfit for human habitation, with sewage pouring down the street and people sharing one room in cramped quarters of subdivided flats. However, some areas such as St. Mary's Street contained beautiful old buildings with fine examples of 18th and 19th century architecture.
From 1940 to 1968
In the 1960s the town centre was redeveloped. This involved culverting the River Wye under concrete and demolishing most of the old buildings in Wycombe's town centre. Two shopping centres were built along with many new multi-storey car parks , office blocks, flyovers and roundabouts . On the open area known as Frogmoor (or Frogmore) the original cast-iron fountain and some Georgian buildings have been torn down.
MODERN-DAY HIGH WYCOMBE
Although situated in the county of
The town has recently undergone major redevelopment, including development of the town's existing shopping centre, completion of the new Eden Shopping centre , and redevelopment of the Buckinghamshire New University with a large student village and new building on Queen Alexandra Road.
These developments prompted the building of larger blocks of flats, a
new multimillion-pound hotel in the centre, and a new Sainsbury\'s
store on the
High Wycombe's population figure differs with the varying definitions
of the town's area. For the town proper (that is, without the suburbs)
it is often given as 77,178. However,
Hazlemere is now regarded as
part of Wycombe, which makes the population of
High Wycombe Urban Area PLACE POPULATION (2001 CENSUS) POPULATION (2011 CENSUS)
BOURNE END /FLACKWELL HEATH 12,795
COOKHAM 5,304 5,108
GREAT KINGSHILL 2,452 1,761
HAZLEMERE /TYLERS GREEN 20,500
HIGH WYCOMBE 77,178 120,256
TOTAL 118,229 133,204
Based on the 2001 census and the 2007 Indices of Multiple Deprivation
Wycombe\'s political history extends back to 1295. The Wycombe constituency is currently a Conservative majority.
* the Earl of Shelburne lived at what is now Wycombe Abbey (and was also MP for the town) * Benjamin Disraeli , who lived at nearby Hughenden Manor , was defeated as an independent candidate in 1832, but won election in 1868 and 1874-1880 as a Conservative. Disraeli made his first political speech in Wycombe, from the portico over the door of the Red Lion Hotel on the High Street (now Iceland/Poundworld).
The constituency is strongly Conservative outside
WEIGHING THE MAYOR
A ceremony carried out in the town since 1678 involves the weighing of the mayor . At the beginning and end of each year of service, the mayor is weighed in full view of the public to see whether or not he has gained weight, presumably at the taxpayers' expense. The custom, which has survived to the present day, employs the same weighing apparatus used since the 19th century. When the result is known, the town crier announces "And no more!" if the mayor has not gained weight or "And some more!" if he has. His actual weight is not declared.
Catchment area primary schools in
* Ash Hill Combined School * Beechview Junior School * Booker Hill Combined School * Castlefield Combined School * Chepping View Combined School * Hamilton Academy * Hannah Ball School * Highworth Combined School "> Gateway Building, Buckinghamshire New University .
* Cressex Community School * Highcrest Academy * John Hampden Grammar School * St Michael\'s Catholic School (combined primary and secondary school) * Royal Grammar School * Wycombe High School * Sir William Ramsay School
FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION
The town appeared in national and international media after
anti-terrorism raids were carried out across the town on 10 August
2006 as part of the
2006 transatlantic aircraft plot . Five arrests
were made at three different houses in the town's Totteridge and
Micklefield areas. A small number of houses in
King's Wood to the north of the town was cordoned off for four months to be searched by police, and many suspicious items were allegedly found including explosives , detonators, weapons and hate tapes. Other woodlands in the Booker area of the town and the M40 at High Wycombe as well as nearby woods were also under observation. Explosives officers were called to the motorway, as were forensic officers. A lane of the motorway was closed as a precaution.
On 21 December 2009, heavy snowfall hit the town, paralysing its road network (which is mainly on steep hills), and causing major disruption to refuse services for several weeks. Staff and customers of the John Lewis department store were stranded overnight, leading to national news reports and interviews from GMTV and other radio stations on the morning of 22 December.
NOTABLE RESIDENTS (PAST AND PRESENT)
ENTERTAINMENT AND THE MEDIA
Colin Baker – actor who played the sixth incarnation of the
Doctor in _
Doctor Who _, and columnist for the _Bucks Free Press_.
Mighty Boosh stars
Noel Fielding and Dave Brown both met when they
Bucks New University in Wycombe.
Julian Barratt then joined
the group after Fielding scouted him performing in the Wycombe Swan
Judy Boucher – country and RnB singer originally from St Vincent
Fern Britton – TV presenter.
Dane Cobain – author.
Stevyn Colgan – author and artist.
* Giles Cooper , entertainment producer and promoter. Best known as
The town has a central bus station attached to the Eden Shopping
Centre with most services operated by
Carousel Buses and Arriva .
Major destinations include Reading ,
The town also has a Park and Ride facility located in Cressex, near junction 4 of the M40. Services run to the town centre, passing the railway station .
The town centre is currently poorly served by coach services, with
only the 737 service from
The town is served by
High Wycombe railway station on the Chiltern
Main Line , with services operated by
Wycombe Railway ran from
Heathrow Airport is the nearest international airport , located just
FACILITIES AND PLACES OF INTEREST
There are two shopping centres: the Eden Centre which spreads from the High Street under the Abbey Way flyover to the south of the A40; and the Chilterns Centre , which is located between Queen's Square and Frogmoor to the north. The High Street (pedestrianised in the early 1990s) has a number of 18th and 19th century buildings, and ends at the colonnaded Guildhall that was built in 1757 by Henry Keene and renovated in 1859. The small octagonal-shaped Cornmarket opposite, known locally as the Pepper Pot, was rebuilt to designs by Robert Adam in 1761. The large parish church of All Saints was founded in 1086, enlarged in the 18th century and extensively restored in 1889. There is a large, well equipped theatre, the Wycombe Swan , which hosts many acts and shows before or after their appearance in the West End .
In March 2008, a new development of the town centre was completed. This included the demolition and movement of the bus station and the brand new _Eden Shopping Centre _, with 107 shops, new restaurants, a large bowling alley and cinema and new housing. The old Octagon shopping centre was connected to the new development. The complex, one of the largest in the country, is seen as a major milestone in the regeneration of the town.
There are out-of-town retail outlets in the suburbs of Cressex (including John Lewis , Asda and TGI Fridays ), and Wycombe Marsh, where there is small retail park of shops and restaurants including Hobbycraft, PC World, Pets at Home, Argos, Homebase and M&S Simply Food. Desborough Road provides a secondary shopping area with more independent traders and a number of takeaways .
To the east of the town centre is the extensive Rye park (and river ) and dyke. The park had an outdoor swimming pool , which closed in 2009. The pool has now reopened together with a new gym and has been renamed as the Rye Lido. The River Wye winds through the green space, which is particularly attractive during the summer. Wycombe's yearly "Asian Mela" takes place on the Rye. There is a museum on Priory Avenue in the town centre situated on its own grounds and including a Norman castle mound . The theme of the museum is the history of Wycombe, with the main focus being the chair industry.
Wycombe town centre is home to many public houses and bars, especially in the Frogmoor area. The White Horse pub appeared on 'Britain's toughest pubs'.
The town features the old Wycombe Summit , formerly the largest dry ski slope in England, before it was destroyed in a fire. Construction work was due to start in September 2008, on what would have become England's third and largest indoor real snow ski centre. In May 2009, it was announced that construction would be delayed due to 'difficulties getting a planning consent amendment.' As of 31 January 2012 it was announced that the site was up for sale.
Hughenden Manor borders the northern urban fringe of High Wycombe, approximately 2 miles (3 km) from the centre of town. Built in the Regency period , the architecturally appealing house was also home to Benjamin Disraeli for three decades in the mid-19th century. The three-floor mansion is situated in its own extensive grounds with beautifully landscaped gardens which back into the attractive Chiltern countryside. It is open to the public all year round as an historical attraction.
The local council maintains a landmark statue of a red lion above the former Woolworth\'s store on the High Street. Its significance dates back to when the building was the _Red Lion Hotel_. Since its installation, the lion has been replaced several times and has had to undergo extensive repair due to damage from both the elements and human interference. Another notable landmark is the ruins of the Hospital of St John the Baptist , which is located on Easton Street, just east of the town centre opposite the Rye parkland, and dates to the 12th century. The stone structure is one of the very oldest in Wycombe, and is said to contain stone used from the Roman villa on the Rye.
The site of the ancient Desborough
Wycombe was once renowned for furniture making (the town's football team is nicknamed the 'Chairboys') and furniture design remains an important element of the town's university curriculum, Buckinghamshire New University . Among the best known furniture companies were Ercol and E Gomme . The River Wye runs through the valley, where beech trees were cut down by the furniture industry to forming the town centre (circa 1700), with housing along the slopes (some areas are still surrounded by woods). The town was also home to the worldwide postage stamp and banknote printer Harrison and Sons . More recent industries in the town include the production of paper, precision instruments, clothing and plastics. Many of these are situated in an industrial area of the Cressex district, southwest of the town centre. The two largest sites belong to the companies Swan (tobacco papers, filters and matches) and Verco (office furniture), who until 2004 sponsored the local football team, Wycombe Wanderers.
Wycombe's industrial past is reflected on the town's motto _Industria ditat_, "Industry enriches". The motto can be found on town crest and Mayor's badge of office.
Booker Gliding Club and two flying schools at Wycombe
Air Park , the
modern name for Booker Airfield, to the south of the
M40 motorway on
the western edge of the town. Many of the replica aircraft used in the
film industry, for example in films such as _Those Magnificent Men in
Their Flying Machines _, _Aces High _ and _
The Blue Max _ were built
and flown there. There is a restaurant (The Pad) with outdoor picnic
tables that is open to visitors beneath the control tower . Wycombe
Air Park is one of the busiest general aviation airfields in the UK.
Air Park is also home to
There is also a large leisure centre to the south of town at the top of Marlow Hill. Many sporting activities take place here and there is an Olympic-size swimming pool , which can be split into two 25-metre pools by raising and lowering a wall. The leisure centre was designed by renowned architect John Attenborough. It will be demolished to make way for other developments once a new sports centre is completed on the site in 2015/16.
After a £2 million investment into the former Holywell Mead open swimming pool site in the town's Rye Park, a new sports -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">
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_ Wikivoyage has a travel