Memories of Amersham from 1910 onwards
Copied from the September 1981 Amersham Society News
I was born in 1905 at Buckingham Gate, Amersham High Street, where my father had a butcher’s shop (Gurney’s). There were no traffic problems as we have today and, after a spell at Back Lane School, I used to walk up the hill to Blackhorse Bridge School and later to Dr Challoner’s. In due course, my son, daughter and granddaughter all followed me to the Grammar School.
I can remember the Shardeloes lake freezing over so that we could skate on it. We had flower shows in Rectory Meadow and magic lantern slides in Wilson’s Field, where Stevens House is now. In those days the Gurney, Raine and Crowhurst families were always together. All the grandchildren used to go to grandma’s bakery in Whielden Street for buns and cakes. You could also get a large bag of cakes at Whiteside’s for a few pence. (Whitesides was in the row of houses in Market Square which were removed in 1939, see above left).
Who remembers the wonderful outings Mr Bizzzell arranged for us to West Wycombe and Burnham Beeches from the Mount Zion Chapel Sunday School? This place of worship was at the top of Chapel Yard. The outings were by waggon, and children walked up the hills to save the horses.
Behind the present B&M Garage was Dovecote Meadow where my father grazed his cattle. I remember being taken by my father on the first bus to High Wycombe. He was one of the shareholders of the Amersham Bus Company. Another place not often remembered was the picture house near the station where we saw many of the early films, including ‘Rin Tin Tin’.
Amersham was a wonderful, friendly place to live in those days before the traffic made it so noisy.
(Rachel Shrimpton was descended from the Lollard martyr, Thomas Harding. Her aunt, Mrs Raine, unveiled the memorial to Harding in Chesham Parish Church in 1931.)