Beaconsfield History in Old Photos & Film

Beaconsfield Buckinghamshire England UK local history

Beaconsfield is just 23 miles out of Central London. However, its historic buildings and location in the southern part of the predominantly rural county of Buckinghamshire means the town has a distinct feel of Middle England.

Why is Beaconsfield called Beaconsfield?

Actually, from the 13th century until about 1720 the town was called Beckenesfeld. The area had a large number of beech trees, which in old English were called ‘bece’. The original name probably described a clearing in the beech woods. What is Beaconsfield famous for?

Today, visitors flock to the first model village ever created. The historic architecture of the Old Town inspires admiration, and the town is a good base from which to explore the local Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Beaconsfield is also home to the National Film and Television School. Established in 1971 and based at Beaconsfield Studios, according to the 2018 Hollywood Reporter it is today one of the world’s top 15 film schools.

Thanks to jarekgrafik from Pixabay for use of the image at the top of this page.

Beaconsfield In The 1930s

 The Super Model – Garden Railway (1932)

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British Pathé – Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. 

  • Full titles read: “THE SUPER MODEL ! – filmed at Beaconsfield. – An unkind wife once declared a model husband was a small imitation of the real thing – but this model village and railway is unique in its completeness.”
  • Good L/S’s of a small steam locomotive moving along on miniature railway, it certainly is very detailed. 
  • Intertitle reads: “‘Many months have been spent on building this miniature,’ said the designer, Mr Callingham, ‘but I recommend this hobby to anyone with a garden’.”
  • Several shots of miniature lighthouse and bridge and miniature model cows grazing in a field. M/S’s of the small narrow streets. L/S’s of visitors walking around the model village and examining the Elizabethan style architecture of some of the buildings. Various more L/S’s of the small steam trains.

Beaconsfield In The 1940s

German Leader Visits POW Camp (1946)

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British Pathé – Item title reads – Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

“Dr. Kurt Schumacher, leader of the Social Democrat Party in Germany, is on a visit to Britain at the invitation of the Labour party. He is seen here at a German prisoner of war camp. L/S of the full hall showing the audience of German prisoners of war. C/U  shots of prisoners (good character studies). Various shots of Schumacher addressing the men, gesturing as he does so.”

Enid Blyton (1946)

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British Pathé – Item title reads – Personality meet – Enid Blyton. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

“M/S of children’s writer Enid sat on a chair with typewriter on her lap. M/S as her two daughters, Gillian and Imogen, come in and greet her. M/S as they read a page from her typewriter, she hands them more.  M/S as she types. M/S as she sits by the fire and reads letters sent to her. Her husband Darrell Waters comes in and sits down. M/S as she sifts through letters. C/U of their cat. M/S as the children bring in chairs and sit down to play a family game of snap.  Various shots as the four of them play. M/S as she reads them one of her stories before bed. C/U of title “The Island of Adventure”. M/S pile of books, pans to her hands typing. M/S of her typing.”

Beaconsfield In The 1960s

Travelling Shots, Buckinghamshire (1960’s)

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HuntleyFilmArchives – Travelling shots.

  • Straight back view of suburban road in home counties town of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire west of London, a very pretty small town or old village.
  • Rear straight back shot of the A423 main road in the country in the Henley, Marlow area, Buckinghamshire / Oxfordshire border.

 The Great West Road and Beaconsfield (1963)

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HuntleyFilmArchives – Back projection.  Travelling shots from moving vehicles.

  • The Great West Road (now the A4) in West London during construction of the M4 motorway flyover. Rear and side point of view shots.  Filmed in April 1963.
  • Shot from car of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, a home counties town, west of London. 
  • Brief piece of central London. 
  • Great West Road, the Lucozade factory by large M4 roadworks to build the flyover. Brentford area, past light industry, Martini clock tower, the Wimpey building and Gunnersbury Park.

Beaconsfield In The 21st Century

Bekonscot Model Railway (2008)

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15 Jun 2008 – 60103Henry.

“This is a Journey around the Bekonscot Model Railway. This is a gauge 1 model railway at Bekonscot Model Village, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire which has 10 scale miles of track, 6 miles of main line and 4 miles of branch line. We ride in the cab of freelance 0-6-0 tank Bruton, our Trip starts at Hanton Station on the Evenlode Branch. We make our way onto the single line section to Hanton where we see S.R. 2-Bil unit Eastbourne, we pass S.R. Q class 0-6-0 tender loco Kew at Gulley Junction where we rejoin the main line and see 94xx class, Peter B. we pass through Bekonscot Town Station and up the bank to Greenhaily where we pass through on the fast line over taking GWR Railmotor Dan’s Van. Passing through College Green Tunnels and arriving into North Bekonscot we pass 94xx class, Peter B and make our way to Maryloo where we pass 94xx class, Settle. We now pass under the Signal Box and bake to Gully Junction and retrace our steps to North Bekonscot.”

Beaconsfield Views (2009)

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13 Jul 2009 – townspace – “Views of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England. This video is in development and will soon have more shots of the town as well as a voice over.”

Central Beaconsfield (2011)

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Nathan Barker. – “Brief review of central Beaconsfield, England Summer 2011.”

Beaconsfield Fun Run (2011)

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19 Mar 2011 surreyandberksmedia – “Thousands of students and teachers braved the whistling rain at the Buckinghamshire Advertiser-sponsored Beaconsfield Fun Run, to raise money for Comic Relief.”

 Beaconsfield Festival of Lights (2013)

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Cynocephali – “The IHS Reading Scottish Pipe Band at the ‘Beaconsfield Festival of Lights’ 2013. Wednesday the 11th of December 2013.”

Beckonscot Model Village & Railway (2014)

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3 Oct 2014 – Keith Manning

Impressions of Beaconsfield (Look back in time from 1988)

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Bogglesham: Originally published as  Yesterday’s Britain video “Hops and Downs”  in 1988.

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