High Wycombe History: Old Photos & Film

Old photo postcard of Oxford Street High Wycombe Buckinghamshire

Glimpse history through old images of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.

High Wycombe used to be famous for its chair-making industry. Today it’s home to 125,000 residents living in its beautiful Georgian buildings and sprawling estates, all a mere 35 miles from London.

Old Photos of High Wycombe

HIGH WYCOMBE IN OLD PHOTOS by jason blackman – jason blackman on YouTube

Old High Wycombe

Film Assignment Old Wycombe – Stephen Green on YouTube

Weighing In The Mayor (1935)

The newly elected Mayor is weighed in front of a large crowd gathered for the town’s annual event in 1935.

It was a tradition established in 1678. If the Mayor lost weight between annual weigh-ins, he had been working hard. If he’d put on weight, he’d been lazy in his role.

Weighing In The Mayor Of High Wycombe News In A Nutshell (1935) – British Pathé on YouTube

Mayor’s Day (1937)

Weighing In The Mayor (1937) – British Pathé on YouTube

Weighing In The Mayor (1938)

Lots of local people turned out to watch the Mayor’s parade and subsequent weigh in at 15 stone 4 lbs.

Weighing In The Mayor – High Wycombe (1938) – British Pathé on YouTube

1930s Local Industry

Broomwade made air compressors and pneumatic tools. Two reels of footage record the work undertaken at Broomwade’s factory.

Broomwade Presents Reel 1 (1935-1939) & Broomwade Presents Reel 2 (1935-1939) – British Pathé on YouTube

Wycombe Abbey (WW2)

During the second world war, former private girls’ schol Wycombe Abbey became the Headquarters of Eighth Air Force Bomber Command, codenamed Pinetree.

This footage was recorded in 1944 or 1945.


New Mayor (1946)

1947 saw the new Mayor, Mr Vance, taking centre stage at the annual weighing ceremony.

Weighing The New Mayor Of High Wycombe (1946) – British Pathé on YouTube

Rocket Scientists (1947)

Mr Ross and Mrs Smith were busy designing a space rocket from the dining room table. But the project, which they had been planning for twenty years, would cost half a million pounds (at the time, family homes sold for a few hundred pounds).

First Moon Men (1947) – British Pathé on YouTube

British Trade Unions (1950’s)

A fascinating look at the workplaces, homes, people, and locations around High Wycombe in the 1950s.

This footage contains narrative such as “The little mill is still grinding mill for the farmers.”

British Trade Unions in the 1950’s — Film 9657 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Seniors Coach Trip (1950s)

Families wave off a group of older ladies as they set off from High Wycombe on a coach.


Seniors Coach Trip From High Wycombe, 1950s – Film 96703 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

View of High Wycombe (1950s)

1950s The Walk to the View of High Wycombe – Kevin Smith on YouTube

John Betjeman (1955)

In 1955, John Betjeman made a 26 part series called ‘Discovering Britain’.

In this episode he focuses on the area where St Francis of Wycombe, whose knights were better known as the Hellfire Club, hailed from.

John Betjeman’s Buckinghamshire – BFI on YouTube

Motorised Roller Skates (1962)

Local inventor Tom Hancocks designed some motorised roller skates in the 1960s.

Motorised Roller Skates (1962)- British Pathé on YouTube

Meet The Shakespeares (1964)

William Shakespeare was born on 26th April 1564. Four hundred years later, a newsreel met Harold George Shakespeare Hart, his wife Pamela, and their young baby son. They lived on a houseboat at Bourne End.

The engineer from High Wycombe, whose grandfather had started the engineering firm where he worked with his son-in-law Ronald Croxford, claimed to be descended from William Shakespeare’s sister Joan, who married William Hart of Stratford-on-Avon.

MEET THE SHAKESPEARES – British Movietone on YouTube

American Airmen 1964

In 1964, a group of American airmen visited one of High Wycombe’s residential homes for the elderly.

The soldiers introduced volleyball and coka-cola to the pensioners, who today would be considered far too fit and sprightly to live in a care home. There were no problems about smoking in the day room.

The newsreel features 96 year old Mrs Jennings, 87 year old Mr Francis, 82 year old Mr Langley and Mrs Manda.

Yanks Visit Old People (1964) – British Pathé on YouTube

 Hospital to Hotel (1966)

The small wards, communication devises to summon nurses, and a choice of meals were all part of the luxurious offerings of Wycombe’s new hospital.

The new hospital cost £2m and is describes as a hotel with “five star facilities”.

HOSPITAL TO HOTEL – British Movietone on YouTube

Little Horse Rider 1966

Tiny tot Philippa Teal was encouraged to ride horses from a very young age.

Small In The Saddle (1966) – British Pathé on YouTube

Strike Command 1968

Air Chief Marshall Sir Wallace Kyle says farewell to Strike Command. The date was probably the 21st August 1968.

Farewell To Strike Command (1968) – British Pathé on YouTube

Stunt Girls 1968

Air hostesses from British European Airways (BEA) flew on the wings of a Tiger Moth biplane.

High Wycombe Bea Girls’ Stunt (1968) – British Pathé on YouTube

The New M40 (1969)

Children crossing the M40 – with no cars!! 

1969 M40 Arrives at Flackwell Heath High Wycombe – Kevin Smith on YouTube

Local Turkey Farm 1969

Extra ! Xmas Round Up – Turkey Farm (1969) – British Pathé on YouTube

Local People (1975)

First broadcast on 9th July 1975, local people told TV presenter Monty Modlyn what they their of their town.

1970s High Wycombe | What do you think of High Wycombe | Have your say | A town called..| 1975 – ThamesTV

High Wycombe in the 1970s

Silent stock footage recorded for an episode of the TV series ‘A Town Called..’, broadcast on 9th July 1975. It includes the street side markets, historic buildings, and local store fronts.

1970s High Wycombe | 1970s England | Driving through high Wycombe | A town called… | 1975 – ThamesTv on YouTube

Ercol Factory 1975

First broadcast on 9th July 1975, Monty Modlyn visits the museum to talk about the town’s historic furniture industry. Then he visited the Ercol Furniture factory, one of a hundred furniture production companies in the town in the mid 70s.

1970s High Wycombe | Furniture production | Ercol | how to make a chair | A Town Called..|1975 – ThamesTv on YouTube

Mayor Weigh-in (1975)

The Mayor explains the ancient tradition to Monty Modlyn. They also discuss the recent local government reorganisations, which had been significant.

1970s High Wycombe | Mayor Weigh – in | Fat Cats? | English tradition | A town called | 1975 – ThamesTv on YouTube

Stamp Printers (1975)

The town’s labour shortages and resistance to new housing to bring in new workers was a source of local tension in the mid 1970s.

Harrison and Sons printed postage stamps from a factory over the road from Disraeli’s estate but didn’t suffer labour shortages at the time. The Mayor arrived to do his annual check of the printers.

Postage stamp production | Harrison and Sons | High Wycombe | Stamp collecting | 1975 – ThamesTv on YouTube

Street Scene (1970’s)

High Wycombe, 1970’s – Film 35482 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Gordon Arms Pub (1970’s)

1970s home cine film recorded the drive down a street of terraced houses, then past the Gordon Arms pub.

Gordon Arms Pub, 1970’s – Film 35601 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Triumph Stag (1970s)

Just a few seconds show a Triumph Stag being driven along a busy local street in the 1970s.

Triumph Stag in High Wycombe. Archive film 91994 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Queen’s Jubilee (1977)

1977 was the year the nation celebrated the Silver Jubilee, marking Queen Elizabeth II’s 25th year of reign. Street parties and processions occurred across the nation, with beacons lit from high locations as night fell.

High Wycombe’s High Street and Easton Street drew in crowds to see the procession of floats.

High Wycombe 1977 Queen’s Jubilee Street Procession – Ken Ross on YouTube

C.N.D. (1982)

Footage broadcast on 13th December 1982 looked at the controversial US Nuclear Base, including some reactions from local people.

C.N.D.. U.S. BASE, HIGH WYCOMBE. – Thames News on YouTube

Howard Jones (1983)

British musician, singer and songwriter Howard Jones began his music career as a solo artist in local venues in High Wycombe. Between 1983 and 1986 he had ten top 40 hit singles, with six of those reaching the top ten.

This footage is from December 22nd 1983, the same year he hired the Marquee Club in Lindin and invited record labels to see him perform there.

Howard Jones – High Wycombe Intro – 1983 – mark ferguson on YouTube

High Wycombe in 1990

A home video recorded on 27th July 1990, covering mostly Downley and High Wycombe’s town centre, show how much has changed over the past few decades.

The Changing Wycombe (1990) – Roy Kinch on YouTube

The History of Wycombe Wanderers (1990)

The Wycombe Wanderers F.C. was formed at the Steam Engine pub in Station Road, in the year 1887. The club played friendly matches between 1887 and 1896, entering the F.A. Amateur Cup in 1894 and the F.A. Cup in 1895.

The club moved to Loakes Park in 1895, which was its home for 95 years.

THE HISTORY OF WYCOMBE WANDERERS | 1990 – The Football Channel HD on YouTube

High Wycombe in 1992

A home movie from the top of a building pans across the local landscape.

HIGH WYCOMBE TOWN 1992 – Panzoom on YouTube

Local Buses (1994)

The town’s local buses, recorded in July 1994.

HIGH WYCOMBE BUSES JULY 1994 – DaveSpencer32

Local Buses (1996)

The footage shows local buses operating in December 1996.

HIGH WYCOMBE BUSES JULY 1994 – DaveSpencer32

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