Full copies of articles relating to the history of the Booker area can be read by clicking on the highlighted titles
Summer 2019 marks the erection of a war memorial hall, built as a lasting tribute to family and friends who had fallen in the First World War and to those who had survived the conflict and returned home. In this centennial year, this booklet presents short biographies of each man whose name is inscribed on wooden boards that hang inside the memorial hall. It is fitting that at the same time as the centenary of the memorial hall celebrated, the lives of the men listed on the boards are illuminated beyond their names. It is hoped that the biographies will be helpful and of interest to relatives, researchers of military history, local historians and the wider public.
Each member of the group contributed to this booklet, writing a selection of biographies each. Special mention must be given to Ray Tilly whose archival research forms the core of the booklet and Roberta Wilson who assisted with research.
BOOKER SCHOOL 1889 – 1939 by Roberta Wilson
For 50 years, up until 1939, Booker children attended a school by the Common on what is now the site of Glade View. In October 2013, Roberta Wilson traced the history of the school which opened as a ‘two-room’ Board School administered by the West Wycombe School Board. Built to take a maximum of 63 children the school grew rapidly to reach a peak school role of 140 in 1902 after which it settled down at around 100. Teaching in Board Schools was primarily geared to the ‘3 Rs’ but with the conversion of the school to a Council School in 1902 combined with the appointment of Mr Williams as headmaster in 1907, the curriculum broadened, in particular to include such practical subjects as gardening and handicrafts. The school closed in 1939 when the younger children were transferred to Castlefield school, older children having moved to the new Mill End School in 1937
BOOKER WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPEL by Ray Tilly
In October 2012, Ray Tilly traced the history of Booker Chapel. Starting with the coming of Methodism to Booker in 1832, Ray took a packed and attentive audience through the building of the first chapel in 1848, the replacement of this chapel in 1886 and on to the final service in 1998. At which time the chapel was sold for development to a private house. Throughout his talk, Ray emphasised the role of local families in the activities of the chapel. Ray’s talk was published both in The Link (November 2012) and Origins (the magazine of Buckinghamshire Family History Society) (December 2012).
A SUITABLE CLIMATE: HOW THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR CAME TO BOOKER by Kevin Jewell
In 1937, some 3,800 Basque refugees, mainly children, caught up in the Spanish Civil War were brought to safety in this country. At first they were housed under canvas in Southampton but when the request came for communities to house groups of these children, High Wycombe was one of the towns to answer the call. Accomodation was found for them in the former isolation hospital which occupied the site that is now Beechlands Court. Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the refugees, Kevin Jewell researched the story of the Basque rufugees in Booker. His article, which appeared in The Link (July 2012) is reproduced here.
BOOKER COMMON, A TITHING REVEALED C.1700-C.1800 by Frances Kerner
Booker Common, part of the West Wycombe estate and formerly a tithing within the Manor of West Wycombe, no longer supplies large quantities of timber or wood or acts as a grazing resource for cattle. Modern houses surround the common on its southern and eastern borders where once there were cottages and small farms. While the common survives there are few reminders of the past community. A study of documents reveals that the common, home to a valuable resource of trees, was governed effectively by the manorial court during the eighteenth century, despite the challenges of persistent encroachment.
This paper was published in Records of Bucks 2012 52 179-190