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Amersham
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Pictures of Little Chalfont

Is Little Chalfont part of Amersham? There certainly does not appear to be a break between Amersham Common and Little Chalfont, but Little Chalfont has its own identity and village centre. This was officially recognised in 2007 when a Parish Council for Little Chalfont was created, split out of Amersham Town Council. Some details on Little Chalfont have been included on this site because of its close connections to Amersham.

Little Chalfont does not have a long history. It grew, much like Amersham on the Hill, when the Metropolitan Railway arrived in the late 19th Century. The Metropolitan Railway had been forced to take a route over the hills above what is now Amersham Old Town. The railway reached Chalfont Road and then headed off towards Chesham, with the aim of linking with the main London to Birmingham line at Tring. As it turned out, this route was never completed and another plan was followed pushing the Metropolitan through Amersham to Aylesbury.

Prior to the arrival of the railway, the area comprised of a few dwellings serving the farms of the area and a brick yard. Some of the farms had a long history. Names in the area such as Coakes and Lowndes still survive today from the old farms. Beel House now stands on what was once Beel Park. In the time of Henry VIII Beel Park was owned by the Duke of Buckingham. In the 17th century it is thought that Mary Pennington lived in what is now Beel House *. She was the mother of Gulielma Springett who married William Penn who founded the state of Pennsylvania. Other famous people who have lived in Beel House include Mr. A Lyle of Tate & Lyle fame, film star Dirk Bogarde (who built a mound barrier between the house and new girls school (Challoners High School) to protect his privacy), rock star Ozzy Osbourne and TV presenter / politician Robert Kilroy-Silk.

(* The Pennington family also have connections with Bury Farm in Old Amersham and Woodside Farm in what is now Amersham on the Hill. The connection to Bury Farm is well documented, but I believe there is still some debate about Woodside Farm and Beel House).

Also in the area along Finch Lane is "Bottle Cottage" which at one time was the blacksmiths. The building dates from the 18th century and has bottles built into the walls, a very rare building.

Bottle Cottage Little Chalfont
Bottle Cottage, the bottles are the diamond shapes in the walls.
During the 1920s, development started to occur around the station (now called Chalfont & Latimer) and the name Little Chalfont was given official recognition for the area in 1925.
Little Chalfont - Towards the station
Looking towards the station. The road under the railway bridge is an accident black spot, in the summer of 2001 a large lorry overturned under the bridge. A few years ago a school child died in a traffic accident there. The main station entrance is on the far side. A short cut onto the northbound platform is provided saving people from having to use the road under the bridge. However, there have been proposals over the years to close this entrance. It now closes in the evenings.

The railway station used to see some unusual traffic. The Bertram Mills circus used to stable their animals for the winter in the Little Chalfont area, the animals arrived by train - apparently an interesting spectacle. See below for more details

Chenies Parage
Although it may have lost banks and some of its bakers, the shops still remain a focal point with a good selection of shops to choose from. A small Tesco has opened in the village in recent years.
Nightingale Corner
Part of Nightingale's Corner
Nightingale Corner
Nightingale Corner
The main road through Little Chalfont is the A404. This is the descendent of the old Hatfield to Reading route (which crossed other routes at Amersham, helping make Amersham a coaching town (see a potted history of Amersham here for more details)). By Church Grove is an old mile stone from this route.

As was mentioned above, Bertram Mills circus used to stable their animals in the area. John Pearson, now from Chesham, has provided the following details which explain how this arose.

"Bertram Mills Circus animals were housed in Nightingales Lane during the last war because the winter quarters near Ascot had to be closed because many of the staff were foreigners who had to go into camps. Pollards Wood occupied by Cancer Research and Amersham plc down the years was originally the family home of the Bertram Mills Family.   I think if the house occupiers of houses in the area had known that wild animals were being kept 'at home' as it were, they would probably have had forty fits! As a young lad I worked for Beeson & Sons of Rickmansworth who not only supplied goods to the famous circus but actually constructed the cages around 1928 at Ascot for Bertram Mills.  After the war I actually accompanied my father as van boy down to the winter quarters to make deliveries."

The above two black and white pictures were taken in 1979 and show how Little Chalfont has remained largely unchanged

The Radio Chemicals Centre
On White Lion Road, is what for many years was known as The Radio Chemicals Centre. This facility was established in World War II making amongst other things luminous paint. After the War it developed medical isotopes. It became Amersham International when privatized in the 1980s and after a few changes is now part of GE Healthcare, part of the General Electric Company of America
Nycomed
Built opposite the shops in Little Chalfont, this is GE Healthcare, built originally for Amersham International as the facilities of the original Radio Chemicals centre grew into this large company.. The blue roof caused some controversy when built. The site has always been "industrial", there have previously been small factories and works in the area.

St. George's Church on White Lion Road. The design was such that it could be extended on both sides, but this has not happened.

Not far from St. George's Church on the opposite side is St. Aidan's R C Church

The Little Chalfont Methodist Society was established in October 1952, and services were initially held in the Village Hall. In 1954 land for the present site of the Church, in Chalfont Avenue, was purchased and the foundations were laid in November 1958. The original buildings were completed and dedicated in July 1959. Over the years the buildings were extended to cater for increasing demand. In July 1993 disaster struck and much of the Church was destroyed by fire. However after two years of planning, and a year of building, when services were conducted in Bell Lane School, the new Church reopened in October 1996. Today the Church continues to be a centre for worship, and is a hive of activity, supporting many church and non church activities. It will continue to be a centre of fellowship in the Village for many years to come. See here for more details
The Sugar Loaves
The Sugar Loaves Pub, left before the refurbishment of 2006 and after on the right. The pub's name commemorate the way in which sugar was sold in the 18th and 19th centuries. The old pub sign depicted on one side the Sugar Loaf mountain at Abergavenny in South Wales and on the other the Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, perhaps the sign painter did not know what a sugar loaf was!.
The White Lion
The White Lion pub. One of several pubs found on Amersham Common is now in Little Chalfont. An extension was built onto the front of the pub in I believe the late 19th Century.
White Lion Estate
Refurbished in the 1990s, the White Lion Estate now called Chiltern Heights and maintained by the Chiltern Hundreds Housing Association. Exactly where these flats is located is perhaps an interesting question. Are they in Amersham Common or Little Chalfont? The establishment of the Parish of Little Chalfont in 2007 has put them in in Chalfont.

White Lion Estate now called Chiltern Heights as seen in 1979

As mentioned above, there is no real gap between Little Chalfont and Amersham (Common). The above view of White Lion Road shows some of the old shops and Amersham Common village hall on the right.

For further information about Little Chalfont visit The Little Chalfont Village Society web site here

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