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Amersham Then & Now

For many centuries, Amersham did not change a great deal. However, with the coming of the Metropolitan Railway in 1892, Amersham started to change with the creation of Amersham on the Hill. Over recent years, there have been many changes. Much infilling has taken place. Below are some examples of how some of the area has changed. If anyone has any other old pictures which can be compared with today, we would be pleased to receive them, please email the web master

Left, Sycamore Road early 1960s. The Regent Cinema dominates, on the left trees in front of the then Free Church. On the right, same location in 2006. The regent Cinema went in the 1960s and in the 1980s the shops next to it were replaced with more modern buildings.  In 2018 the site is being redeveloped again.

Sycamore Road 1950sSycamore Road 1960Sycamore Road 1990s

The Oakfield Corner end of Sycamore Road has not changed much over the years. The left picture is from the 1950s, the next 1960s and the third 1990s. With the exception of the road markings and shop fronts, the view is much the same.

Hill Avenue 1950sHill Avenue 1990s

On the left Hill Avenue in the 1950s.  At this time there were still quite a few houses on the road and a tree on the left.  By the 2000s, the road was all shops and offices with The Entertainer toy shop at the Oakfield Corner end.  With The Entertainer having moved around the corner onto Sycamore Road, the building was rebuilt in 2015 with flats above a new bar / cafe called Metro Lounge.

Sycamore Corner has changed quite a bit. The picture on the left is from the 1950s, on the right 2000. The parade of shops on the north west side remains, but a new 1970s block has been built to the right along Rickmansworth road. On the other side of the road the numerous small shops and houses have been replaced with a 1960s development of shops, offices and flats stretching along Sycamore Road and Woodside Road.

Red Lion PubChestnut lane

The picture above shows the Red Lion pub on Chestnut Lane.  One Friday night in 2012 the pub suddenly closed and was quickly partly demolished.  After a dipsute the devlopers replaced the pub with houses, on of which can be seen in the right hand picture above.

Left The Iron Horse, formerly the Station hotel. One of the first buildings to be built after the opening of the station in 1892, refurbished into the pub above.  The right picture shows the building which replaced it when the pub suddenly closed in 2004. Following a planning appeal, the pub was demolished and replaced by the flats with a restaurant on the ground floor.

Station Road 1890s

The top of Station Road has changed quite a lot. The 1890s picture on the left shows the original railway bridge with the Station Hotel visible beyond. The hotel was renamed the Iron Horse (itself now gone) and re styled. The picture on the right shows the new railway bridge built in 1960 which includes an extra track necessary when Amersham became the terminus of the Metropolitan Line.

Pictures Courtesy of Ken's Beijing Chinese Restaurant

Just below the railway bridge at the top of Station Road saw the first commercial development in Amersham on the Hill. The original plan was for Station Road to become the main shopping street for Amersham on the Hill, but that never happened, leaving just a few shops at the top.  Station Parade was designed by London Architect John Kennard. The left hand picture is from 1905, the right hand picture from 2007. Although the modern shop fronts have spoiled the look of the building today, it can still be seen to be a handsome construction. The 1905 picture in many ways is very "London" in its look. The building used to contain Weatherall the Medical Eye Centre and a Swindles (news agents). On the right the auction rooms now occupy part of the building. The auction rooms are housed in an interesting building. Originally it was the Bijou Hall, then the Playbox cinema.  It was then converted to the Play House Theatre and opened in 1936, with seats for 240. The repertory company had moved from Chesham Bois (where they had used a barn on what is now the Beacon school site) and proved quite popular for a few years. Dirk Bogarde made his early appearances at the theatre, but after the war it could not compete with the changing tastes of the time (television?) and by 1956 the local estate agents had purchased the building.

Hill Avenune 2015Hill Avenue 2018

Hill Avenue 2015Hill Avenue 2018

The pictures on the left above show part of Hill Avenue in 2015 and those on the left the same site redeveloped in 2018.  The site is deceptively large and extends to also face Chesham Road.  The original 1970s development replaced houses originally built in the 1920s / 30s.  When opened in the 1930s the block included Amersham's first wine Bar called "Annies: along with "Tuck In" the chip shop (later Nautica" and a TV / Hi Fi / Record shop called Audio Visual Systems.  The redeveloped site I believe looks nicer and includes more flats above.
Fosters 1968Fosters 1968

The above pictures, courtesy of Mike Powdrill, show Fosters Garage on Chesham Road in 1968.  This is opposite the entrance to Dr. Challoners.  This site was redeveloped in the 1970s and joined the site which fronted onto Hill Avenue, forming a garage on the ground floor with flats above (shops on ground floor and flats above on Hill Avenue).

Chehsam Road 2015Chesham Road 2018

The above picture on the left shows the Chesham Road site in 2015 just before it was redeveloped, with the new building now with Majestic Wine on the ground floor opening in 2018.

Left, view of buildings towards the top of Station Road taken in the 1930s. Picture courtesy of the late Peggy Bonner nee Gilbert-Brown, who lived in "Woodcot" in the 1930s. Right, the same buildings in 2006

At the junction of Woodside Road and Chiltern Avenue was a large building.  For many years it was Ward and Medleys, a furniture repository. The building was then used by Freezer Fare which was one of the first retailers to sell frozen food, both single items and bulk items.  The picture above on the left was taken by Gill Bilski during the carnival in 1985.  The building was demolished in the 1990s and replaced by an office block, which has had many occupants since then and in 2018 is being converted into flats.

Left, view from junction of Chiltern Avenue and King George V Road from late 1970s. The picture shows the former open air car park in front of the police station law courts. On the right the same location in early 2000s with the Chiltern District Council offices occupying the former car park site.

On the left, the view of the station from the 1970s. The remains of the goods yard are still visible along with the goods shed. The two right views from 2006 show how the trees have grown up to hide not only housing, but the multi story car park and the office block.

The above picture on the left shows station goods shed in 1981 not long before demolition. The goods yard had closed in the 1960s, but the land around the shed became a coal yard and car park. On the right, this 2006 view of the same location showed the then NHBC offices and multi story car park.  The NHBC offices have since been demolished and replaced.

CLICK HERE to see details of the change from the NHBC building to the Decimal Place building

H Flack 1934H Fack 1972
Pictures courtesy of Malcolm Flack

For many years the site of H Flack and Son's garage on White Lion Road close to Black Horse Bridge was a familiar site.  The cars and garage changed over the years as the pictures from 1934 (left) and 1972 show.  For more details of how Flacks and other garages  in Amersham, see Amersham Garages page

Amersham Audi
Pictures courtesy of Malcolm Flack

The same site now is home to Amersham Audi

The above picture on the left shows the flats on the White Lion Road taken in the late 1970s. In the 1990s they were refurbished to give them a softer more human look, shown in the picture on the right.

Market Hall 1920sMarket Hall 1990s

One of the biggest changes in Amersham happened in the 1930s in Old Amersham. As a slum clearance project, the row of cottages in Market Square and along Church Row were demolished. This created the wide road by the Market Hall. The picture on the left above shows the end of the cottages which were demolished. Also demolished in later years was the porch of The Crown.

The above pictures shows views of the bus garage in the Old Town. Top left the bus garage viewed in early 1960s and top right bus garage probably from the early 1970s. Below left the side of the garage from the mid 1980s. As can hopefully be seen, the bus garage and associated offices on the right hand side (facing) were quite a large building. It was a classic 1930s design. Below right, the entrance to Tesco, the petrol station of which occupies the site of the former bus garage.

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