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Amersham
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Pictorial Tour of Amersham
Houses in Amersham on the Hill

Station Road
Many people know that Amersham is a town of two parts, the historical Old Town and Amersham on the Hill which developed after the arrival of the railway in 1892. At first sight it might be thought that the Old Town is the only part of Amersham of real interest. However, this is not the case. Amersham on the Hill has much to interest people and is far from an ordinary town.

Amersham on the Hill is built on what used to be Amersham Common. Over the centuries the Common was encroached upon and finally enclosed and turned over to farming. There was little in the way of development, only a few pubs, farms and workers cottages. With the coming of the railway, forced to traverse the hill above Amersham owing to the demands of the land owners, the potential for development was created. However, as there was little development in the region of the station, no major building took place for about 15 years. This meant Amersham on the Hill did not get rows of terraced Victorian houses and associated shopping as many other towns did when railways arrived.

The Station Hotel (now the Iron Horse) was built by the station and the houses above were built at the top of Station Road, but little else until the 1900s.
Grimsdells Lane
These two cottages on Grimsdells Lane (which used to be called Meads Lane - Grimsdells was the name of a local family) are an example of the type of building that was on Amersham Common before the development of Amersham on the Hill. The cottages have been extended where the sloping roof is. At one time this was a black smiths. This is where a blacksmiths was and Shortway just beyond these cottages used to be called Church Lane. Other old cottages from when the Common existed can be seen in Chestnut Land (which used to be called Red Lion Road), Plantation Road and Woodside Road.
Lexham Gardens
However, in the early 1900s developers did take an interest in Amersham. London architect John Kennard and developers he was associated with started to design housing in Amersham, which was very distinctive. A number of the designs won awards. Above is a block in Lexham Gardens.
South Road
These houses designed by Kennard in South Road are a fine example of the quality of housing being developed in Amersham
Rickmansworth Road
These houses in Rickmansworth Road indicate the thought that went into designing many houses in the area
Hervines Road
Hervines Road, you can't see any of the houses as they are set back from the road on their own plot of land. Each is distinctive. This type of development has seen many similar houses be demolished in the last 20 years in Amersham and replaced by smaller houses and flats on the same plot
Woodside Close
It is thought by many that Amersham on the Hill was largely developed by the Metropolitan Estates Company. The Metropolitan Railway had acquired much land when it was building its railway out of London in the 1890s. It realised it could develop this land, build houses and shops for people to move out of London into what it called "Metroland" and sell them railway tickets back into London for their work. The "Met" developed many former rural areas along its route such as Neasden, Wembley, Pinner and Northwood. The "Met" turned its attention to Amersham in the 1930s, but before that Amersham on the Hill had already started to develop, led by Kennard and his associates. A local charity had also sold some of its land in the Amersham area (notably around Lexham Gardens) for development. After World War I the development continued. Various schemes and companies were set up to take advantage of the grants and similar schemes available for house building. Elm Close near the station was built by one such scheme.

One of the "Met's" first developments in Amersham was Woodside Close, shown above. Built in the early 1930s the houses were well designed and specified and again distinctive. There were different types of houses a buyer could choose and even though they were built by a railway company, they had garages for cars!
Met houses
In 1938 The "Met" built the Weller Estate in Amersham.
Grimsdells Lane
Grimsdells Lane is a typical Amersham on the Hill road. In the right is the edge of the Weller Estate, the rest of the road has had housing developed by other building firms, both pre and post World War II
Highover Park
In 1929 in what is now High Over Park (above), the famous High & Over House was built.


Picture Courtesy of Ian Halley
Designed by Connell in the Modernist style High & Over was built for Professor Bernard Ashmole by Watson's of Ascot.

Picture Courtesy of Ian Halley
High & Over is built in the shape of a "Y". Whether it is an urban myth or not I'm not sure, but I have been told that High and Over during World War II had to be camouflaged as the distinctive shape of the house gave directions to German bombers on their routes to their targets in Britain.

Picture Courtesy of Ian Halley
The original house was joined shortly after by similar "Sun Houses". When the houses were built they were in the open with fine views over the Misbourne valley. Since then trees and vegetation have grown around the houses. High and Over has appeared on several TV programmes, and was the centre stage of an LWT produced Poirot
Sun House
Picture Courtesy of Ray Tomlins
Above is one of the later "Sun Houses". The houses caused much interest, John Betjeman, a supporter of Metroland, said the ocean liner style and stark outlines "scandalized all Buckinghamshire", but he became a fan of them. A writer in "Countryside" compared them with "the flat white houses of the Mediterranean and ultimately with lucid and practical ideals of classical civilisation".

Picture Courtesy of Ray Tomlins
Another view of a Sun House.

100 Acres
After World Way II, there was a need for housing. The Hundred Acre Estate was developed by local builders such as Woodley's. The development lies in an area bounded by Station Road, the railway line at the top of the hill, Stanley Hill and the London Road in the valley.
Station Road
Station Road was built to join the Old Town to the new railway station and Amersham-on-the-Hill. Over the 20th century, houses have been built all away along the road joining the two parts of Amersham.
Stanely Hill
Stanley Hill, much older than Station Road, was on the route of the old trade route through Amersham. Like the development along Station Road linking the two Amershams, Stanley Hill has also had houses built along it, together with the Amersham School and Amersham College
White Lion Estate
Changing ideas in housing can be seen in Amersham. In the 1960s the White Lion Estate was built by the Council comprising several blocks of flats. These were refurbished in the 1990s
Park Place
Later housing developments in Amersham include Park Place.
New Hosuing
Over the last 20 years there has been much infilling in Amersham, with office blocks being built in the centre of Amersham (Old Town and on the Hill) and small development of housing built on remaining open ground or in place of larger houses originally built on large plots. Above is a 1980 development on King George V Road, next to the police station and council offices.
Green Lane
Another example of in filling at Green Lane. Previously this land was occupied by one large house, now several dwellings have been built, these back to back
Chesham Bois has a fine selection of distinctive houses. There were relatively few buildings and residents in the parish before 1860. After that time, the development of the area proceeded in waves, of which arguably the most important was the building of "Arts and Crafts" houses between about 1903 and 1925.

More details of Chesham Bois can be found here

Please note, that the following pages contain large numbers of photographs. The photographs have been compressed, but it may still take a few minutes to download each page.

Please choose a link for the part of the tour you wish to view

The Market Hall Market Square
High Street Church Street
Whielden Street The Platt
The Broadway Gore Hill / Bury Farm
Views of Old Amersham The Martyrs Memorial
The River Misbourne Yards and Alleys
Amersham on the Hill Houses Station Road
Sycamore Road Hill Avenue
Chiltern Avenue Woodside Road
Miscellaneous Panorama / 360 Degree Views
View from St. Mary's Church Tower On Line Maps of Amersham
You may also be interested in the Streets of Amersham picture gallery here

Most of the pictures on this pictorial tour have been taken since 1995. For old pictures of Amersham, see the Old Pictures of Amersham pages

For pictures of Chesham Bois, Little Chalfont and Amersham's schools, churches and pubs, see the links from the main Amersham homes page, link at the bottom of this page.

Any additions, corrections, alterations, please email the web master


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