Kari Dorme writes “Over the past decade, I have organised many events on behalf of the Beaconsfield Society to celebrate and commemorate some of our town’s most famous residents associated with literature and the arts, and to mark significant historical events in the town. These have helped raise awareness and foster pride in our town’s story and have attracted very positive publicity in local and national press and also on the BBC.
I believe that Beaconsfield has a fantastic opportunity to honour its famous residents when the Wilton Park development eventually takes shape. In naming new roads on the development after them we can go beyond the ubiquitous street names which modern developments often tend to attract, and celebrate our rich past.
Local historian Donald Stanley and I have therefore drawn up a list of people associated with Beaconsfield over the centuries, whose names have made or could make meaningful place names. We recognise some already through existing road names and these are shown first; why don’t we continue to honour more of our famous citizens as new roads are built? We recognise others through plaques erected in the town (there are several already) and some may be good candidates for road names as well. There are yet more which would be worthy of recognition someday, including some for Wilton Park directly related to its illustrious WW2 history.
Where a name has already been used in the New Town of Beaconsfield, eg Chesterton Green or Blyton Close, I also suggest using their first names as an alternative for the new Wilton Park development. i.e. Gilbert Road or Enid Close. (But for the really notable names, featuring them more than once in town shouldn’t be a problem).”
Beaconsfield Persons of Historical Interest
Twins Francis and Riversdale Grenfell
Lived at Wilton Park until their parents died whereupon their uncle Field Marshall Lord Grenfell of Butler’s Court became their guardian. Francis was awarded one of the first Victoria Crosses of WW1 (not the first). Please note that there is already a Grenfell Road in Beaconsfield but Francis and or Riversdale could be used in Wilton Park.
Critic, poet, essayist, Christian journalist, author of novels and short stories (Father Brown). Lived in Beaconsfield at two different houses in Grove Road, Overroads and Top Meadow where there is a Blue plaque for him. Chesterton Green is named after him. He is probably significant enough to warrant an additional place name at Wilton Park, but his first name, Gilbert, could also be used.
Poet and politician, lived in Little Hall Barn, Windsor End, and later in Hall Barn which he designed.
There is already a Waller Road in Beaconsfield. His first name could be used, Edmund.
World famous children’s writer, resident of Beaconsfield 1938-1968. Blyton Close Beaconsfield is on the site of her house Green Hedges. Plaque erected on Beaconsfield Town Council garden. Her first name could alternatively be used, Enid.
From about 1760 the Du Pre family-owned Wilton Park Estate. There is already a Du Pre Crescent in Wilton Park and we must hope that this is retained. A major road near to the Crescent could also use Du Pre.
Lady Ann Hyde
Her husband was introduced to the Gunpowder Plot by her uncle, Edmund Waller. He was hanged; Waller was pardoned. Their graves are adjacent to one another in St Mary’s churchyard. She founded one of Beaconsfield’s charities. There is already a named Hyde Green in Beaconsfield. Lady Anne could be used.
America’s premier poet, resident of Beaconsfield 1912. He was published for the first time whilst in Beaconsfield and wrote some of his most famous poems here. Plaque erected at 26 Reynolds Road but otherwise not honoured.
Sir Terry Pratchett
Renowned fantasy author born in Beaconsfield 1948, died 2015. Plaque erected outside Beaconsfield Library.
Children’s writer and the creator of Little Grey Rabbit stories. Resident of Beaconsfield 1938- 1976.
Plaque erected Beaconsfield Town Council garden.
Spent his boyhood days in Beaconsfield at Bishops House in Reynolds Road which still stands but has become flats. He led a remarkable life as a soldier, intelligence agent, barrister, Member of Parliament and Shadow Secretary of State. He was assassinated outside The House of Commons on 30 March 1979.
World famous British animator director and producer , he was the creator of Wallace and Gromit whilst he lived and worked as a postgraduate student at The National Film and TV School in Beaconsfield.
Wilton Park – Important Names from WW2
Colonel Thomas Kendrick OBE masterminded and commanded an intelligence operation from Wilton Park, Latimer House and Trent Park to record the conversations of senior German commanders and thousands of German POWs. It was at these sites under his direction that information was finally confirmed of Hitler’s deadly weapons programme of V1 and V2, as well as the atomic bomb. This intelligence shortened the war and saved lives and is now recognised on a par with Bletchley Park.
Fritz Lustig worked as a secret listener at Wilton Park and Latimer House. Like other secret listeners, he had fled Nazi Germany as a Jewish refugee and volunteered for the British Army. He was transferred to the Intelligence Corps and signed the Official Secrets Act. He met his future wife Susan Cohn at Wilton Park – she was also engaged on top-secret work. He first raised awareness of his clandestine role over a decade ago and this enabled the story to be finally told by historian Dr Helen Fry.
(Omitted but may be considered are film and TV people such as Dame Wendy Hiller, Margaret Rutherford, Dirk Bogarde, Bert Weedon, Betty Box and Peter Rogers.)
Some more that are so far unrecognised (in alphabetical order!)
Bagley Builders of early part of new Town; bell ringers; one was a Churchwarden at St Mary’s. Members of Cricket Club, of which one was Captain; played at Wilton Park.
Charsley For over 150 years men of the Charsley family were Beaconsfield’s solicitors. Amongst other offices held were Clerk of the Turnpike Trust, Clerk to Beaconsfield UDC, Steward of local estates, School Manager, and Churchwarden. One of their ladies, Matilda, carved St Mary’s pulpit and font. Another, Fanny Anne, published illustrations of Australian wild flowers in tribute to which the Australian daisy was named Helipterum charsleyae.
Norman Collins Spent childhood in house which is now the Nationwide branch in Penn Road. Former Head of BBC Television who resigned to become a leader of the campaign to end its monopoly. Coined the term ‘Independent Television’ in place of ‘Commercial Television’. Author: ‘London Belongs to Me’, ‘Children of the Archbishop’ etc.
William Hickey Drinker, gambler, womaniser. Lived in Little Hall Barn. Noted for his ‘Memoirs ( 1749-1775).
Lord Reith of Stonehaven First Director General of BBC; lived at Harrias House. There is a Lord Reith Place near Harrias House.
These ideas have been submitted to Inland Homes and Bewley Homes in advance of their forthcoming development, and to every Town, District and County Councillor who represents us, being well received by all (many wrote to thank Kari). If anyone knows of other deserving former citizens, please get in touch. Let’s celebrate the past!