Powerflush nearby to High Wycombe
High Wycombe, also known as Wycombe, is a large market town in the English county of Buckinghamshire. It is located 29 miles (47 kilometers) west-northwest of Charing Cross in London, in the Wye Valley, surrounded by the Chiltern Hills; this information is also engraved on the Corn Market building in the town’s center. It is also 13.2 miles (21.2 kilometers) south-southeast of Aylesbury, 23.4 miles (37.7 kilometers) southeast of Oxford, 15.4 miles (24.8 kilometers) northeast of Reading, and 7.7 miles (12.4 kilometers) north of Maidenhead. High Wycombe has a population of 125,257 people, making it the second largest town in Buckinghamshire after Milton Keynes, according to official ONS estimates for 2016. The High Wycombe Urban Area, of which the town is the most populous component, has a population of 133,204 people.
High Wycombe is primarily an impoverished area. The civil parish of Chepping Wycombe, which had a population of 14,455 according to the 2001 census, is part of the urban area; this parish represents that part of the ancient parish of Chepping Wycombe that was outside the former municipal borough of Wycombe. Wycombe is a mix of an industrial and a market town, with a long history of furniture manufacturing. Since at least the Middle Ages, there has been a market on the High Street. Currently, the market is held on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
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History from the beginning
The town once had a Roman villa (built 150–170 AD), which was excavated three times, the most recently in 1954. Mosaics and a bathhouse were discovered at the site, which is now part of the Rye parkland. According to the Oxford English Dictionary of Place-Names, the name Wycombe, which was first recorded in 799–802 as “Wichama,” is more likely to be Old English “wic” and the plural of Old English “ham,” and probably means “dwellings”; the name of the river was a late back-formation. Wycombe was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as having six mills.
In 970, the existence of a settlement at High Wycombe was first recorded as ‘Wicumun.’ Wulfstan, the visiting Bishop of Worcester, consecrated the parish church in 1086. The town was granted market borough status in 1222, and its first moot hall was built in 1226, followed by a market hall in 1476.
The population was 3,184 according to the 1841 census.
Trade and industrial growth
High Wycombe remained a mill town throughout the Middle Ages and the Tudor period, producing lace and linen cloth. It was also a popular stopover on the way from Oxford to London, with many visitors staying in the town’s taverns and inns.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, High Wycombe had a thriving paper industry. Because the Wye’s waters were high in chalk, they were ideal for bleaching pulp. The cloth industry quickly surpassed the paper industry.
Furniture (particularly Windsor chairs), Wycombe’s most famous industry, took hold in the nineteenth century, with furniture factories springing up all over the town. To accommodate those working in the furniture factories, many terraced workers’ houses were built to the east and west of town. In 1875, it was estimated that 4,700 chairs were manufactured per day in High Wycombe. When Queen Victoria visited the town in 1877, the council erected an arch of chairs over the High Street, with the words “Long live the Queen” boldly printed across the arch for the Queen to pass under. The Wycombe Museum has many examples of locally made chairs as well as information on the local furniture and lace industries.
The town’s population increased from 13,000 in 1881 to 29,000 in 1928. The furniture industry dominated both socially and economically in Wycombe.
The twentieth century
By the 1920s, many of Wycombe’s residential areas had degenerated into slums. The council initiated a slum clearance scheme in 1932, in which many areas were completely demolished and residents were rehoused in new estates that sprawled above the town on the valley slopes. Some of the areas demolished were truly run-down, such as Newland, where the majority of the houses were deemed unfit for human habitation. However, some areas, such as St. Mary’s Street, had beautiful old buildings that were excellent examples of 18th and 19th century architecture.
High Wycombe was the headquarters of the Royal Air Force Bomber Command from 1940 to 1968. Furthermore, from May 1942 to July 1945, the United States Army Air Force’s 8th Air Force Bomber Command, codenamed “Pinetree,” was based at a former girls’ school in High Wycombe. On February 22, 1944, this was renamed Headquarters, 8th Air Force.
The town center was redeveloped in the 1960s. This entailed burying the River Wye beneath concrete and demolishing the majority of Wycombe’s historic buildings. Two shopping malls were built, as well as numerous multi-story parking garages, office buildings, flyovers, and roundabouts.