Memories of Chalfont St Peter

The River Misbourne once flowed over the main road   at one point and was known as 'the splash'. Horses and carts paused here to be washed down. When the first cars came they often got stuck in the splash and the local lads would call out, 'Push you out for a penny, Sir'. At times the houses were flooded and on one occasion the customers were marooned in a pub. A foot-bridge was built and eventually by 1968 the River Misbourne had competely disappeared under a shopping precinct and parking space with flats above.
The London to Aylesbury coach stopped every five miles and as a coaching stop Chalfont St Peter was a village of pubs. Several have been demolished in the last twenty years, but the Greyhound, visited once by Sir Winston Churchill on his way to Chequers from No 10 still stands. A few years ago a grand archway through which the coach and horses passed, was blocked up and made into a dining room.

When the first buses came, their route could be changed without warning because the driver went wherever the majority of passengers wished and stopped at their own front gates. The fare to London was- half a crown.

There have always been gravel pits in the area, many now filled in and built on. A local pig farmer was  distressed when because of swine fever his animals had to be destroyed, but while digging graves for them he found gravel and made more money than he ever had on pigs.

Phyllis Warden, Chalfont St Peter

Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes