Horn Hill

Horn Hill was meant to have been a model village and, where the Hall now stands, there were at the turn of the century, six picturesque cottages but without 'mod-cons'. Mr H. D. Harben, the then Chairman of the Prudential, bought Newland Park and much of the adjoining land, farms, and above-mentioned six cottages.
On inspecting his agent's book, he saw that one cottage was rented by someone and found it to be a young man who used it in the week-nights for a games and reading room for the youth of the locality and, on Sundays, for a Sunday School and evening service. He refused to take more rent and said that he would build a suitable building for the Sunday work and a recreation room. It meant the demolition of the cottages, and, firstly, he built 12 cottages in three blocks of four higher up in Roberts Lane, and as a temporary measure, let the young man have rent-free a cottage he owned up Rickmansworth Lane. He intended making a model village of the whole area, but alas he died in 1910 before completion of the Hall. The Village Hall was being built on the site where had stood the six cottages opposite the small church - St Paul's - a Chapel of Ease.

Mr Eric Harben, his son, had the Hall completed and he opened it in 1911. Mr Harben was a barrister and he drew up the rules for the running of the Hall. Unfortunately, the First World War made it impossible for Mr Harben to carry on living at Newland Park, so that the model village his father had envisaged did not come to pass. So many people have wondered why such an outstanding building is found in such a rural setting, and one wonders what Horn Hill would have been like had Mr Henry Harben lived and had fulfilled his dream. The first 12 cottages were the beginning of the dream, and the Village Hall was and is a monument to his memory.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission

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