Memories of Stoke Common

Gerrards Cross was a very small village, and consisted mainly of the houses surrounding the common. The village shop, owned by Mr Wood, was adjacent to the French Horn public house and Mr Wood was also the baker. His daughter, Mrs Newman, with her husband opened a baker's shop near Gerrards Cross station after the railway was constructed from London to the Midlands.
The village school still stands, close to the Pack-horse public house, and the Bull on the western end of the common was the stopping place for the four-in-hand coach which ran from London to Oxford.
Jesse Dell, a carrier,' made the journey from Chalfont to London three times a week, summer and winter and was frequently called on to take material from Finsbury Park to Chalfont House.

It was great fun crossing the water splash in Chalfont Village, which remained until the advent of the motor car.

Besides being a builder, Mr Knight of Stoke Common was a wheelwright and undertaker—there was always a coffin being made in the carpenter's shop and a blacksmith regularly employed fitting the iron rims to the wagon wheels and making the various brackets and fittings required for the construction of the farm wagons. There were also two pit-sawyers constantly sawing tree trunks into planks.

Oil lamps were in use until the electricity supply was brought to Stoke Common after the First World War.
Collum Green Road was originally called Parish Lane and then One Pin Lane. Hedgerley Park was owned by Mrs Stevenson, and her farm bailiff lived at Colly Hill Farm (now a house called Tara). We had to go there each morning to get the milk.
I forget the name of the owner of Fulmer Hall but well remember the tea and firework display given by the owner on the occasion when his son was released from prison for his part in the Jameson Raid on the Transvaal. It must have been about 1898.

The only transport at that time was provided by Mr Glenister who lived at Mount Pleasant, Hedgerley Dean. He had a horse and waggonette and made the journey from Hedgerley to Slough morning and afternoon in the summer and mornings in the winter. He was a fine-looking man, resembling Edward VII, and he used to announce his approach with a tune on his horn. He would undertake to deliver or collect parcels in Slough and make purchases if required.
After the First World War, a Mr Potter and a Mr Clark operated small motor buses between Stoke Common and Slough and gave a very efficient service. Eventually they were displaced by Premier Bus Co., then the GWR, and later by London Transport. There was no shop at Stoke Common and the nearest doctor lived at Farnham Common. The Fox and Pheasant public house had been there for half a century and its nearest neighbours were the Sefton Arms (now the Six Bells) and the One Pin.
We frequently walked to Burnham Beeches, which to us meant the Plain, where there was a wooden hut from which sweets and ginger beer could be obtained. Nearby was a donkey stand where one could have a ride for one penny.
The Fair visited Stoke Common every year in the late summer—it was quite an event.

Honor Gamble,   Stoke Poges & Wexham

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

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