PENN’S MP Sarah Green is holding talks with the Treasury this month about the future of local banking after the last bank in our area announced it is closing its doors on 21 September.
Lloyds at Hazlemere Crossroads said that three out of four of its customers had stopped making personal visits to the bank over the past five years as more people turn to online banking.
The closure means there are now no banks within four miles of Penn and Tylers Green. Both Amersham and Beaconsfield are without bank branches, or soon will be. Customers wishing to visit Lloyds in person will have to travel to its High Wycombe branch.
Ms Green told this blog: “I will be meeting the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Andrew Griffith) to discuss the protection of in-person banking and the need for a local banking hub.
“I have met with representatives of various High Street banks over the past year to convey my concerns about planned closures and find out what support is being put in place for their customers.
“There is local concern that the alternative provision delivered by the Post Office or offered in small pop-up locations on an appointment-only basis will not go far enough.
“I am keen to explore the potential for a community banking hub in this constituency.”
Banking hubs have been established elsewhere in the UK where bank branches have become non-existent. They comprise a counter service run by Post Office staff where customers of almost any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular transactions.
The closure brings to an end over 100 years of personal banking in the Penn and Tylers Green area.
Keep scrolling to see our Penn 7/Fun Run/Party by the Pond picture special…
Honouring Rayners compassionate past and anticipating its promising future
IT DIDN’T go unnoticed locally that the MBE awarded to DJ Ken Bruce in the King’s Birthday Honours last month was awarded not only for his contribution to broadcasting but also in recognition of his work in raising awareness of autism.
Ken’s son Murray, now 21, attended Penn School in Church Road, Penn, which catered for deaf and autistic children.
Ken was an active supporter of the school, joining the unsuccessful campaign to save it from closure in 2016. In his autobiography Ken wrote of Murray, who doesn’t speak and communicates mainly via his tablet computer: “My son is not lost. He is simply different.”
Meanwhile, the future of the Penn School building, now being restored and renovated under its original name of Rayners, will become clear in the next few weeks when the new owners submit an outline planning application to covert it into a luxury hotel, including a top end restaurant, bistro, cookery school and spa.
Planning consultants Lichfields, responsible for seeing through projects like Bisham Abbey Elite Sports Centre, Brighton Marina and Broadcasting House, are holding a public consultation on the plans this month so they can obtain local views before submitting the outline plan.
You can see proposed details of the scheme on https://raynerspenn.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/RaynersEvent.pdf
and you can comment via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Labour’s foray into ‘blue’ Tylers Green
THE general election may be a year away, but the local parties are gearing up for action.
The Labour party made a rare excursion into Tylers Green last month (I’ve lived here for over 40 years and it’s the first time they’ve knocked on my door), because they clearly feel Conservative MP Steve Baker’s 4,214 majority is there for the taking.
In fact, a Savanta opinion poll for LabourList last autumn indicated their candidate, Emma Reynolds, a former shadow cabinet member, would win the Wycombe constituency which is partly why the national party has put Wycombe on its ‘winnable’ list.
The local party was well pleased with its door-knocking in Tylers Green (not Penn, it’s in the Liberal Democrat held Chesham and Amersham constituency), writing on its Facebook page: “Amazing level of welcome, support and desire for change in this traditionally ‘blue’ part of the constituency.”
The local Tories are keeping their powder dry for now, but building up a cash reserve ready for the fight. The latest Parliamentary register of financial interest declarations for Mr Baker showed that last month his local Conservative association received £10,000 from businessman Sir Rocco Forte and £5,000 from a company in Dorset.
New dig – A further archeological dig is to take place on the Ashwells Field site in Tylers Green before the building of a new housing development begins next year. It will take place near the south east corner of the site near where some Roman tiles and pottery were discovered 30 years ago. Trial pits dug in the centre of the site in 2020 failed to produce archeological finds.
Vicar installed – The Rev Samuel Thorp was installed as the new vicar of Penn and Tylers Green at a service in Holy Trinity, Penn conducted by the Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson on 15 June. The Rev Thorp and his wife Linnea are now living in the vicarage in Church Road, Penn.
New minister – Rachel Prince takes over as minister at Tylers Green Methodist Church next month from the Rev Vida Foday, who is retiring. She will also cover Methodist churches in Holmer Green, Cryers Hill and Downley.
Top teacher – Claire Blackburn, a teacher at Alfriston School, the school for girls with special needs in Knotty Green, Penn, was voted Teacher of the Year in the Buckinghamshire School Awards.
Community award – Miles Green, the former chairman and current vice-chairman of the Penn and Tylers Green Residents’ Society, has been awarded a certificate in the ‘highly commended’ category of the Proud of Bucks Awards, for his work in the community.
Movie planned – A movie about the life of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the leading suffragette who spent her final years in Tylers Green (see last blog) will begin filming at the end of the year. The movie, a joint UK-Indian production, will be titled Lioness.
Burglary concerns – A crime survey by the police found that 57 per cent of those questioned in the area that includes Penn and Tylers Green were most concerned about house burglaries, following an increase of break-ins in recent weeks. Local drug-taking and speeding traffic were the major concerns for 43 per cent of the local population.
School improvements – New fire alarms, sensors and detectors are being installed at Manor Farm Junior School in the school holidays.
Doctors’ plans – Highfield Surgery in Highfield Way, Hazlemere is to set up a patient participation group as part of a scheme to involve patients in future plans for the practice.
Child stuck – A 12 year old girl, playing on the baby swing at Rose Avenue recreation ground, became trapped and had to be cut free by firefighters.
Open days – Holy Trinity, Penn’s 12th century church, will be open for tours during the national heritage weekend from 8 to 10 September.
Village Show – The Penn and Tylers Green Village Show will be in the village hall on Saturday 9 September. You can view the categories, find out how to enter and submit an entry form on its website, www.pennandtylersgreenvillageshow.com
Snatches of Schubert and stashes of loot
BEECHWOOD Cottage, at the Penn Bottom end of Common Wood Lane, was put on the market last month with offers invited in the region of two and a quarter million.
The current cottage was built just 35 years ago, but the one it replaced, with the same name, was a charming ancient building which was home for more than 20 years to Gerald Moore, one of Britain’s finest classical pianists.
Walkers in the adjoining Common Wood would often hear beautiful renditions of Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert wafting through the woodland.
In an early edition of Village Voice historian Miles Green notes that local legend has it that the cottage was once the home of a highwayman, making a decent living robbing passing stagecoaches. Apparently he used to keep his loot hanging from old beams in the dining room. No proof of that story unfortunately, but the fact that the nearby field is called “Stages” helps support the theory.
Penn’s remarkable heroine
ONE HUNDRED years ago this month one of the most celebrated women ever to live in Penn died at the age of 54 from cancer.
Dr Flora Murray, known to her friends as ‘Flo’, was one of the first women doctors in Britain and a prominent suffragette.
Aged 21 she worked as a nurse at the London Hospital in Whitechapel in 1890 and decided she would dedicate her life to medicine. In an age when women were only grudgingly accepted in the medical profession she studied at the London School of Medicine for Women and Durham University.
Women doctors at the beginning of the 20th century were only permitted to treat women and children and were discouraged from studying general medicine and surgery. Such discrimination led Flora to fight passionately for women’s rights.
She met Dr Lousia Garrett Anderson who was to become her friend and partner for life. They lived and worked in London but used a cottage by Long Pond in Elm Road, Penn as a weekend retreat.
In her book Endell Street, writer Wendy Moore describes how visitors would alight the train at Beaconsfield to be met “by an elderly man named Buckles who drove them in a pony and trap through lush countryside to the little village of Penn, nestling in the Chiltern Hills.”
In 1913, a year after they founded the Women’s Hospital for Children in Paddington, they had a new cottage built in Paul’s Hill, Penn.
They both took part in marches and campaigns for women’s suffrage. Alongside delivering medical support to suffragettes recovering from hunger strikes and other injuries sustained in protests, Flora spoke regularly at public gatherings.
At the outbreak of the First World War however, Flora and Louisa devoted all their attention to helping the sick and injured.
Within weeks Dr Garrett Anderson, who was 41 in 1914, and Dr Murray, who was 45, established a hospital in Claridges Hotel in Paris treating casualties from the front line 60 miles away. Uniquely, it was run entirely by women.
They then established a second hospital near Boulogne and then, in 1915, they converted an old workhouse in London’s West End into the Endell Street Military Hospital – again staffed almost entirely by women. The hospital was to treat 26,000 patients before it closed four years later.
They were the first women surgeons to be accepted by the British War Office, and in 1917 were awarded the CBE by the king.
After Flora’s death, Dr Garrett Anderson continued to live in Penn, playing an active part in the community – she became the second woman to be elected onto Penn Parish Council.
She died in 1943 and her ashes were scattered over the South Downs. However, the two share a tombstone in Holy Trinity Church graveyard, Penn, where Flora is buried. The inscription ends “We have been gloriously happy.”
Tracing the Slade family
MEANWHILE, village historians have been consulted recently by Benjamin Slade, a teacher and tour guide based in Paris, who is tracing his family history.
There were lots of Slades in Penn and Tylers Green, many of them called George. One George Slade was the village blacksmith who transformed his smithy into the Slades garage that’s still with us today.
However, the George Slade Benjamin is primarily interested in is the one who was landlord of the Fox and Pheasant, the pub that was where Tylers Green Village Hall is now situated.
George was landlord between 1888 and 1912 and he and his wife Elizabeth’s son, George Henry Slade, was killed in active service in 1917 and is buried in France. George was also the village coalman for a number of years with his depot in Merchant’s Yard in Elm Road.
Benjamin thinks that George the publican and George the garage owner did have an ancestor in common – Thomas Slade 1756- 1817 – but has not been able to verify this yet. He is planning a visit to the village this summer to do some more digging.
Picture Special : A fantastic day for the Penn Seven, Fun Run and Party by the Pond
Pictures courtesy of Kimbletech
THE revitalised Penn Seven and Fun Run proved an enormous success on 10 June, drawing hundreds of competitors and hundreds more spectators for a day of fun, games and music, despite it being one of the hottest days of the year.
In fact, for the first time in its 39 year existence, the fun run course had to be curtailed on the advice of St John Ambulance Brigade.
A handful of runners on the morning Penn Seven race were overcome by the heat (fortunately, all fully recovered) and with temperatures in the high 20s centigrade it was considered advisable to reduce the afternoon route, which normally goes to Hazlemere and back.
Once the trophies and medals had been presented by Earl Howe, the front common quickly took on the aura of a family music festival with great performances from local bands and singers for the inaugural Party by the Pond.
Generous sponsors and crowd funding helped the organisers cover their costs and they’ll be presenting anything over to the village charity Village Care.
Massive thanks to Chris Sadler, the new chairman of the organising committee, and his team for their hard work, professionalism and a passion for the Penn and Tylers Green community which makes living here so special.
And thanks too to the many, many volunteers from the community who marshalled the course, manned the stalls, provided refreshments and willingly helped with the thousand and one things that need to be done to make events like this so memorable.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Fun Run day which, over the years, has raised well over a quarter of a million pounds for various charities.
If you would like to be part of it as a helper, even if it’s just for an hour or two, please contact email@example.com (please be patient, it’s not checked on a daily basis.)
My thanks to Ben Chapman from Kimbletech who has taken all of the photos (bar one) below, plus several hundred more!
River warning – Emergency services are urging people not to swim in the River Thames to cool off but only swim in supervised areas. They warn of strong undercurrents and the danger of being hit by boats.
Hospital hours – The Urgent Treatment Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital for people needing urgent medical treatment that is not life-threatening is now open 24 hours a day compared to its previous opening hours of 8am to 8pm. At Wycombe Hospital the Urgent Treatment Centre is open from 8am to 6.30pm weekdays and 8am to 8pm weekends.
Bucks NHS Health Trust said the hot June weather put emergency departments under pressure as many people required treatment for respiratory conditions.
Police pounce – A police checkpoint on the A40 near Beaconsfield set up for a few hours last month resulted in six vehicles being seized because their drivers had no insurance; one driver being arrested for drug driving, having no insurance and no driving licence; and one driver reported for not wearing a seat belt.
Marking its own homework – Chesham and Amersham MP Sarah Green told the House of Commons the Environment Agency’s response to the appearance of a large sinkhole over where HS2 tunnelling had been taking place (see last blog) was inadequate. She said the agency, which is supposed to be an independent watchdog, had allowed HS2 to “mark its own homework” in carrying out its own investigation into the ground collapse. Transport minister Huw Merriman said he would ensure the agency provided its own independent report into what happened.
Big film boost – Buckinghamshire will be the base for a national laboratory developing the next generation of special effects and AI technology in film and stage productions. The Government, which is prepared to put £75m into the project, has chosen a consortium which includes Beaconsfield’s National Film and Television School, Pinewood Studios and the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership as the preferred bidder to build and develop the lab.
Hotel expands – The Crown Plaza hotel on the A40 between Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield is planning to add another 41 bedrooms to the 138 it already has with a major basement extension at the rear of the building.
Top wine – Marlow vineyard Hope and Harrow won the gold medal in the sparkling wine category at the WineGB Awards for their Blanc de Noirs 2018, which retails at £42 a bottle.
County show – The Bucks County Show will be held at Weedon Park near Aylesbury on 31 August.
We’re taking a break for the summer and the next blog will be in September. You can contact this blog at firstname.lastname@example.org