High Street

Colour postcard of Winslow High Street

The name High Street is relatively recent. Until the 19th-century northward expansion of Winslow, the street from the Market Square to Greyhound Lane was known as Cow Street. The road leading north from that was known at first as Union Street (after the Workhouse) or Buckingham Road. In the early 20th century the whole road from the Market Square to Station Road began to be called High Street. Before the mid-19th century the last house on the west was Sear's coachbuilders (site of the fire station and telephone exchange) and the last house on the east was the original Workhouse, later Benbow's.

Click on the map below for links:
Clickable map Workhouse Tannery 8 High Street 6 High Street The Windmil King's Head Royal Oak Pubic Hall 889-115 High Street

The postcard below was posted in 1915 but may be rather older. Benbow's shop is front right (replaced in 1926 by nos.56-58), and the white building next to it was the original workhouse. Beyond that is the shop which is now the Co-Op (Manchester House). The scene beyond it has changed a lot due to the plane crash in 1943 and the fire at Gibbards' in 1933. On the left, where the Post Office was built in 1911 and the fire station in the 1950s, the premises included the house of the Sear family, formerly the north end of the town. See A.J. Clear's lecture in 1932 for more information.

High Street looking north

The postcard below was posted in 1905. It shows the High Street immediately to the south of the photo above; Benbow's shop in the foreground above is the thatched building whose gable end can be seen in the background below. On the right are 34-54 High Street. The first references to buildings on the site can be found in the court rolls of the 1680s, and no.42 (now Brian Clark Opticians) largely avoided 19th-century remodelling. The building on the far right, whose frontage has been completely altered, is now Oak Park Alarms. In 1905 it was Miss George's stationery shop. Other shops included a butcher's, fishmonger's and barber's. On the left is the Victorian building called Arundel House, formerly the Winslow Commercial School, but used by Matthews Brothers builders at the time of the photo.

High Street looking north

The buildings on the right of the photo below were largely destroyed in the fire of 1933. The sign on the 3-storey building on the far right is for W.J. Sirett, cabinet-maker and upholsterer. His business was for sale in January 1913 ("very cheap", "small stock"), so the photo must be earlier than that. Above the head of the man standing by the cart, you can see the sign of the Golden Lion (160 High Street). On the left in the middle distance are the 14 cottages (89-115 High Steet) built by Samuel Boneham (see below) in 1846-7. At the far end of the row you can just see the higher roof of the former Royal Engineer, which was a beerhouse from 1847 to c.1884. Photo from the collection of the late Ruth Hall MBE.

High Street looking north

Occupiers of nos.89-99, which were built first, according to Samuel Boneham's insurance policy, 22 Sep 1846: Samuel Boneham, Thomas Goodger, Richard Dumbleton, James Tuckey, Richard John [?=Soden] and John Dumbleton

Occupiers of nos.89-115 according to the 1847 manor court: 1 unoccupied, others in the occupation of John Dumbleton [93], Richard Soden [95], James Tuckey [97], William Lomath [111], William Goodyer, John Barge, James Horn, Mark Bunce, George Verney, Samuel Boneham , Charles Goodman [113], Philip Harris, John Cooper and Thomas Archer.

Samuel Boneham
Samuel Boneham

Samuel Boneham was born at Thornborough in 1817, and married Jane Mumford at Winslow in 1838. In 1844, there was an advert in the Bucks Herald for the sale of the farming stock of Mr Samuel Boneham of Thornborough Field Farm, which also included 70,000 draining tiles and 20,000 plain tiles. He used the money to buy some land in Winslow from the brickmaker Richard Staniford, and apparently continued the brick and tile business. He sold some of the land and used the rest to build 14 houses (now 89-115 High Street; see above) and a pub. These were mortgaged for £500 and insured for £800. The fire insurance policy refers to:

six Cottages under one Roof, Brick built and Tiled ... six Wood Barns under one roof detached near in the same tenures Brick built and Slated ... eight Cottages under one Roof, adjacent ... Brick built and Slated at present untenanted ... eight Wood Barns ...

It was Winslow's biggest housing development, and filled up the gap between houses built in or before the early 1840s (up to no.87) and the Workhouse. It started too early to be a deliberate attempt to cash in on the arrival of the railway, but in 1851 the occupants included John Braggins (railway porter) and Thomas Upton (rail labourer); most of the others were shoemakers and agricultural labourers. Winslow hadn't previously had purpose built "artisans' and labourers' dwellings". In 1848 Mr Boneham advertised:

TO LET, with immediate Possession, that Newly Erected BEER HOUSE, known by the sign of the “ROYAL ENGINEER,” at Winslow, now in the occupation of Mr. John Law.

but he was living there himself by 1849, and in the 1851 Census he was described as a butcher. He also rented a farm from William Selby Lowndes, but got into difficulties and his property was in the hands of trustees by 1853. He then emigrated to Canada, moved to the USA in 1863, had a business as a florist, and died at Friends Creek, Illinois in 1896 (thanks to contributors to ancestry.com for this information and the photo). The photo below shows the former Royal Engineer, with extensive outbuildings, in 1931 (it was demolished in 1959):

Royal Engineer from the air

Copyright 3 September, 2017