19th-cen­tury wooden build­ing still very much in the pink

Chiltern Open Air Mu­seum

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES - SUE SHAVE, MU­SEUM DI­REC­TOR

THE very strik­ing pink build­ing on the Vil­lage Green here is a Vicarage Room. Orig­i­nally from Lash­lake Road, Thame, Ox­ford­shire, it was in the grounds of the vicarage and later moved to Bier­ton Road, in Ayles­bury.

The mu­seum was asked to res­cue the build­ing when de­vel­op­ers took over the site. Dur­ing the dis­man­tling stage in 1989, the team found a mum­mi­fied cat un­der the floor!

The Vicarage Room is a wooden framed, pre­fab­ri­cated build­ing with a cor­ru­gated iron roof, painted in con­trast­ing pink and cream, although the pink was orig­i­nally Fen­ton Red that has now faded. All the small panes of glass, ex­cept one, are orig­i­nal. The in­te­rior is just as strik­ing with a pink painted brown pa­per fin­ish on the up­per walls and ver­ti­cal dark wooden pan­elling on the lower walls.

Records show that the room was of­fi­cially opened on Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 13, 1894 by the Ru­ral Dean, the Rev­erend EJ How­man. The Thame Gazette tells us that lots of com­mu­nity events were held in it, in­clud­ing Church Lads Bri­gade pa­rades, lec­tures, bi­ble class so­cials, monthly meet­ings of the Church of Eng­land and its Men’s So­ci­ety.

The build­ing was put up for auc­tion in 1913 when the church moved to another lo­ca­tion and it was bought by the auc­tion­eer, who moved it to his own premises in Ayles­bury. His grand­son, John Mil­burn, do­nated it to the mu­seum.

Now one of our most popular build­ings, the Vicarage Room has starred in com­edy pro­grammes such as Mitchell and Webb and Harry and Paul, and is the scene of many Vic­to­rian School work­shops for schools, craft ac­tiv­i­ties and exhibitions en­joyed by our vis­i­tors.

The Thame Vicarage Room has al­ready been moved twice dur­ing its lifetime Chal­font St Giles www.coam.org.uk 01494 871 117

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