The lit­tle par­ish with a lot of history

His­to­rian DON­ALD STAN­LEY ex­plores Wex­ham, the small­est of the three Chiltern Hun­dreds

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NOSTALGIA -

WEX­HAM is the small­est par­ish in the Hun­dred of Stoke which is one of the three Chiltern Hun­dreds.

To re­sign from Par­lia­ment, a sit­ting Mem­ber may ap­ply for the Stew­ard­ship of the Hun­dreds which, be­ing an of­fice of profit un­der the Crown, con­sti­tutes a bar to con­tin­ued mem­ber­ship.

Orig­i­nally, the Manor of Wex­ham be­longed to the Duke of Leeds.

The par­ish church dates back to the 12th cen­tury; its pa­tron was the Lord Chan­cel­lor.

Lit­tle is on record about Wex­ham Park, or the fam­ily whose seat it was un­til 1965, when it was cho­sen to be­come the site of Wex­ham Park Hospi­tal.

The part­ner­ship be­tween two ar­chi­tects, Sir Philip Pow­ell and Hi­dalgo Moya, had pro­vided many post-war pub­lic build­ing schemes for hos­pi­tals and hous­ing.

Among these in the 1960s were the Wex­ham Park and High Wycombe hos­pi­tals.

The chal­lenge for the for­mer was to ex­ploit its ‘countryside set­ting’, which in­cludes park­land and an or­na­men­tal lake, thus the wards are spread out so that in-pa­tients have their own gar­dens.

In con­trast, at High Wycombe ac­count had to be taken of its po­si­tion on a slope and its tight ur­ban con­text.

At both, Pow­ell and Moya were able to in­cor­po­rate into their de­signs spa­cious wel­com­ing en­trance ar­eas with friendly at­mos­pheres.

Re­cent re­or­gan­i­sa­tion of med­i­cal ser­vices avail­able at the Amer­sham and High Wycombe hos­pi­tals has meant that many pa­tients in South Buck­ing­hamshire are now served by Wex­ham Park for emer­gency and a wide range of other ser­vices.

For­tu­nately, it has a long history of spe­cial­ist med­i­cal ex­per­tise.

From its begin­nings it has been a ma­jor UK cen­tre for hand surgery un­der the pi­o­neer­ing plas­tic sur­geon, Ste­wart Har­ri­son, who had pre­vi­ously car­ried out one of the first re­con­struc­tions of a pa­tient’s badly de­formed face.

It is also an as­so­ciate post­grad­u­ate teach­ing hospi­tal for Lon­don and Oxford, while ad­join­ing it is a school of nurs­ing.

Paw marks on a cor­ri­dor floor lead to the chil­dren’s ward and then to the Hospi­tal School which has its own kitchen and a gar­den with wheelchair ac­cess so that all pupils can be en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in its up­keep.

The school sup­ports the na­tional cur­ricu­lum across its key stages.

Fa­cil­i­ties are also avail­able for pupils with a range of med­i­cal needs and the school’s links with Hay­brook Col­lege, in nearby Slough, pro­vide ac­cess to ex­per­tise in meet­ing spe­cial teach­ing needs.

Countryside set­ting: (Above) St Mary’s Church in Wex­ham; (be­low left)

Wex­ham Park Hospi­tal today; (be­low right) the build­ing de­signed by Sir Philip Pow­ell and Hi­dalgo Moya

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