The little parish with a lot of history
Historian DONALD STANLEY explores Wexham, the smallest of the three Chiltern Hundreds
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