THE PAST IN COLOUR
The year is 1938. All is peaceful with not a car in sight, a far cry from today because this is now a well- known commuter town 27 miles to the north- west of London, to which it has excellent rail connections. However, this is the older part of town, situated in the Misbourne Valley, not to be confused with the higher modern area which grew up around the station in the heart of John Betjeman’s Metroland.
The Grade 1 listed church is St. Mary’s whose Victorian facade hides artefacts and architecture dating back to the 13th century. The other buildings all have timber- framed windows and doors typical of pre- war Britain.
The small boy is examining sweets in the tobacconist’s window which is also displaying adverts for Player’s Please, Wills’s Woodbines and Star cigarettes plus Digger and Gold Flake tobacco. The solid front door says “open” while outside is a green lamp post with cross pieces for the old lamp lighter who once leant his ladder there before igniting the gas mantle at dusk. There are also two finger posts, one of which points to the station, plus a clock with notices underneath, possibly relating to a coaching stop.
Don’t try chatting in the road with your neighbour today, however, because this is Old Amersham in Buckinghamshire, adjacent to Amersham- on- the- Hill.