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Help the Museum care for and interpret its collection by adopting one of our unique objects for the year. Following Wycombe Museum becoming a registered charity, the Museum team have been working hard to create a museum with a bright and sustainable future. We are urging our Friends, supporters, and local community to support Wycombe Museum through our Adopt an Object scheme to help us to continue to enhance and complete our work; promoting to all a love to heritage, culture, and the arts for years to come.

How it works You can adopt object on an individual or corporate basis, for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Simply browse through our catalogue and choose from over 50 of the best-loved artefacts from our collection. If you’d like to adopt something we’ve not listed in our catalogue, just ask! Send us an email to and we’ll review your request. Once you’ve chosen your object, you’ll need to complete an application form. These can be found in the Museum or online at Once you have completed and paid for your application, we will aim to have your adoption pack posted to you within two weeks. You will then receive all of the benefits that your adoption entails! You will get... • • • •

a coloured photographic print of your object a certificate with an optional personal message your name/your business’ name and logo on your object’s label inclusion on the Friends and Supporters Acknowledgement board in the Museum foyer and on our website (unless you prefer to remain anonymous) • and all the benefits of a Friends membership.

Annual Adoption Fees Individual: £75 Joint: £85 Corporate: £150 We can also create bespoke corporate packages to suit different budgets. Individual adoptions will cover one adult’s name on the adoption certificate and label. Joint adoptions will cover two adult’s names. We may also be able to include children’s names subject to space. Adoption fees are inclusive of the cost of a Museum Friend’s Membership, worth £20/£30 for single/joint membership respectively. If you are already a Friend, you will only have to pay the difference between your Friends fee and your Adoption fee. You can access Friends price points with your Friends password when paying for your adoption. An additional charge may apply for objects not in our catalogue.

Requests to adopt objects not already in the catalogue will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Existing adopters will be invited to renew their adoption at the end of each adoption period. If they do not respond within 3 months, the object will become available for someone else to adopt. The Museum may alter the Adoption Catalogue at any time. (If objects are removed from the catalogue, existing adopters may still be able to renew their adoption should they wish, depending on the reason for removal.) Adopting an object will not give you any rights over the object or any images of it. The Museum may remove items from display temporarily or permanently for essential operational, health and safety or conservation reasons. In the case of temporary removal, adopters may not be notified. Please check with the Museum if you are travelling to see your object.

Section 1 – Wycombe in 10 Objects 1.1

Lower Palaeolithic Hand Axe For the cave man in your life?

HIWLH : 2007.57

A local man found this early prehistoric hand axe amongst ordinary, local rocks and stones on his garden rockery in Rectory Avenue, High Wycombe during the 1930s. It is from the early Stone Age (‘Lower Palaeolithic’ era) - over 500, 000 years old. It would have been used for a variety of tasks by early humans, including cutting up animals for meat. Portable, and with different edges suited to different tasks, it has been described as a ‘prehistoric Swiss Army Knife’! The pointed tip has broken off at some point in its long history and is missing. It is made from a type of dark-coloured, andesitic volcanic rock that is found in the Lake District and North Wales, but not the South East of England. It is a mystery how it ended up in High Wycombe. 1.2

Roman Lamp Are you ‘hare-brained’ or do you love rabbits? This ornate clay lamp was found on the London Road in 1954, not far from the remains of the Roman villa, now underneath the Rye Lido. It has a pattern around the top depicting a leaping hare. In both Roman and Celtic cultures the hare was considered sacred. Fewer Roman lamps have been found in Britain than in other parts of the Roman Empire, probably because of the high cost of importing the olive oil that the lamps burned. Wicks were usually made from pieces of linen.

HIWLH : 9.9.2008.30


Saxon Pendant

HIWLH : P4067

For all jewellery lovers. A Saxon grave containing human remains, a gold pendant and other ‘grave goods’ were discovered by workmen during a wedding celebration in 1901 in the garden of Wycombe Museum – known as Castle Hill House at the time. A skeleton still wearing a necklace of glass beads with a gold pendant attached showed that an important person was buried there. It was common for Saxons to be buried with important possessions – perhaps needed for the next life. This is a replica of the original pendant. It has a Kentish design and is dated around 600AD. The original is in the British Museum. 1.4

Black and White Print of Pann Mill, by Lorna Cassidy Are you interested in High Wycombe before chairs? There has been a Pann Mill at the mill’s current location from at least 1086, probably earlier. It is one of 37 water mills on, or near, the River Wye from its source in West Wycombe to where it feeds into the Thames at Bourne End. In 1962, when this print was made, Pann Mill was still working and made animal feed. Other mills were known for producing cloth and paper. Pann Mill was mostly demolished in 1972 to enable the widening of the London Road. The remains have now been restored and added to, and the High Wycombe Society still grind corn there on special open days. This print was made by Lorna Cassidy, a High Wycombe artist with a special interest in depicting scenes of historic interest and significance.

HIWLH : 2009.7.2


Bucks Point Lace Beautiful and delicate, making Bucks Point Lace was a way of women and children earning money at home.

HIWLH : 1991.38

An example of Bucks Point Edging, consisting of gimp spots with floral patterns dating from around 1880. Lace making was common throughout the Wycombe District, especially the villages, and the industry gave its name to the village of Lacey Green. Boys as well as girls were taught lace making from as young as three years old. As time went on, lace became less fashionable and the makers earned even less. Traditional Bucks Point lace was particularly intricate and slow to make so the makers often lost out to simpler and faster varieties, such as Honiton lace from Devon and new machine-made lace from Nottingham. 1.6

Ceremonial Mace Would you weight-watch or get fat on the town’s profits if you were mayor for a year? A Victorian replica of the mace that is used every year in High Wycombe’s unique mayor-making ceremony. The new mayor is publicly weighed at the start of their year as mayor and then weighed again a year later. If the mayor has put on weight during the year the crowd boo and shout – he or she must have been getting fat on the profits of the town! Traditionally, the ‘macebearer’, dressed in traditional costume, carries the mace and calls out the mayor’s weight. The original was presented to the Borough on 6th April 1694 by Sir Thomas Lewes and C Godfrey, Members of Parliament for the Borough. This silver-plate replica was made by Elkington & Co, a well-known Victorian silver-plating company.

HIWLH : T 30.1.1996.21


The Red Lion

HIWLH : T 25.1.2001.1

The original and best? This red lion stood next to both Winston Churchill and Benjamin Disraeli as they gave speeches from the Red Lion Hotel’s portico. Before1800, there had been a more usual pub sign. There has been a Red Lion Hotel on Wycombe High Street since the 1400s and it was a major stopping point on the merchant route between London and Oxford. Although the Red Lion Hotel closed in 1969, a red lion still watches over High Wycombe’s High Street. It has become, for many, a symbol for the town and has been adopted as the Museum’s logo. The Museum’s lion preceded the lion that is now on the High Street. Little is known about its origins, but it stood on the portico until the 1950s. Its replacement was carved in wood by Frank Hudson, and was restored in 2017 by Hudson’s grandson, Colin Mantripp, after a fundraising campaign. 1.8

Wheelback Windsor Chair The iconic Wycombe Wheelback Windsor chair. Furniture making – particularly chair making – is the best-known aspect of Wycombe’s history, and this wheelback Windsor chair is typical of the Wycombe style. It was made in the 1850s and sold by A. Jessop. The High Wycombe chair industry was just beginning to take off around the time this chair was made. Thirty years later, the town would be so closely identified with chair making that an arch made from chairs would be put up to welcome Queen Victoria when she visited the town. Local people were proud to welcome the Queen with a chair arch – other towns had welcomed her with arches decorated with coal or iron bars!

HIWLH : 2007.83.2


Model of De Havilland's Mosquito Aeroplane

HIWLH : 2002.51

Perfect choice for pilots, plane spotters and World War buffs. During the two World Wars, Wycombe’s furniture factories were used to produce wooden aircraft parts to support the war effort. This included frames and wings for the de Havilland Mosquito, designed by Wycombe local Geoffrey de Havilland. This balsa wood model was produced by a model maker, Mr Ewell, for his friend Jack Tranter who worked at Gomme’s furniture factory, where full sized Mosquito aircraft were produced during World War 2. The pair served together in the RAF during World War 2. 1.10

Wycombe Wanderers Rosette Are you celebrating The Chairboy’s recent promotion and remembering past glories? A fabric rosette, celebrating Wycombe Wanderers making it to the F.A. Cup semi-final match on 8th April 2001 against Liverpool. The final score was 2 – 0 to Liverpool, with no goals having been scored until 2 minutes before the match ended. Wycombe Wanderers were nicknamed ‘The Chairboys’ since their early days in the 1880s, as many of their early players were furniture makers. Since the 1950s the Chairboys have had moments of glory, including making it to the FA cup semi-final in 2001. Now, with the decline of furniture making in the District, many young supporters find that they need to have the nickname explained.

HIWLH : 2001.32.1

Section 2 – Furniture Collection 2.1

Champion Chair

HIWLH : 1990.156

For local champions of every sort! This chair was made for the Great Exhibition – a huge display of designs from around the World, organised by Prince Albert – in 1851. It was made by Hutchinson of High Wycombe. The makers called it the Champion Chair as it was highly decorative and ornately carved. The name was somewhat optimistic, and the chair did not actually win a prize.


Student’s Chair For anyone studying hard or celebrating exam success. This chair was used in an Oxford University College. It has one arm wider than the other on which students could rest their notebook during lectures. It is believed to have been made in Wycombe in about 1900.

HIWLH : 1990.24


The Wycombe Pitt Chair

HIWLH : 2007.44

A rare chair. This is a very early Windsor chair, the oldest in the Museum – from about 1740. It was made by John Pitt of Slough, one of the earliest known Windsor chair makers and possibly the earliest maker with chairs that survive. This is one of only four remaining chairs by this maker and the only one in a Museum or public collection. It is also rare that the original painted surface still survives. The coat of arms is for the City of Bath. It is likely that a travelling dignitary stopping in Slough for refreshment saw John Pitt’s chairs and ordered this one for a building in Bath. 2.4

Teacher's Chair Those who teach can …keep an eye on 100 children at the same time!

HIWLH : 1995.78

Windsor chair, made in about 1910 and used in Princes Risborough. This chair is very tall so that the teacher sitting on it could see every child in a very large classroom. In Victorian times classes often had 100 or more children with only one teacher. This chair was used at Bell Street School in Princes Risborough which closed in 1980. It is made of Ash with an Elm seat.


School Desk and Chair Do you remember desks like this? Also known as a locker desk, this combined chair and desk unit has storage space and an integrated brass inkwell so that a student has everything they need for their studies to hand. Probably made in about 1909.

HIWLH : 1995.100


Barber's Chair

HIWLH : 1990.187

Short back and sides? The adjustable head rest, padded leather back and arms of this barber’s chair would have kept customers comfortable whilst also allowing easy access for the barber whilst attending to the customer. This chair was used in the shop of F. Springall and Co, Beaconsfield. The manufacturer was J. W. Clarke, a Hairdressing Saloon Fitter in 1909. 2.7

Child’s Potty Chair

HIWLH : 1990.81

A favourite chair with all our visiting school groups! This chair has two uses. It is a child’s chair that was also used to hold a chamber pot, or potty. The potty became lost or broken over the years and is now missing. The chair would have originally had a rail at the front of the chair to stop the child falling out. The rail would have probably also been used to hold a food tray. Made in about 1880.


Upside Down Chair For gardeners and anyone who likes to sit and watch the world go by! This chair was used by wealthy people in the garden of their large house or stately home. Its unusual ‘upside-down chair’ design enables it to be used both ways round, ensuring that the user always had a dry and clean side to sit on. Believed to have been made in the 1770s.

HIWLH : 1995.92


GoGo Chair

HWLH : 2005.17

Was it all go-go for you in the Swinging Sixties? This chair reflects 1960s pop culture, with its blue vinyl finish and bucket shaped design. It was made by Evans, High Wycombe, who have made bespoke sofas and chairs since 1958. The designer was Roger Bennet. During the 1960s Evans’ were producing furniture with some of the most innovative designs in the area, experimenting with new styles and materials.


World’s Most Comfortable Chair Are you sitting comfortably while you plot your evil schemes?

HIWLH : 1998.9.1a-b

This winged G-Plan swivel chair from Gommes boasts to being the ‘world’s most comfortable chair’. Chairs like this were made between 1965 and 1980 and have featured in various James Bond films as the villain’s chair. This chair was made in 1965.


Ercol Windsor Chair The contemporary Windsor. This Windsor chair was made by Ercol in about 1980 and features a swan motif carved into the back. Lucian Ercolani came to England from Italy in 1898. He worked for Fred Parker’s and Gomme’s before setting up Ercol Furniture Industries in 1920 with 20 men. His goal was to produce well-designed furniture with talented craftsmen in a good working environment. Ercol furniture is widely recognised and loved today.

HILWH : 1990.31

Section 3 – Social History 3.1

Mayoral Drum The Methodists’ and Mayors’ drum.

HIWLH : T22.2.1996.132003. 22

This drum was used for drumming out the mayor after the mayor making ceremony. It is also believed to have been beaten on the order of John Stone James when John Wesley preached next door to his house in 1777.


Princess Mary World War 1 Christmas Tin A Royal Christmas Gift. Princess Mary, the 17-year-old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary had the idea of sending a Christmas gift from the nation to every man and woman serving overseas on Christmas day 1914. In the runup to Christmas, adverts in the national press invited donations to a ‘sailor’s and soldier’s Christmas fund’. The response was so large that money was spent on the embossed tin as well as the contents. This tin was given to Corporal TG Lewis, in October 1914. Corporal Lewis served at the Battle of the Somme, London Regiment, Royal Fusiliers.

HIWLH : 2011.127


Copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost

HIWLH : 2682.e

…and a rare billhead found! John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost has particular local relevance both in that the author lived in Chalfont St Giles, and that the book is one of the earliest pieces of evidence for the trade and manufacture of Windsor chairs in Wycombe district. This copy is from 1740 – it contains a bill head for William Treacher with two pictures of chairs, one ladderback joined chair with a cane seat and box stretchers, the other a hoop-back Windsor armchair with cow horn stretchers. William Treacher was one of the earliest chair makers in the area. 3.4


HIWLH : 2008.62.29.1-2

Buried Treasure! A leather shoe which was found under the floorboards during an archaeological survey done at Lodge Farm in Medmenham in 1993. It is one of many discoveries found in the Grade II listed building that were donated to the Museum by the National Trust.


Toy Soldiers War Games? These toy soldiers belonged to Clifford Colmer who played with them in around 1910. His father, Francis Colmer was a wellknown local historian and artist. Lead soldiers like these were common toys for children after the late 1800s. They were affordable as pocket-money toys. Clifford’s son, Tony, gave these toy soldiers to the Museum.

HIWLH : 2000.24


Figurine of Benjamin Disraeli

HIWLH : 238

Friend of Royalty! Benjamin Disraeli lived at Hughenden Manor. He made his first political speech on the Red Lion portico as an independent candidate in 1832. He was later successfully elected as a Conservative MP and went on to become Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister. He is quoted as saying: ‘Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel’. This figurine was made in Staffordshire, in about 1870.


Wedding Veil and Box

HIWLH : 1999.23.1a-b

Do you know someone planning a wedding in our beautiful grounds? This embroidered net wedding veil was worn by Winifred Hancock at her wedding to John Sharp in 1923 at Little Marlow Church. The veil is similar in style to that worn by the Queen Mother at her wedding earlier in 1923.


Apprentice Chest For the handy man or woman. Made by an apprentice furniture maker to store his tools. Apprentices were often given the task of making their own tool chests to improve their skills. This tool chest previously belonged to C. Barnett.

HIWLH : T 29.5.1997.21


Pole Lathe

HIWLH : 1991.992

Are you a bodger, or do you know one? ‘Bodgers’ (chair leg turners) used pole lathes to turn logs into chair legs. The lathe spins the chair leg so that the turner can cut pieces from it with his chisels. Most bodgers used a simple pole lathe like this one. The lathe turns the chair leg backwards and forwards with the up and down movement of the pole. This particular lathe has holes bored into the top to hold candles so that bodgers could work late into the night. Bodgers were highly skilled but the word is also used to described someone who does a bad job.


Child’s Christening Gown Are you or someone you know celebrating a new arrival this year?

HIWLH : 2007.41.39

This child’s gown is very long and white, in the style of a christening gown. It has broderie anglais detail on the front and around the bottom of skirt. The gown was worn by Miss Nash, who grew up to become a teacher. She also knew the artist Eric Gill.


Beer Bottle For lovers of traditional ale and all who enjoy our annual Beers, Bevvies and Brewing event. A stoneware bottle of Wheelers Wycombe, with swan motif. Historically all beer was brewed and distributed locally as it did not travel well. The biggest local brewery in High Wycombe was Wheelers and many of the brewers became Mayors of High Wycombe. Beer was considered a necessity of life and much healthier than water which could contain bacteria that made people ill.

HIWLH : 1995.41


John Hampden’s Ale Bottle

HIWLH : 2012.401

Local hero commemorated in beer. An empty bottle of Chiltern Brewery’s John Hampden’s Ale. In the run-up to the English Civil War, John Hampden became a National figure, standing up to Charles I over taxes and was one of the ‘Five Members’ whose attempted unconstitutional arrest sparked the Civil War. Hampden and the other Five Members are commemorated in the state opening of Parliament every year when the doors are slammed in the face of the monarch’s messenger.


Victorian glove stretcher

HIWLH :7.31996

A handy gadget? During the Victorian period, kid leather gloves were very fashionable. The fingers of the gloves would be so close-fitting, particularly after washing, that the leather of the gloves would need stretching to allow women to actually get their hands in. The stretcher is used by inserting the tip into the fingers of the glove and squeezing the open end.


Ice cream wafer measure All scream for ice cream! Ice cream used to be sold in blocks, and this device was used to serve a perfect portion of ice cream along with your wafer. This measure was used in Johnny’s Ice Cream vans, run by Mr Byard after he left the RAF. He owned 6 vans in the area, which served ice creams to the Wycombe district from the late 1940’s until about 1965.

HIWLH : 2007.102.2-3


Hypnos Letter

HIWLH : 1995.79.33.2

Do you believe in good customer service? Or do you look forward to a good night’s sleep? Hypnos furniture was started in1906 as an amalgamation of G.H. & S. Keen Ltd. and W.S. Toms Ltd. forming The Keen & Toms Partnership. As a manufacturer of beds the company adopted the name of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep. This letter is from William Toms of Hypnos to Hugh Butcher Ltd. (sellers of Hypnos Mattresses). He agrees with Butchers that the customer’s complaint is unreasonable, especially as the customer has taken three years to raise the problem. However, Hypnos are writing to say that they will remake the mattress!


Fire Helmet

HIWLH : T 6.9.19

Emergency Services Award. The fire service was staffed by volunteers until World War II. Competitions and social events were often organised for volunteers and this helmet was awarded at a competition in 1881 held in Newbury to Senior Foreman H.S. Wheeler of the Wycombe Volunteer Fire Brigade. The fire service was especially important locally as furniture factories posed a particular fire risk. Many people still remember the Parker Knoll fire of 1970.


Wycombe Wanderers Programme For all Chairboys Supporters. A programme to Wycombe Wanderers FA Cup semi-final match against Liverpool FC at Villa Park on 8th April 2001, bought for £5. It has details of teams, Cup competition, quotes from players and fans etc. The final score of the match was 2 – 0 to Liverpool, with no goals having been scored until two minutes before the match ended.

HIWLH : 2001.22.


Wycombe Wanderers Scarf

HIWLH : 1998.49

Come on the Blues! A blue and yellow Wycombe Wanderers FC supporter's scarf, especially produced for the FA Trophy Final at Wembley, 1993


10th Anniversary programme for the Wycombe Swan theatre

HIWLH : 2005

Is all the world a stage for you or someone you know? A programme produced for the 10th Anniversary of Wycombe Swan Theatre in 2002, for the October to December season. The front featured image was from a production of Carmen that was staged during the season.


Baby’s Gas Mask, 1940s Were you or someone you know born during World War 2? During the War, everyone was issued with a gas mask which they had to carry with them wherever they went. The government feared that Nazi Germany might attack with poisonous gas bombs. Babies had special respirators like this one. When all the flaps were folded in place and the straps fastened the baby was totally enclosed. Filtered air was then pumped in by hand. This ensured the baby inhaled no gas. Fortunately, these masks never had to be used.

HIWLH : 2572


Charles and Diana Wedding Cup

HIWLH : 1999

Did your street have a Charles and Di Royal Wedding party? This commemorative cup is printed with a picture of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, to celebrate their marriage in 1981. Its two handled design is accompanied by detailing of daffodils, roses and wedding bells.



HIWLH : 2009.3

A Woman’s Work is never done! A washing mangle used for squeezing the water out of the washing that used to be in the Museum’s Old Laundry Room. This mangle was sold by and possibly made by Loosely and Pearce, High Wycombe. It has a metal frame with wood rollers.


Child's ‘Party Dress’ Eid Mubarak! This lengha and kameez was worn during special occasions such as at weddings and Eid celebrations by a three-year-old girl. The Muslim festival of Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It is made from a red fabric with gold dots, with gold embroidered trims and applique panels on the front.

HIWLH : 1999.64


Soft Upsy Daisy toy

HIWLH : 2008

Isn’t that a pip! A character from the BBC children's television programme 'In the Night Garden'. The toy sings and makes noises when you squeeze her tummy. It is still in the original box. This talking and singing toy was one of the best-selling toys of Christmas 2007.


Small Tin Cutlery Tray

HIWLH : 1995.44.3

For anyone who likes their meals to be silver service. A cutlery tray containing a mix of cutlery, including souvenir spoons, butter knives and a pickle fork, from the Nash collection. The Museum has a large number of objects previously owned by Totteridge local Marjorie Nash, that were collected to be a snapshot very representative of life in the area during the 1900s. Nash was born in 1904 and lived her whole life in Wycombe, working as a teacher.


Wicker Baby Basket, pre 1970s Are you a young (or older) mum who needs a rest – or do you know a mum who does? Wicker baby basket from The Shrubbery Maternity Hospital, High Wycombe. New mothers stayed in hospital for longer than is usual today. To give the mothers chance to rest, babies were taken from mothers and placed in baskets like this whilst the mothers rested.

HIWLH : 2012.409


Steel Drum

HIWLH : 2007.60

Sound of the Caribbean! Small yellow steel pan drum with the notes marked on in red pen. Used by St Vincents 2nd Generation Steel Band.


Wethered’s Beer Bottle

HIWLH : T6.10.1995.5

Representing both of Marlow’s top two industries? Brown beer bottle from Wethered’s Brewery, Marlow. Wethereds were founded in the 1700s and became Marlow’s biggest employer. It eventually became Whitbred Wethereds and closed in 1988. The building is now apartments. It used to be said that there are only two occupations in Marlow – making beer and drinking it!


Velocipede bike or ‘boneshaker’. On your bike! – Perfect for the next Tour de France? This early bike was invented in Paris in about 1869. It became known as a boneshaker due to its iron and wood construction and lack of springs.

HIWLH : T 6.9.1996.4


Straw Splitter

HIWLH : T 26.5.2000.2

Are you mad about hats? Or a mad hatter? Wooden straw splitter stamped J AUSTIN, perforated with 7 holes, 5 of which contain varied sizes of metal splitters for straw splitting. Straw splitters were used by women workers in the cottage industry of straw plaiting. The plaited straws supplied the hat industry in Luton. The invention of the straw splitter meant that local women could earn more as it enabled them to produce more delicate plaits.


Ercol Lion, 1950s

HIWLH : 1997.58

Roaringly good furniture! Ercol company sign in form of lion, white painted wood.


Verco Office Seating Catalogue Seating for the new millennium. This catalogue from 2000 shows the season’s office furniture designs from Verco, shot with heavy filters in moody lighting. Verco was established as William Vere in 1912. The company started out making Windsor chairs. They diversified to making domestic suites in 1920s, and office furniture in WWII. They began solely trading office furniture in the 1960s. For a long time, Verco sponsored Wycombe Wanderers FC.

HILWH : 2000.50.1

Section 4 – Art Collection 4.1

West Wycombe House Etching, by W. Woollett after W. Hannan, 1757

HIWLH : 1990.652

Do you have grand garden designs? Sir Francis Dashwood II (1708 – 1781) is mostly responsible for the look of West Wycombe House and garden. He commissioned features including a swanshaped lake, a cascade, bridges, statues, and temples. Francis is notorious for founding the Knights of St Francis of Wycombe, also known as the Hell-Fire Club.


Searchlights (World War II) Lino cut, by Elizabeth Tuke Jenkins Lighting up the night sky. This print depicts a landscape with searchlights pointing towards the sky.

HIWLH : T 29.5.1998.2


Isabella and the Pot of Basil Oil, G Grenville Manton, 1919

HIWLH : 1990.585

‘She weeps alone for pleasure not to be’ This seemingly serene painting in the PreRaphaelite style shows the scene of what is actually a very morbid story. The story, told in the poem by John Keats, goes that Isabella was in love with a servant, Lorenzo. Isabella's brothers disapproved of her choice of lover, and lured Lorenzo into the woods to kill him. Learning of Lorenzo’s death, Isabella is beside herself with grief – she finds his body and buries her murdered lover’s head in a pot of basil, which she waters with her tears until she dies of a broken heart.


Wycombe High Street Oil, E J Niemann; 1846 Highlighting the High Street. This oil painting shows High Wycombe’s High Street during the 1800s. It still follows the original route that was laid out 900 years ago. The painting was donated to the Museum by a descendant of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

HIWLH : 1990.659


Portrait of Joseph Pettifer Oil, Joseph Highmore, around 1745

HIWLH : 1990.657

Do you love Georgian Style? Joseph Pettifer was last in the line of several Pettifers who all became Mayor of High Wycombe. Joseph died at just 19 years of age, before he could become mayor himself. During conservation in 1990, it was discovered the varnish used by the artist had discoloured over time, and that Pettifer’s green coat was originally blue.


The Alhambra Wall Print from a wood engraving by Huma Mushtaq, 2004 Traditional Islamic Art. This print is based on the walls of the Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain, completed in the 1300s, toward the end of Moorish rule in southern Spain. It was built by the last Muslim emir. Huma Mushtaq completed a Masters degree at Buckinghamshire New University, with the Alhambra as the focus of her study. This piece is the only example of Islamic art currently in the Museum’s collection. We hope to collect more in the future.

HIWLH : 2007.38


Tribute to Lorna Oil, by Dennis Syrett, 1932 Do you love views of local places and want to preserve local Heritage? Artist Lorna Cassidy, who lives in High Wycombe, is shown in this painting with her bicycle. Lorna is known as a local campaigner, as well as for her art. The background shows versions of her own etchings. These works include places she has campaigned to save, such as the railway arches near Frogmoor. Dennis Syrett may be better known locally as a goalkeeper for Wycombe Wanderers during the 50s and 60s.

HIWLH : 2014.1

Section 5 – Natural History Collection/ Archaeology 5.1

Fossil Ammonite Natural History rocks!

HIWLH : T 3.7.1997.2

The chalk of the Chilterns was formed more than 100 million years ago, formed from the calcium shells and skeletons of millions and millions of sea creatures. Some of these creatures left imprints in the chalk known as fossils, like this seadwelling ammonite. This was found in the High Wycombe area. 5.2

Mummified Rat Yuck! Not one for the musophobic!

HIWLH : 2008.62.4 6

This naturally desiccated - or dried out - rat was found under the floorboards during an archaeological survey done at Lodge Farm in Medmenham in 1993. It is one of many discoveries found in the Grade II listed building that were donated to the Museum.


Roman mortarium pottery fragments For those who love cooking with herbs and spices. Pestillum and mortarium are the Latin words for a pestle and mortar. They were used in Roman cooking and medicine-making. The pestillum is a hand-held tool used to crush herbs and spices in the heavy bowl called the mortarium. Discovered during the excavation of the Roman Villa on Wycombe Rye.

HIWLH : 2000.4.2


Penn Tile, 1300s

HIWLH : 2007.40.2

Is clay soil in your garden or allotment the bane of your life? This is local clay at its best! Local clays are suitable for brick and tile making and Penn was a centre for tile making between 1332 and 1390. From about 1350 most of the churches in and around Buckinghamshire were paved with Penn tiles. Penn tiles were often decorated with flower or animal patterns and were used to make elaborate floor patterns and designs. This tile was found at Yonder Lodge, Penn in the 1990s. 5.5

Babylonian Tablet The original ‘tablet’. This clay tablet dates from around 3000BC. It is written in cuneiform the earliest type of writing. The word means ‘wedge-shaped’ and describes the shape of the written marks which are made by a reed pressed into the soft clay. Until recently the text was a mystery. Dr Alisdair Livingstone of Birmingham University has recently translated the text which is as follows; ‘Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, Provider for the temples Esagila and Ezida, Foremost son of Nabopolassar King of Babylon.’ The text refers to King Nebuchadnezzar II, who is mentioned in the Bible. This is probably one of the earliest donations to the Museum collection.

HIWLH :2007.56

Adopt an Object Catalogue  

Support Wycombe Museum by adoption an object from our collection.

Adopt an Object Catalogue  

Support Wycombe Museum by adoption an object from our collection.