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Wycombe from A-Z: K is for Kitchener Road
Built at a time when Wycombe was expanding due to the growing presence of the furniture industry in the early 1900's Kitchener Road encapsulates the development of Wycombe as a town over the years.
Situated in the western side of town Kitchener Road links Desborough Avenue to Oakridge Road running parallel to Green Street and Plumer Road.
Sadly the excessive number of oversized speed bumps in the road deter most modern day motorists from venturing along the road and Plumer Road is a preferable shortcut for anyone heading to Castlefield or Booker.
The houses on the southern side of the road were constructed circa 1902 indeed this coincided with the end of the Boer War in which Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener was Chief of Staff.
Most people know The Earl Kitchener as the face on the “Your country needs you” recruiting poster at the time of the First World War.
Back in the early 20th Century there was a very different attitude towards war and the naming of a road after a famous Field Marshall would not have been thought out of place. Can you imagine a road being named today after a General who served in Iraq or Afghanistan?
At the junction with Desborough Avenue is the former premises occupied by Kitchener Road stores now converted into a barbers.
On the opposite side of the road there used to be a row of lock up garages however they were demolished a few years back to make way for a block of flats (Baxter House). These days flats are being squeezed onto almost any piece of ground in Wycombe.
Travelling up the road towards Oakridge Road two distinctive types of housing can be seen. On the southern side of the road are fine semi-terraced houses dating from around 1902.
Most of the houses have stone plaques embedded on the front elevation bearing the name of the particular block of three or four dwellings. These were private homes for the affluent working class of the time.
On the northern side of the road are houses of a completely different style.
Made of teracotta coloured engineering bricks and with very square utilitarian design the homes on the northern side were built by the railway company as homes for their workers and post-date those on the southern side of the road.
After the long row of railway houses on the northern side of the road the landscape gives way to factories and industrial units. Years ago most of these factories were involved in the production of furniture.
There is and was only one factory on the southern side of the road and today it is home to the furniture factory of Stewart Linford and produces highly desirable high class furniture. Its one of the last remaining traditional furniture factories still working in Wycombe.
Also on the site is a most excellent chair making museum which contains a collection of antique Windsor Chairs and the tools used to create them.
So there we have it, a road constructed when Wycombe was expanding in the 1900's and named after a high profile soldier who took part in the second Boer war, town houses, the influence of the railway and one of the last remaining working furniture factories in Wycombe complete with a museum.
As I said at the start an overview of the history of Wycombe past and present is all contained in Kitchener Road.
What do you think?
*Maybe you would like to suggest other suitable topics for letters of the alphabet? If you have any ideas on what you think the letter 'L' should stand for just leave a comment and let me know.
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