The High Wycombe Society has recently received a donation consisting of a collection of estate agents’ brochures for High Wycombe property auctions during the latter half of the twentieth century.

Most of these contain schematic plans which show the exact location of the various shops in the town centre as they were in 1950s/60s/70s and 80s.

These are an absolute goldmine for those people interested in studying how the town centre developed in that period. The plan accompanying the brochure for the sale of No.7 Church Street is shown here.

This shows the shops located in the White Hart Street, Church Street, and Bull Lane area of the town centre. Older readers might well have fond memories of many of these, such as The Woolworths store which had two entrances/exits in Church St.

At Christmas-time it was so crowded that it could take upwards of fifteen minutes just to make your way through the store from one entrance, to leave by the other, and that was without stopping to buy anything.

The coffee house of J.Lyons & Co which was just opposite one of the Woolworths’ exits/entrances.

This was the place “to be seen” in Wycombe, with the relatively small frontage giving way to a spacious interior.

The two shops of Stevens the butcher’s in White Hart St, which had cast models of a ram’s head and a pig mounted on plinths above the entrance.

These can still be seen today.

The area on the corner of White Hart Street and Pauls Row, which is designated as a “site” in the plan, all the shops located there having already been demolished.

For many years the empty site was used as an open-air market, with many interesting market-traders having a “pitch” there.

Boots the Chemist is shown when it was situated in Queen Square, with the store extending right through to Bull Lane, where there was a rear entrance.

The shop of C.E.Stevens, corn-merchants affectionately known as Stevens the Seedsman, on the corner of Church Street and Priory Road.

The shop had been next door to the department store of McIlroys until this was purchased by Marks & Spencer, then demolished to build a new M&S store. Stevens had at first refused to sell the shop to Marks & Spencer, who went ahead to build their store anyway.

After a few years Mr Stevens was persuaded to sell, having presumably been made “an offer he could not refuse”. This allowed M&S to extend their new store to occupy the whole corner site, which is now taken by Primark. In 1955 when the map was prepared the M&S store would have been under construction.

Opposite C.E.Stevens, near the corner of Priory Road and Castle Street, was Halfords, shown on the plan as bicycle-dealers.

As readers will know, a Halfords store is still situated there, the only one shown on the map which has not moved or long since disappeared.

Jackie Kay, of the High Wycombe Society, is to be congratulated for making these brochures available on the Society’s website at

The brochures are minimally introduced with links so that you can click right through to scanned versions of individual brochures.