After a lot of searching I have finally uncovered a rather faded and yellowed article that the journalist, shopkeeper and Town Councillor / Town Mayor, the late Cyril Chalk, wrote for the now defunct Marlow Times, a free newspaper that existed in the 1970s.

Cyril’s article, with an additional and better quality photograph that I have inserted lower right is dated November 26th 1976, and he is enthusing about the conversion of New Court House into senior citizens’ accommodation.

He includes a picture of Mrs Gladys Thompson who expresses her delight at her new home.

The elegant house, extensive gardens and stable block facing onto the High Street, were bequeathed to Marlow Urban District Council by Mrs Nesta Liston (small picture lower right) who made clear: “I express it as my wish that the Council should set aside a substantial part of the property as a public open space or garden for the enjoyment of the people of Marlow.”

Some years earlier in another act of generosity she and husband Forbes had obtained the former Methodist Chapel for use as a Community Centre and Hall, and in their honour it was named Liston Hall.

The New Court stable block was a rather redundant building and was understandably extended, windows inserted, and converted to shops (Liston Court), the surplus funds from the sale said to be needed for upkeep of New Court and to settle death duties.

After that, all was more or less OK for close to four decades, but, especially if you are a regular reader of the Marlow Free Press, you will know the fate, fairly recently, of New Court House: sold by Wycombe District Council to the Red Kite Organisation who in turn have sold it on again, the residents having been moved out.

There was even a lengthy struggle, thankfully won, to retain public footpath access from Cromwell Gardens through to the High Street.

It is a shameful saga very similar to that of Rookery House and Estate, a few years earlier, also left for the benefit of the people of Marlow by the last owner Mrs Wright.

I have press cuttings advising that the Rookery was to become a Community Centre complete with swimming pool, but it was demolished and although a part of the grounds remain as a public park, much was sold and built over, becoming Rookery Court.

Read and consider Cyril’s article, especially the last two sentences.

No further comment necessary.

Contact Michael on or 01628 486571