Incredible photographs show how one part of Wycombe has changed throughout the ages. 

Newly-unearthed images from the Bucks Free Press's archives show demonstrations in the Frogmoor area in the 1960s as residents took a stand against the Apartheid.

While pictures taken in 1949 show how flooding once savaged the area. 

Below, the BFP's Nostalgia expert Mike Dewey writes about Frogmoor's fascinating history. 

Frogmoor hit the headlines in 2016 following the EDL demonstration but readers may not appreciate its long and distinguished past.

Frogmoor was a part of the original medieval town centre of High Wycombe and incorporated the market place. Because of the commercial nature of the area there has always been a low residential population.

Such as there was, was concentrated towards the northern end, near where the railway viaduct is now.

In the mid-19th century the commercial enterprises in Frogmoor included a sawmill and timber yard, a Malthouse, and the Borough Fire Station (which was moved to Priory Road in 1899).

At that time the central part of Frogmoor, the ‘island’ now enclosed by roads, was a private garden known as Frogmoor Gardens.

These gardens were purchased by a local benefactor Mr J O Griffits and given to the Borough Council as a gift to be enjoyed by the local population.

He generously developed the garden area to become a public space by laying it out with York stone and a magnificent water fountain. This was formally opened in April 1877.

Initially most of the trees which lined the garden area were retained, but were heavily pollarded. At this time cattle were still to be seen around the town and were known to use the fountain as a source of drinking water.

A separate drinking trough was therefore provided, which is just inside the entrance to Wycombe Museum. A drinking water fountain for people to use was also provided.

By the 1910s and the beginning of WWI the trees had all but disappeared. Motor traffic was by now starting to appear in the streets and Wycombe town centre became a notorious bottleneck as cars, buses and lorries wound their way through the High St, Church St, past Frogmoor and along Oxford St and the West Wycombe Rd, before reaching the ‘open road’ once again.

In the 1920s the traffic problem was exacerbated when Frogmoor effectively became the bus terminus.

Indeed the bus station for the Thames Valley company was eventually just off Frogmoor and situated near where Morrisons is now.

We will now be within the living memory of many readers, who will no doubt remember queuing for their local bus home after a day at school or at work.

By this time the small building at the northern apex of Frogmoor ‘island’ had been converted into a public toilet. It was not unknown, although perhaps against the rules, for bus drivers to make a visit there whilst they waited for passengers to board their vehicle.

Following the outbreak of WWII in 1939 the nation needed all available ferrous materials to feed the war effort, and the Frogmoor fountain succumbed to this.

It was demolished in 1940, although because it was mostly constructed from cast iron components, which cannot be easily re-cycled, it is doubtful if much of the fountain was actually converted into armaments.

For many years the fountain was replaced with a small circular garden, before the council decided to install a new fountain. It is very unfortunate that despite several attempts the Council has not managed to satisfactorily replace the original fountain.

After the war the redevelopment of Wycombe began apace. A significant event for Frogmoor was to be the resurfacing of Hamilton Road, which leads down from the Royal Grammar School to Hughenden Road.

Initially the provision for surface drainage of rainwater was inadequate. After a severe downpour water would flood down the hill into Temple End, through Frogmoor, and into Oxford Street. This was a severe headache for all the shopkeepers along this ‘route’.

Among the new shops to be appear in Frogmoor at this time was the Donner’s Supermarket. This was opened in May 1956 by the film star Diana Dors. She was known as the ‘Blonde Bombshell’, and certainly drew the crowds.

This store was not to last for long and in 1963 Tesco’s opened their first supermarket in High Wycombe. This occupied the site previously occupied by the ironmongers F W George adjacent to the Salvation Army Citadel.

Right into the 1970’s Frogmoor remained the ‘activity’ centre of the town. The Salvation Army played regular silver band concerts there, including at Christmas. Politicians would deliver election speeches from their ‘soapbox’ and demonstrators would congregate to make their protest.

Perhaps the ‘writing was on the wall’ regarding the future of Frogmoor when the Palace Cinema was demolished in c.1965. Not only was this a ‘picture-house’ but had premises on the first floor which included a café and a ballroom.

In 1970 Frogmoor lost another one of its main attractions when Woolworth’s moved to new premises in the High Street.

The store had two entrances/exits, one in Frogmoor and the other in Church Street. It was replaced by the Chiltern Centre, which provided premises for a range of smaller shops.

To be continued…

Do you have fond memories, or old photographs, of Frogmoor? If so, we would love to hear from you, contact Mike Dewey on 01494 755070 or email him at