The Nostalgia page article on March 21 was about the history of the area in High Wycombe known as Frogmoor.

This was based on another Nostalgia article which was published in September, 2017.

Unfortunately, the article is now outdated in one important respect.

That concerns the origin of the rather grand cattle trough which is now located just inside the entrance gates to Wycombe Museum in Priory Road.


This was an association originally set up in London by Samuel Gurney, a Member of Parliament, and Edward Wakefield, a barrister, in 1859 to provide free drinking water to the public.

In 1967 it changed its name to include ‘Cattle Trough’ in order to support animal welfare.

In collaboration with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, troughs were built for horses, cattle, and dogs.

Bucks Free Press: The cattle trough in the grounds of Wycombe Museum, Castle Hill House, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe, July 1972.The cattle trough in the grounds of Wycombe Museum, Castle Hill House, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe, July 1972. (Image: BFP)

Until recently it was commonly thought that the trough which is now at the Museum was originally situated at the southern end of Frogmoor, near the famous Frogmoor fountain.

This was reputed to have been provided to prevent cattle from drinking from the water around the fountain.

That the Museum trough is not the same as the one in Frogmoor was first suggested in July 2017 by Andy Aliffe, a local history enthusiast and long-time inhabitant of High Wycombe.

Harvey Coltman then took up the challenge of proving this one way or the other, with Andy providing confirmation of Harvey’s findings, as well as additional information.

Harvey wrote: “There were at least two cattle troughs in the Borough of High Wycombe between 1900 and 1945, the trough in Frogmoor and another along the London Road east of the town centre. The trough in Frogmoor was actually on Oxford St at the southern end of Frogmoor.

It was installed sometime between 1900 and 1906 and provided ‘through the benevolence of the late Mr Baines’ according to a report in the Bucks Free Press.

It was removed between February 1935 and May 1937, probably in 1936. Where it went then is unknown.  

The other trough was on the London Road, alongside the Rye, roughly midway between Stuart Road and Harlow Road.

This is the trough that currently rests by the driveway at Wycombe Museum. It has an interesting history.

In October 1907, at a Buckinghamshire branch meeting of the RSPCA, Lord Cheylesmore, the Chairman of the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association (MDFCTA) asked the Mayor of Wycombe Alderman R.S. Wood if he thought the Corporation would accept a drinking trough. As it would be free, the Mayor assured him that they would!  

When this was raised at a subsequent Council Meeting there was strong opposition to the proposal by Councillor S.R.Vernon, on the grounds that such troughs spread disease amongst cattle and horses. However the Council endorsed the proposal for a trough from the MDFCTA.

After more discussion at later meetings it was agreed that if a continual flow of water went through the trough this would mitigate against any possible spread of disease.

Wycombe therefore persuaded the Association to agree to provide this, and also a stand pipe with the trough.

The trough was to be of a ‘special design’ constructed from polished red granite, and also incorporating a public drinking fountain. The total cost was £109.12.8. This ‘special design’ became known as the ‘Wycombe Design’ and was used subsequently for troughs in several towns including Wisbech, Caterham and Swindon.

The trough was installed by mid-June 1908 with its continual flow, but no standpipe.

It is unclear whether the standpipe was ever installed.

Its precise location was ‘opposite Mr J. Gardner’s house’. Mr Gardner lived in Park House in the London Road, opposite the Rye.

The removal of the London Road trough was discussed at a Council meeting in November 1943.

Alderman R. Janes said ‘he had seen many people bump into the trough during the blackout, but he had never seen a horse drinking from it’ (which begs the question, if they could not see the trough, how could he see them!). The Council passed a resolution to remove the trough.

It was subsequently kept in the yard of the Water Works in Easton Street, although it is not known if it remained there until it was installed beside the drive of the Museum at Castle Hill, which opened in 1962.’’

I am grateful to Harvey Coltman and Andy Aliffe for sharing their research with me.

Harvey is perhaps best known to readers as one of the originators, with the staff of High Wycombe library, of the Sharing Wycombe’s Old Photographs website, address now