Gerrards Cross lies in the south Chilterns on the historic main road between London and Oxford, now the A40. Although it is home to Bulstrode Camp, the largest Iron Age hill fort in Buckinghamshire, it is only relatively recently that it has become a settlement of any size. In the medieval period a hamlet grew up where the road crossed the Common, over which no fewer than five parishes had grazing rights – Langley Marish, Chalfont St. Peter, Fulmer, Iver and Upton. The name “Jarrets Cross” appears in 14th century records and was probably a crossroads near the present Bull Hotel next to the entrance to the deer park at Bulstrode. The presence of the great house at Bulstrode attracted visitors to the area. This was good hunting country and in the 19th century the Old Berkeley Hunt moved its kennels here. Genteel residences were built around the Common and the construction of St. James’ church added to the air of gentility; Gerrards Cross became the “Brighton of Bucks”.
By the time the railway arrived in 1906 property developers were already busy laying-out a new “garden village” north of the Common with architect-designed houses in Arts and Crafts style. London was only a 30 minute train ride away and Gerrards Cross became, and remains, an affluent commuter village. In 2006 local residents celebrated the centenary of the railway with an exhibition of plans for many of those Arts and Crafts houses. At that time there was increasing local concern over the loss of large Edwardian houses and their replacement with apartment blocks. The area around the Common was already protected by a Conservation Area and the research carried out by the GX2006 team provided the evidence for South Bucks District Council to designate a new Conservation Area to help preserve the special character of the “new” Gerrards Cross, appropriately called the Gerrards Cross Centenary Conservation Area. You can find out more online about the history of Gerrards Cross from the GX 2006 website www.gx2006.co.uk.
The photographs were taken by John Harrison, Anthony Howlett-Bolton and Tony Hyde between 2008 and 2013. Historical details in the introduction and captions were kindly provided by Marian Miller.