Grant to create heritage trail

The role that the people of Wycombe played during the First World War will be celebrated with a heritage trail, thanks to a £10,000 grant awarded to Wycombe District Council by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The heritage trail project, which is being funded through HLF's "First World War: then and now" programme, will focus on researching the stories of people who were affected by the war, such as the prominent businesses man Henry Cox who was mayor of the town and subsequently fought in the war and the Victoria Cross recipient Frederick Youens, as well as the pupils whose school was taken over by the voluntary aid detachment and transformed into a hospital. The trail itself will link together points of interest in High Wycombe such as memorials, former aircraft and munitions factories and an artillery camp and will also feature information about the training trenches in Marlow and Princes Risborough.

In creating the trail, the council will be working with a number of experts and volunteers from Wycombe Museum, the High Wycombe Society, the Centre for Bucks Studies, schools and local historians who are keen to learn more about the area they live in. Bucks New University will also be supporting the project, by researching and developing an accompanying app.

Cllr Julia Adey, Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community, said: “The Wycombe area industry was adapted to support the war effort, with factories producing munitions and aircraft parts instead of furniture. With the centenary of the First World War, we felt that the time was right to create something which remembers and celebrates the contributions made at home and abroad by the people living and working in Wycombe and the surrounding area during the war.

“We’re very grateful to all of the experts and volunteers, young and old, who will be helping us to create this special heritage trail and I have no doubt that together, we can create something that Wycombe district will be proud of.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “We’re delighted that we can support Wycombe District Council to share and commemorate the fascinating wartime history of Wycombe. Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Trail will involve the whole community in creating a lasting legacy for the town.”

The trail, the app, information and activity packs and supporting exhibition material will be launched during summer 2017.