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The High Wycombe Boxes

Started by lym, Sep 05, 2018, 10:36 pm

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The copy of that photo on the SWOP page wasn't a huge amount of help either.  I'm going to take a deeper look into the website tomorrow to see if there's anyway to request higher-resolution copies.


Sep 08, 2018, 02:03 am #16 Last Edit: Sep 08, 2018, 02:21 am by lymerence
Good luck! I've been conducting some eBay searches for postcards but haven't been successful yet; most of them are of the High Street, which unfortunately had no box on it. I imagine the search for photos would be far easier had there been one there. Still, Rome wasn't built in a day, and I'm sure we'll find some more pictures eventually.

It's funny to me how despite having seen probably hundreds of Met box photographs, the prospect of seeing these ones are so much more exciting. We already have proof that they were there, so more pictures aren't really necessary - yet I'm still obsessively searching. They probably looked exactly the same as the London boxes, yet there's something so interesting about these ones, despite High Wycombe only being a relatively small amount of miles outside of London. I guess it's the whole fact that they're not a part of the Met jurisdiction; it's basically uncharted territory.

EDIT: Found an ever-so-slightly bigger version of the pic I posted earlier, but not by much. I've blown it up a lot for ease. I still can't make out a box properly, but there is something which looks a tiny bit like a roof and lamp if you squint very hard, but it's probably just a part of the bush and I'm seeing what I want to see.



I think part of it is the fact that High Wycombe seems an unexpected choice for boxes, compared to say Uxbridge, which is tenuously linked to London via the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines.

What I was able to dig up on the various websites:
SWOP: Happy for images to be downloaded for education/private study purposes but not private use or personal display (I'd posit they'd count as educational/private study on this forum).

It doesn't explicitly mention higher-resolution downloads, but it does provide information with reguard to requesting copies of photos (found in the Contact Us section:

QuoteBFP = Bucks Free Press
RHW & HWS = High Wycombe Library
MHW = Wycombe Museum
Contact details:

High Wycombe Library
Email: deweymiked@AOL.com Tel: 01494 755070

Wycombe Museum
Email: museum@wycombe.gov.uk Tel: 01494 421895

Bucks Free Press
Email: deweymiked@AOL.com Tel: 01494 755070

-This bears further investigation.

The Frith Collection:
-Something I'd heard about from my aforementioned council friends, but hadn't looked into until last night.  The collection seems more limited than the SWOP website, though there are some photos of some locations that may be unique when compared to SWOP.  There's no zoom feature in the photographs (which renders the map uploads fairly useless) - prints of the photos can be attained, but to the tune of £24 per photograph if you don't have any frame options.

Bucks County Museum
-The smallest photo collection so far (though the County Museum previously hosted the SWOP photos).  Limited zoom, but nothing as helpful as the Britiain from Above materials.  I didn't come across any request options/information during my most recent search.

Britain From Above
-Does offer the option to purchase photographs, for a more reasonable price of £9.90 per online image, at 300dpi - though this may be limited to photos that carry a "BUY" option: https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/buy-images


Sep 08, 2018, 04:51 pm #18 Last Edit: Sep 08, 2018, 04:52 pm by petewilson
Quote from: lymerence on Sep 07, 2018, 09:20 pmThis annoyingly low-resolution image was included with the article:


Taken in 1940 so there should theoretically be a box there, but I'm not seeing one.

This is certainly not 1940 I think it's pre 1920 at the very latest....... ???


Sep 08, 2018, 05:34 pm #19 Last Edit: Sep 08, 2018, 05:38 pm by lymerence
Just quoting the article, although you're most likely right. SWOP seems to claim it's from the late 1930s, and we know at least one of the boxes was there by 1937 at the earliest. Also, welcome back!

Kingpin, good work. Unfortunately I don't think Francis Frith has any photos of the box locations.

paul hayes

Sep 08, 2018, 08:52 pm #20 Last Edit: Sep 08, 2018, 08:53 pm by paul hayes
Quote from: Kingpin on Sep 08, 2018, 04:09 pm
Britain From Above
-Does offer the option to purchase photographs, for a more reasonable price of £9.90 per online image, at 300dpi - though this may be limited to photos that carry a "BUY" option: https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/buy-images

You can zoom in to quite a high resolution on the Britain from Above site for free, though. They do seem to have quite a lot of photos of High Wycombe.


Sep 08, 2018, 09:03 pm #21 Last Edit: Sep 08, 2018, 09:04 pm by lymerence
Indeed, although I should point out that you can only zoom in if you have an account, which is very quick to make and no hassle at all. As far as I can tell from searching the map (which has markers for where the aerial pictures were taken), there's no other boxes photographed that haven't been posted here yet, although there's a couple of pics of the police posts there!

I plan to make a dedicated thread or article on methods for searching for box photos on various websites, although I think a thread would be more suited as people can input their own personal search methods and locations.


My latest research indicates to me that the Four High Wycombe Boxes were only there from 1949 to sometime before 1969.....
The "Britain From Above" photos shows the box in London Road on the 6th May 1949 in its original state before being painted.
This photo shows that it was already gone by 7th February 1969..
Now I'm guessing it was removed whenever that building was built behind where it stood (on what was wasteland) ???

No message is associated with this attachment.


Apr 11, 2021, 08:41 am #23 Last Edit: Apr 11, 2021, 08:55 am by hb88banzai
Yeah - I came across this photo way back when we first researched the High Wycombe boxes, but unfortunately it doesn't show this box's location, which by that time was just out of frame on the left.

Per the ordnance survey maps, it seems the London Road Box was resited by the late 60's, probably when the old vacant area was developed.

Here are excerpts of the 1967 and 1968 OS maps showing the new location in the forecourt of The Pheasant P.H. (Box marked "P C B" at centre of each map):

1967 1:1250 OS map --

London Road at Gordon Road - 1967 (1-1250)--cropped.jpg

1968 1:2500 OS map --

London Road at Gordon Road - 1968 (1-2500)--cropped.jpg


The box couldn't of been out on the main road for many years as by October 1955 it had already been moved from it's original Site...

London Road (9th Oct 1955).jpg


I thought the following had been posted before..But can't find them when doing a "High Wycombe" Search...
Anyway like most Towns and cities that had PCP's  (Police Call Pillars) They started off as PA1's as well in High Wycombe (This is outside the Morning Star PH, Bowerdean Cross Roads in 1951)

Morning Star PH (21-09-1951).jpgMorning Star PH (21-09-1951)2.jpg

Then sometime after 1956 the PCP's were upgraded to the PA3's like this one situated on the corners of Desborough Road, Desborough Street and Green Street (1965 and 1969 Respectively)

Desbrough Road Junction with Green Street [c1965].jpgFire at Howlands Furniture Factory, Desborough Street, High Wycombe [1969].jpg