by Colin Davenport)
Parish of Iver is steeped in history. It is situated in the extreme southeast
of Buckinghamshire and includes the separate districts of Iver Village,
Iver Heath and Richings Park. The population today is in excess of 10,000.
parish has been inhabited since the Stone Age. Implements from prehistory
have been found in gravel pits and the Colne Brook.
name Iver is Saxon in origin recorded first in 893 and the parish church
of St. Peter has Saxon work in the nave. Iver is mentioned in the Domesday
Survey of 1086 with it's Saxon name of Evreham. The name means the settlement
(“ham”) on the slope (“evre”) above the valley of the Colne Brook and
this is represented in the chairman's badge of office with a green slope
and blue water, above which is an outline map of the present parish in
red together with the swan of Buckinghamshire.
1351 a grant was made to Lord Neville for a weekly market and two annual
fairs at Iver.
arable land led to the development of a number of manors. The largest
was Iver but from the 14th century not only manors but also farms and
homesteads grew up and over the centuries increased in size. Their names
survive – Delaford Manor, Larbourne, Bangors Park and Huntsmoor, even
if not all refer today to a working farm.
that were carried on in the parish included corn milling, weaving, basket
making and papermaking but the principal industry in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries was the manufacture of bricks, recorded first in
1657. Today the Parish Council still maintains mud wharves on the banks
of the Colne Brook and the Colne, and residents still have a right to
take mud from the wharves.
the centuries went by, linear development westward along the present B470,
the road connecting Uxbridge to Langley and forming Iver's present High
Street, led to Iver village becoming joined to the former hamlets of Love
Green, Shreding Green and Swallow Street.
Iver Village is the centre of an extended Parish. Apart from residential
areas, local shopping facilities and first and junior schools there is
still agriculture practised. Sheep and horses graze and chickens are reared.
Light industry ranges from motor vehicle maintenance to food production.
Warehouses make use of the nearby motorway network for the distribution
of a diversity of products.
villagescape has changed much in the last two centuries but the heart
of the village is a conservation area, designated in 1982.
services connect Iver Village to Uxbridge and Slough.
Park and Recreation Ground owned and maintained by the Parish Council
provides pitches for Delaford Colts Football Club who run many successful
youth football teams. There is a separate children's play area and an
area for older children which includes a BMX track, games court with goal
mouth, exercise machine and youth shelter. The Parish Council is trying
to get funding for a new pavilion with changing rooms and storage for
the groundsman's equipment. The 1st Iver Scout Group also has it's H.Q.
here. There is also an allotment adjacent to the recreation ground.
the North of Iver Village and towards the Alder Bourne was open heathland
where Iver residents could graze cattle and cut heather and furze. Residents
of Uxbridge came to the heathland to bleach their cloth.
historic times, coaches travelling from Uxbridge to Windsor needed to
be alert for the highwaymen who held up travellers, refreshment was taken
at the Crooked Billet, whose modern replacement stands on the A412 Uxbridge/Slough
road. Tradition records that the ubiquitous Dick Turpin haunted the heath.
area of the parish became Iver Heath and the heathland's availability
to all was ended by the Enclosure Act of 1801. A church dedicated to St
Margaret was built in 1862 on the A412 and residential development particularly
in this century has made this district of the parish the largest in population.
Residents can still enjoy part of the old heathland thanks to the Parish
Council's leasing of Iver Heath Fields from South Bucks District Council
and running it as a conservation area.
Heath's main industry is filmmaking. This may not be universally known,
as films made at Pinewood Studios are often said to have been made at
Pinewood Studios, London, England. However it was in Iver Heath on the
parish's north-western boundary that there was situated an old Victorian
house that had been turned into a mansion by a multi-millionaire called
Lt. Col. Grant Morden, a Canadian financier and Member of Parliament for
Brentford and Chiswick. Morden died a bankrupt in 1934 enabling an idealistic
builder, Charles Boot, a Methodist flour-miller, Joseph Arthur Rank and
a big game-hunting widow and millionairess, Lady Yule to “behave as if
a millionaire with a beautiful house suddenly decided to make pictures
in his garden” and to found Pinewood Studios.
Hall the mansion's name, already had a place in history as it was where
the ratification of the agreement took place for the formation of the
Irish Free State in November 1921. Pinewood Studios has become known and
taken its place in universal cinema history. The first complete film made
there after the studios had opened on 30th September 1936 was “ Talk of
the Devil” directed by Carol Reed. The Studios today are flourishing and
expanding, though conscious of their proximity to the London Green Belt.
The Parish of Iver and Black Park (just outside the Parish boundary) are
often used for location filming.
Heath has first and junior schools, local shopping facilities and is connected
by bus to Slough and Uxbridge.
Heath has varied residential areas and a large recreation ground, NPFA
owned but leased and run by the Parish Council, with facilities for tennis,
football (Iver Heath Rovers have their home ground here) bowls and a youth
allotment is maintained by the Parish Council for the residents of Iver
Heath, which is adjacent to the nature reserve of Hardings Row.
coming of the railway, Brunel's Great Western route, had little impact
on Iver until a station was opened after World War One that led to the
development of Richings Park. Trains go east to Paddington and west to
Slough and beyond.
from Iver village Thorney Lane crosses the Slough arm of the Grand Union
canal and the railway line leading to Richings Park, a planned residential
development by the Sykes brothers from Yorkshire before World War Two.
Drive to the south of North Park led to the mansion that gave Richings
Park its name and the tree lined route is still in evidence. The mansion
was owned by Earl Bathurst. In 1739 it was under the ownership of the
Duke of Somerset, later still the Earl of Northumberland. Many 18th century
literary figures, including Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray and Joseph Addison
were inspired by the mansion and its well-timbered park. Lord Bathurst
was also addressed by Alexander Pope in the “Epistle to Bathurst of the
use of Riches”.
Victor of his health of fortune, friends, and fame, this lord of useless
a splendid place Richings Park House must have been!
mansion was destroyed by fire in 1788, its replacement bombed in World
War Two. It had become Bomber Command Headquarters for the RAF. Earl Bathurst
is remembered in the street name Bathurst Walk.
Park has its own shops and churches, a sports club with well-established
hockey and cricket teams. Once there was even a cinema!
bus service connects Richings Park with Iver, Langley and Uxbridge on
Mondays to Fridays during the day. Iver station is served by Thames Trains
with a half hour service in each direction except on Sunday.
Iver' is a valuable pictoral history which will re-awaken nostalgic memories
for some, while offering a unique glimpse of the past for others.
by 'Tempus Publishing Limited'
available from all local newsagents, cost £11.99