Monument record 0846000000 - Former Birch's furniture factory, Leigh Street/Commercial Square

Summary

Former furniture factory of William Birch Ltd, built in 1900 with alterations and extensions to the 1990s.

Protected Status/Designation

  • Planning Notification Area: William Birch furniture factory

Map

Type and Period (2)

  • FURNITURE FACTORY (20th Century - 1900 AD to 1999 AD)
  • AIR RAID SHELTER (Modern - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Description

Group of buildings surrounding a large courtyard and comprising the former factory of Wm Birch Limited, manufacturers of high-quality arts and craft furniture. Original three-storey factory newly built when acquired by Birch's in 1901 is aligned east-west along the southern boundary of the site but now enclosed by later extensions. The four-storey range fronting Leigh Street was originally built in 1913 with three storeys and was extended to the east in 1926 when the fourth storey was added. Architect was Thomas Thurlow. There are date-stones over the arches at the western and eastern ends dated 1913 and 1926 respectively. The southern range was extended to the west by a four-storey building with mansard roof in the late 1920s -early 1930s. Eastern range was added between 1926 and 1934 according to OS map evidence. Buildings in the courtyard shown on photographs and maps have been demolished although traces remain (as at 2004) and the courtyard is currently used for car-parking. Current mixed industrial and commercial use. As at 2004 the northern range is the subject of a planning application for conversion to mixed business and residential use.
Single-storey office on western side of site has been rebuilt in the 1990s.
During World War II the factory was used for aircraft-related work (wings of Mosquitos) and the walkway along the Leigh Street elevation at fourth-floor level (since demolished) was used for fire-watching (anecdotal evidence from former employee). Air-raid shelters for use by the workers made of brick and concrete can still be seen from the upper floors of the southern range and now lie in the gardens of houses on the north side of Kitchener Road. These have been plotted on the map but not examined.
The map plot for the factory is around the middle of the site.
In 1954 Birch's was acquired by E Gomme and the factory was subsequently used for making G-Plan furniture.
Photographs, report and building-history (B1).

Sources (5)

  • <1>SBC22231 Unpublished document: Marian Miller. 2004. High Wycombe: Furniture Town. PD35 - pages 134-152.
  • <2>SBC24002 Unpublished document: Wycombe District Council. 2011. Local List Descriptions - New Additions to the List.
  • <3>SBC23267 Bibliographic reference: Wycombe District Council. 2006. Leigh Street Furniture Heritage Conservation Area (summary).
  • <4>SBC24074 Unpublished document: Wycombe District Council. 2011. Cabinet member decision notice on locally-listed buildings.
  • <5>SBC25069 Unpublished document: Thames Valley Archaeological Services. 2018. Leigh Court, Leigh Street, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire: Building recording.

Location

Grid reference Centred SU 85570 93200 (68m by 43m)
Civil Parish HIGH WYCOMBE, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • Event - Survey: Building recording survey - Former Birch's furniture factory, Leigh Court (Ref: LHW 18/79) (EBC18052)

Record last edited

Oct 10 2018 9:23AM

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