Building record 0846002000 - Birch House, Leigh Street


Early twentieth extension to Birch's furniture factory, built in 1913 and extended in 1926.

Protected Status/Designation

  • Conservation Area: Leigh Street Furniture Heritage Conservation Area
  • Locally Listed Building 3839: Birch House, Leigh Street


Type and Period (1)

  • FURNITURE WORKSHOP (Built 1913, 20th Century - 1900 AD to 1999 AD)


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. Current mixed industrial and commercial use. 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).
Large factory complex, taken over by William Birch in 1901. Original oldest part of the building lies to the rear, and has been added to by later additions. Frontage Building: Designed by Thomas Thurlow (also responsible for the Oak Room in Wycombe Town Hall and the Easton Street Methodist Chapel), and built by GH Gibson and Sons. This is the key building in terms of views to the site and it dominates the locality by virtue of its height. Built in 1913, this has the date 1913 and WB Ltd to the original wagon arch to the west end of the range. The factory was extended in 1926 by a further 14 bays and a fourth floor added to the original range (in a different brick), again by Thomas Thurlow (further inscriptions over the eastern wagon arch). These large buildings are superior to many of the more workmanlike factories of the
period. They are of yellow stock brick with classical pared down architectural detailing, apart from the upper floor. Windows to the first 3 floors have cambered arched headers in red brick with red 2 brick sill and 1 brick header courses. The upper floor windows rise to the eaves and lack the detailing of the lower floors. Windows are mostly original, small panes metal casement types. Wagon accesses from the north elevation accessing the inner court from Leigh Street have ornate stone frames with date plaques and black brick detailing to pilasters. The black brick is also used on the lower part of the frontage wall to imitate a plinth. Proposed for inclusion on local list (B2).
A significant building within the Leigh Street Furniture Heritage Conservation Area (B3).
Added to local list (B4).
Birch House- forms the main Leigh Street frontage of the factory complex. Building is rectangular in plan and four stories high. Brick built in English bond. Brick type varies between 1913 and 1926 built sections. 1913 section is built with yellow London stock brick. The 1926 section constructed of Fletton bricks. Base of the building is constructed with blue engineering brick. The 1913 section was originally only3 stories high. Wagon entrance constructed with yellow brick with blue brick quoins. A pair of pilasters have been incorporated into the entrance. The 1926 section is located on the south-eastern end of the 1913 building and includes the fourth floor addition (B5).
Embroidery Building- Consists of 2 distinct buildings, south of the north-western end of Birch House. The north-eastern elevation fronts onto Leigh Street. Brickwork, foundation of blue engineering bricks 7 courses high and in English bond. Ground floor upto a concrete lintel, is of red brick laid in a combination of Flemish garden wall bond and monk bond. Above the lintel the bricks are more uniform in bond, predominantly in a flemish bond. The rear block of the Embroidery Building consists of the main earlier block and later infilling between the two blocks. The building is single storey. The brickwork varies, with the south-east wall having been rebuilt in the 1990s. The south-west and north-west walls are built are built using Fletton bricks laid in monk bond with some Flemish bond (B5).
Wheelers Yard building- located externally fom the main Leigh Court buildings, to the south-east of the courtyard. A 2 storey building built between 1925 and 1937. Concrete frame infilled with a combnation of brick on the first floor and concrete block and corrugated iron on the ground floor. The bricks are of Fletton type laid in stretcher bond (B5).
HBR summary (B6).

Sources (7)

  • <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).
  • <3>SBC25430 Bibliographic reference: Wycombe District Council. 2012. Leigh Street Furniture Heritage Conservation Area Appraisal.
  • <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.
  • <6>SBC25897 Article in serial: CBA South Midlands Group. 2019. South Midlands Archaeology 49. Vol 49. p63.


Grid reference SU 85616 93242 (point)
Civil Parish HIGH WYCOMBE, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

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

Record last edited

Mar 20 2023 2:37PM

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