A Brief History of Amersham on Hill & Elm Close Estate

By D. Whitson 21/2/2004

3/4/1840
Area was held by Revd John Tyrwhitt Drake as Glebe. Described as Woodgreen Field arable land of 13 acres 0 rods 2 perch. Known as Amersham Hill Estate.

1892
Metropolitan & Central Railway arrived in Amersham on Hill. The line of Railway was influenced by Drake family (Lords of the Manor) who did not want it near Old Amersham and in view of their property "Shardloes". Prior to this Amersham Old Town was on a main Coach route.

25/3/1893
Agreements between Revd Drake and William & George Weller about land around the Station and beyond. (assume to Farm it )

19/11/1907
11acres, 1 rod, 19 perch offered as Lot 6 at Auction held at Station Hotel Amersham (now Iron Horse). Area would appear to stretch from then Railway Goods Yard (now NHBC HQ) across and behind The Station Hotel, to Station Road along to junction with Rectory Hill up along Chesham Road to Oakfield Corner then along the line of Sycamore Road right across to footpath/lane (now Woodside Road) along to about Chiltern Avenue and back down to the Railway Goods Yard . (In fact the major part of the area now forming Amersham on the Hill and Elm Close)

27/12/1907
Agreement by Board of Agriculture & Fisheries to sale under the Glebes Land Act 1888 by Incumbent subject to a purchase price not less than £2928. 4. 0 and a sale within 12 months.

8/10/1908
Revd Charles Edward Briggs sold to William Gurney a parcel of Glebe Lands of the Rectory of Amersham at the price set 27/12/1907 (£2928. 4. 0)

 
The plan shows in place the Station Hotel, Amersham Grammar School and Metropolitan & Central Railway.
The only roads being Station Road and Chesham Road. Assume that with the Railway in place that this sale was the real beginning of the development which became Amersham on the Hill.
 
On the same date George Weller (Brewer with Brewery in Church Street) passed by agreement an additional small section of adjacent land to William Gurney.
Additionally The Metropolitan & Great Central Railway/Metropolitan Railway Company sold 4800 sq ft for £150 to William Gurney.
The plan for this sale shows Hill Avenue only in outline crossing through Lot 6.

9/10/1908
William Gurney sold a parcel of the land to Alfred Beach Faulker & Herbert Summersell Greenwood of Ossory Road Old Kent Road (Builders) for £4250

 
It is probably safe to assume that Gurney, who purchased the entire area for £3078. 4. 0 was an original entrepreneur!
Greenwood & Faulkner linked with Gurney and they took various mortages on the land between 1908 & 1920, possibly farming and carrying out some building prior to selling part of it.

1/4/1920
Faulkner & Greenwood sold the area that was to become Elm Close to Amersham Public Utility Society of 2 Sycamore Road Amersham for £2000. Sold for the building of not more than 30 houses with a value of £300 single or £1200 a pair. Building to take place within 5 years.
Hill Avenue is shown on the plans as existing but called Amersham Hill Avenue.

 
The Amersham Public Utility Society was part of the movement by the Government to subsidize housebuilding through Local Authorities/Public Utility Societies/Private enterprise. The Public Utility Societies were to provide working-class houses. ( Working Class can be taken to mean today's middle class as opposed to the Labouring Class or Landed Gentry).

13/10/1920 to 8/9/1923
Amersham Public Utility Society took various loans under the Housing for the Working Class Act 1890 to develop & erect dwellings for the working class. Loans totalled £32542 which were all repaid on 21/10/1923. Building Elm Close to unusual designs by Mr JH & Mr L Kennard began on 29/12/1920 with completion on 24/02/1922. (the design using concrete blocks with solid concrete floors throughout was probably to utilise materials more readily available post the 1914-1918 war period)

 
It is assumed that the original residents were Tenants who paid rent until the Housing Act 1923 allowed the Local Authority to advance the necessary Deposit to those who wished to purchase.

21/10/1923
The following purchased Elm Close with its completed 30 houses from the Amersham Public Utility Society (Bank Buildings, Amersham) as Trustees by means of a loan £13500 with the Northampton Town & County Benefit Building Society:

1923 — 1980
Elm Close being a private area and unadopted was managed by Elm Close Estate Ltd. The directors being elected by the 30 owners each holding one share in the Company.

1980.
The original Company became Elm Close Estate (1980) Ltd in an attempt to bring it and its articles uptodate.

1992
Elm Close was designated a Conservation Area by Chiltern District Council --------------

 

Owners of 7 Elm Close 1923 - 2004

Sources

Abstract of the Title (Amersham Public Utility Society to freehold land known as Elm Close Estate forming part of Amersham Hill Estate) 1923.
Elm Close Conservation Area Designation Report 1995 (Chiltern District Council).
Housing 1914-1924 (Roy Thompson 23 Elm Close).
Conveyance Documents 1923 -1970.