Lesslie Watson

Vicki Smith, who knew him well, described him as "a real gentleman"

Steps House West WycombeCol. Lesslie Watson MBE originally lived in Steps House (changed from to The Manor House by Jill and Julian Prideaux) in The High Street, West Wycombe for many years before designing and having Silver Birches built in Church Lane almost opposite West Wycombe Caves.

Silver Birches, was designed by Lesslie Watson an architect by trade, appears to be a bungalow but was designed upside-down to take advantage of the views over the village and West Wycombe Park. The bedrooms are downstairs.

It was Lesslie's idea that West Wycombe needed a parish council and organised a referendum by writing to the government to set things in motion. Following the referendum the Parish Council was established in 1987 with Lesslie as the first Chairman in 1987.

The current chairman, Vicki Smith has retained some of the first notes/papers from the early years, a time when all the members were brand new, inexperienced and learning the ropes.

It is understood that he served in the Royal Artillery and was awarded the MBE in 1953.

He was a key figure in the Coronation Celebration Week being responsible for the 'festivities'.

West Wycombe Village HallIt was during the Coronation Celebrations that funds were being raised for a new Village Hall, the old village hall was sited on the field that we now know as the Pedestal Field (as opposed to the Pedestal Playing Field).

Lesslie Watson competed and won a competition (believed to have been organised by Sir Francis Dashwood) to design the new hall and in 1960 it was officially opened. At the time it was considered very advanced in the design and facilities that it provided. Lesslie was very proud of the Hall and even more so because all the funding required was gathered by donations from people in the Parish.

The Hall is owned and managed by the West Wycombe Community Association, a not-for-profit organisation managed by volunteers whilst the land is leased from the National Trust.

Before he died Lesslie he designed a memorial for his family which is in St Lawrence's Churchyard.

 


 

This page is a "work in progress". We need photographs of Lesslie together with some images of Steps House when it was The Manor House, the construction of Silver Birches together with any other material or anecdotes that you might be able to provide. We also need photographs of the original village hall which was sited in the Pedestal Field and we beleive demolished in 1955?

Please contact the Webmaster with details of what you can provide or ring 01494 438904

 


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