AIM’s Annual General Meeting took place on the 20th of May, all the business being concluded in 30 minutes. This left us more than enough time to welcome Hazel Malpass, who spoke to us about The Story of Higginson Park.
Hazel informed us that the original estate ran from The Croft (now Gyldenscroft) in Henley Road to the Thames and included Court Garden House and much of the land in the present Pound Lane area.
Dr Battie had Court Garden House built, but forget to include a staircase to the first floor. The added structure containing a stairwell is still very visible. It is reputed that references to people being ‘a bit batty’ come from the Doctor’s staircase memory lapse.
The grounds of the House had been open to the public for some time, but this facility was put at risk, as in 1925, the House and grounds (now Higginson Park) were put on sale.
A local man, Mr LJ Smith, was instrumental in forming a committee in order to raise the £10,000 (now about £500,000) necessary to buy the estate. General Sir George Higginson, living in Gyldenscroft, became a focal point for the appeal.
After a series of appeals the estate was paid for in full and handed to the General to give to the people of Marlow. The House and grounds were then passed on to Marlow Urban District Council who would act as trustees. The trusteeship passed to Wycombe District Council in 1972, when the Marlow District Council ceased to be.
So, if you walk in Higginson Park, or visit Court Garden House, give a thought to the huge effort made by many people in and outside Marlow, who ensured that we would enjoy these fine leisure facilities in perpetuity.