It all began at the Guildhall in November 1968. Local Artist, Lorna Cassidy, captured the occasion when the High Wycombe Society came into being in a sketch. Lorna had also captured a view of Pann Mill and wrote a magazine article about the plight of the mill, with an accompanying verse, long before the High Wycombe Society came onto the scene.
In the fifty years of the Society’s existence since then, members have often turned to poetry to make their views known. Frances Alexander in her Ode to Mr Perkin immortalised a Mr Perkin from the Concrete Society who came to talk to the Society about pedestrianisation.
Many members paid tribute to founding member and Secretary Jack Scruton in poetic form. Among them, Eric Alexander, who penned Remembering Jack Scruton words that were composed to fit with the tune for “Coming through the Rye”.
Eric Alexander also commemorated the Society’s twenty-fifth anniversary with a poem called High Wycombe Today composed to fit the tune for “Home on the Range”. In 2018 this poem was minimally edited to fit the fiftieth anniversary.
In recent times Eileen Walters captured the spirit of the Rye Protection Society in her poem THE_RYE which was displayed at the Big Picnic in 2015, and in 2018 she followed it up with a general poem about the Society’s activities: Caring About Our Town
At the Golden Anniversary Celebratory event, held at Wycombe Abbey in the Summer of 2018, these and other poems formed part of the exhibition material on display. One poem, written in 2002, lamented the culverting of the River Wye. It can be seen here: StuartsPoem
Members and guests also joined together in a singsong including the two above-mentioned traditional songs set to words by the late Eric Alexander.
And Our President, Stuart King, chose the same occasion on which to recall a traditional music hall song relating to Wycombe: JURKINS of WYCOMBE
Hanging aloft at the event was another souvenir from decades past. No-one was quite sure when it had been created, but once again, Lorna Cassidy, had kept the item: An embroidered version of the Society Swan: