E.B. Basden and other Bucks Local Historians
(Ref: D 162/20)
Some of the most unexpected items come from the papers of people with a particular interest in an aspect of Bucks local history.
Robert Gibbs, (1816-1893) was a well-known local historian and editor of the Bucks Advertiser. Amongst others, he compiled a detailed history of Aylesbury as well as the delightful set of volumes entitled "Bucks Local Records" and his scrapbooks are a mine of little-known local information. They are available to consult at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies under the reference D15. We also hold copies of his published works, some of which can be borrowed from the Local Studies library.
L.M. Wulcko (1901-1977) was born and brought up in Essex, but eventually settled in the Chalfonts in Bucks. An active member in many local history societies, and an avid correspondent with other local historians, his writings on Buckinghamshire are particularly useful for researching the history of pubs. He undertook systematic research on individual public houses and the results can be consulted in the Archives, under the reference D119.
George Osterfield, a master butcher at Aylesbury until around 1960 and Honorary Secretary of the Aylesbury Butchers Association, was also a keen collector of ephemera, mainly newspaper cuttings, to do with the history of Aylesbury. We are lucky to have his collection which is largely made up of his annotated scrapbooks. They can be found under the reference D105 in the Archives.
In the 1930’s and 40’s Warren Dawson made a set of transcripts of fifteen North Bucks parish registers which are still proving most useful to family historians today. These are kept in the Local Studies Library.
However, the Archive of the Month is taken from the papers of Eric Basden. Born in Farnham Common and educated at Farnham Royal School, his interest in Bucks in general, and Farnham Royal in particular, was aroused by a project undertaken at school. From c1927 to 1930 he worked at Farnham House Imperial Bureau of Entomology and developed an interest in entomology and botany. After a period at Cambridge, he returned to Buckinghamshire to work at the Pest Infestation Laboratory in Slough where he was in charge of insect breeding. In 1947 he moved to Scotland to work at the Institute of Animal Genetics attached to the University of Edinburgh. His interests included every aspect of Bucks. By 1972 he had collected 100,000 items including some 15,000 manuscripts, pamphlets, cuttings and ephemera. Much of these relate to World War II, especially to Basden's service in the Home Guard and the wartime history of Farnham Common. Basden was described by a contemporary of his who was also an antiquarian book historian as: 'the most indefatigable collector of county material that I know of' (D162/9).
The piece displayed here is from “The Flora of Part of South Buckinghamshire” was written for the Slough Natural History Society in 1949. We hold a copy of the typed draft, which include his corrections. The page displayed lists a number of trees mainly a variety of elms, noting that although elms had been the most familiar landscape feature of South Bucks “many trees are disappearing as a result of the Dutch Elm Disease.”