Beaconsfield is a market town in Buckinghamshire and is situated 23 miles west of London on the A40 between Gerrards Cross and High Wycombe by the M40 Motorway, junction 2 (see map for directions). It is in easy reach of the M25 and Heathrow Airport with direct access to London via the Chiltern Line Railway. Journey times can vary between 35 and 45 minutes.
There are three main areas that make up the town of Beaconsfield; Old Beaconsfield, New Beaconsfield and Holtspur. The total population is approximately 12,000 people.
Beaconsfield derives its name from the beech tree and this is why the Town has adopted the beech tree as its emblem. It was not the site of a signalling beacon, as many people believe.
A quarter of Beaconsfield was woodland consisting of beech trees. Bece is the old English name for a beech tree and it is from this that it is believed that Beaconsfield got its name as a clearing in the beeches. It was spelt and pronounced Beckenesfeld. Even today you will hear people pronounce Beaconsfield as Beckonsfield.
The Town Crier
The Town Crier of Beaconsfield, Mr Richard (Dick) Smith, can frequently be seen announcing important events in the town. Whilst strictly an official of Beaconsfield Manor, the Town Crier with over 40 years in office and who is still in good voice, is a welcome sight at any event in Beaconsfield. To find out more information about Dick and the role of Town Crier please click here.
Since 1995 Beaconsfield has been twinned with Langres in France, a town near Dijon and on the southern border of the Champagne Region.
Similar to Beaconsfield it consists of an old and new town with a similar sized population. Exchange visits are arranged between the towns by the Twinning Associations.
Beaconsfield has it's own local Nature Reserve – Holtspur Bank – an area of about 6.47 Hectares. Many different species of wild orchids, other plants and butterflies can be seen at Holtspur Bank. Volunteers – The Friends of Holtspur Bank - help maintain the reserve and arrange special visits for schools and other community organisations.
Beaconsfield boasts the oldest model village in the world - Bekonscot. Located in the New Town it was originally built by Roland Callingham in 1929 and has been visited by royalty and celebrities. Bekonscot is a non-profit organisation and is a registered charity.
Defence School of Languages
The Defence School of Languages has its home in Beaconsfield at The Wilton Park Estate adjacent to the Old Town. Many different languages are taught to Her Majesty’s forces. English is also taught to military personnel from other countries. It is famous for its tower block, believed to be the tallest brick built building in Europe, a landmark that can be seen from afar; but now no longer used due to safety reasons.
Film and Television
Since 1921 film companies have taken up residence in Beaconsfield. It is now the home of the National Film and Television School.
Filming crews are frequently seen in and around the Town. Part of the television series Midsomer Murders is often filmed here. In the past Beaconsfield has had a number of famous residents.
Authors - G. K. Chesterton, Enid Blyton and Alison Uttley lived in Beaconsfield and for a short time, the American Poet Robert Frost lived here.
Film stars of a bygone age who also lived in Beaconsfield were Dame Wendy Hillier, Dirk Bogarde and Lionel Jeffries.
Today you are more likely to bump into pop stars, sportsmen and television stars, making Beaconsfield a unique place to live.
Business In Beaconsfield
In the past Beaconsfield has been home to Wiggins Teape, a paper making company and Perkin Elmer a scientific instrument company. There are now no major industrial businesses in Beaconsfield.
Beaconsfield, like most towns now accommodates mostly offices and companies in the service industry.
Farming and equestrian occupations can still be seen around the area. Beaconsfield has a good selection of shops and restaurants which attract people from adjacent towns and villages.