Wycombe Abbey Sports Centre.
In 1896 the formidable Miss Frances Dove, one of the first graduates from Girton College Cambridge, persuaded a syndicate to purchase “Wycombe Abbey” and 30 acres of land for the princely sum of £20,000 from the third Lord Carrington.
The school has thrived since its foundation and even overcome the minor inconvenience of being requisitioned by the Air Ministry on behalf of the U.S. Army Air Force during the Second World War to become one of the most important schools in the country.
Following a limited competition when the school’s first swimming pool reached the end of its natural life, BHM were awarded the commission to design a major new sports hall. No small challenge and considering the historic status of the grounds of Wycombe Abbey where Capability Brown is believed to have worked as an under-gardener.
The final design nestling in the bottom of the valley of Wycombe Hill consists of all the indoor sporting facilities a school could wish for including a 25 metre six lane pool, a sports hall, a gymnasium, a fitness suite, squash courts and a climbing wall.
It also needs to house storage for all the girls’ outdoor footwear (known as booters) and the entrance is a school café.
The sports centre was the culmination of the distinguished headship of Pauline Davies after whom the centre, opened in 2004, is named.