Our History

Back to homepage

In 1927, Mr Roland Callingham, a London accountant, instructed gardeners to dig a swimming pool at his home here in Beaconsfield. The pool and tennis courts were used for garden parties, attended by the high society of London. Politicians, minor royals, aristocrats and the movers and shakers of the era would come out for a breath of country air.

In 1928, Mrs Callingham made a short but moving speech which suggested that either the indoor model railway went, or she did. The model railway moved outdoors.

Local buildings and personal favourites of the staff provided much of the village’s inspiration, for all were constructed from memory, photos or imagination. Bekonscot’s founder was never concerned with precision: it was, and always will be, eccentric, fun and full of character – Bekonscot was never been made to be taken too seriously.

During the early years, a small 2ft gauge railway was built using second-hand equipment around the site. The track and tipper wagons are thought to have come from the contractors who built the Great Central Railway through Beaconsfield and sold the construction machinery in High Wycombe circa 1908. The narrow gauge railway was used to move spoil around Bekonscot during construction, and later to move plants and ice creams around to serve tourists. Some of the wagons were later rediscovered when we dug them up by mistake in 2001 when extending the Bekonscot Light Railway! You can now see all three scattered around the Bekonscot site on display. These are thought to have been built by Hudsons.

Bekonscot has been through many changes in it’s history, the biggest came in 1992 when Bekonscot went from being kept up to date, with all of the latest cars, trains and planes to being reversed back to a 1930’s time warp. The village has remained like this ever since, with new and refurbished buildings always appearing in the village.