Colour images of Olney taken around the year 1900
  • Olney Market Place South-East c1900
 1. Cowper & Newton Museum – Added July 2017

William Cowper and John Newton were arguably the two most notable gentlemen to reside in Olney during the 18th century. Their achievements, life stories and memorabilia are excellently presented in the Cowper and Newton Museum situated in Orchard House on the south side of the Market Place.

As the museum has its own comprehensive website, this web site confines itself to presenting a series of links to relevant pages on the Cowper and Newton Museum website. Link to the ODHS links page.

2. Olney War Memorial – the Olney men who lost their lives during WW1 and WW2 – Revised June 2016

ils of the men from Olney who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars, have been revised to assist visitor navigation. In addition, information has been added for ALFRED CHARLES MILLWARD a WW1 fatality, PETER HOOTON a WW2 fatality and HARRY FIELD who was seriously injured and taken prisoner in WW1. Link to the revised version.

3. A ‘turning page’ version of Oliver Ratcliff’s book ‘Olney, Bucks’ – Originally printed in 1907 – Added May 2016

The Olney and District Historical Society published in 2008 a reproduction of Oliver Ratcliff’s 1907  book ‘Olney, Bucks’ (colloquially known as his ‘1907 Olney Almanack’). It was published to commemorate its centenary in 2007 and provides readers with an insight into many aspects of life in Olney one hundred years ago. In particular, the social conditions prevailing in Olney during the late Victorian and Edwardian periods can be readily appreciated from the wide range of topics covered by Ratcliff. Link to the ‘turning page’ version.

4. OLNEY – A Potted History – 19C sketches of Olney included – Added April 2016

A series of 19C sketches has been added to the text. An enlarged view of these sketches can be obtained by clicking an image. Direct link to the ‘Potted History’.

5. An extensive article on Numbers 67 & 69 High Street – Orchard House – Added March 2016

Orchard House was converted from two eighteenth century houses, Nos. 67 and 69 High Street, in 1904 for Joseph William Mann; the architect was Alexander Ellis Anderson. The article includes:

a. A brief history of the property
b. The complete Listed Building particulars and the plans drawn up by the architect.
c. Some information on the first owners Mr and Mrs Joseph Mann (and the second owners Mr & Mrs Robert Soul and previous owners ‘The Hummels’)
d. Census and Related Data for Nos 67 and 69 High Street
e. 1980s images of the house interior, the garden and frontage

6. Cowper’s John Gilpin – A 1925 illustrated edition – Added January 2016

We have acquired a copy of an illustrated booklet entitled The Olney Pageant Edition of John Gilpin. The booklet was prepared in connection with the 1925 Historical Pageant which took place in Olney between the 1st and 4th July 1925. The booklet is presented in a ‘turning page’ format using Calameo software.

7. Legal documents associated with Olney Buildings – Updated January 2016

The aim of this page is simply to demonstrate how documents, such as deeds, could appear when displayed on our website. Several indentures written in the 18C & 19C became available for Numbers 74 to 78 High Street, which we have used as a demonstration.  We have applied various photographic processes and software programs to these documents to produce the results shown in this link.

8. Elizabeth Knight’s Lacemaking Researches – Added November 2015

Check out this major feature presenting Elizabeth Knight’s lacemaking researches. A talk is included on Harry Armstrong – one of the great lace dealers – who was both a showman and a real character.

9. Olney Field names & Growth – Added September 2015

With Mrs Sylvia Colson’s permission, we have taken the opportunity to reproduce her map, compiled in the 1970s, naming the fields around Olney.

A link has also been added to provide a side-by-side comparison of the current territory covered by Olney with that in late Victorian times (c. 1885). This work was undertaken by the National Library of Scotland.

10. Tom Garner’s First World War Diary – Added June 2015

This major feature article presents Tom Garner’s Diary of his activities during WW1 on the Eastern Front between November 1915 and March 1919. Tom was the son of J J Garner, Olney’s ‘Draper extraordinaire’. He served with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) Armoured Car Division between 15 April 1915  and 12 November 1917  on the Turkish, Roumanian and Austrian Fronts, and with the Army’s Machine Gun Corps between 31 January and 15 March on the Turkish Front.
The article contains several of Tom’s excellent photographs of the armoured cars in action and also his personal maps that can be viewed in detail.


The ODHS is indebted to Alan Cooper for the considerable help and assistance that he has generously given during the conversion and development of this WordPress website from the original Adobe Go-Live version. Thanks are also due to the Milton Keynes Heritage Association, and in particular its Chairman, David Muston, for his support and encouragement.

Page last reviewed:

5th July 2017

Mike Neale – ODHS Webmaster

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