In common with many villages up and down the country, The Lee celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in June 1897.
All residents were invited to a tea organised by the Parish Council, with the poor and needy additionally being invited to a dinner beforehand. The day ended with a bonfire and fireworks.
Admission to the dinner and tea were both by ticket only.
The proposed shopping list for the dinner and tea was fairly extensive; it included not only food and drink but also tobacco.
The costs were covered by donations from the wealthier families in the parish, with separate funds for the Dinner & Tea, and the Fireworks.
Careful records were kept of those attending.
Taking delivery of the fireworks wasn’t straightforward, as the Metropolitan Railway – which at that time extended from Amersham via Great Missenden to Verney Junction – refused to carry them!
Current residents will immediately think of the most obvious commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee as being the Jubilee Well in Oxford Street, however there is a reason that it was not mentioned as part of the celebrations. Although creation of the well was initiated by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, in 1897 Lee Common was a part of Great Missenden parish rather than The Lee. Indeed it was the bringing together of the residents of The Lee with Lee Common, for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, that started the move to enlarge the parish.
The Lee was a very small parish of only 500 acres at the time of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, extending from Kings Ash in the north to Hunts Green in the south, with little over a hundred inhabitants.
Of the total population, 22 adults and 24 children were identified as “needy”, and therefore eligible to attend the dinner.
It took until 1911 for an Act of Parliament to be passed to enable the enlargement incorporating Swan Bottom, Lee Common and Lee Clump, plus more of Lee Gate and Kings Ash, for the parish to become as it is today.