Tag Archives: houses and homes

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High Wycombe Toll House

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Victorian Toll House at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Victorian Toll House

The toll house was originally built in 1826 for the Collector of Tolls on the London to Oxford road at High Wycombe. It’s a tiny house, but was home to a family of five in the 1840s. It had been hoped to restore the building at its original location, but in 1974 a car accident destroyed the front room.  The building was going to be demolished following the accident, at which point the Museum offered to take it.

The building is currently presented as it may have been furnished in 1860.

Victorian toll house bedroom

Things to do:

  • Talk to our volunteer building steward about the history of the building and the people who lived here.
  • Warm yourself by the Toll House fire on chilly days.
  • Explore the handling basket full of items you are allowed to touch – including a Victorian penny.
  • Enjoy the lovely cottage garden looked after by our volunteers.
  • The Victorian toll house is now licensed for civil wedding ceremonies.

Victorian toll house living room


In Victorian times, the roads were filled with horse-drawn coaches carrying passengers and Royal Mail post. On market days, they were also busy with farmers and craftsmen with goods to sell. Lord Carington, the landowner, was responsible for keeping the roads in a safe condition, so he built the toll house and employed someone to collect money (or ‘tolls’) in return for a day ticket to use the road. The money was then spent on repairs.

In 1867, the spread of the new railways meant fewer travellers and businesses were using the roads, so the collection of tolls stopped.

A Video Tour of our Victorian Toll House

Terrible Times

Being a tollkeeper was a tiring and dangerous job. You had to get up to collect money from the first coach at 1.15am and stay awake until the last coach at 11.25pm. You could be accused of overcharging travellers, and beware – there maybe robbers after your money!

Toll House Image Gallery


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About Us

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Museum in Buckinghamshire

A Beautiful Rural Museum in Buckinghamshire

Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire was founded by volunteers in 1976, and opened to the public in 1981.  The Museum is a charity that rescues threatened historic buildings, which would otherwise be demolished, and rebuilds and preserves them in a traditional Chilterns landscape.

The Museum now has 37 rescued historic buildings that were the workplaces or homes of ordinary people. Every building on site was once somewhere else and either lived in or used by our Chilterns ancestors. By bringing the buildings together at the museum we have built a timeline that helps to tell the story of the Chilterns – a special landscape of rolling chalk hills, traditional crafts and time-honoured ways of life that continue to inspire today.

The Museum also has a working historic farm with livestock that includes sheep, goats, cows and chickens. There are a number of small gardens, cherry orchard and Dig for Victory allotment.

Traditional Chilterns skills and living history are demonstrated through an extensive events and award winning school education program.

The Museum is a popular filming venue and has been used for filming Midsomer Murders, Downton Abbey, Mary Queen of Scots, Grantchester, Horrible Histories and lots more.

The Museum is a charity and receives no government funding. All operating costs are funded via admission charges, Annual Pass sales, private hire, filming, school visits, tea room and catering sales and donations. The Museum is run by a small team of staff and an amazing team of volunteers, fueled by cake and a passion for the Museum and its work.

Further information

Historic buildings
Working historic farm

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