HISTORY: General Sir George Higginson (1826 – 1927)

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Above is an old press photo from the MyMarlow collection – featuring the man who gave his name to our town park – General Sir George Higginson.  Sir George’s family had a long established history in Marlow, and he lived at Gyldernscroft on the Henley Road. 

The caption on the back of the photo, taken in around 1917 reads “General Sir George Higginson GCB reviewed a company of Grenadier Guards on the meadow at Marlow. The old Grenadier Guards colours were brought down from London specially for the occasion. The old general who enters on his 90th birthday has served under these colours for 50 years in most of the battles”.

Born in 1926, he had a distinguished military career particularly during the Crimean War (1853-1856).

Other key dates in his life include:

  • 1888 – Higginson served as Lieutenant of the Tower of London until 1893.

General Sir George Higginson under the archway of the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London

  • 1889 – knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath 
  • 1890 – promoted to General
  • 1893 – retired
  • 1918 – appointed a deputy lieutenant of Buckinghamshire

How did Higginson Park come about?

In 1926, the people of Marlow purchased Court Garden and surrounding land as a result of a public subscription.  The town’s residents had been using the grounds as an unofficial public park for some time, with the consent of the owner.   However, when the owner died the property was put up for sale and this could all have come to an end – the land could been broken up into plots for individual houses.  The town banded together, and set up a fundraising appeal.   The appeal was also been linked to Sir George’s 100th birthday celebrations, which certainly helped with fundraising far and wide – he was much admired and respected in his time.   

The fundraising was a success, and the proceeds used to buy the estate.  In a formal “opening ceremony” the deeds were presented to the General by H.R.H. Princess Mary, the Princess Royal – and in turn he gave them to the people of Marlow.

Sir George wrote an autobiography in 1916 entitled “Seventy-One Years Of A Guardsman’s Life”: https://archive.org/details/seventyoneyearso00higgrich

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded MyMarlow.co.uk in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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