Buckingham Old Gaol founder publishes his 35th book, at the age of 90

Clive Birch was awarded an MBE for services to Buckingham heritage in 2000

By Hannah Richardson
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 10:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 10:20 am

The founder of Buckingham’s Old Goal trust and museum has published his 35th book, at the age of 90.

Wheels and Wheelwrights, by Clive Birch, is a history of London wheelmaking, tracing the cart and carriage wheel from prehistoric origins to modern craft in the story of the City’s wheelmakers and their guild.

Clive’s other books include the past of various Bucks towns and villages, transport histories, vehicle design records, and a Second World War novel, A Decent Man, based on the true wartime odyssey of a Polish immigrant to Bucks.

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Clive Birch's new book

Now resident in Finmere, Clive Birch was the editor of The Bucks Examiner newspaper, in Chesham, in the 1950s and later editor of the Illustrated London News.

In the 1980s, he was chairman of the then Buckingham Chamber of Trade and vice-chair of governors of the Royal Latin School governors.

In 1985 he founded and chaired Buckingham Heritage Trust, with the aim of buying and restoring the Old Gaol for the benefit of the town, and developed the museum and information centre.

For 20 years a publisher in Buckingham, in his ‘retirement’ he was visiting lecturer in vehicle design at the postgraduate Royal College of Art for 16 years.

Clive Birch

He is a trustee of the Carmen Heritage Trust, developing an 1834 Sunday school in Fleet Street as Carmen’s Hall, and spearheading a transport education programme and museum, primarily for schoolchildren from disadvantaged areas.

Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1981, Birch was awarded an MBE for services to Buckingham heritage in 2000.

In 2008 he was awarded the Princess Royal Gold Medal for services to the Carmen’s Company, a City of London guild representing all forms of transport, and he received a lifetime achievement award in 2019.

Wheels and Wheelwrights is available online via www.wheelwrights.org

Clive Birch, left, receives his Princess Royal Gold Medal in 2008