Beaconsfield is a Buckinshamshire market town with a national reputation. It is best known as the home of 17th-century poet Edmund Waller and 18th-century Parliamentarian Edmund Burke. Situated 25 miles from London on the road to Oxford, its coaching inns were patronised by wealthy and educated travellers, and its beerhouses were a refuge for the innumerable carriers taking goods to London. Beaconsfield was home from an early date to a growing number of lawyers who conducted the affairs of the south Buckinghamshire gentry and acted on their behalf in London. The wealth of the Waller family was based on their legal expertise and their lucrative practice was continued by the Tredway, Gosnold, Smith and Charsley families. When the Wallers moved to Gloucestershire in the 19th century, their place at the head of local society was taken by the Lawsons, proprietors of the Daily Telegraph. The Lawsons bought the freehold of much of the commercial and agricultural property, thereby preserving the character of a town which might have been ruined by 20th-century development. With the opening of the Great Central and Great Western Joint Railway in 1906, many newcomers took the opportunity to live in Beaconsfield. Among them were the writer G.K. Chesterton and the editor of the Observer, J.L. Garvin. The new town near the station was tastefully laid out by local estate agents James and William Gurney, and by architects Burgess, Holden & Watson. Its leafy streets contain many fine houses in the Arts and Crafts style, and the architects offices above Lloyds Bank are among the finest examples of commercial architecture in the country.