Esher District Local History Society

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Local Photos

This page contains local photos of Esher. For other local areas please select the appropriate link below.


Claygate Cobham Oxshott
Hinchley Wood Thames & Long Ditton Molesey



Claremont Mansion on a carte de visiteClaremont has been at the centre of political and royal intrique over centuries. This building replaced an earlier one which stood a distance away on much lower ground. Clive of India decided to demolish that one and build on a much higher level. This photograph is one of the earliest known of Claremont and features on a carte de visite and is possibly c 1860.

It has never been verified beyond all doubt that Clive moved into the property but he had a marble bath fitted in anticipation of doing so. He acquired the house and garden at Claremont, Esher in 1769 and commissioned Lancelot "Capability" Brown to remodel the garden and rebuild the house. On 22nd November 1774 he died at his Berkeley Square house in London.

The great bulk of carte de visites are portraits and topographical ones are much more unusual. This image was taken by Carl Stackemann Landscape, Architectural and Portrait Photographer of Esher, Surrey. The back of the card goes on to state that "Every description of photographs taken at private residences. No charge for travelling expenses"


Esher High Street Cottages near Park RoadAn image from the Derek Brown collection. Cottages on the High Street near Park Road are seen on an early carte de visite. Christ Church is in the distance which was consecrated in 1854. This picture was probably taken in the 1870s - 1880s
Esher High Street junction with Park RoadEsher High Street junction with Park Road on another carte de visite from the Derek Brown collection. This is a very early view and predates the Albert Arms public house which now stands where the man is situated in front of the tree. No property exists on the east side of Park Road. The end of the row of cottages on the High Street can be seen.
Park Road Esher 75dpiSeveral cards by the photographer Johns appear below. This example of his work is of Park Road, Esher, a view from the High Street towards the church. It is one of the series created when he visited Esher in the 1920s. It is unused.
Grant's Pavilion

The December 1975 EDLHS Newsletter supplied the information to identify where this building stood. It is Grant's Pavilion, Portsmouth Road, Esher. The full article appears in Newsletter Extracts under the title "Film Making at Esher" by Irene Codd. This postcard was posted in 1905. Lily from Victoria Av., Surbiton to Miss Waller at Endsleigh Gardens, Surbiton "...Mr Smith has opened again last Thursday, Vi and I went, it was lovely..."

Esher Lodge Avenue used 21041908

Esher Lodge Avenue is shown without a building in sight on a card which has been used on 21st April 1908. It is a real photograph and published by Fricker of Esher.

Written to Mrs Dunford living in Hants "Esher. Dear Ma I arrived here safe hope you enjoyed yourself. Did Dad come after all. It was a shame it rained. Write and tell me how it went off. Love to all from all" and then an illegible signature.

Esher Park Avenue used 28121915 72dpii

Esher Park Avenue towards the Claygate end is shown on this postcard from Esher post office used on 28th December 1915.

The card is addressed to Mrs J. Balls living at 2 Myrtle Cottage Swanley Kent.

Claygate, Tuesday. "Dear Sonnie arrived safely 12 30 rather stopped with you love and best wishes for a happy new year Dad"

Postcard to Mrs George White, High Street, Esher <Mrs George White from Wildpark Germany 15121902

Mrs George White of High Street, Esher must have been well known to the postman. The card is addressed to her and written on a Monday from Villa Ingenheim, Wildpark, Germany, posted on 15th December 1902. "I am sending you this, wishing you and your husband a bright and happy Christmas. I wonder if you will know me, the other is Lady Collinses maid, it is a picture Odendahl took and was thought very good.With love to you from yours E. Sauberlich."

John Cobb's Railton

Ardath Tobacco Co. Ltd. issued many sets of cigarette cards and in 1938 created a set of 22 cards entitled Group 'I'. One of these cards portrayed the 23,936 c.c. car which had been built for John Cobb and named after its designer Reid A. Railton. The new Railton was described as being unorthodox in design, the driver sitting ahead of the engine, chassis and front wheels. He broke the Land Speed Record with the car on 23 August 1939 at a speed of 350.20 m.p.h. and in 1947 raised the record to 394.19 m.p.h. at Utah.

John Cobb and the 450 h.p. Napier Railton

Pattreiouex issued a set of 96 cards in 1935 entitled 'Sporting Events and Stars'. Number 64 was John Cobb. 'Another of Britain's Greatest Champions of the Motor Racing World shown at the wheel of his giant 450 h.p. Napier Railton. Driving his car at Brooklands, along with T.E. Rose-Richards, on September 21st last, he won the International 500 miles race from scratch at 121.28 m.p.h. He also holds the Lap Record at Brooklands previously held by the late Sir Henry Birkin. Breaking records is a habit with John Cobb, and his sensational record feats with his Napier Railton, along with his co-drivers T.E. Rose-Richards and C.J.P. Dodson at Utah U.S.A., thrilled the Universe. Had a narrow escape recently when receiving a badly cut cheek from a stone thrown up by a car he was passing , but he carried on to win, as usual'.

John Cobb was a British racing driver and land speed record holder. He holds the ultimate lap record at Brooklands.

He was born 2/12/1899 and lived in Esher. He raced several cars at Brooklands and took the lap record at an average speed of 143.44 m.p.h. in a Napier Railton achieved on 7 October 1935. He later turned to water speed records and at Loch Ness in 1952 died in the jet speedboat Crusader at a speed in excess of 200 m.p.h.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Inverness to bid farewell as the hearse left for Surrey. He is buried at Christ Church, Esher.

Orleans Arms Portsmouth Road

Orleans Arms Esher

The White Lady Milestone

"The White Lady"

On the corner of Station Road and Portsmouth Road stands the large milestone "The White Lady". So called by the sailors walking from Portsmouth to London as the stone was newly white and showed up in the dark. It was erected in 1767 possibly by the Onslows at Imber Court as the North side shows Ember Court 1 mile - also mentioning Hampton Court, Walton and Chertsey. The East side shows Hyde Park Corner 13 miles, Westminster Bridge 15 and Southwark, Kingston, Ewell 6 and Croydon. The West side Guildford, Godalming, Haslemere, Dorking, Reigate, Chiddingfold and Portsmouth 57 miles - all important places for the traveller.

The milestone is outside the Cafe Rouge - originally the Orleans Arms, the connection being the French Royal family who came to Claremont Mansion in exile in 1848. The car park still has tethering rings in the wall for carriage trade!

Esher Old Church Restoration Fund 1949

This picture was on the front of a booklet produced in 1949 for a Restoration Fund. The Rector of Esher in a Foreword wrote:

There has been a great revival of interest in our time in the ancient cathedrals and churches of our land. Here, in the middle of Esher, stands the old Church of St. George.

Built in the year 1540 and full of history, its thick walls and fine timbers bear testimony to the loving care of its builders. When the modern Parish Church was erected in 1854, there was talk of pulling down the Old Church; but wiser counsels prevailed. From time to time funds have been raised to preserve it. When I came here as Rector in 1934, I was associated with the efforts made in that year. The building was not only put into a good state, but it was made to serve a number of useful and suitable purposes. Then came the war, and war damage to the Church on three occasions, but it still continued to be used. Besides war damage, a general deterioration had set in since 1934. Now the whole building has been once again repaired and redecorated inside and out. This has been possible through the efforts of Freemasons and other lovers of the Church. But in order to complete the cost of the work and to have a small fund in reserve for the future preservation of the building, the Old Church Committee aims at raising a sum of £500. I hope this may be possible through the combined efforts of parishioners, despite the difficulties of the times. Any contribution you feel able to make would be most acceptable. Donations, payable to the Esher Old Church Renovation Fund Account, may be sent to the Hon. Treasurer, Mr. B. C. Wix, Quarries, Clive Road, Esher.

E .A. Hone Rector of Esher.(1949)

H.R.H. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha  H.R.H. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha card reverse

Wills's Cigarettes issued two sets of 50 cards in 1908 entitled "Portraits of European Royalty".

Card number 23 was of H.R.H. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. Prince Charles Edward, only son of the late Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (son of Queen Victoria), was born (posthumous) 19th July, 1884, at Claremont, succeeding as Duke of Albany at his birth. By special arrangement he succeeded his uncle, the Duke of Edinburgh, as reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, 30th July 1900; and married 11th Oct., 1905 Princess Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein.

Esher Church Street

After World War 1 fewer postcards were produced than in the Golden Age which had ended with the War.

There were still many quality photographers who travelled to locations and created cards. Johns was one of those, who in the 1920's travelled to Esher.

Message "We walked here today .....about 14 miles to town, approx 6 to Effingham"

Church Street Esher Johns 6809

After the previous card Johns then entered Church Street and with his back to the Green took a shot looking up towards the crossroads at the High Street. His expertise at production of quality postcards stretched across South London.

Note the Motor Works on the left.

War Memorial Johns 6813

The visit to Esher continued with a photograph of the War Memorial on Esher Green.

The card was posted on 27th September 1923 to a Master Baldwin at Sevenoaks and was published by C.M. Goddard of Church Street Esher who would have contracted the photographer to create the postcard.

Esher The Green Johns 6816

There is animation in this unused postcard as the photographer created interest in a general view of Esher Green.

Note also the signpost to Hersham and London at this present busy location.

Esher Green and Fire Station

His next picture was of Esher Green and Fire Station. In the distance is the Fire Station, now a private house.

The Fire Station was later to move to Sandown House prior to a move to its current location.

This card is unused.

Early Esher Church carte de visite

One of the earliest photographs of ChristChurch Esher.

A carte de visite card entitled Esher New Church by the Photo Publisher Carl Stackemann Landscape Architectural and Portrait Photographer Esher Surrey

Esher Lodge EstatePostally used postcard from Esher on 20th August 1907 to Miss Cutting York Road Sudbury Suffolk.

Minnie writes :

"Do you know this view? It is the park that I went down that Sunday night after Church. You remember it don't you?"

Hall and Sons

December 19 1899 written to Mr Dunlop, Mortlake Brewery West End Esher, saying

"Sir Kindly send usual & oblige".