Esher District Local History Society

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News items

The Autumn 2017 newsletter was printed on Friday 15th September 2017 and will commence distribution at the opening meeting of the new season of talks on Saturday 16th September 2017. There is an image of "Big Ben" having its face washed on the front page. In addition there are further pictures of "Big Ben" inside, as our guest speaker on Saturday 14th October 2017 is a former tour guide at the Clock Tower, now known as Elizabeth Tower.

For anyone unable to attend September's meeting the newsletter will be posted to members. There is a report in Past Events when in April we spent the evening with Dominic Raab MP and a further report about the visit and guided tour of St Andrew's Church, Cobham with our President Dr David Taylor. Copies of postcards of the Lych Gate of St Andrew's Church and Esher Fire Station are included and the Blast from the Past is an article in Spring 1999 by Pamela F. Reading entitled Profile of a Local Historian which looks at the life of David Taylor, now our President and a founder member. There is also a Letter to the Editor from Bob Avery, a long-standing member, referring to the rivalry between Malcolm Campbell and John Cobb.

 

The Spring 2017 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on 6th April 2017. There are two images of the former London County & Westminster Bank Ltd building shown. A bank has stood on the High Street junction with Church Street corner for more than a century. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group announced its closure a few weeks ago together with the closure of many other NatWest (formerly National Westminster Banks).

Patricia Worthy has contributed an article about the old mill site by the river Mole at Lower Green "Who was Edmund Mo(o)re?". There is information and pictures of the unveiling of an Esher Residents Association Blue Plaque for John Rhodes Cobb performed by the former World Land Speed Record holder Richard Noble and Claygate Remembers records the thirteen Claygate men who died in 1917.

 

The committee met on Thursday 2nd March 2017 and one of the items discussed was future events. The date chosen as a possibility for the Annual Society coach trip was Thursday 20th July 2017 and sadly this was not convenient for a planned visit to Tangmere Military Aviation Museum as there was another group visiting on that day. A decision was made to cancel the outing this year as the venue would have formed the major part of the day. A full list of dates for meetings has been added to the Future Events page, taking us through to the 50th Anniversary of the Inaugural Meeting.

 

On Friday 30th September 2016 at 11.00am at Surbiton Hill Methodist Church a Service led by Rev. Stan Brown took place in Remembrance of Christine Florence Whittle Dall, 1925 - 2016.

After the Hymn: Lord of all Hopefulness and prayers, there was a reading from Psalm 23 - The Lord is My Shepherd. There were then reflections on Christine's life by her son, Mark and by her grandson, Simon as well as by other members of the family. The second reading was 1 Peter 1:3-9 - A living hope. There was then a short reflection by Rev. Stan Brown and Prayers of Thanks for Christine's Life.

This was followed by the Hymn: Abide with Me. After the Commendation, the Lord's Prayer was spoken by the whole congregation and then the Choir sang Gaelic Blessing. Everyone was then invited to continue the celebration of Christine's life in the church hall.

Later there was a Committal at Randalls Park Crematorium. Donations can be made to Princess Alice Hospice.

 

With great sadness I report that Christine Whittle-Dall, our President died peacefully at Kingston Hospital on Wednesday 7th September 2016. A minute's silence in her memory was held at the meeting on Saturday 10th September 2016.

There will be a service at 11am on Friday 30th September 2016 at Surbiton Hill Methodist Church, 39 Ewell Road, KT6 6AF. Refreshments will be taken afterwards and family only will then go to the Crematorium.

 

The Autumn 2016 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on Saturday 10th September 2016 and was posted to members unable to attend.

On the front page appeared The Round Chapel, Hersham and there was a short article about Hersham Churches. Former members of the Walton & Weybridge Local History Society who live in Hersham would be most welcome to join our Society. Claygate Remembers included the names of 5 men who died in September 1916 and a further 3 who died before the end of the year. Long Ditton Remembers listed the names of 3 men from Ferry Road who died in the Great War and an image of the old Ditton police station.

There were further articles about Royal Elmbridge and Queen Victoria and Basil's Journey which was a short precis of a book about a Royal New Zealand Air Force rear gunner. Blast from the Past included pictures of Queen Victoria's Fountain and the Esher Water Pump.

There has been a reprint of the book Esher Origins and Development of a Surrey Village in Maps and it is available at meetings.

 

The 61st Esher May Fair held on Esher Green on Saturday 21st May 2016

As the Society had published a book just before Christmas 2015 about the origins and development of Esher in Maps a decision was made to stall out at this popular fair and offer copies for sale. Jo Richards the leader of the Esher Village Studies Group and her husband Mark manned one table and once all remaining copies had been sold were able to take orders for a future reprint.

Sandown Park again kindly allowed the public to use their site with free parking and this was well utilised. The weather was good, occasionally blustery and just after 4pm there was some light rain. This gave many of the stallholders the opportunity to start packing up after a most successful day. Maureen and Paul Langton staffed another table and displayed many items of local interest including blown up images from a 1904 album which showed scenes including a horsebus on the High Street outside the White Lion PH on the way to Winter's Bridge and Kingston. Also displayed were many Edwardian picture postcards produced by the Esher photographer F W J Fricker who lived nearby in a cottage in Park Road.

 

Walton and Weybridge Local History Society dissolved.

At the 52nd AGM of the Society held at St James Parish Hall, Weybridge the Walton and Weybridge Local History Society were dissolved. The meeting on 7th May 2016 was chaired by John C Pulford. Bryan Ellis a long-time member and ex-Treasurer and Membership Secretary gave a clear summary of the events that had led to the situation and expressed his great sadness that the decision before the members was inevitable. Bryan had published an excellent book "Walton Past" in 2002.

Members were asked to join neighbouring Societies if they wish and the EDLHS encouraged any members from the Hersham area to join us. Following the AGM Pablo Haworth gave a talk on the Callender-Hamilton bridge at Walton-on-Thames.

 

The Spring 2016 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on 12th March 2016 and an Easter greetings card appeared on the front page with a short rhyme. There were reports of Past Events which included images of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha which had been shown at the Christmas 2015 meeting. Also in that section was a report about Dr David Taylor's talk "The Lushingtons and Their Circle, A Victorian Family in Cobham" with an illustration of the front cover of his latest book, which has a foreword written by Julian Fellowes.

Claygate Remembers contains details about four men who had died in the Great War, although the local connection of one has not been fully established. However, the fact that he had been killed in the Easter Rising 1916 reminded us that the war stretched far from the Western Front. A Hinchley Wood Residents Association article, a Brown Teddy Bear arriving in Claygate in 1909 and notice of the 7th April AGM completed the newsletter. It will be posted to those members who were unable to attend the meeting.

 

It is with great sadness that I report that John Douglas Smith died on Thursday morning 26th November 2015. A Service of Thanksgiving for his life took place at Weybridge United Reformed Church on Monday 14th December 2015 following a private committal service at Woking Crematorium.

He was known as John Smith to local history groups in the Weybridge area and as Douglas Smith in the railway world. He had taken over as Chairman of the Walton and Weybridge Local History Society this year at the 51st AGM on 9th May 2015 when his wife Jean had indicated that after six years she wished to stand down as Chairman. He gave many local history lectures and in April 2015 the Society had met at the Weybridge United Reformed Church, Queen's Road by special invitation of the Church which was celebrating the 150th anniversary of its foundation. He was also a Treasurer of the Church and spoke on "Dissenting congregations in Walton and Weybridge". A transcript of the talk was exceptionally issued as Monograph No. 72 of the Society.

In the railway world he had been for a number of years the area group organiser of the EM Gauge Society North West Surrey Group. His layout "Swaynton for Milcliffe-on-Sea" became the focus for the group's main activity. The layout was inspired by his memories of growing up in the Bournemouth area. He had also written a publication for the History Society entitled "Weybridge Station".

On behalf of the Esher District Local History Society sincere condolences are offered to his family and friends.

 

The Winter 2015 newsletter commenced distribution at the December 10th meeting. Because of the quality of the last three lectures there were extended reports in Past Events. A prime place was also given to Blast from the Past - August 1980 which reported the death of Edgar Royston Pike and the Eulogy which was read at his funeral by Derek Brown. There was also articles about Thames Ditton Library, The Duchess of Albany, Claygate War Memorial Fund, Claygate Remembers, Connections and Wayneflete's Tower Saved. The book "Esher Origins and Development of a Surrey Village in Maps" also took pride of place as the latest publication in the Surrey Archaeological Society's Villages Study Group. Copies of the book will be available at future EDLHS meetings.

The newsletter will be posted to those unable to attend the meeting.

The Autumn 2015 newsletter commenced distribution at the September 19th meeting. There were reports of Past Events and another extract from 'The Sappers Solace'. Elmbridge Museum have a small display at the Civic Centre, Esher entitled 'Oatlands: From Henry VIII's Palace to First World War Hospital' which continues until the end of October. An outline of the history of the buildings was included. There was also an extract from the Surrey Comet Saturday 16th August 1941 with a tribute to the RAF Sergeant Pilot John Blenkin Raffels who was buried at Claygate (Holy Trinity) Churchyard. Picture postcard images of Esher High Street completed the edition.

 

The Spring 2015 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on Saturday 21st March 2015. The front page contained an image of the Lusitania which is the subject of our next talk which takes place after the AGM. "Remember the Lusitania" - War Crime or Legitimate Target? There were reports of the last three Past Events and a further extract from 'The Sappers' Solace' the newspaper written in Esher in 1916. An article by Chris Hayward and Jo Richards also appeared containing details of the Excavations at 7 More Lane, Esher which at one time was the cottage for the gardener to Esher Place. There were two postcard images of Sandown Park and a Blast from the Past which appeared in December 1977 "Piped Water comes to Esher" written by G.B. Greenwood.. Claygate Remembers listed the four men whose 100th anniversary of their death in 1915 is approaching. The EDLHS Revenue Account for year ended 31/12/2014 also appeared and notice of the April 2015 AGM.

 

The Winter 2014 newsletter commenced distribution at the evening meeting on 11th December 2014. Included are Past Events reports, an article about 100 years of Brownie Guides Exhibition, a preliminary report about Test Pitting at Esher Church of England High School and an article about Claygate Remembers and the First World War Memorial Exhibition. The newsletter will be delivered to those unable to attend.

 

The Autumn 2014 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on 20/09/2014 and will be posted to those unable to attend. Included are the Past Events reports, an article about Censorship at the Front, a "Blast from the Past" from 1980 by Derek Brown referring to Leopold, Queen Victoria's eighth child and fourth son, and an early committee photograph with a request to identify the older members.

 

 

The 50th anniversary celebration of Walton and Weybridge Local History Society took place at Weybridge Library Lecture Hall on Saturday 12th April 2014. Members of Esher District LHS attended to join in the get-together.

The Mayor of Elmridge, Mike Bennison and his wife attended as special guests. We were represented by Christine Whittle-Dall, Dr Pamela Reading and Paul & Maureen Langton. The afternoon started with a resume of the memorable events that had occurred since formation on 11th April 1964 and there was an outline of many of the personalities that had been a part of the Society by John Smith. The Mayor then made a short speech before cutting the Golden Jubilee anniversary cake and those present enjoyed a buffet.

It was remarkable to hear about some previous members particularly G.B. Greenwood who had done so much committee work for them and was also a founder member of our own Society. As well as editing our newsletter for many years he had also done the same with their news-sheet "Dial Stone." From edition 16 in June 1967 until edition 109 in August 1985 he had been the editor. J.S.L. Pulford who had taken over for edition 110 was still doing it for edition 224 in April 2014! He is now President of the Society and his son John C. Pulford looks after the Publications. Other familiar names mentioned in the resume were Rowland Baker and Avril Lansdell, a former curator of Elmbridge Museum.

 

The latest committee meeting of the EDLHS took place on Thursday evening 20th March 2014 at Wayneflete Tower, Esher. Being 'on committee' can be fun as is shown in the photograph. The only person missing from the image is Penny Rainbow, the owner, who took the photo. When we meet there again perhaps a 'selfie' should be taken.

EDLHS Wayneflete Tower Committee Meeting 20 03 2014

 

The Spring 2014 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on 15th March 2014. Past Events were recorded and the Open Day at Esher Green Baptist Church. There was a Blast from the Past which was an article written in 1980 by Derek Brown. The article described the wealthy widow Charlotte Despard who threw herself into work for the poor, mainly in Nine Elms, Battersea. Her younger brother John French became a Field Marshal and was the British Commander-in-Chief in the early years of World War I. There was also an article about Esher Club and Institute's Annual Report for 1892-93 which was signed by the then Hon. Sec. FWJ Fricker. Alongside was a photo which he had produced of the Tradesmen v Servants cricket match in 1906 played on Esher Village Green. An Agenda for the 2014 AGM and Revenue Account for the year ended 31st December 2013 were also included.

 

 

The Society was represented at the Open Day at Esher Green Baptist Church, Park Road, Esher on Saturday 8th February 2014 by Paul and Maureen Langton. Two short local history lectures were given during the day with the focus being on the photographer and picture postcard producer Mr F W J Fricker who had been a Park Road, Esher resident.

Also on display at this well attended day was the 1870 time capsule which had been found when building work commenced. A new time capsule has been added to replace the older one. Some of the images displayed predated the construction of the Baptist Church.

 

The Winter 2013 Newsletter commenced distribution at the final meeting of 2013 on Thursday 12th December 2013. Past events were recorded which included a most interesting precis of the lecture about everyday life in thirteenth-century Esher by Dr David Stone. In addition were articles about "Claremont and the Treaty of Versailles" and the "Esher Institute." A Blast from the Past from Summer 1978 was entitled "Lloyd George at Cobham" by Derek Brown and described his occupation for a short time of Upper Court (formerly "The Firs").

The newsletter will be posted to those unable to attend the meeting.

Autumn 2013 Newsletter

The Autumn 2013 Newsletter commenced distribution at the first meeting of the 2013/14 talks season on 21st September 2013. Five past events were covered and an article about the "Wipers Times" and Esher's own "Sappers' Solace." There was also a request for World Wa\r II photographic material of Weston/Green to assist with the 75th anniversary of All Saints Church, Weston Green who are staging a live event in the church on February 8th 2014. Additionally a short article about Harry Stroud Cartage Company appeared.

The newsletter will be posted to those unable to attend the meeting.

Spring 2013 Newsletter

The Spring 2013 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on 16th March 2013. The usual article on Past Events is included. In addition the Memorial Service which took place in Esher for Lord Kitchener on 13th June 1916 is covered. The Blast from the Past relates to the Traveller's Rest, Esher and there is a report about the Elmbridge Museum Development Plan. Notice of the AGM on Thursday 11th April 2013 was also included together with the Treasurer's report.

This newsletter will be posted to those who were unable to attend the meeting.

 

Please note that although not arranged by the Society a future event should prove to be of great interest to members.

Sunday 3rd March 2013 at 2.30pm at Claremont Fan Court School in the Mansion's Great Room. The Garden Historian and Author, Jane Brown will be taking part in the continuation of the Claremont Garden History Lecture Series with the Spring 2013 lecture "The Omnipotent Magician - Lancelot Capability Brown"

Admission tickets will be sold at the door with a suggested contribution of £10 to support the ongoing restoration of the Great Room.

 

Winter 2012 Newsletter

The Winter 2012 newsletter commenced distribution at the meeting on Thursday 13th December 2012. Past Events are reported and additionally postcard images of Tagg's Island, The Karsino, The Thames Riviera, The Crematorium at Woking, Ye Olde Harrow, Weston Green and Esher Green with the embossed greeting "A Happy New Year To You". The front page has an image of a dog on its hind legs also with a greeting "Miss Coockoo wishes you a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year". The card has been chosen because of the local history interest, being posted in East Molesey on 2nd December 1905. Part II of the article by Dr. Tony Williams about Charles Dickens appears, an article about Fred Karno and his acquisition of Tagg's Island at Christmas 1912, Blasts from the Past from Royston Pike and Richard |Haynes, Anne Thompson remembered by Joan Harlow and the Storm of '87 by Pam Bradbury. The newsletter was posted to members who were unable to attend on Friday 14th December 2012.

 

Autumn 2012 Newsletter

The Autumn 2012 newsletter commenced distribution at the first meeting of the new lecture season on Saturday 15th September 2012. As well as the usual reports of Past Events it contained picture postcard images of High Street Esher, Sandown Park Racecourse and Vale Road, Claygate. In addition appeared Part I of an article by Dr. Tony Williams giving a precis of his talk to the Society about Charles Dickens: Special Correspondent and Part II of an article by Penny Rainbow ' Lady D'Abernon'. Another item was received via the website, a mini-biography of Blunden Shadbolt by David H. J. Schenk 'Architect with the Eye of an Artist'. There are four houses close to Esher Green which he was responsible for, 'wibbly-wobbly' timber framed properties. The newsletter will be posted on 17th September 2012 to all members who were unable to attend.

 

Dr Veronica King saw this article in the Esher Church Parish newsletter dated September 1893.

After our May 2012 visit to Sandown it seemed right to include the article here.

PROVISIONING FOR "THE ECLIPSE"

The following extract from the Daily News of August 19th 1893 may be of interest to our readers:-

"According to The Table, the meat consumed at Sandown on the Eclipse Stakes Day amounted to a little over three tons, and half a ton of ham may be reckoned in addition to this. Of salmon no less than 1,248 dissapeared before the hungry crowd, and 1,680 lobsters contributed to the succulence of the salads and the picturesqueness of the tables. Three hundred Surrey fowls and a similar number of pigeons were consumed. Though not a particularly hot day, the visitors would seem to have enjoyed a very agreeable thirst, assuaged as it was by 4,000 bottles of ale and stout, 113 dozens of champagne, 7,000 bottles of mineral water, 750 gallons of draught ale, and 120 of spirits. There were 583 persons engaged on the staff in preparing and serving the food."

St George's Arts, Festival of British Archaeology 2012

'Church Architecture and Heritage' is an Exhibition by the Archaeology and Heritage Group of the Royal Photographic Society, of churches and their architecture and artefacts, from Saxon times to the 20th Century.

Photography fulfils an important role in archaeology by providing a detailed record should the originals need reconstruction after damage. In the hands of the skilled photographer it also captures the aesthetic response, experienced by the observer, to the unique atmosphere of our historial heritage.

Exhibition dates are Saturday 14th July 2012 and Sunday 15th July 2012, also Saturday 21st July 2012 and Sunday 22nd July 2012. 11.00am - 4.00pm. Location St George's Church, Esher

For further details contact info@stgeorgesesher.org

 

Claygate Gardening Society, Historical Lecture.

Laura Ponsonby, ex of Kew Gardens museum section will be giving a historical lecture; "The amazing travels of a Victorian artist, Marianne North" at Claygate Village Hall on 26th April at 7.45pm. There is a small charge for non-members.

 

Spring 2012 newsletter

The newsletter will commence distribution at the meeting on Saturday 17th March 2012. The front illustration is a Maypole Dance at Stoke D'Abernon Manor on a postcard used in 1912. There are articles about Past Events including fuller details of the talks than the reports on the website. Also therein is a Blast from the Past entitled In and Around the Weston Greens by Dr Denys Poole who is a former President. Further articles appear about Stoke D'Abernon, Its Church and Manor, Part II of 'Patient to Person' , The History of Esher Station, Esher Villages Studies Group awarded a grant and Hill House, Esher - Then and Now. Notice is given of the 44th AGM to be held at the April meeting.

Spring Lectures at the Esher Green Centre

The Adult Learning Centre is the location of Monday and Friday Lectures for Spring 2012 and they are currently taking place with topics of History, Architecture and Antiques.

Examples to illustrate the variety are Monday 27th February 2012 Architecture - Art Deco in the Swinging 20s, Friday 16th March 2012 History - The Life and Death of Spitalfields and Friday 30th March 2012 History - Henry VIII & Six Wives. All lectures are 10.00 - 12.00 and there is a fee for each of £12.

Please ensure by checking at the Centre that there are sufficient numbers attending for the lecture to take place, Esher Green Centre Tel: 01372 832583

Esher National Schools

This Edwardian postcard published by the Esher photographer Fricker of the National Schools shows the building now occupied by the Adult Learning Centre.

Esher The Schools 1915

Another image of "The Schools, Esher" on a postcard sent from Esher on 3rd August 1915 to Warrington.

 

Winter 2011 newsletter

The newsletter commenced distribution at the Christmas meeting and included a most interesting report by Stephen Webbe about Peter Harp's talk, the work of George Alfred Walker, Cemetery Sanitation in 19th century London (see Past Events for the full report). Also included is Part II of R.C. Sherriff and Journey's End by Robert Gore-Langton, Claygate Indentures from the Derek Brown collection by Jo Richards, Molesey Bronze Age Shield by Paul Gossage and Steven Baker, with a photo of the shield courtesy of the Hunt Museum, Limerick. In addition was Part I of an article 'Patient to person' by the late Howard Mallinson, a Then and Now article about Moore Place, information about the EDLHS website and a Blast from the Past by Anne E. Thompson, Princess Charlotte - Some Commemorative Medals.(See Newsletter Extracts for the full article). It will be posted to those unable to attend.

 

The coach trip to the New Victoria Theatre, Woking took place on Thursday 29th September 2011 and nineteen members and guests enjoyed the play "Journey's End" written by local playwright R. C. Sherriff in 1929. Of course in that year many in the audience would have been aware of the significance of the date March 1918, the start of the German spring offensive, Operation Michael. However, it was interesting to see so many schoolchildren in attendance as the play is now part of their history study.

 

We have recently heard about the death of one of our Vice-Presidents, Ann E. Thompson who was a founder committee member of the Society in 1968 and spent several years as Honorary Secretary and joint Honorary Secretary with Richard Haynes before moving from the area. A former resident of Cavendish Drive, Claygate, in later years she lived with her husband in Cambridgeshire. She was fully involved until her departure, with articles in the newsletter, and had been a Vice-President since 1975. Please see newsletter extracts for an example of one of her articles about Princess Charlotte.

 

Quaker Week 2011

Would you like to know what Quakers believe and do?

Esher Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends invites you to the Quaker Week open days on Sunday 2nd October 2011 10am - 4pm and Wednesday 5th October 2011 10am - 4pm.

Meet local Quakers, View a fascinating exhibition, Enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, Join them for worship at the Friends Meeting House, 3 Claremont Lane, Esher KT10 9DP Tel:01372 464881 (Warden).

Sunday 2nd October 2011, 10.30am to 11.30am: join them for an hours worship, followed by a chat over coffee and cake. 2.30pm to 4pm: enjoy an afternoon of entertainment including music, poetry, readings and refreshments.

Wednesday 5th October 2011 12.30pm: join them for half an hour of worship followed by refeshment and conversation. Both days view displays on Quaker work and faith.

Everyone is welcome at meetings for worship at 10.30am every Sunday or 12.30pm every Wednesday. The way of worship is silence, seeking to engage with that of God within. During the silence anyone may find themselves moved to speak or read aloud. The meeting ends with the shaking of hands.

Interested? Then discover Quakers - today. Find out more about Quaker Week 2011 at www.quaker.org.uk

 

The newsletter was available to members at Claremont on 10th September 2011. A £1.50 charge was made to non-members for a copy, and this will form a donation from the Society towards the restoration of the Grand Room at Claremont.

Coach trip to New Victoria Theatre, Woking

The Society are organising a theatre coach trip on the evening of Thursday 29th September 2011 to the New Victoria Theatre, Woking to see Journey's End, the world famous play by R C Sherriff. The coach will leave Elmbridge Civic Centre car park at 6pm for the 7.30pm performance. Seats are still available as these notes are written. (11/09/2011) The total cost to include the ticket and coach trip is £25 per person. If you are unable to make that evening the play runs from 26th September 2011 to 1st October 2011 in Woking on an Autumn tour of Britain. This trip is open to non-members.

Update 19/09/2011. The booking has now been made for 19 members and guests and tickets have been paid for under a group booking scheme. There are still thirteen places available on the coach, but own arrangements would have to be made re the booking of tickets for the evening and the coach would be available at £9 per person. Please contact Peter Hills or myself on the front page of this site if you wish to use the coach in these circumstances.

 

Autumn 2011 newsletter

The autumn newsletter will commence distribution at Claremont Mansion on Saturday 10th September 2011. There will be several images of Claremont with text by Steve Webbe. Articles relating to R C Sherriff including a picture postcard of he and men digging a trench in training. Permission has been given for the image to be used by the R C Sherriff Trust. Past Events are recorded and there is an article about a prolific writer of children's books, Ursula Moray Williams, who lived for a time in Claygate, Esher. Additionally information about a booklet "A Short History of Molesey" from the Derek Brown collection of papers. A eulogy about Howard Mallinson and a Blast from the Past about T S Mercer. Finally Peter and Anne Hills are preparing "Then and Now" articles for the "Essential Esher " magazine and one of their subjects is Park Road, Esher with a carte de visite photograph c 1860 from the Derek Brown collection.

Even if you are not a member come along to Claremont Mansion as part of the Heritage Day and collect a newsletter. Any donation on the day will be given to the School for the restoration of the Grand Room.

Thanksgiving Service.

Well known local author Adrian Howard Mallinson's Service of Celebration & Thanksgiving for his life took place on Monday 18th July. Holy Trinity Church was packed to hear the Service conducted by Revd Dr Philip Plyming. Howard was born on 6th November 1942, the day that General Alexander contacted Prime Minister Churchill with coded confirmation of the victory at El Alamain "Ring out the Bells". The service was essentially chosen by Howard with Irene two years ago, but he had made much improvement from his illness to become mobile again and only in recent weeks had his health faltered. Dudley his son read a tribute to his father reminding us that he was proud to have been born in York which had influenced his great interest in the railway. He had worked as a chartered accountant and after retirement turned his attention to writing books and published four in five years. A poem was read by his niece Joanna and at the conclusion of the Service the large crowd continued the celebration of his life with drinks and refreshments in the Church Hall.

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Howard Mallinson, a well known local author, sadly died unexpectedly on 5th July. A Thanksgiving Service will be held on Monday 18th July 2011 at 2.30pm at Holy Trinity Church, Claygate KT10 0JP. Please wear cheerful colours. Enquiries to Lodge Bros. Esher, tel: 01372 463903. No flowers please. Donations if wished to the Princess Alice Hospice, Esher and/or Brigitte Trust (www.brigittetrust.org)

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Collection of film slides donated to the Society.

Linda Briggs contacted the Society after her move within Nantwich from one property to another. She had found a collection of film slides, mainly of the Esher District area which had belonged to her late father Derek Brown (a former Vice-President) and they were collected from Nantwich on Thursday 2nd June 2011. They will be a useful source of information. Some will be converted into digital form to be used in future presentations and others will be converted into prints for display. Our thanks are due again to Linda for this kind donation.

 

Our neighbours in Walton-on-Thames have a Choral Concert evening in aid of the restoration fund for the Bells of St. Mary's, Walton-on-Thames. The last major restoration took place in 1883 and the proposed work requires the removal of the bells from the tower and eventually for them to be rehung in a new steel frame. The A Cappella Singers directed by Peter Stobart will be performing at the concert, which is to be held at the church in Church Street, KT12 2QS on Saturday April 9th, 7.30pm. Tickets are £7 and refreshments will be provided during the interval. Telephone 01932 246796 or 243166 for tickets and information.

 

The Spring 2011 newsletter commenced distribution at the 12th March meeting.

It contained articles about Sandown Park Racecourse, A Surrey Farming Family 1800 - 1860, Blasts from the Past, some postcard images and the usual reporting of Past Events as well as the article which appears below about Midshipman Spicer R.N. of Esher Place.

 

Donation of local books, photographs and ephemera.

Linda Briggs, the daughter of Derek Brown, a former Vice-President (see Obituaries) contacted the Society website and donated a collection of his local books, papers and ephemera to the Society. They were brought back to Esher from Nantwich, Cheshire on Tuesday 1st March 2011. The committee are currently arranging for much of this material to reach a wider audience. Many of the books will be added to the new small library which is available at our meetings in Claygate. A few items will be of interest to the Esher Village Studies Group and there are photographs which will assist us in the knowledge of our area.

 

Anne Hills has prepared a synopsis of a recently published book. It is about one of the Spicer family who lived at Esher Place. Philip Spicer's story is tragic and the idea for the book came about when Ingrid Carding's father bought some 19th century letters for their early and unusual postal franking. When he read the letters, the story of Philip Spicer's tragically short life unfolded. Ingrid has given permission for the synopsis of her book to be given in this format. She has kindly allowed a copy of the book to be circulated amongst interested members of the Society. It will then be kept with St. George's Church records for public access as needed.

Midshipman Spicer R.N. of Esher Place.

Philip Spicer was the second of eight children born to John and Hannah Spicer in 1818. He was baptised at St. George's Church, Esher and spent the latter years of his childhood at Esher Place. He would have known the Princess Victoria who was a regular visitor to the nearby Claremont Estate and would have shared use of the unusual Newcastle Chamber Pew at St. George's Church.

At just 12 years old, Philip Spicer was admitted to the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, in 1831. He was a lively and able student. His letters home to Esher Place often contained sketches of the ships anchored off Spithead, Portsmouth and also enquiries as to how well his various pets were, particularly his treasured pigeons.

After almost two years at the Royal Naval College, Mr. P. J. Spicer was discharged into HM Service and was awarded the gold medal for outstanding scholarship.

His first ship was the Malabar which operated around the Mediterranean for the next year or so. In 1835, Philip served on HMS Pique and following its grounding on the Labrador coast, endured a famous and traumatic Atlantic Passage which culminated in a severely damaged ship and a Court Martial for Captain Rous and Master Hemsley of HMS Pique. Both were acquitted of blame.

Philip Spicer continued his naval career and inevitably by 1837, while serving on HMS Wanderer, had experience of chasing and capturing a slave ship off the Bahamas with more than 400 slaves on board. Disease was rife and many slaves died of smallpox but in July 1837, the surviving slaves were declared free at a Court in Sierra Leone.

Philip with his triumphant crew mates were now able to return home. Tragically, Philip fell ill on the passage home and died, aged just 19, aboard the 'Merchant Ship Bernard'.

His memorial stone in St. George's Church conveys the pride and grief felt by his parents.

 

For many years Penny Rainbow has been researching and documenting the history of her home, Wayneflete Tower in Esher. This has culminated in the publication of a book "The Tower of Esher" which is devoted to the impressive catalogue of its residents.

The Tower of Esher flyer

William Wayneflete built his grand Esher Palace in the 15th century and the Tower was the former gatehouse sited on the banks of the river Mole. Please visit the website from our "Useful Links" page which gives information about how to purchase. Locally, Esher Fine Art (opposite Waitrose) and the Elmbridge Museum in Weybridge also have it for sale. The publication is a stunning record of the occupants, a building which has been the logo of the Society since it was formed in 1968.

 

The Winter 2010 edition of the Newsletter was distributed at the meeting on 9th December 2010 and was posted to those unable to attend.

Contained therein were reports about past events. Additionally was a further report about Kingfishers School, Esher, a 1975 Blast from the Past from the President E. Royston Pike, an article about Penny Rainbow's book "The Tower of Esher", part II of R.C. Sherriff's "It started with a Dig", One of the Elmbridge Hundred - Francis John Williamson and part II of the Indian Camp at Hampton Court.

 

The Autumn 2010 edition of the Newsletter was distributed at the meeting on 18th September and was posted to those unable to attend.

It contains a report about the presentation by the Esher Village Studies Group to the Society and other Past Events. Additionally there are articles about John O'Keefe, History in Trees, A Royal Railway, John Peter Robinson and also The Portsmouth Road and the First Esher Bypass.

 

Dr. David Taylor

David Taylor has recently become a Doctor, his thesis being on Vernon Lushington, a 19th century lawyer and Positivist. Additionally he has been awarded the Blackham Fellowship which will provide him with the opportunity to convert his PhD thesis into publishable form. Congatulations are very much deserved from the Society for his long service, in fact he was a founder member and is a current Vice-President. He still takes a very active interest in local matters, having only this month led the walk around Cobham. The Society are only one of his many interests and the collection after the walk was in aid of David's charity the Cobham Uganda partnership.

 

The Elmbridge Hundred - A history of people and place.

The Elmbridge Hundred is a mind-blowing collection of tales about historic figures. This community project puts the human history of Elmbridge Borough on the map. Discover stories of love and loss, of prolific writers, exiled royals and eccentric inventions. Browse the project website and see student artworks inspired by the project. The exhibition commenced on Saturday 29th May and continues until 15th September 2010.

Who would you add to the Elmbridge Hundred?

Elmbridge Museum Church Street Weybridge is open Weekdays 11.00 am - 5.00 pm and Saturdays 10.00 am - 1.00 pm and 2.00 - 5.00 pm. Closed Sundays, Thursdays and Bank Holidays.

 

Open Garden - Sunday 9th May 2010

Committee Members Peter Hills and Anne Hills opened their walled garden at More Lane, Esher in aid of the Princess Alice Hospice. In the historic records of 'Wayneflete Tower, "Garden Cottage" existed at least as early as 1703. The Orangery was built about the same period. The Cottage and Orangery are on a plot that in 1606 contained a group of five dwellings. Whether the cottage is one of those is yet to be established!

In 1730 William Kent was commissioned to landscape the grounds and make alterations to Wayneflete Tower. Kent surrounded the kitchen garden with a series of walled and hedged gardens stretching down what is now More Lane. The Orangery was created and an archway was constructed for access, by the head gardener to Esher Place grounds.

Once Esher Place was built in the early 19th century, by John Spicer, the Gardener's Cottage continued to house the head gardener for another 150 years. The gardens still boast the yew trees that were sketched by another local gentleman, Robert Taylor Pritchett, in 1862. Because of the high walls and mature yew trees, the garden contains some rare shade loving plants. In contrast, the south facing Orangery supports colourful sun loving climbers. By the 18th century Arch stood a display of a plant that was popular then - Auriculars. Looking into the conservatory one could see a pedimented doorway created in Kent's time to face 'his' Arch.

A well attended day in which everyone had been privileged to see some architectural delights and a beautiful walled garden. With free parking provided at Sandown Park a truly memorable local occasion.

 

Get Involved Day - Saturday 17th April 2010

The event took place on a beautiful spring day and allowed many of the activities to take place outside. The Society were represented by several committee members and there were two laptops in use which displayed slide shows of images of the old Urban District and also many slides that the Esher Village Studies group had assembled. Additionally display boards with more photographs and also maps meant that there was much interest throughout the day from persons attending. The Claygate Village Association are to be congratulated on their arrangements for the day. We were fortunate to meet many people with a local history interest and many fascinating topics were discussed which will lead to more information being added to our knowledge of the area. It is hoped that the leaflets we distributed will encourage new people to join us.

From the time of arrival until the conclusion at 3pm it was obvious that the event had proved a great success with a large number of persons attending, from very young to those who have collected their pension for a few years! Let us hope that this event takes place again!

 

Get Involved Day - Saturday 17th April 2010 10.30 am - 3 pm.

The above event will take place at Claygate Village Hall, Church Road, Claygate and will involve over 40 organisations and approximately 19 activities. The Esher District LHS will be one of the organisations participating. The day is being organised by the Claygate Village Association and entry is free to all.

 

The Spring edition of the Newsletter was distributed at the March meeting and includes articles about Loseberry and the Lucas family, William & Mary Howitt, Esher Kingfishers School, George Harrison and Pattie Boyd, Hampton Court - The Indian Camp in 1911, and a selection of postcard illustrations and matters relating to the AGM in April.

 

The Winter edition of the Newsletter was distributed initially at the Christmas meeting and the remainder was delivered or posted to members not attending. It includes articles about The Vidlers of Esher, The Porter Sisters, an In Memoriam about Colin Dall, the usual selection of postcard illustrations and reports on the past three events.

 

Colin Dall, a Vice-President of the Society died peacefully at Kingston Hospital on Friday 9th October 2009. Colin and his wife Christine had been at the heart of the Society throughout the late 1990's and the bulk of this century. His funeral took place on Thursday 22nd October 2009 at 11am at Randalls Park Crematorium, Randalls Road, Leatherhead KT22 0AG. Floral tributes were from family only. Any donations to Princess Alice Hospice, Esher.

 

The Autumn edition of the Newsletter was posted to members on 15/09/2009 and includes articles on George Meredith, Memories of Rosebriars, Tyte's Stores, Esher Place and Dittons Fire Station as well as full reports of the four previous past events.

There are also 4 local postcard illustrations with their text including the arrival of Indian Troops at Hampton Court in 1911 who camped out in the grounds awaiting the Coronation of George V.

 

On 23rd June 2009 Joan Harlow and Paul Langton gave a presentation at Ditton Library to mark the fact that the Library had been refurbished and that the T.S. Mercer local history collection was now catalogued and available to the public.

Joan spoke about T.S. Mercer who had been a founder member of the Esher District LHS and the Thames Ditton Residents' Association. He had made many historical contributions to their respective magazines. He came to Speer Road in 1931 after working in the automobile industry and immersed himself in unfolding the history of Thames Ditton.

Paul gave a short Powerpoint presentation of postcards of Thames Ditton and also included illustrations from some of Mercer's collection of photographs.

 

Clive and Hilary Blakeley were the guests of Penny Rainbow at Wayneflete Tower on 7th July 2008. Both are members and they had visited Esher Place last year. Clive as a consequence had written an article for the newsletter after that visit but he had never been inside the Tower. As a boy of 6 he had stood outside and admired it as he had lived at the 13th house to be built on the estate in the 1930's and often played with friends in the grounds. See the Spring Newsletter 2008 for the full article about his memories of Esher Place.

Clive, Hilary and Maureen outside the Tower

Note the Pelham buckle above the heads of Clive and Hilary as they stand with Maureen outside the Mole entrance to the Tower.

Clive and Hilary by the stone staircase

Clive and Hilary stand at the foot of the magnificent stone staircase which rises to the top of the building.

 

The Society enjoyed a fascinating and pleasurable tour of the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch at Imber Court, Ember Lane, East Molesey with a guide Vicky Lane as part of their 40th anniversary. Imber Court was bought by the Metropolitan Police in 1919 for use as a training establishment for the Mounted Branch and as a sports ground.

On the day, Thursday 29th May 2008, a passing-out parade was taking place, with newly trained horses and riders showing friends and family what a team they had become. Chief Inspector Bob Barker gave the formal opening presentation and then introduced the review officer of the day, Lord Imbert, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Peter Imbert, who himself had ridden police horses on ceremonial occasions.

A buffet was then held in the Esher Suite of the main building. The Elmbridge Deputy Mayor, Councillor James Vickers, was guest of honour and Pamela Reading, President of the Society, welcomed him to the meeting. The Deputy Mayor told us of the people who had helped form the Society at that inaugural meeting on 22nd May 1968, including Councillor P.R. Bryant who was a member of the Esher Library Committee and other well known local historians amongst them Royston Pike and Rowland Baker. He said that the first committee meeting was held the following month and Councillor W. (Bill) Kerr was in the chair and continued in that post for many years. Perhaps today local councillors should know more of the history of the Borough. The Deputy Mayor then reminded the Society that its primary aim in the Adopted Revised Constitution was probably the first listed, generally to awaken and foster an informed interest in the history of the neighbourhood of the former Urban District of Esher.

David Taylor Vice President then spoke and said that after attending a recent book launch he would recommend the reading of "Why History Matters" by John Tosh. He thanked Pamela for taking on the Presidency and wished her well and then said that Imber Court was a fitting place to hold the anniversary as it had been the home of Sir Dudley Carleton, Ambassador to Charles I who is featured in a book by Jerry Brotton called "The Sale of the late King's Goods" - about the King and his art collection. Carleton helped Charles I to purchase works of art.

The Chairman, Paul Langton, then spoke about the pleasure of holding the function in a room called the Esher Suite, with display boards showing photos of the old Urban District therein. Another event approaching in those days of 1968 was the local flooding which necessitated the cancellation of many sporting fixtures at the venue. The Elmbridge Deputy Mayor and he then cut the 40th anniversary celebratory cake, which was enjoyed by all present..

 

40th Anniversary Cake

 

Jo Buckley Committee Member meets Jensen

Committee member Jo Buckley meets Jensen.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor James Vickers meets Zamora and trainer Karen

Deputy Mayor, Councillor James Vickers meets Zamora and trainer Karen.

Vicky Lane briefing members before the tour

Vicky Lane briefing members before the tour.

Police Horse Imbert meets Lord Imbert

Police Horse Imbert meets Lord Imbert.

David, Carrie and Pam in the stable yard

David and Carrie Taylor together with Pam Bradbury in the stable yard.

Paul Langton, Deputy Mayor Councillor James Vickers, Lord Imbert and Chief Inspector Bob Barker

Chairman Paul Langton and Deputy Mayor, Councillor James Vickers meet Lord Imbert and Chief Inspector Bob Barker.

Time to go home, farewell to the Esher Suite

Committee Members Stephen Webbe and Chris Harris with members Maureen Langton, Gaye Harris and Michael Mockford sharing a happy moment with President Pamela Reading as they prepare to leave the Esher Suite at the end of a splendid visit.

 

In April 1955 a new Magazine entitled 'The Esher Review' was published. A local historian C.R.S. Saunders wrote an article for that first edition under the title of ' Local Memories'. Here follows that article as a tribute to him . Little did he realise when it was written that it would be available to the world in 2008, 40 years after the formation of the Esher District Local History Society.

Coaching Days by C. R. S. Saunders

The Portsmouth-road, formerly known as the Portsmouth Turnpike-road, is one of the oldest thoroughfares in the kingdom, haunted, we might well imagine, by the spirits of countless travellers of all periods of English history. Charles II, and indeed every English King that was ever crowned, to see his ships, must have passed along this highway on his way to Portsmouth.

It was in 1580 that coaches were first introduced into England and for the greater part of three centuries the roads everywhere were bad, and highway robbery the subject for a subsequent article, was frequent.

In the earliest days noblemen and landed gentry travelled long distances in their own family coaches, sometimes in great state attended by servants riding before and after on horseback, while flunkeys hung on behind the coach. Other important people travelled by post-chaise, drawn by four or six horses, with a post-boy or postillon to each pair of horses. Certain established inns all over the country still like to retain their old-time description of a 'posting-house,' where in former times carriages, horses and post-boys could be hired, day or night. Such inns, usually, were about ten miles apart which was termed a 'stage' and in posting, the horses were generally changed at each posting-house along the route.

Long distance coaches were used in the reign of Charles II but not until George IV was king did stage-coaches approach perfection; even at that period the outside of a coach in mid-winter, with darkness, icy roads, cold mists, biting winds, driving rains and floods afforded little comfort. Fellow travellers were not always congenial and highway robbers, beggars and drunken rowdies helped to make some journeys far from pleasant.

In spite of this, traffic along the Portsmouth-road in both directions must have been considerable. Kings and Queens, ambassadors, nobles, admirals, captains, soldiers and sailors, men of every degree were, at times, obliged to undertake the journeys, the gentry in their own coaches, the middle classes in public conveyances and the commoners, soldiers and sailors by stage-wagons or on foot, taking probably several days to reach their destinations.

Samuel Pepys, the diarist, John Wesley, the Methodist, Admiral John Byng, who was shot by a firing party on board ship in Portsmouth Harbour for neglect of duty, Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Clive, to and from his stately home at Claremont, are but a few of the historical celebrities who have passed through the district over the past centuries.

By 1820 stage-coaches and mail-coaches were in general use. Their popular names such as 'New Times', 'Portsmouth Regulator', 'Royal Mail', 'Rocket', 'Light Post', 'Night Post', 'Hero', 'Portsmouth Telegraph', and later 'Royal Blue', 'Red Rover' and 'Age' became household names.

Leaving London, the first change of horses was at the 'Robin Hood' in Kingston Vale, the second at 'The Bear', Esher, both old coaching inns. Some pair-horse coaches were known to run daily from Esher to the 'Bolt-in-Tun' in Fleet-street and these used to call at 'The Swan' in Thames Ditton village and were allowed to carry only eight passengers outside and four inside.

When coaches rattled through the village, the inns did a thriving trade. One would arrive, a strangely mixed company alight to partake of the beef, hams, pies, home-made bread and wine or good English ale that the landlord had ready for their needs in plentiful supply.

The night coaches, at times, were loaded with sailors going to Portsmouth or Southampton to join their vessels and a rare drunken crew they were, more often than not and many a free flight occurred at the toll-gates or when changing horses.

For the last three years some of us enjoyed the thrill of seeing the 100-year-old 'Red Rover' coach and four clatter along part of its old route. For this we are indebted to Mr. Sanders Watney, of Watney, Combe, Reid and Co. Ltd., who has preserved this fine old vehicle and helped to keep alive stirring memories of bygone times.

'Littleworth Lodge', on Esher boundary of the Portsmouth-road, marks the site where Hitchener's Bar Toll-Gate stood until 1870, when it was removed. The Toll House was allowed to remain and is believed now to form part of the present Lodge. The toll-gate was so-named because from 1778 until 1802, Manor Farm, nearby on Ditton Marsh, was occupied by William Hitchener, a farmer.

Some coaches conveyed chained gangs of convicts from London to Portsmouth, the port of embarkation for transportation to some penal settlement in America or to Botany Bay in New South Wales, but such transportation was abolished in 1853.

Gone are the coaching days and with their passing many fine old inns sank from their old-time dignity into obscurity. Once there were long ranges of stables filled with steeds; now they have disappeared and their sites built upon.

In 1897, Mr. Henry James Storey, vestry-clerk and registrar in Thames Ditton, where he had lived for more than half a century, gave the following account to a local press representative:- " I remember one winter the roadmen had scraped the dirt off the road into heaps and it had become frozen quite hard. One of the 'Royal Blues', after getting through the toll-gate, started off at a gallop, but the wheels of the coach went up one of these frozen hillocks of mud and the coach turned over. It was a set out, I can tell you. A light or a lantern was a scarce article then, but everybody who had a lantern turned out. The coach was loaded with sailors when it turned over and they were nearly all drunk at the time and fast asleep on the top of the coach. I don't think anyone was killed on that occasion."

Not far from the Dittons boundary in the parish of Esher, stands the 'White Lady' milestone and a traveller describing a coach ride in the nineteenth century said:- "Presently we were out on Ditton Marsh, flat and broad, and sombre, and we bowl along here at a fine round pace until we reach the foot of the ascent where, outside a roadside public house, the 'Orleans Arms', stands a huge stone post, a century old, marked with the names and distances of many towns and villages, and known as the 'White Lady' milestone."

The famous milestone has guided travellers now for nearly two centuries, having been erected in 1767, by whom, no one seems to know. It has been stated, without proof, that this structure stands on a millstone brought from a powder manufactory which once stood by the side of the River Ember. It has recently been cleaned and renovated by experts and it is comforting to feel that this old friendly landmark will continue its existence for many more centuries to come.

(Editor's note; please see Esher photos for postcard illustrations of the "White Lady")

 

Souvenir Programme Japan in Claygate 1926

As the Society approaches the 40th Anniversary of its inaugural meeting, there was an event in Claygate in 1926 also observing that figure. It took place on Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th and Saturday 5th June 1926 and celebrated the 40th year of the Vicar's Incumbency.

A Japanese Fair and Grand Fancy Bazaar was held in the Parish Hall and Vicarage Grounds (4 acres), Holy Trinity Church, Claygate.

On Saturday, The Japanese System of Physical Culture, the Science of Ju-Jitsu (now known in its perfect form as "Judo") and Kendo (Fencing) was illustrated by Students and others from the Budokwai.The real naturalization of Judo in this country was brought about by the indefatigable efforts of Mr. G. Koizumi, a Japanese merchant and himself a highly skilled exponent. His school or club in London taught Judo and inculcated the spirit of "Bushido" - the main moral principles being "Never boast of, or misuse one's skill; be chivalrous; and despise cowardice; be honest and sincere".

Each day a Japanese Tea Garden specially designed for the occasion was open with suitable music selected and performed during Tea. A Japanese Museum was also open in the Vicarage Dining-room displaying valuable Japanese Curios, pictures on silk made in Japan, costly vases, screens, and some articles rarely seen out of Japan.

 

The Society is fast approaching the 40th Anniversary of the Inaugural Meeting which was held at King George's Hall, Esher on Wednesday 22nd May 1968 at 8 pm.

The meeting was preceded by an illustrated talk entitled 'A New Look at Local History' given by Mr. James Batley, Chairman, The Bourne Society, with Councillor P.R. Bryant, a member of Esher Library Committee in the Chair.

Over 100 people remained for the inaugural meeting and with their unanimous consent, Councillor Bryant took the chair. He called upon Mr. Derek Brown, District Librarian, to explain why Esher Library Committee had sponsored the formation of a Local History Society and how it was proposed to assist such a Society to become fully independent. Mr. Brown also reported on the success of the Esher Local History Fortnight, during which time nearly 100 people had put down their names as being willing to support a local history society.

 

Prince Charles Edward Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1915

A postcard of Charles Edward printed in Gotha, Germany during World War I in 1916.

The story of Prince Charles Edward, Hitler's Favourite Royal was broadcast at 9 pm Thursday December 6th 2007 on Channel 4.

Following a series of unexpected deaths in the royal family, in July 1900, Queen Victoria's teenage grandson moved to Germany and took up the dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The strong Esher connection to the story is that he lived at Claremont, Esher until that time and his mother the Duchess of Albany continued to live there. Initially he was reluctant to fight for his adopted homeland in World War I. Later he became Hitler's royal spokesman.

This one hour programme was pick of the day and gave a remarkable insight into the story of the Nazi prince.

 

The Surrey Archaeological Society carried out an excavation at Wayneflete Tower at the beginning of July 2007.

Wayneflete Excavation Team Friday 06072007

Peter and his team on the Friday of the excavation outside the Tower.

Wayneflete Tower Excavation cockleshells

The central bucket clearly showing the cockleshells which were a thick deposit in one of the rooms.

Wayneflete Tower General view of excavation

A general view of the group on the Friday of the excavation.

 

Peter Harp, Chairman of the Surrey Archaeological Research Committee organised 20 volunteers to perform the task at the invitation of the current owner of the Tower, Penny Rainbow.

As Peter states " As is so often the case, everything became clear on the last day with all the loose ends coming together. We have been entirely within 'basement' levels of the 1729 gothic extension to the Tower (& later demolition levels), and have uncovered 3 'rooms' together with a later phase (but still Georgian) semi-circular staircase foundation. This was not unexpected, merely the depth of these Georgian walls was surprising - we had been hoping earlier structures might have survived within the later building footprint.

Although the rooms had a floor level at 1.5m below current ground level, they were filled with a further (beneath the floor-level) 0.75m of soft sand to drain the building, sitting under a rubble/mortar floor in two rooms and a thick deposit of cockleshells in the other room (disturbed around the trench area when the walls were robbed-out down to the water-table), in which we had a wood-lined sump leading down to a lead drain.

Finds have included 3 clay-pipes, much C18th pottery, glass (including a wine glass & undamaged C18th wine bottle), a Georgian halfpenny & building material, plus some c. C11th pottery and a few Mesolithic flints.

The full results of the excavation will be presented in February 2008 at the society's annual symposium in Ashtead.

 

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