K15: Langley Grove

Malden Golf Club at Traps Lane, 1926

The Malden Golf Club had their original course near to Raynes Park Station and were founded in 1893, incorporated as a Limited Company in 1924. The Club moved to New Malden in early 1926 when the lease on the Raynes Park land had run out. It was being acquired for construction work, and wasn’t ideal for a course because it became “merely a swamp in parts after heavy rain”.

The new site at New Malden was chosen due to its sandy sub-soil which meant it would hopefully stay dry in winter. It was taken with a 21 year lease. The new course was designed by Harold Bailey FRIBA and Guilford Dudley. Plans were received in 1925, with greens and fairways being seeded before end of April 1925, and trees, broom, heather all planted in the autumn of that year. Construction of the Clubhouse began in May 1925, officially completed on 15th February 1926 according to planning records. Around 50 workmen had been involved in the construction of the new facilities.

The course was opened finally on 1st May 1926 by Col. Sir Augustus FitzGeorge, President of the Club and descendant of the 2nd Duke of Cambridge, owner of the Coombe Estate (explaining the origin of local road and institutional names). It covered 115 acres and was 6250 yards long, comprising of two loops both with 9 holes, starting at the clubhouse. 8 holes were 400 yards or longer, 4 were short holes. Both the Coombe and Beverley Brooks had to be negotiated with driving shots.

The Clubhouse was “Georgian in character”, “constructed with every consideration for the comfort of the members” which included the installation of central heating, what a luxury! The ground floor had a main hall, card and writing rooms, refreshments lounge, dressing room with shower, bath and lavatory, drying room for clothes. The first floor had a large dining hall accessed via a fine oak staircase, a kitchen, pantry, the steward’s quarters, ladies dressing room and ladies lounge.

Membership swelled to 389 in the first year at their new home.

The club grounds were used for agricultural production during the Second World War and the clubhouse was a base for the local Home Guard.

Malden’s Other Golf Clubs

Malden had 3 18-hole golf courses with the completion for the new course: Coombe Hill, Coombe Wood and New Malden Golf Club.  Really indicative of the popularity of the game at that time.

In the Maldens and Coombe Urban District Council Act 1933, the council sought to acquire and manage the ‘Coombe Lands’, 187 acres occupied by 300 separate owners and including both the Coombe Hill and Coombe Wood golf courses. This would allow council rights to private roads allowing for repairs, consistent provision of sewers and drains, and the ability to charge improvement rates to local occupiers from 28th July 1933. It cost the UDC £72,000. National government leant the money, to be paid back through general rates: at the time is was deemed  “unlikely that a Bill of this kind will ever come before us again”.

The Golf Courses would come under municipal management, charging admission. The idea of the Act was that these areas would be protected as open space for all time, for which surrounding properties would pay a fee for 21 years, according to proximity to the courses. The open spaces were deemed as a valuable asset, enhancing property prices of the local area – still true to this day.

Fun facts: #007

According to my 213 friend Roger, Langley Grove was a secret hide out for Russian spies. No more information on when or what they were doing there (hope I haven’t blown anyone’s cover!?) so if you have more on this story, I’d love to know!

Sources:

  • Gems, J N (Robin) (1990) The Story of Malden Golf Club Malden Golf Club
  • “Clubs” feature, Malden Village Voice, April 2015, pp.28-29
  • “New Golf Club: A course being constructed at New Malden”, Surrey Comet, 16th May 1925, p.13
  • “Opening of New Golf Course at Malden”, Surrey Comet, 9th January 1926, p.3
  • “Opening of New Malden Golf Course”, Surrey Comet, 22nd May 1926, p.5
  • Surrey Comet, 19th July 1933, p.5, 8, 10
  • Surrey Comet, 22nd July 1933, p.3, 7
  • Surrey Comet, 29th July 1933, p.16

 

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K14: Coombe Girls Schools

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Coombe Girls’ School, originally Coombe County Secondary Girls’ School pre-1965, opened in 1955. It is listed under both Clarence Avenue and Darley Drive in Kingston’s planning database (the later is a bus blind destination for when the 213 is running a shortened route). The Planning Record shows that movable classrooms were added in 1966, the caretaker’s flat in 1972, garages in 1975, a portable double classroom in 1993, a three storey extenstion in 1998, a new sixth form centre 2001, extensions in 2003 and 2009, the refurbishment of a lab in 2004, Sports Hall and Music & Drama suites in 2004, and GP surgery 2004. This shows how the demands on the school have changed and increased over time to accommodate more and more students and to offer a wider curriculum.

A guide to Secondary Education at Kingston History Centre dated 1971 includes a page on Coombe Girls’ School, written by the then Headmistress Mrs A P Taylor.  It mentions route 213A in the second line! Accommodation at the time included 3 Housecraft Rooms, 2 Needlework Rooms, 3 Art Rooms, 5 Science Laboratories, a Language Laboratory, Main Library and 6th Form Reference Library, Gymnasium and Redgra Hockey Pitch. The general course in the first 3 years included Modern Mathematics, Nuffield Science, French, Geography, History, Religious Education, Housecraft, Needlework, Art, Music and Physical Education. English teaching included speech and drama. After that, English, Maths and French were compulsory but otherwise pupils could choose their courses. It was expected that all pupils complete 6 or 7 ‘O’ Levels. At the time, there were 1000 pupils, 100 in the 6th form which offered various  ‘A’ levels, a Commercial Course (shorthand, typing and an ‘A’ level in Economics) and supplementary ‘O’ Levels. Out of school activities included a guitar club, Christian Union and Trampolining. All girls were expected to do homework and to wear school uniform.

Plans to build a sports centre in 2000 had 300 strong resident opposition. An Ofsted report in 1999 said the school had “unsatisfactory” physical education, music and drama facilities. Community use for new facilities was part of the lottery funding, set to be open 9am until 10pm weekdays and 9am until 5pm weekends. Neighbours were against the increase in noise, parking and traffic problems which a new facility might bring and formed an action group in October 1999 to fight the proposals. At the time, 1200 pupils were using the original 1950s sports hall which has been built to accommodate 600, and spending valuable time travelling to facilities at Kingsmeadow and the Malden Centre for lessons. Residents felt that the nature of the area as primarily residential was under threat. The community use of new facilities (eventually built in 2004) doesn’t seem to have happened, although Kingston Adult Education did’ provide tennis courses at the Coombe Evening Centre’, based at the School on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings for a time.

The Girls’ School now forms part of an Academy Trust alongside Coombe Boys’, Coombe Sixth Form and Knollmead Primary.

 

 

Selective Secondary Education in Kingston

On the formation of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames in 1965, the Council ran its own schools, further and higher education. It was responsible for around 17,500 pupils, in 39 primary and 15 secondary schools. In 1966, 1700 11 year olds would transfer to secondary education and participate in “A procedure… used to select those pupils who appear to be capable of benefiting from a more intensive academic course”, i.e. the selection process to enter Grammar education which only 20% pupils would be offered.

The test was open to any resident or pupil currently attending school in the borough, and the guidance says that “nothing is lost by unsuitable candidates not taking the  tests” which is certainly an exercise in understanding double negatives. The tests were 3 papers in English, Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning, taken in January 1966, plus an essay submitted at some point during the preceding term; results were adjusted for the age of the pupil. After the results, parents were able to select a first and second choice of school, “organised on a neighbourhood basis” with each school serving its locality. At this time, Coombe Girls School had Grammar places available alongside standard secondary education, i.e. it was mixed stream school.

“Every effort is made to select at eleven years all those pupils who will be suitable for a full course leading to GCE ‘A’ Level but there will be some pupils whose capacity for advanced study does not become apparent until later”.

If you went to a comprehensive and achieved 4 passes at O-Level then you may still be considered for 6th form at a Grammar School, dependent on an entry interview/assessment process.

In 1967, national government promoted and began to enforce comprehensive education rather than the academic selection process of grammars.

I went to a mixed, none-selective state high school and personally don’t think that it is appropriate to judge a child’s ability at the age of 11 years old. I value my time at school as it allowed me to interact with many different types of people and to appreciate that not all knowledge is academic. To limit somebody’s options as a child is to limit the contribution they can make as an adult and I am an advocate for access to an education at any age when a person shows the inclination for it.

 

Sources:

 

K13: Oak Road

K13.jpgOak Road, Clarence Avenue and the surrounding area was developed by EG & LW Berg Limited, of Hinchley Surrey. The development, approved in 1932, was completed 1934(ish), although pipes had been laid out in 1926 with permission of the land owner, the Duke of Cambridge. The layout of roads was agreed with the Urban District Council (UDC) of Maldens and Coombe on 11th July 1933, with the first houses completed by August 1933. Properties were added to land registry in 1953.

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So why might people move to Clarence Avenue? Throughout the first half of the 20th century, all three areas of Kingston, Surbiton and Malden were producing Official Guides as a means of advertising their local area. As Malden’s Official Guide of 1933 states, its aim was ‘to outline, briefly, some of the chief attractions and advantages which have gained for the high-class residential and sports area of the Maldens and Coombe a premier position among the rising towns and districts south-west of the Metropolis’. Certainly a mouthful of a sentence, but indicative of the marketing language of the day. At that time, the UDC were planning to accommodate 70,o00 inhabitants and aiming for a total rateable value of £256,959, how money has changed! They state that valuable estates were being developed ‘along considered lines’. In 1933, the UDC were granted an Act to acquire the ‘Coombe Lands’ (including Coombe Hill and Coombe Wood golf courses) and also purchased land at Malden Green, adding 205 acres of green open space to municipal ownership in one year alone, and providing valuable local amenities which continue to make the Maldens desirable to this day.

Sources:

  • H.M. Land Registry ‘Application for an Official Search’ for Plot 207, Clarence Avenue
  • Letter from Surveyor’s Department of The Maldens & Coombe Urban District Council, Re: New building at Plot 207, Clarence Avenue (31st July 1933)
  • Malden & Coombe Official Guide, 1933
  • Ordnance Survey County of Surrey Sheet Vii-13, 1:2500 revisions of 1911, 1933, 1940
  • Surrey Comet, 19th July 1933, p.5, 8, 10
  • Surrey Comet, 22nd July 1933, p.3, 7
  • Surrey Comet, 29th July 1933, p.16

K12: The Triangle

K12.jpgThe area of Norbiton/New Malden now occupied by Kenley Road and Clarence Avenue was once land forming Dickerage Farm, the farm buildings being located towards the north end of present-day Dickerage Lane.

The Triangle was constructed in the mid-1930s to provide local shops and amenities for the new Coombe Berg estate of Clarence Avenue and surrounding roads. It is first listed in the Kelly’s street directory of 1938. Original shops on both sides included: Job dairymen at No.1, Bettawear Drapers at No.4, Triangle Wine Store at No.7, The Triangle Household Store hardware merchants at No.9 and Coombe Fisheries at No.12. There was also a newsagent, butcher and baker.

The planning record for No.12 shows that a shop and flat were completed on 19th March 1936. Later records show a covered way and a fish curing chamber/smoke house added when the property was taken on by the fisheries business. It later became a general grocery store.

Brewster Public House

Completed in December 1955 at No.15 The Triangle, permission for The Brewster was granted in 1951 to Courage Breweries. Renamed the Hungry Horse in the 1990s then The Brewster again, it became the Willow Tree in 2002 and a Korean restaurant in 2005. A small alleyway called Brewster Place links Arundel Road and Dickerage Road behind the pub building.

Today, in 2016, a Tesco occupies Nos. 11,12 & 14.

 

 

Sources:

  • Holmes, R (undated) Pubs Inns and Taverns of Surbiton and Malden with Tolworth Hook and Chessington Echo Library Fairfield, Glos
  • Kelly’s Street Directories for Kingston and District: 1938, 1939, 1948, 1960, 1971 [Available at Kingston History Centre]
  • Malden and Coombe Official Guide, 1960-1961
  • Ordnance Survey map of the Triangle, TQ2069SW for 1952
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Planning department Building Control site: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200156/building_control/580/your_property_history

K11: Kenley Road

K11.JPG

Kenley Road was laid out in 1931-2 with no.2 being completed on 24th July 1931 and later numbers approved in January 1932 and completed in the autumn of that year (for example, no.20 completed 7th October 1932). You can view images of the road during construction  here at the Britain from Above website.

A Change in Route

In Spring 1963, the 213 bus route changed from going along Traps Lane and Coombe Lane and began an additional service along Clarence Avenue and Kenley Road. This became the route as we know it now, but not all residents at the time approved of the change.

The change of route was advocated by the Borough of Malden and Coombe for many years. At a committee meeting of the Public Health, Works and Highways Committee of 24th April 1963, complaints were received from 7 individuals and by one letter signed by 25 people. Chairman of the committee Alderman A Hill responded to the concerns by saying: “I can take this back 30 years and remember well the time these people and others like them objected to a public house being built” before going on to be the ones who used it(!). Another member, Alderman A Arbon-Collins stated that “you cannot hold up progress”. Hard to imagine elected members talking in quite the same tone today, or a change in bus route being described as ‘progress’.

Residents were able to negotiate the siting of new bus stops, firstly in a meeting with Kingston Borough Council and the Transport Board, and later through petition direct to the Department for Transport. There was, for a time, a bus stop ‘on the corner’ which was re-sited onto Gloucester Road after complaints that it was ‘dangerous and noisy’.

The new route ran from 8th May 1963.

To end on…

In the initial coverage from the Kingston Borough News, Kenley Road was referred to as Kenley Avenue. In correcting them, a local resident sent this to the paper:

We will walk up the Avenue not a Bus in sight; But we will run Down the Road for a 213 tonight

Sources
  • Britain from Above (http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw040758)
  • ‘Kenley Road Residents Angry’, in Kingston Borough News, 24th May 1963 p.1
  • ‘New Bus Service: Complaints Fail’, in Kingston Borough News, 3rd May 1963 p.1
  • ‘Residents Angry at New Malden Bus Run: Kenley Ave Objections’, in Kingston Borough News, 26th April 1963 p.1

 

 

Night Bus Home

Last night was my first experience of the N87 from Charing Cross back to Kingston, then the 213 from Kingston home to little Worcester Park, in the small hours of a Sunday morning.

The N87 was absolutely packed when we first boarded around 1.30am outside Charing Cross Station. Everything was going smoothly, I really liked watching the crowds pass down below, the sparkling lights and tall buildings, the width of the gushing river as we crossed Vauxhall Bridge. And then somebody threw up at the back of the bus. Luckily, I’m not too bad with sick but the smell wasn’t very pleasant and I did wonder what the driver was meant to do (if anything) about it. In the end, the bus didn’t stop and we acclimatised to acrid stench quite quickly (!).

The Route from Aldwych to Kingston

The Route from Aldwych to Kingston

I saw a few interesting things on the route, like the New Covent Garden Market which is in Battersea – I think this is such a shining indictment of London really, as the the real messy business of food and flower growing and trading is relegated from the centre to be replaced by swish but mostly uninteresting restaurants and stalls. Markets selling fresh meat, veg and flowers should be where the people are.

Most of  the route through surburbia is a blur really, but I remember passing Lavender Hill Library, South Thames College, Wimbledon Station. By this point we were playing leap frog with another N87 and I was going on about service regulation. We passed Raynes Park station and were then in familiar territory of Shannon Corner and through New Malden to Kingston (the grounds of Kingstonian FC in Norbiton being pointed out to me on the way).

I decided to stay on to Kingston as didn’t fancy waiting at the Fountain all alone with not so many people passing by. This proved a bit fatal in the end as the 2.35am 213 from Fairfield didn’t show up which meant waiting for 50 minutes. Not impressed, and I told the nice giggly TfL lady to write it up in her report. If I’d got off at the Fountain there is a chance I could’ve caught the 2.05am from there. In the end, I got the 3.05am running perfectly to time and experienced my first 213 night journey along with a bus full of drunken ladies and gentlemen some of whom had been fighting each other at Cromwell Road. The trip was very straightforward and I enjoyed watching the bloke sitting opposite fall asleep and wake up in panic that he’d missed his stop (in fact – he didn’t get off until Longfellow Road so was fine in the end). Disembarking at Lindsay Road, I ran home as the dawn chorus was just warming up.

N87 bus sign

 

Night Bus Home – ratings

N87: 7/10 due to sick, and not regulating the service effectively

213: 4/10 due to the 2.35am not showing up

 

 

Morning chat at Malden Green Avenue (well, one street away)

A gentleman called Ron invited me round for tea with him and his wife Julia months ago. They were so lovely and hospitable, I am ashamed it has taken so long for me to write up their 213 story.

Ron moved to New Malden with his parents in 1967. In 1975, he and Julia were married and lived together in Motspur Park, both working in accountancy, Ron for Kingston NHS at  Kingston and Surbiton Hospitals. In 1993, they moved to Mayfair Avenue, near to Malden Green Avenue stop.

They have two sons, and Julia remembers travelling on the 213A for hospital appointments during her pregnancy in 1979. One son went to Tiffin Boys, the other to Sutton Grammar so they both used the 213 but going in opposite directions. Nowadays, Julia uses it to get to fitness classes in New Malden and they both may occasionally catch the bus from New Malden Station after coming back from central London – I do this too if I’ve missed the train to Worcester Park and it saves a walk at the other end! Because the 213 links to lots of other routes and is regular, it is a very useful bus. Also changes such as the Oyster Card system and ‘countdown’ at stops and on mobile phones have really improved the customer experience and generally made it easier to use.

Ron is very interested in heritage and local history, and provided me with a list of useful local history publications. Here are some of the things he told me:

– The place name, ‘Malden’ is derived from ‘Maeldune’ meaning ‘cross on the hill’ in Old English, which refers to the ancient church of St John the Baptist in Old Malden

– New Malden Railway Station kept having its name changed. When is was first built in the mid 1800, it was called ‘Malden’, then ‘New Malden and Coombe’, then ‘Coombe and Malden’, then ‘Malden for Coombe’, then ‘Malden’ again  and finally in 1957 it was named ‘New Malden’ Station. A case of confused identity maybe?

– Longfellow Road, Worcester Park was apparently childhood home to John Major, whose father was a garden gnome maker. Longfellow Road itself is one of the oldest in Worcester Park so maybe that is why it has a stop named after it, rather than there being a stop called ‘Worcester Park High Street’ or even ‘Central Road’ instead.

– Malden Road leading to Worcester Park used to be lined with lombardy poplars (we’ve got a lovely photo of this in the Kingston Local History Room collection). Many of the trees were found to be diseased and had to be cut down in October 2010. They have been replaced by oaks after a public consultation.

Ron and Julia’s Photos from Worcester Park Running Day 2008 and RF 60th Anniversary 2012

Another time, Ron took me for a little tour of the local area, showing me St John the Baptist Church, and the extend of Nonsuch Great Park, which is Worcester Park now and how the road names come from the old field names. We then went up Trap’s Lane in Coombe and looked at John Galsworthy’s house on Coombe Hill and what is now Rokeby School. After that we visited Kingston University’s Roehampton campus which is part of what was the KLG spark plug factory. This was significant to Kingston’s history as Kenelm Lee Guiness (KLG) supplied spark plugs to Hawker Aviation and both of these factories were reasons to bomb the local area during the Second World War.

Meeting Ron and Julia made me realise that being here (living in Worcester Park/London), it can be possible to make yourself a little place, feel a sense of community and start to know people. I moved here almost two years ago and through this project I have realised just how many interesting people I have met and come to know. Also, learning stories about a place’s past helps you understand reasons for the present, and makes me feel a sense of continuity and embeddedness, that my experiences flow back through time and have been shared by countless others. Maybe people can have more than one home, they can belong to more than one place and time. I need to remember this feeling and be positive about the now, finding meaning and joy in my everyday life – that’s the point right?