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
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Project Update: Autumn 2016

Dear Readers,

Just wanted to drop a line to say that the format of the blog is going to change a little bit – in an effort to get to the end of the route this side of the 2020s, I’ve decided to write shorter blogs and also not to always update immediately with the fancy graphics and images I like to create. These take a lot of time and also I think some of my blogs have been far too long, and am shocked if anyone is reaching to the end of them.

Hope this makes sense – PLEASE help me with the project – if you’d like to take on a bus stop, I can help you research its history at Kingston History Centre and we can make this a collaborative effort. I’m not even a third of the way to Sutton yet. I think this might be the longest bus journey I’ve ever taken!

All the best, and thanks for reading,

Amy

 

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

 

 

K10: Gloucester Road

K10John Galsworthy, Coombe and the Forsyte Saga

On 1st March 1968, part of Gloucester Road (the section north of the Coombe Road/Coombe Lane juction) was renamed Galsworthy Road. This was after the writer John Galsworthy, but came at the same time as the great success of the TV adaption of his most famous work the Forsyte Saga. [Also, Soame’s Walk, off Trap’s Lane was named after a main character in ‘Man of Property’].

Galsworthy’s connections with Coombe

John Galsworthy was born on Kingston Hill in November 1867 and spent his childhood there until 1886. He died in Hampstead on 21st January 1933 from a stroke, having been suffering from a brain tumour. He had been too ill to collect the Nobel Prize for Literature which he was awarded in 1932.

The connection of Galsworthy with Coombe is actually due to the author’s father, also John Galsworthy, who built large houses on the estate formerly owned by the Duke of Cambridge, off Grange Road. He was a churchwarden at St John the Baptist, Kingston Vale and his wife was a Surbitonian. The houses he built were Coombe Warren (1868, later renamed Coombe Court, demolished 1931), Coombe Leigh (1873, later Coombe Ridge, now Holy Cross Preparatory School) and Coombe Croft (1878, now Rokeby Preparatory School) and the Galsworthy family lived in each of them for a time. John Galsworthy the author was born in another large house called Parkfield, which is now a nursing home called Galsworthy House. Coombe Warren was the inspiration for ‘Robin Hood’ – the house built by Soames in the Forsyte Saga.

‘The Forsyte Saga’, TV Adaptation, 1967-68

The Forsyte Saga TV show was 26 episodes long, and the last major serial to be filmed in black and white by the BBC. Its original run was on BBC2, from 7th January 1967 to 1st July 1967, but it gained huge popularity in 1968 when it was repeated on BBC1 at 7:25pm on Sundays. Kingston History Centre volunteer Dan said it “had the nation in thrall, with a stellar cast!” and my mum said “I saw the TV series (years ago) and found it very sad and tragic then”. The final episode shown in 1968 had 18 million viewers tuning in (compare that to Strictly Come Dancing Final 2015 which gained 12 million viewers). The series went on to be  shown around the world and was the first BBC TV series to be sold to the Soviet Union. It is estimated that it had a worldwide audience of 160 million people.

The Forsyte Saga, paperback edition published 1970

In preparation for writing this blog, I read the trilogy which includes ‘The Man of Property’ (first published 1906), ‘In Chancery’ (first published 1920) and ‘To Let’ (first published 1921). It’s available to loan from Surbiton Library and I well recommend it. The Saga is part one of three which form the Forsyte Chronicles.

The three novels tell the story of Old Jolyon, his son Jolly and nephew Soames, and their children. It is poetically written, from the point of view of the individual characters, how they relate to each other and the world.

A major theme is the concept of ‘property’, in relation to a physical house and also between a husband and wife. When you enter a relationship, and particularly a marriage, do you in some ways take on the ownership of your partner and they you? Can you have expectations on them? Can you judge them as you would yourself? Or do you remain as individuals who just happen to be co-habiting? The novels (and my own reflections) expose that marriage is, at least in part, an outward showing of unity to society, but that within it, both parties remain in some sense strangers to one another (and maybe even themselves), as the concept of ‘self’ is always transitional.

There are no real heroes, but rather each character and their motivations are presented as conflicted and ambiguous. The division between right and wrong and how personal desires can influence or change your moral outlook is explored through different generations of the Forsyte family as they negotiate an ever changing world (The Boer War, motor cars). I felt that it was a moving and honest presentation of human nature.

Death is ever present in the Saga and this really struck a chord with me having recently lost a beloved grandparent. The deaths of various characters are portrayed skilfully and poignantly. Some deaths are anticipated but the last moment is always sudden, always heart breaking. To die an old man is just as painful as to die a youth, despite what the living might say to console ourselves. Galsworthy captured beautifully the feeling of loneliness that one must feel in the moment of death, a final goodbye to yourself, whether worn through old age, through sickness or tragedy. The Saga helped me explore my grief but also made me quite sad at times.

Sources

Butters, S (2013) ‘That Famous Place’ A History of Kingston upon Thames Kingston University Press

Galsworthy, J (1970) The Forsyte Saga: Part 1 Penguin Books Ltd

The Nobel Foundation (1932) John Galsworthy – Biographical Available here.

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (undated) John Galsworthy in Coombe [leaflet available at Kingston History Centre]

K09: Kingston Hospital

K09 Blog illustrationSomewhere to Call ‘Home’ – A History of the Children’s Home at Galsworthy Road

Before the private housing development Blenheim Gardens, Galsworthy Road was the site of Kingston’s Barnardo’s Home, the place to call ‘home’ for up to 150 young boys in the borough. It was an imposing building dating from 1875, and closed August 1968 with the first of the present houses completed in June 1970.

Metropolitan Convalescent Institution, 1875

K1-0180The imposing, 13th century, ‘Gothic’ style building originally opened in 1875 as the Metropolitan Convalescent Institution for poor children recovering from serious illness. The Institution had been founded in 1840 in Mitcham, with a later home at Hendon (from 1866). By 1875, 50,000 ‘inmates’ had been admitted, of whom 35,000 were cured, normally within 3 weeks.

Kingston’s home was designed by Mr H Saxon Snell, at a £10,000 cost, of which £2,000 was provided by anonymous donation. The site alone cost £1,500 and furniture was an additional cost. It was 3 storeys high with a T-shaped plan. It had lofty, well ventilated rooms, and a central 90ft tower  on which was originally stored 3000 gallons of water in case of fire. The ground floor had an entrance hall, two large day rooms (one for boys and one for girls), a dining room, matron and servants’ rooms, kitchen and offices. Other floors were filled with large dormitories and nurses’ offices, designed so that three wards could be supervised by one nurse in order to save money. An infectious ward  was built should it be needed and isolated from the rest of the building. Invalids had to pay for their transport, but otherwise their rehabilitation was free, and it was intended for 180 children.

The building was constructed without all of the funding in place to pay for it, and opened on Monday 12th July 1875 by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VI) and his ‘amiable and beloved wife’. They accepted a collection of 17 purses from assembled ladies towards the charity’s costs, which according the Comet, were temporarily misplaced after the event. The royal couple arrived at 16:40 and left shortly after 5pm when they retired to Mr Sim’s residence at Coombe Wood House. The occasion of the opening led to local upset as the Borough Council who felt they had been excluded by the Institution’s Committee but wished to present their appreciation to the Royals. Arrangements were hurriedly made and “thereout grew no little dissatisfaction and heartburning”, i.e. it was a great success. An arch was ‘thrown’ over Gloucester Road and very prettily decorated with flags, shields, coloured bunting and young trees, the later provided free by Veitch & Sons nursery. Four hundred schoolchildren occupied the corner piece of ground at the junction with Gloucester road and the main road; thousands gave a hearty and loyal welcome, as businesses were invited to close at 2pm to allow local residents to line the streets;  All Saint’s bells rang; 120 men of the 12th Surrey Regiment Volunteers paraded as a guard of honour but arrived too late due to a mix up on times and felt they were a laughing stock of the town (which reading over 140 years later still feels quite heart breaking!).

Princess Louise Home, 1892

In April 1892, the building was bought by National Society for the Protection of Young Girls, and opened by Princess Louise who gave her name to it. The intention of the Home was to prevent vulnerable girls from falling into a life of prostitution, “to educate, train, feed, clothe and prepare them for future usefulness as domestic servants, to procure situations for them, provide them with an outfit and generally watch over, advise and counsel them”. These children might be orphans, abandoned or neglected and were aged between 11 and 15. Princess Louise took an active role in supporting the charity, attending the AGM and prize giving. One such event took place in 1903, when a “a tiny dot, the youngest inhabitant of the House” presented the Princess with a bouquet. An outbreak of Scarlet Fever in 1902 had prevented the previous meeting.

1903 was the first year that the charity ended in deficit. A quote from 1908 tried to rouse additional subscriptions: “It was to institutions like this that the nation must look to see that its most valuable assets, the girls of the country, were fit to join the battalion of Imperial matronhood upon which this Empire must depend in the future”, at the time 143 girls were being supported there. The Home ran a successful laundry service for the local area in an attempt to generate their own income.

Eventually, the Home was closed in September 1929  when it lost its Ministry of Health certification as an industrial and training school after a poor inspection.

Dr Barnardo’s Home, 1933

The Home was purchased in August 1932 by Lady Daziel of Wooler and presented to Dr Barnardo’s charity for use to house 150 boys which opened the following year. Dr Barnardo had himself lived in St Leonard’s Lodge, Surbiton from 1897 until his death in 1905 and helped thousands of homeless and destitute children. For a rather creepy video from the first year, see Christmas time, 1933.

One resident of the Barnardo’s Home was Leslie Thomas, author and former Evening News writer who reflected on his experiences in a Surrey Comet article of 1975.  Residents were apparently called ‘Dickie’s Boys’ (one reason given for this was that apparently Lady Daziel’s nickname was Dickie). Thomas’s book ‘This Time Next Week’ (1964) was about his time there. He was orphaned at age 12 after his father drowned in a torpedo attack in 1943 and his mother died of cancer shortly afterwards. He described a “dozen rather grizzled spinsters [who] were in charge of dormitories”. Some parts of life at the home must have been fun, and one example has been recorded in this video: Model Railway 1954.

Kingston’s Home closed in August 1968, and Barnardo’s stopped running homes and orphanages in the 1970s.

Thomas, after reflecting on his life (he was very successful, being paid around £100,000 for 3 novels in 1975), said ‘as for the rest, I just want to be happy’. I think this is a very powerful and important message, and am personally very proud of the history of each of these institutions which were at least trying to improve the lives of the youngest and most vulnerable people in society.

 

Sources:

  • Butters, S (2013) That Famous Place: A History of Kingston upon Thames Kingston University Press
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (2016) Building Control Database Available here: http://www6.kingston.gov.uk/propertyServices/Building/Search
  • Sampson, J (1997) Kingston Past  London: Historical Publications Ltd
  • Sampson, J (2006) The Kingston Book  London: Historical Publications Ltd
  • Surrey Comet: 16th June 1875, p.3; 10th July 1875, p.1 & 4; 17th July 1875, p.4; 13th June 1903, p.7; 18th July 1908; 20th August 1932, p.7; 18th January 1975, p.10