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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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