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!


  • 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



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,



57 Varieties*

One of the ideas of the project is to collect local history information around each of the stops on the current 213 route and produce a blog entry about each. To that end, I’ve started the process of collection – finding photos, interesting stories and remembrances. I imagine that this could become a good structure for an exhibition – maybe the two routes (Kingston-Sutton; Sutton – Kingston) running along the walls with each stop marked and a collection of ephemera surrounding it, plus a place for people to fill in a postcard of their thoughts and memories to be shown alongside, each stop blurring into the next as the walls are filled.

I was typing up the list of stops going each way which my mum had written out (also available on a handy interactive map at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaround/maps/buses/?r=213) and suddenly the scale of this project dawned on me. 57* different stops to consider and research…. Overwhelming and also strangely awesome. Things that seem simple can become so complex so quickly. I’m excited at the possibilities of this project for involving a whole load of different people (anyone really- that has, does or will ever conceivably use the 213 bus route or lives their lives alongside it). Will any coherent meaning emerge from this? I think what interests me about the project is that it will produce something more collage, or patchwork in character, a collection, a changeable mass of information that connects us all. The 213 follows a physical geographic route, but is part of a complex network of interconnecting routes: physical, social, historical, economic. And that’s just one bus route!

* The route from Kingston to Sutton stops at 44 stops, from Sutton to Kingston it stops at 45 stops. There are 57 individual names for the stops.

Some of the 89 bus stops on the 213 route (both directions)

Some of the 89 bus stops on the 213 route (both directions)