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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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

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

K01: Fairfield Bus Station

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A History of the Cattle Market

Livestock had been sold in Kingston’s Market Place on Saturdays since 1603, when James I of England granted the rights to a market for the purpose. The Cattle Market as held on a Monday was only introduced in 1918 (March 12th), to supplement market days on Wednesday, Thursdays and Saturdays providing increased access to the food supply during World War One. Due to increased motor traffic and space requirements, the Monday Cattle Market was moved to the Fairfield site and officially opened by the Mayor, Councillor G D Densham on Monday 20th April 1925.

The Surrey Comet for April 25th describes the new market in some detail. The Fairfield site was five times the size of the Market Place, with pens for sheep and pigs and special sheds for calves. The surface was covered in concrete, with a weighing machine between the enclosures and the selling place through which each animal was passed and their weight shown on a large clock face. There were 80 pens for pigs, 26 for sheep, 400ft of cattle rails, and a shed for dairy cows and calves. A granite run for horses meant that the animals didn’t need to be tested on the roads. Granite sets paved the areas between pens and there was also a toll collector’s office and toilet. The whole market was enclosed by 6ft high iron fencing, and cost the borough about £6000 to build.

This market proved so popular it was expanded in size in 1926, but its success was short lived due to rapid housing and road expansion in the interwar years which swallowed up the farmland surrounding Kingston. The Second World War provided a much needed boost to the market as it was designated an official trading place by the Ministry of Agriculture. After the war, there was another rapid decline in livestock sold but even in 1953 300 cattle, sheep and calves and a whopping 8000 pigs were traded. The Cattle Market finally stopped trading in 1957 and was replaced by a regular Monday Market and car park.

The car park itself was just one of many developed in Kingston: the first public car park was on Eden Street West and opened in 1925. A car park at the Cattle Market site was first proposed by Alderman A G Knowlden in 1955, however the large basement car park wasn’t constructed until 1985 along with the development of the new Fairfield Bus Station and Kingston Town Centre ring road.. The finished construction provided 491 underground spaces. It was refurbished in 2008 by Stirling Lloyd Construction costing £360,000 for 14,000m2. Surface parking costs £1 per 30 minutes during the day and £2 flat rate in the evenings, with 100 spaces available, and basement parking costs £1.40 an hour plus 70p for every further 30 minutes, or £2 flat rate in the evenings. An annual season ticket costs a whopping £2592.00 – so I’m glad I’ve got my bus!

During the basement car park construction, the Monday Market took place on a site in Ashdown Road with 180 regualar and 40 casual traders using 250 pitches. Today’s Monday Market sells bric-a-brac and is much reduced in size. It is managed by KingstonFirst on behalf of the Council, with 50 traders selling from 9am-1.30pm. One 10ft pitch costs £25.70 per week.

When the land was granted for the Cattle Market in 1925, it came with this interesting condition of land use: ‘that if at any time the said land shall cease to be used for the purpose hereby authorised such land shall again become an open space or recreation ground’. The Borough seems to have conveniently forgotten this clause – unless you count a car park as ‘open space or recreation ground’*!

* Indeed, if you search the web for ‘Cattle Market Car Park Kingston’ you can find some interesting options for potential recreational activity in the car park toilets. Not what the Ministry of Health had in mind when they attempted to protect Kingston’s open spaces, I think….

Sources:

Surrey Comet: April 25th 1925, March 6th 1982,  June 7th 1985, November 20th 1987

Sampson, J (2006) The Kingston Book. London: Historical Publications Ltd

http://www.kingston.gov.uk/directory/6/car_parks_in_kingston_upon_thames

http://www.weekendnotes.co.uk/kingston-monday-market/

http://www.slcl.com/admin/res/Cattle%20Market%20Car%20Park.pdf

http://www.kingstonfirst.co.uk/visitkingston/discoverkingston/kingstonsmarkets.aspx#178