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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Keith on September 20, 2009, 11:13:59 PM

 



Title: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on September 20, 2009, 11:13:59 PM
This thread can be for snippets of local history.  Sparked off by a reader of TDT who wrote to me about June Sampson's article earlier in the year in the Comet on Wm. Gaze who during WWII established three temporary boatyards along the river to make landing craft for the Normandy invasion.  One of these was at TD.

Anyone got any facts about that one, or know anyone who actually worked there / parents worked there?  I assume LCA / LC (Infantry). There were about 3500 landing craft of various sizes and types used in Overlord and their production would have been widely dispersed among a host of small yards for obvious reasons of secrecy and security.  Anyone got any idea how many were made at TD and can confirm what type?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on September 21, 2009, 10:56:10 AM
I don't know if this query will quite fit in this thread, but here goes.

Does anybody know why the gravestones in St Nicholas' Churchyard are so dilapidated? I know many of them are very old, but still  I would consider their condition typical for their age. I assume that they are all so quaintly wonky due to the proximity of the river. However, some look like they have had a real bashing - including the angel so popular with passing toddlers. Was there a stray bomb during the war or a spate of vandalism many years ago?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on September 21, 2009, 11:34:41 AM
I think it's just general deterioration.  During the CHIP appraisal, EBC thought that some council funds might be available to spruce up the churchyard and restore some of the stones to the extent possible.  However I was left with the impression that this would mean the council in some way 'taking over' maintenance of the churchyard (that may or may not be the case in reality).

The current St Nicholas Appeal for funds is also intended to cover maintenance to the churchyard so one way or another, some of your concerns may be addressed by the parish structures - I will try to find out more, or perhaps they might post their thinking and intentions here?

One of the issues that may arise is the trees.  There are many old yews in the churchyard, plus those fine cedars, but the whole is somewhat overgrown and perchance gloomy.  Vistas are reduced.  I am sure that opinions will vary (and be strongly-held!) on what should be done about it.  For instance, close to the church door is a very old yew that has been blasted by lightning.  A tree surgeon might suggest it be removed.....on the other hand, if you look at it from the blasted side it is quite remarkably like a crucifixion and a new trunk has grown up through the middle of the split area to fuse with the branches above..... I would lament its passing.....


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on September 21, 2009, 12:02:52 PM
Personally, I really like the way it looks and would hate to see funds wasted by the elf&safety brigade on 'topple testing' the headstones. I am just curious as to whether there was any history to the damage. Having said that, the corner by the short cut to Collets could probably do with some serious cutting back.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: angel on December 13, 2009, 02:50:23 PM
Looking at the 1891 & 1901 census for Angel Road there seems to have been a few interesting people residing there.

1891 John H Hardwick - Artist & Flower Painter  (The Hollies)
1901 Thomas (Tom) Richardson - Cricketer (Shirley)
1901 J Jessop Hardwick - Artist (The Hollies)

People we should be nominating for a Blue Plaque?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on December 14, 2009, 12:49:19 PM
Quote from: angel on December 13, 2009, 02:50:23 PM
Looking at the 1891 & 1901 census for Angel Road there seems to have been a few interesting people residing there.

1891 John H Hardwick - Artist & Flower Painter  (The Hollies)
1901 Thomas (Tom) Richardson - Cricketer (Shirley)
1901 J Jessop Hardwick - Artist (The Hollies)

People we should be nominating for a Blue Plaque?


Thanks for this.  Are the house names still the same and what are their numbers along Angel Road?

Richardson I knew about (and he would seem to be a possible candidate for a plaque  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Richardson  I'll add him to the list for future consideration.

The two Hardwicks are new to me.  How significant are they?  A quick search throws up John Jessop Hardwick's paintings still at auction.  Can you research his/their bios and email me?

Also: Rome Attwell (well-known scoutmaster) lived at 21 Angel Road with his Mum.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: rytheman on December 15, 2009, 07:06:37 PM
Quote from: Keith on December 14, 2009, 12:49:19 PM
Thanks for this.  Are the house names still the same and what are their numbers along Angel Road?
Don't know - no.5, was "Rythe Lawn" - the LOSPORO cocoa factory manager's house - has been named "Holly House" for a couple of years and the four houses from no.7 to no. 9A are collectively the "Hollybush Estate".
Quote:
Also: Rome Attwell (well-known scoutmaster) lived at 21 Angel Road with his Mum.
that's a semi, isn't it?  When was that?

As for "someone must know where this house is, Shirley" - "stop calling me Shirley!"


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on December 15, 2009, 09:07:08 PM
All snippets noted with thanks.  Anyone want to research Hardwicks?

Rome Attwell: presumably for much of his life.  The Dittons Scouts have his bio details I think.  My source is the book of Elmbridge old photos edited by Neil White 1996 pub Elmbridge Museum and I don't think he gave the date of that one. 

Which number was Shirley?..... House names are a pest unless it's something the size of Boyle Farm


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on December 15, 2009, 09:17:49 PM
How long have you guys lived in Angel rd btw?

And - off topic - if you have views on the 'speeding question' (see news) do put them in a thread in the traffic/safety forum.....


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: rytheman on December 16, 2009, 09:41:16 PM
Quote from: Keith on December 15, 2009, 09:07:08 PM
Rome Attwell: presumably for much of his life. 
when was that? 

From a map I have showing the area of Westville and Southville Roads as "LOT 3", there are four houses - eight semis - excluding the present corner house - on the east side of Angel Road between No.15 and what is currently Thorkhill Road. 

So No.21 pre-dates the houses at the back, even the highest even numbers.

A track on the route of Westville Road follows the Rythe north, then turns east as at present, but seems then to turn north again - to cross the Rythe, or just to stop? -  somewhere east of what is now Guy Salmon's...


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on December 16, 2009, 10:30:29 PM
Quote from: rytheman on December 16, 2009, 09:41:16 PM
Quote from: Keith on December 15, 2009, 09:07:08 PM
Rome Attwell: presumably for much of his life. 
when was that? 

Attwell: From Neville Biden's piece in Autumn TDT: "The Scout Troop was formally registered in September 1910 under the Leadership of Rome Attwell who was to be the driving force behind the Group for the next 38 years"
I have a ref to him acting in some amateur production in 1894 and there's a death record for 1948  which is probably i/d, so we're looking at probably dates of ?1870+/- 5 to 1948.  Anybody here with subscription access to Census records of 1901 etc?
Best bet is to contact Keith Berry or Neville Biden of Dittons Scouts for bio details.
Quote:
From a map I have showing the area of Westville and Southville Roads as "LOT 3", there are four houses - eight semis - excluding the present corner house - on the east side of Angel Road between No.15 and what is currently Thorkhill Road. 
What date is the map?  Sounds like it pre-dates the OS 1891 map which has Westville and Southville Roads on it (if I recall the date correctly) and from your other correspondence I am thinking that the area of those roads is a good candidate for the 'estate' of 9 acres owned by the Glens in the second half of the 1800s - though that is just a hypothesis.  I would have to visit the Surrey History Centre in Woking to dig out the conveyance diagram I know is there....
Quote:
So No.21 pre-dates the houses at the back, even the highest even numbers.

A track on the route of Westville Road follows the Rythe north, then turns east as at present, but seems then to turn north again - to cross the Rythe, or just to stop? -  somewhere east of what is now Guy Salmon's...

NE of where Guy Salmon is, just where Rythe Court starts now, there was a private boarding school run by Thos. and Mary Style in the early-mid 1800s, later their son Frederick, in which i am also very interested. Anyone got anything on that? (referred to at the back of Mercer's "More Tales & Scandals")  I'd love to know if there are any pupil records from the 1830s in particular....


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: rytheman on December 17, 2009, 12:35:14 PM
Quote from: Keith on December 16, 2009, 10:30:29 PM
What date is the map?
No idea, I hadn't looked at it that closely before.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: angel on December 17, 2009, 07:41:38 PM
I've tried looking up the Hardwicks on line but no luck.

I have a subscription the census so have looked for the Attwells - Romeo Theodore born 1869 lived at St Clement in Angel Road in 1911.  His occupation is shown as Recister (?) and Entertainment.  He was there with his mother, 2 brothers and a servant.  He wasn't shown on the 1901 census.

My father has lived in Angel Road for 70+ years so I'll see what he can remember about the house names.

I have been given a copy of part of a map which I am told is around 1885 which covers Giggshill (that's what the map says) up and over the railway in Angel Road.  It shows what I think is now part of Thorkhill Road as Workhouse Road.  It also shows the course of the River Rythe down to the river at Widdows Bridge. 

Thorkhill Road is a bit difficult as it is also listed as Thorkill.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: rytheman on December 18, 2009, 12:34:42 AM
Any indication where Tom Richardson lived in 1911 because of other house names?  Piece of cake, shirley! ;)

I have discovered:

- (This one was easy) There is no No.17 Angel Road, so no.21 (must be St. Clement) is the right-hand house of the first two you come to from the Angel on the left out of the four pairs.

- The Hollies appears certain to have been the house demolished in 1964 to form the Hollybush Estate, situated at no.7, with grounds including nos 7A, 9 and 9A, also (in 1911) 46, 48, 50, 52 and 54 Westville Road (48, 50, 52 built say 1956) and (pre 1894) a parcel of land on the E (far) side of Westville Road.

and from Mercer's account of the Losporo fire of 31 January 1902:

"[No.5] was only separated from the works by some six feet and it was (Losporo manager's wife) Mrs. Greening who first discovered the place was burning."

The factory roof fell in: to protect the houses, Kingston and Molesey fire appliances stayed on Portsmouth Road while Dittons and Esher appliances "took up positions in Westville Road".

"In time they checked the flames, but not until the nursery in Mr. Greening's (no.5) and a small part of the roof and an armchair in the Angel were burnt.  Mr. Fryer's greenhouse at Laurel Lodge (no.11) caught fire but was extinguished, and Mr. Hardwick's studio at The Hollies (no.7) was threatened."

[I see from the 1911 map a long thin block in front of The Hollies(?) and a sort of tiny pavilion(?) by the Rythe...

"The ivy on both The Retreat and Lime Cottage caught fire, but was pulled down without doing other damage".

I see that Mr. E.W. Greening was re-elected to Esher and Dittons Urban District Council in March 1902, while Rome Attwell withdrew before the poll was taken.  He was "then a butcher in Thorkhill Road".  Apparently the site of LSE Damp treatments used to be Burt's butcher in the 1960s...


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on December 18, 2009, 03:12:40 PM
All good stuff! Well done, and we may be getting somewhere on Angel Road and its inhabitants.

pm to you, angel.  Your father's recollections may be invaluable.



Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: craigvmax on January 20, 2010, 10:29:50 AM
last night some very old deeds for our house on TD Island were unearthed and we discovered that originally it wasnt a number but was known as "RiRi's Nest"... have some names of previous owners dating back to 1920's so intend to do a little more research about who Riri was! Might actually change the name back to that, its quite sweet.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: rytheman on January 20, 2010, 09:21:58 PM
Quote from: craigvmax on January 20, 2010, 10:29:50 AM
last night some very old deeds for our house on TD Island were unearthed and we discovered that originally it wasnt a number but was known as "RiRi's Nest"... have some names of previous owners dating back to 1920's so intend to do a little more research about who Riri was! Might actually change the name back to that, its quite sweet.
RiRi's Nest?  Does it involve Tessa Wyatt?  :D


Title: Re: Local History thread: advowson of St Nicholas
Post by: Keith on June 07, 2011, 10:58:26 PM
Anyone with ecclesiastical and legal knowledge out there?  I could do with some help unravelling a knotty problem to do with the advowson of St Nicholas.

1.  "Advowson" is the right to present the candidate to be appointed to a living.  It is synonymous with "patron of the living."  It usually rested with the Crown, the Church authorities or religious institutions themselves,  or with the Lord of the Manor.  Certain other institutions e.g. the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge also came to hold advowsons.  As they were the key to landing a living (well worth having for both income and influence in times gone by) advowsons were assigned and bought as rights.

2.  The living at St. Nicholas came under Merton Priory during the centuries when it was a chapel of ease subordinate to Kingston.  After the dissolution the Kingston advowson passed through various hands to the Hardinge family towards the end of the 1600s.  In 1769, an Act of parliament was obtained for separating the parish church of Kingston, and its dependant chapels of Richmond, Molesey, Thames Ditton, Petersham, and Kew; and forming the whole parish into two vicarages, and two perpetual curacies.  Thames Ditton was one of the perpetual curacies.  (Source: The Environs of London: volume 1 Author Daniel Lysons 1792; and Brayley: A Topographical History of Surrey, 1878 edition).  According to Brayley, the Act also decreed that George Hardinge the then lay impropriator (tithe collector and holder of the purse strings for the parish) of Kingston, "should have the perpetual advowson and right of presentation to the said curacies"

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hardinge  for a summary of that colourful Kingstonian character.

3.  In 1780 Hardinge sold the advowson of Thames Ditton to Kings College Cambridge (Brayley again).  Kings College Cambridge holds it today.

4.  Gilbert's Ecclesiastical Directory of 1836, compiled from a survey carried out by royal commissioners, duly lists the advowson of the perpetual curacy of Thames Ditton as owned by Kings College, although as it also lists the incumbent vicar as William Ellis (who died around 1834) the survey must have been completed well before the directory appeared.  Interestingly, Thames Ditton appears in the directory almost as an afterthought, in a little section headed " Omitted in the list of benefices"

5.  In March 1835 - and this is the point where things are far from clear - William Speer presented his son Wilfred who was installed as perpetual curate.  The Victoria County History of Surrey vol 2 1905 has: "William Speer, lord of the manor of Weston, presented in 1835"  (it is the patron/holder of the advowson who "presents").  In Thames Ditton Vestry records of September 1835 William Speer is stated (by himself) to be patron of the living;  in Speer papers now with the archives in the Surrey History Centre in Woking William Speer is stated to have installed his son as vicar; and in no less a body than the Court of Arches (highest ecclesiastical court) in 1841 William Speer is also described as patron of the living.

6.  So my question is: how exactly did Speer come to be patron of the living when  Kings College had been, and was later to be, the patron of the living? I can find no record of how that came about.  Because of the Victoria County History of Surrey mention of Speer in that context as Lord of the manor of Weston, I took the hypothesis in the first episode of The Scandal, in the issue of TD Today now out, that in some way Speer had acquired the right via the lordship of the manor of Weston.  But the more I look at the distant (Kingston oriented) history of the advowson, the less likely that seems.  He bought the Lordship of the Manor of Weston in 1801 but there we have Gilbert's impeccably-sourced directory in the mid 1830s reaffirming that the patron was Kings College.

7.  Speer was a litigious man: could it be the case that in the confusion about Manors from the Normans through to Henry VIII's annexations, some rights vested in Weston had been lost or overlooked, and Speer was now bringing them to light again at law?  With Rev William Ellis on his last legs as incumbent of Thames Ditton, did Speer acquire the patronage from Kings by some gift or donation or purchase (skating perilously close to the serious offence of simony)?  If so, where's the documentary evidence?  What have I missed?  All help/research/evidence gratefully received.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on June 08, 2011, 09:43:20 AM
I now have the index of King's College archives where Hardinge sold the advowsons of Kingston to the college  26 Apr 1781 (Brayley seems out by one year).  The same collection has the intriguing reference to "Abstract of Wilfred D. Speer's title to land in Thames Ditton. Apr 1858"  (After Rev Wilfred's death in 1856 but presumably refers to Wilfred's son Wilfred Dakin Speer).  This is strongly suggestive of a deal between the Speers and King's College to transfer the patronage to William Speer who installed son Wilfred as vicar, with unhappy results for the village (see next episodes of The Scandal in TD Today Autumn and Winter this year....)


Title: Interesting old films
Post by: midibob on June 13, 2011, 08:31:47 PM
Surfing the Internet last night I came across a site with some really interesting old films on it. Definitely not Harry Enfield as the announcer  :)

http://www.britishpathe.com/results.php?search=thames+ditton

You might recognise some of the roads, bushy park was easy enough although that was about the best I could do.
I assume the bathroom manufacturer was either the old AC cars site or round by the Swan. I'm sure someone will now.

I hope this hasn't been posted before, I did do a search before hand but couldn't find anything.

Happy viewing
Midibob


Title: Re: Interesting old films
Post by: Admin on June 14, 2011, 09:27:15 AM
O Bob - well done!  This is a wonderful find, completely new to me, and I'll add it to the links page* and publicise it around and about.

You are hereby awarded the Ditton Award For Television and may put DAFT after your name.

edit: * now done (local hiistory section)


Title: Re: Interesting old films
Post by: Ratty on June 14, 2011, 09:50:49 AM
I have been meaning to upload the clip of the guy with a sidecar for his dog for ages now, but wasn't sure about the copyrights. It looks like there was a lack of parking on the high streets even then!


Title: Re: Interesting old films
Post by: Ratty on June 14, 2011, 10:42:18 AM
I'm also fascinated by this clip that shows Taggs Boatyard.


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8972845776190237677#

I wonder who the people are?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on June 17, 2011, 01:29:11 PM
Nice to see the blue plaque going up on Picton House, by the fountain roundabout, today. :)

http://residents-association.com/tdt37/tdt37_cesar_picton.php


Title: Re: Local History thread - Blue Plaques
Post by: Admin on June 17, 2011, 03:09:03 PM
Yes -  six are going up today, one to come, and we will be thinking about one or two official 'unveiling' ceremonies.  Picton House (Cesar Picton), Stag's Court (oldest secular building in TD), Ferry Works (Peter Willans), the former Foundry now Nucleus (Cox & son and A. B. Burton), the Old manor House (Hannibal Speer)  and the Old Red House (Jacob Hansler).  The Elms (General Sir John Lambert) for which we also have a plaque ready has meanwhile been sold and the new occupant's blessing is awaited.  I'll do some photos and a release for the press.

It has taken almost two years, and for once the Residents' Association has been on the other end of the planning process as an applicant!  Most of the buildings are listed.  After we consulted residents on a short list and got the owners' agreements, our Honsec Tricia has had a most toilsome time as we had to mount and photograph life-size cardboard plaques in the position they would be in, supply measurements to the nearest centimetre and fill out endless forms.  Meanwhile we had to get the plaques made before the time limit on SCC's (Peter Hickman's) grant ran out - the Association matched the funding - and they have been stored in Chairman Libby's garage.

There will be more plaques by and by, but one at a time!  Also, the AC Owners' Club will put another plaque on Ferry Works to mark AC Cars on 21 August.  A year ago the Surrey Comet put one on Thomas Philpott's house (the Saltbox on Portsmouth Road) see http://www.residents-association.com/tdt38/press_campaigning.php .  So we are gradually getting plaqued up.

More anon.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on June 17, 2011, 06:23:03 PM
Great work!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on June 18, 2011, 12:11:33 AM
These are the potted histories I've written to go with the plaques mounted today (if you have things to add, please accompany with sourcing):

The old slaughterhouse
More recently  known as Stag's Court, this Queen-post construction was built in around 1580 and is probably the oldest surviving building in Thames Ditton after the church.  It was first a  barn, and in 1770 it belonged to John Walker, a farmer.  It was converted to a slaughterhouse in 1780 and the Walker family, by then butchers, owned it continuously until 1958.  From the late 1860s it was rented for many years to Richard "Dickie" Porter, whose  father was King William IV's valet.  The name "Stag's Court" derives from his unusual occupation, for Dickie spent his youth among the deer in the nearby Royal parks and became probably the most famous catcher and breeder of deer of all time.  He set up business in the village, renting the butcher's shop, the slaughter-house and Home Farm.  Known as the Royal Deer-Catcher, he managed the herd in Bushy park, received widespread commissions to supply stock, cull, catch and move deer, and exported them as far afield as Washington, St. Petersburg and France.  He died in December 1921 in his ninetieth active year.  The old slaughterhouse was at some risk of demolition and redevelopment in the 1960s but the Residents' Association argued for its preservation, holding an exhibition there in 1969 to foster community spirit, which attracted some 2,000 visitors.  It now houses MARINT, a worldwide marine insurance and salvage agency.


Cox & Son, and A. B. Burton (The Old Foundry)
For centuries there was probably a melting-works on the site of the present NUCLEUS consultancy building in Summer Road, opposite Ferry Works.  In 1874, a bronze foundry was built there by Cox and Company, fine Victorian ecclesiastical craftsmen and furnishers, specifically for the casting of statues. A series of important secular commissions was undertaken and included large bronze statues still existing of Cromwell (outside the House of Commons), Dr. Livingstone (Glasgow) and Captain Cook (Sydney, Australia).  The foundry became Moore & Co in 1883 and under Moore until 1897 it continued to be a world leader in large cast bronze statues, producing for example statues of Wellington (Hyde Park Corner), General Gordon and W.E. Forster (Embankment), Queen Victoria (Blackfriars bridge and another in Winchester), and perhaps the most famous statue in London, popularly known as Eros (it is really of Anteros) -  at Piccadilly Circus. Arthur Bryan Burton, born in Surbiton, was apprenticed at the age of 16 to Cox & Son in 1876.  He became an expert craftsman and manager and during the foundry's period as Moore & Co he married the boss's daughter, Margarette Moore.  He formed a partnership with a fellow former apprentice and after a spell as Hollinshead & Burton (1897 - 1902) the foundry became A. B. Burton on Hollinshead's death.  Under Burton from 1902 - 1933 it reached another apogee, casting among others the magnificent sculptures  representing Physical Energy (Hyde Park), the Duke of Cambridge (Whitehall), the Imperial Camel Corps (Embankment), and the monumental Quadriga which dominates Hyde Park Corner and brought Royalty to Thames Ditton to inspect it in the making (and statues of themselves).  Burton died in 1933, the foundry went into decline and the Second World War put an end to it.

 
Cesar Picton,  Picton House
In about 1758 Cesar Picton was brought to Britain from Senegal as a six year-old and was well-treated and endowed by the aristocratic family to which he was given in service and which eventually freed him from service.  A man of notable bulk, he later amassed a considerable fortune as a coal merchant in Kingston, bought the imposing and delightful Picton House in Thames Ditton High St. in 1816 and retired there until he died in 1836.  Picton House has housed a number of other significant local figures including Thomas Bracey, merchant, who was one of the signatories underwriting the formation of a local vigilante group in 1792 and is believed to have built the village stocks (alas no longer in existence) near Picton House; and Dr. Arthur Senior, the first medical officer of the Esher and Dittons Urban District Council from 1895 - 1938 who oversaw the introduction of good health and sanitation in the district and the blossoming of the Cottage Hospital.
 
Hannibal Speer, Old Manor House
In about 1826 Hannibal Speer was born Hannibal Sandys in Brompton, the third Hannibal in a row of Sandys, the family originating in Cornwall.  The nephew of the ill-starred Rev Wilfred Speer, he inherited, via his mother Cecilia Sandys neé Speer, properties in Westminster and Fulham plus the fortune in local landholdings which his grandfather William Speer had built up, along with the lordship of the Manor of Weston that William had purchased from the Crown estates in 1801.  To conform with the terms of William's will Hannibal took the name of Speer by Royal warrant in 1871.  Unmarried and without issue, Hannibal Speer became an important benefactor to Thames Ditton and Weston Green, restoring and enhancing the name of Speer locally.  In 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee he gave the land and had built the village Hall (now the Vera Fletcher Hall) as a gift to the community.  He also gave the drinking Fountain at the Boyle Farm roundabout, land for the Cottage Hospital; and land on long lease for the Lawn Tennis Club in Weston Green Road. He created a three-hole golf course on the commons, which he owned as part of the manor estate, for his servants to enjoy physical recreation, and later leased it for 99 years to the Thames Ditton and Esher golf club that is still there, with nine holes.  Esher and The Dittons Urban District Council bought the commons from Hannibal's heirs in 1920 (and renewed the golf club's lease some fifteen years ago).  Hannibal Speer occupied and rebuilt the Manor House, Station Road, originally known as West End Lodge until its former occupant Rev Wilfred Speer inherited the Lordship of the Manor of Weston from his father William.  On Hannibal's death in 1915 it became known as the Old Manor House.  We are now the lords of the Manor in the entity of Elmbridge Borough Council.
 
Peter Willans, Willans & Robinson, Ferry Works
Peter Willans was born in Leeds in about 1851 and after apprenticeship there he came via naval engineering at Greenwich to the old iron works at Thames Ditton, where from 1876 he developed and tested a new, compact, high-speed reciprocating steam engine, initially to power launches.   While fishing on the river he met Mark Robinson, a talented administrator, and they formed the firm of Willans and Robinson to produce Willans' engine designs in the first Ferry Works that they commissioned in about 1880.  Willans rented Maybury Lodge at 24 High Street to live with his family, where he stayed for ten years.  His newer high-speed central-valve engines were ideally suited to local generation of the novel electric power, and coupled to dynamos they sold well, with the firm exporting for example generators to light the Burgtheater and State Opera in Vienna and manufacturing the first small generators to light railway carriages.  Ferry Works was one of the first factories to generate and use its own power for electrical machinery and lighting.  In November 1886 Ferry Works burnt down.  The new building with its distinctive lofty saw-edged roof lights to maximise the northern aspect was highly innovative in design and practical layout.  It owed more to Willans' works manager, James Coulthorpe Peache Jr, a graduate in engineering of Kings College London and designer of the 'Peache Engine', but he was not offered a partnership and the two fell out.  Peter Willans, a brilliant engineer and innovator, died in 1892 when the pony and trap he was driving overturned on a bridge near Frimley, the pony being startled by a passing train.  He was 41.  A colleague said: "He was one of the most unassuming men, who could stand by your side and suggest ideas which you found of incalculable value, and he did this in such a way that you felt the idea had come from you." 
Shortly thereafter, the firm of Willans and Robinson, which even after moving their administrative services to Picton House (see above) was running out of space, moved to Rugby where it eventually became part of English Electric and thereafter, G.E.C.

Jacob Hansler, The Old Red House (formerly Hansler House) Weston Green
Swiss by birth around 1740, Jacob Hansler married an English woman, Elizabeth Cuthbert in 1775.  He set up a wine and fine timber import business in the Strand.   A staunch Congregationalist who nevertheless had his six children christened in the Anglican Church,  and a man who almost certainly assisted the British authorities in discreet ways to combat French revolutionaries, Hansler and his family moved to Weston Green in about 1802.  He immediately set about founding a Congregationalist Chapel and school at his own expense, in what is now Speer Road.  On his death he endowed the Chapel with sufficient funds to attract a notable preacher, Rev. James Churchill, who secured a good following and the future of the chapel.  With his background straddling Congregationalism and the Anglican Church, Hansler seeded a tradition of cooperation between the two in Thames Ditton. Hansler died in 1814, his widow remaining at the chapel cottage.  His offspring also gave service to Britain: one son was killed in action against the forces of  Napoleon; another became an eminent magistrate and was the first man to be knighted by Queen Victoria. A London pub, very recently demolished,  was named the Hansler Arms after him.   A third son stayed in our area, married the daughter of a market garden owner in Molesey, and with her brother developed the Arnison Estate which contains Hansler Grove. The family continued to support the Chapel which today is part of  the United Reformed Church.

General Sir John Lambert, The Elms, Weston Green [[ added 20 June ]]
General Sir John Lambert was the second son of a second son of the second Sir John Lambert, Bart., of London (the Baronetcy was created in 1711 when the first John in this series was a founder of the ill-famed South Sea Company that took on vast government debts in return for exclusive trading rights).  General Sir John's father was a captain in the Royal Navy whose active seagoing career seems to have ended with the Leviathan, 64 guns, which foundered in the North Atlantic in 1780.  He went on to become a Commissioner of the Royal Navy.  He sired five remarkable sons.  They all went on to very high rank in the Army and Navy and were in the thick of the action throughout.  They led peripatetic lives but the eldest, Admiral Robert Lambert, bought Weston House (from George Jarvis' daughter) in the 1790s and Weston Green became a focus for the family, the brothers remaining very close.  Shortly afterwards, John Lambert - then a Captain in the First Foot Guards - either bought or rented the Elms to be close to his brother when in England between postings.  From 1793 to 1809 he saw service in Flanders, Ireland, Sicily and the battle of Corunna and again in the Peninsular War against the forces of Napoleon from 1811-1814.  In 1813, he was promoted Major General and commanded the 6th Division at the battles of the Nivelle, the Nire, Orthez and Toulouse (Where Sir Henry Sullivan, second baronet of Thames Ditton, met his death). He received the thanks of Parliament and was made a Knight Commander of the Bath.  Meanwhile the USA had taken advantage of Britain's preoccupation with the French to declare the War of 1812.  In late 1814 Sir John was posted to General Pakenham's forces in Louisiana and took part in the battle of New Orleans, assuming command of the forces after Pakenham was killed and taking Fort Bowyer in February 1815.  No sooner had a peace treaty been signed than he was off across the Atlantic again commanding the 10th Infantry Brigade, which after a forced march from Ghent reached Waterloo on the very morning of the great battle on 18 June 1815, where Lambert acquitted himself well.  In 1821 he was posted to command the forces in County Cork and spent some difficult years supporting the civil authorities against Irish rebels.  He was later to tell Parliament very firmly that British policies in Ireland and the absence of poor laws there were a primary cause of the troubles.  He left Ireland in 1825 on being promoted Lt. General, the citizens of Cork providing a leaving present as Sir John's "kind and affable manners, and his unostentatious and munificent benevolence, have endeared him to all ranks of society."  Now in his mid-fifties, the General spent most of his remaining years in England where he attended frequent royal Levees and the annual Waterloo banquet.  At some point  his connection with The Elms ended (probably departure for Cork - by 1823 the Elms was occupied by publisher Leonard Seeley) but not his affection for Weston Green.  When his elder brother, Admiral Robert Lambert, died in 1836 he moved into Weston House.  In 1838 he was made GCB in Queen Victoria's coronation honours, and died at Weston House in September 1847.  Meanwhile his son John Arthur Lambert, who went on to become a Major-General himself, moved into The Elms in around 1843. Weston House was pulled down in the late 1890s / early 1900sfor smaller housing. This astonishing generation of military and naval Lamberts has gone almost unremarked in local history, although three of them, and two of their equally distinguished sons, were active in community affairs when at home and their deaths are marked with memorials in St. Nicholas Church.   The plaque on The Elms goes some way to redressing our debt to them.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on June 18, 2011, 12:49:59 AM
I think that's a pretty fair and varied selection!  You'll note we haven't got a woman among them, but I'm working on that.....

Residents' suggestions of other future candidates for a plaque, with justifications, are still very much sought.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on June 24, 2011, 04:43:08 PM
I think this is looking down the high street past the Red Lion to the river.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/high-street-thames-ditton-13711.

The Thames Villa one is great too.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Admin on June 25, 2011, 08:50:38 AM
Thanks Ratty.  The High St one painted a few years before the wall and Chapel of the Home of Compassion was built for the nuns (planning permission for that blank wall would never have been granted in more recent decades!).  Also, no houses on the Island, so clear view past the Red Lion and Thames Villa to the sails in the far channel.

Isn't that a different Thames Villa though?  Where is it?!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: tdres on June 25, 2011, 12:57:21 PM
What lovely paintings.

That's definitely the Thames Villa on the corner before the Swan, looking back up the High Street.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on June 25, 2011, 04:36:29 PM
You are definitely right!  How many times have I walked past it...?!

Hre are two photos taken today from the same spots as the paintings of the High St and Thames Villa, with a painterly treatment for a then-and-now comparison...
http://residents-association.com/images/thames_villa_2011_small.jpg

http://residents-association.com/images/high_street_2011_small.jpg


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: craigvmax on July 01, 2011, 11:15:13 AM
not sure if I mentioned it before, i have a book called tales and scandal in old thames ditton, if anyone wants to borrow it very welcome, some interesting stuff in there by Mercer.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on July 15, 2011, 03:39:16 PM
Quote from: Keith on December 14, 2009, 12:49:19 PM
Quote from: angel on December 13, 2009, 02:50:23 PM
Looking at the 1891 & 1901 census for Angel Road there seems to have been a few interesting people residing there.

1891 John H Hardwick - Artist & Flower Painter  (The Hollies)
1901 Thomas (Tom) Richardson - Cricketer (Shirley)
1901 J Jessop Hardwick - Artist (The Hollies)

People we should be nominating for a Blue Plaque?


Thanks for this.  Are the house names still the same and what are their numbers along Angel Road?

Richardson I knew about (and he would seem to be a possible candidate for a plaque  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Richardson  I'll add him to the list for future consideration.

The two Hardwicks are new to me.  How significant are they?  A quick search throws up John Jessop Hardwick's paintings still at auction.  Can you research his/their bios and email me?

Also: Rome Attwell (well-known scoutmaster) lived at 21 Angel Road with his Mum.


John Jessop Hardwick ARWS is the one who painted a watercolour of the old workhouse in 1879 - I saw it in the Surrey History Centre last week.  (The SHC is excellent - I hope they're not going to cut it).

I have now seen the plan in around 1853 which shows the area that is now Southville and Westville Road in the occupation of Nethersole (this is John Nethersole of Jamaica) and Nethersole's will to William Cunningham Glen and Thomas Leverton Donaldson (they married Nethersole girls).  At present, I don't think any of them ever lived there, which is a pity as they all had some distinction or interest.  I think it was a land investment by Nethersole who remained mostly expatriate.  To the east was more of Rushett Farm (of which this land wqas part) and common and to the south was what is now named the Manor House in Thorkill Road, which may or may not have been connected with Manor farm in Manor Road and was taken for a while by Lady Sophia Fitzgerald.  More to be done by and by, before writing the stories if I ever get round to them.


Title: Teapot Island
Post by: Ratty on July 21, 2011, 08:36:02 PM
Has anyone ever heard of Teapot Island and where is it?

There is currently a postcard on eBay depicting it.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Teapot-Island-Thames-Ditton-/400229227113?pt=UK_Collectables_Postcards_MJ&hash=item5d2f855a69#ht_500wt_1156


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: lord catering on July 21, 2011, 10:30:28 PM
I think it's in Kingston and not Thames Ditton. It's the small island just downstream of Kingston Rowing Club and is the home of The Small Boat Club.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on July 22, 2011, 08:45:48 PM
Hampton Court and Dittons Regatta tomorrow, Saturday 23 July. 

Established in 1887 as an "Aquatic Sports and Venetian Fete": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampton_Court_and_Dittons_Regatta

An earlier (undated, Edwardian) newsreel clip: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=52127


Title: Re: Local History thread: John Jessop Hardwick
Post by: Keith on August 01, 2011, 06:04:47 PM
Quote from: angel on December 13, 2009, 02:50:23 PM
Looking at the 1891 & 1901 census for Angel Road there seems to have been a few interesting people residing there.

1891 John H Hardwick - Artist & Flower Painter  (The Hollies)
1901 Thomas (Tom) Richardson - Cricketer (Shirley)
1901 J Jessop Hardwick - Artist (The Hollies)



The two Hardwicks in the early part of this thread, from the census, are almost certainly the same, with a J being mistranscribed as an H.

Now:
John Jessop Hardwick, A.R.W.S. 1882; s of William Hardwick, Beverley, Yorks; b. Bow-by-Stepney, 22
 Sept. 1831; m. 1862 Caroline, 3rd d of John Humphrey of Copt-gilders Hall, Chessington, Surrey; one s. one
d. Educ: Bow, under Rev. John Dawson; studied under Royal Academicians, Redgrave, Herbert, and Danby.
Apprenticed to Mr. Henry Vizetelly, draughtsman and engraver on wood, 1847; attended School of Art
Somerset House (first prize for water colour landscape painting from nature 1815); on staff of The Illustrated
London News, 1858; first exhibited Royal Academy, 1860.  Friend of late John Ruskin, and assisted him with
his classes at the Working Men's College, Great Ormond Street; Trustee and Churchwarden for the Parish of
Thames Ditton since 1881.  Recreation: working in his garden.  Address; The Hollies, Thames Ditton, Surrey.
(Died 15 Jan 1917)
(A.R.W.S.  Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society)
Entry in "Who Was Who 1916 - 1928"

HARDWICK John Jessop, A.R.W.S
1831 (Beverley, Yorks) - 1917 (Thames Ditton)
Apprenticed to Henry Vizetelly, the engraver and founder of I.L.N he joined the staff of the I.L.N. in 1858 as
an illustrator and only as a side-line continued to work in full colour.  He exhibited fruit and flower subjects in
the manner of Hunt at the R.A. from 1861 to 1915 and also produced landscape drawings.  He was elected
A.R.W.S in 1882.

Write-up by Panvertu Art Gallery
J.J. Hardwick was born in Bow, London in 1831 (the son of William Hardwick who came from Beverley in Yorkshire). He studied painting under various Royal Academicians and also attended the School of Art in Somerset House, winning a first prize for a watercolour landscape. He worked on the staff of the Illustrated London News as an engraver in the 1850s, following his apprenticeship to the founder, Henry Vizetelly, in 1847.
He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1860 and at the Suffolk Street and other galleries, becoming an Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1882. 
Apparently he was a friend of the well known art critic John Ruskin and assisted him with classes at the Working Men's College in Great Ormond Street. He appears to have moved to Thames Ditton in about 1880 and gave his hobby as "working in his garden" (see entry in "Who Was Who 1916-1928").
Hardwick's work is usually of flowers, often set on a mossy bank as in those of Hunt, Cruickshank and Clare (see works by the latter elsewhere on this web site). However he also did more original compositions.

--------------
If you search on the web there are several examples of Hardwick's fairly chocolate-boxy floral art - they go from £2500 to £4500 at auction.

Locally, his most notable work of which there are several reproductions is a watercolour of the old Workhouse building on the back of which is written: Sketch by the late J Jessop Hardwick ARWS of the Old Workhouse in the year 1879, which stood in Workhouse Lane (now known as Thorkhill Road) on the site of Rythe Terrace.  http://residents-association.com/images/workhouse__small.jpg  The original was handed to Surrey history Centre with other records of our parish in 1981 and may be viewed there.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on August 04, 2011, 05:17:45 PM
I have put details of the AC Cars 100th anniversary event in the 'upcoming events' section of forum.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: rytheman on August 05, 2011, 01:12:26 PM
John Jessop Hardwick gave his hobby as "working in his garden".

The banks of the Rythe are alive with building work (and herons, in the rain).

The tradition continues!


Title: Re: Teapot Island
Post by: Keith on August 07, 2011, 09:15:36 AM
Quote from: Ratty on July 21, 2011, 08:36:02 PM
Has anyone ever heard of Teapot Island and where is it?
There is currently a postcard on eBay depicting it.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Teapot-Island-Thames-Ditton-/400229227113?pt=UK_Collectables_Postcards_MJ&hash=item5d2f855a69#ht_500wt_1156

Quote from: lord catering on July 21, 2011, 10:30:28 PM
I think it's in Kingston and not Thames Ditton. It's the small island just downstream of Kingston Rowing Club and is the home of The Small Boat Club.

[img width=300 height=190]http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqQOKpkE3vPU(HyFBOHW6OfVPw~~_12.JPG[/img]


lord catering is right:

From Sheaf & Howe, Hampton and Teddington Past, Borough of Twickenham Local History Society 1995:

"Steven's Aits were first referred to in 1362 as 'an eyte in the water of the Thames'.  Perhaps it was only one island then.  It consists now of two two small islands, the biggest of which is 200ft long and 20 ft wide.  At the end of the eighteenth century, a paygate was established on the towpath for the City of London to apply a toll on the tonnage of barges passing this point.
Steven's Aits  take their name from a nineteenth century boatman who lived on the site of the Boaters public house and supplied an osier crop to the City each year.  The islands were never big enough to encourage much occupation and the last known inhabitant was John Kemp, who was caretaker of the islands for over 30 years.  In the nineteenth century the main island was also known as Tatham's Island and sometimes Teapot Island and was a popular picknicking site amongst the boating fraternity.
With Kingston Rowing Club opposite and with their banks reinforced by concrete pilings, they now provide a haven for wildlife..."


Google satellite view at KT2 5AU


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on August 12, 2011, 03:11:09 PM
Reading through the history of AC Cars I have been intrigued by the reference to them taking over the 'old balloon factory' on the High Street in 1918.

Does anybody know any history on the balloon factory and what type of balloons were produced? I'm thinking perhaps the observation balloons used on WW1?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: craigvmax on August 12, 2011, 04:33:45 PM
i understood they took over the factory from the balloon company and then during war was used to make aircraft parts, so the factory must have been pre war ?


Title: Re: Local History thread: Delve, tailor in Kingston, or Dunn, tailor
Post by: Admin on August 30, 2011, 10:29:51 PM
I've had a request asking whether anyone can help identify the shop in the photo in this thread:
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,551786.msg4052062.html#msg4052062 (http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,551786.msg4052062.html#msg4052062)

The year is probably 1924 - 1934, the shop is no. 50 (but what street?) A. Delve tailor who was probably in Kingston, the man in the photo is Henry Frederick Dunn of Tolworth.  The shop is probably in Kingston.

Any help most gratefully received - the rootshcat forum has been very helpful indeed on some local history matters and it would be great to put something back in.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on December 19, 2011, 08:34:34 AM
If you missed the interesting BBC 4 series on Churches and How To Read them (particularly the first two  and the last one) by the somewhat strange Richard Taylor, they can still be viewed on the iPlayer series catch-up.  Recommended.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: angel on December 19, 2011, 06:44:48 PM
My Dad says that the cottage where the fire was over the weekend used to be a greengrocers many moons ago, next door to Burge's antiques. 


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on January 12, 2012, 05:52:18 PM
Seething Wells - hidden heritage ()


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Admin on January 12, 2012, 07:15:47 PM
Yes - how much better it would be as a significant public educational and wildlife resource than as a housing development by Grabbit & Runne


Title: Those Pesky Residents...
Post by: Keith on January 28, 2012, 10:08:13 AM
Collected by CRS Saunders and faithfully typed out by Mercer:

Surrey Comet  13 Jan 1894:

Sir;
It is a matter of deep regret to many of the residents at Thames Ditton to find that the old village green at Gigg's Hill is being gradually destroyed by persons continually riding over it.

It is sincerely hoped that a short appeal in the columns of your valuable local newspaper will arrest the great injury which is being done to the grass.

I am, &c., "A Resident"

20 Jan 1894:
Sir;
If the resident who is so anxious to preserve the grass would inspect the green after a football or racket battle, in which people residing at great distance take part, he would probably see that the damage is far greater than that done by an occasional canter across the outskirts of the green by a ratepayer.

I am, &c., "Another Resident"

27 Jan 1894:
Sir;
What does the writer of the letter signed "Another Resident" mean by the term "racket battle"?  He seeks to justify the immense amount of harm that is being done to the village green by riders, on the ground that ratepayers have a superior right there to football or "racket battle" players.  In England, "Another Resident" should learn the object of this and other village greens is to promote manly sports among all classes alike.  Instead of expecting the parish to find him an exercise ground for his horses to compensate for his rates, surely "Another Resident" could occasionally canter with one of the numerous packs of hounds within reach of Thames Ditton, and not spoil the enjoyment of cricket and football players by cutting up the only piece of turf in the neighbourhood available for the purpose.
Yours truly, R. II.

and

Sir;
Your correspondent in last week's issue, Resident II, and ratepayer too seems to have shown some personal animus in the matter...
We are told by the story books that one Giggs - peace to his ashes - whether cremated or not - bequeathed the green to the inhabitants of Thames Ditton, to be used for the purposes of recreation solely.  I am afraid we cannot awaken the shade of Giggs to decide whether the so-called "racket batttle" is not recreation, or whether "horse exercise" is, or even decide on the amount of damage done by either....
Resident III.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: craigvmax on January 28, 2012, 10:30:30 AM
That's brilliant


Title: Re: Local History thread - Gigg's Hill
Post by: Keith on January 28, 2012, 11:30:44 AM
I am frequently asked about the origin of the name Gigg or Giggs in 'Gigg's Hill Green.'  The "green" bit seems self-evident, but the "Gigg's" and the "Hill" are the baffling parts.

Elmbridge's earlier introduction to the conservation area stated - unsourced - that the green was named after Giggs, a local family.  But there was no corroboration for this forthcoming, and we took that out of the new preamble. 

"Men in White on Giggs Hill Green" by David Harries, 2008, a history of TD Cricket Club, advanced as an alternative that 'gig' referred to an old term for prostitutes.  Harries discovered a BBC transmission script from 1944, by rural historian Tom Clarke who claimed there had been an incline located there in the 15th century that had since been flattened by road works.  The incline was known as Gig Hill - Gig coming from "giglet" or "giglot", a 15th century word for a woman of easy virtue - and his inference was that the green became a meeting point for prostitutes and their clients.

I can find no evidence for that theory, but of course, as it is instantly attractive in a News-of-the-World sense, it has gained some currency!

So, considering these theories in the light of what few facts we have:

If gigs' or giggs' was a generic term for prostitutes and reflected places they frequented, you would expect several such place names to occur elsewhere in England.  But a trawl of Google maps reveals that there are very few other than here and one in Kent (and Kingston - I'm coming to that).  On the other hand, the area of commons between Thames Ditton and Kingston - which is now Surbiton - was reputedly a place for prostitution, and for hideaway mistress' cottages, according to June Sampson's "All Change - Kingston,  Surbiton & New Malden in the 19th Century" (Marine Day, 1985) - chapter 1: "Surbiton - A Scandalous Suburb"

The "Hill" is said to be a mound containing gravel which was dug out by the able-bodied poor from the workhouse, to keep the roads maintained.  But while there is evidence in parish records that the poor were so deployed, I can find no reference to Gigg's Hill - and its green - being the site of raw materials.

Therefore I can't altogether rule out the prostitutes and gravel mound theory, but it seems a bit fanciful.

Now, much as it may surprise some readers, what is now Giggs Hill Green and some adjacent parts belonged to the "men of Kingston" as part of one of the former manors or parts of manors which came into the possession of what became the Corporation (they also held the manor of Imworth/Imber before Henry VIII took it over.  Imworth contained much of what is now the village of Thames Ditton - The Street, now the High Street, for example - as shown by the remaining rentals preserved in post-Henry manorial records).  In connection with the bounds of Kingston Borough  there is a useful survey carried out in about 1835 (ref SHC 2568/3/2) at the time of municipal reforms, marked on the back 'Claygate - bounds of Kingston Manor' which is part of the story.  Coming down the border between Claygate (then still in Thames Ditton) and the parish of Cobham, then along the east side of Portsmouth Road along the Rythe, the Kingston Borough boundary in 1835 crossed the turnpike northwards along the line of what was Ditton Lodge (later Milk marketing Board) and along an old watercourse along what is now Watts Road (then part of Ditton Street - the High St), then crossed to behind the George and north to what was the lodge for Boyle Farm and Ditton House, then along the old road towards Windows Bridge (now Winters Bridge) and down to the Thames.  So all of what is now Giggs Hill Green, Portsmouth and River Avenues and land to the East of Portsmouth Road was in Kingston Borough at the time of municipal reform.  [[ There is a cryptic note in the overseers' accounts for 25 Feb 1836: "Now considered Belonging to the Borough of Kingston".  This went with the reorganisation of workhouses into the Kingston Union in 1836 following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 ]]

Royston Pike, in his book "Esher - the Story of a Council" (EBC, 1975) writes of Giggs Hill Green: "In Thames Ditton, bordering the Portsmouth Road, its area is some seven acres, including a small piece on which the old Fire Station (latterly the branch Library) was built.  Originally it was part of the waste lands belonging to the Manor of Kingston...It was conveyed to Esher and the Dittons UDC in 1901, together with the interests of Kingston Corporation in it, manorial or otherwise.  The sum paid was £250."  [[ i.e. the story put forward by the Comet reader in the correspondence above, that the Green was bequeathed by one Giggs to the people of TD, isn't substantiated ]]

Now looking at maps, there is no mention of Gigg's Hill in Moll's map of Surrey 1724 (but scale is too small) or Botley's map of 1740 (larger scale - enough to mention Ditton Common), nor Roque's map of 1768, nor the early OS map of 1801 (2" to the mile) or 1816.  The tithe map of 1843 has "Gigs Hill Green" at its present location.  In OS maps of the mid to late 1860s both "Giggshill Green" and "Giggshill" are shown, the latter being the area where The Angel and Guy Salmon are today.

In the records of the Manor of Imber/Imworth there is a reference in a rental to one Edward Bland "on Giggshill" in 1703 so the name dates back at least that far.

Now, given the connection with Kingston it is also worth noting that another "Gigg's Hill" seems to be the former name of a small street in that town:  "The History and Antiquities of the Ancient and Royal Town of Kingston" by W D Biden 1852 p 108: 'Gigg-Hill.  So called as long ago as the reign of Elizabeth is that portion of the town below the southern end of the market-Place and Heathern Street.' [[ the erstwhile Heathen Street is now Eden Street ! ]]

It seems to me quite likely that the Gigg-Hill in Kingston, which is also not a hill at all, and the Giggshill of our green and nearby, are linked.  If named after a person, that person - nowhere yet found in our local records, might just be found in Kingston's records of very long ago - the 1500s, going by Biden.

On the other hand, it does not stretch the imagination to suppose that the small area on the south of Kingston market might have been a noted place for the men of Kingston to find relief with women of easy virtue....

All input welcome - particularly if backed by sourcing.  There is so much ground to cover that I may well have missed something.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 28, 2012, 11:33:34 AM
http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/giglet_fair.htm

" In 1832 J. Britton wrote the following of the Okehampton Giglet Fair:
"On the Saturday before Christmas a great cattle market is held here; and on the Saturday after Christmas, is a great holiday-fair, called a ‘Giglet,’ or ‘Giglet Market’; that is, a wife market; at which the most rustic swain, if weary of his bachelorship, is privileged with self-introduction to any disengaged fair one who may attract his particular fancy."

A  "giglet or giglot" is a giddy young woman or a wanton woman hence the name of the fair."


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 28, 2012, 11:34:41 AM
Quote from: craigvmax on January 28, 2012, 10:30:30 AM
That's brilliant

It's the century-old equivalent of our forum, of course, with anonymity included !!


Title: Re: Local History thread - Gigg's Hill
Post by: Keith on January 28, 2012, 01:07:00 PM
Quote from: Keith on January 28, 2012, 11:30:44 AM
If gigs' or giggs' was a generic term for prostitutes and reflected places they frequented, you would expect several such place names to occur elsewhere in England.  But a trawl of Google maps reveals that there are very few other than here and one in Kent (and Kingston - I'm coming to that). 


I have now emailed the Orpington history website to see whether they have clues as to the origins of their Giggs Hill.....


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 28, 2012, 02:16:59 PM
....and the almost immediate reply is that their Giggs Hill is 1950s, part of a extensive 1950s Council Estate. Some of its road names may reflect historical references but for Giggs Hill they don't think so (and comment that some seem to have been named after builders etc.


Title: Re: Local History thread - Gigg's Hill
Post by: Ratty on January 28, 2012, 11:15:24 PM
Quote from: Keith on January 28, 2012, 11:30:44 AM
The incline was known as Gig Hill


Just a thought, but could it relate to gig as in the type of two wheeled one horse carriages? The area may have been a popular destination for people heading out for a jaunt in their gigs or a stopping off point. I've seen an old photo somewhere of the Angel when it was popular with cyclists so it may have been similar then for people in horse drawn carriages.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Admin on January 28, 2012, 11:22:49 PM
It might, but I've just looked in the OED and the earliest citation is 1791 for a gig of that description (I see that Wikipedia has the same fact)


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 30, 2012, 03:31:29 PM
When I wrote about the unexpurgated (Scandal-related) story of how TD parish was split when the church at Claygate was built, I drew attention to the fact that the Buxtons and their relatives by marriage, the Bevans, netween them financed about three-quarters of the new church plus benefice in 1840.  Rytheman emailed me wondering whether these Buxtons and Bevans were the same families as those of the same name who were part of the several banks incorporated into Barclays Bank.  An interesting question.

I haven't done exhaustive genealogy on them but a trawl through the Buxton papers at Cambridge University Library (the line of our local Buxtons in the 1820s-30s) and the history of Barclays Bank, and a search of my favourite genealogical site rootsweb, doesn't suggest that there is any direct connection - although distant relations can't be ruled out.

Does anyone have, or can anyone find, further info to link them or not?

(I have a fair bit on our Buxtons who lived for a while at Ruxley Lodge in Claygate, at the time part of Thames Ditton.)


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 30, 2012, 06:03:44 PM
However, we do have one local banker.  I've been writing up the Lamberts of Weston Green - being serialised in the mag this year.  This led me to one Robert Francis Lambert, buried in St Nicholas' Churchyard, died 5 November 1861 aged 78, which puts his year of birth at abt. 1785.

I haven't yet found where he lived, nor have I definitively linked him to our Lamberts of Weston Green.  He doesn't look like one of their direct family, but I am working on the possibility/probability that he was a cousin, potentially from the line of Lamberts that inherited the baronetcy (our Lamberts stemmed from the second son of the second baronet, and had to "make their own way" - they joined the Navy or Army).

From about 1816 Robert Francis Lambert was a partner in Shrubsole and Lambert.  This bank in the first half of the 1800s operated in Kingston-upon-Thames alongside a drapery business that preceded it.  The Shrubsoles of Kingston are interesting.  William Shrubsole III became Mayor of Kingston.  The bank eventually became part of the National Westminster Bank.

I think that Shrubsole and Lambert most likely had the account of the Vestry at St Nicholas during that period.  They did at least have one related deposit:  2 Nov 1825: Vestry: Messrs Shrubsole & Co have "the bankers a/c respecting the Coat Fund belonging to the parish of Thames Ditton when it appears a ballance of £149-9-9 in there [sic] hands "  (The Coat Fund was set up to furnish the poor in the workhouse with coats, and Admiral Robert Stuart Lambert of Weston House was one of the contributors to this charitable initiative).

Anyone got anything more on Robert Francis Lambert 1785-1861?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Rhodrich on February 01, 2012, 04:09:06 PM
Could the 'hill' part of Giggs Hill not simply be a corruption of the Anglo Saxon word 'halh', meaning a meadow, or a nook or corner of land?  Since it forms the North East corner of what was Ditton Marsh, this would make sense to me. 

It is often corrupted to hill, and indeed, Thames Ditton Island at one stage was called Ditton Hill (see record 188/5 here: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/GetRecord/SHCOL_188)

Of course this still leaves the question of where the 'Giggs' bit comes from.  On this front, my theory is that it comes from the gigging of woollen cloth, which is another word for the tentering process.  Gigge mills (or gygge, gig, jig or jigging mills, since spelling wasn't fixed) were introduced in the middle ages to do what was previously very manual work:
[img width=500 height=334]http://www.balmaiden.co.uk/Images/JiggingLge.jpg[/img]

So it's complete supposition, but my suggestion is that Giggs Hill refers to the 'corner of Ditton Marsh where woollen cloth is produced'.  It could even be a corruption of Gigge Mill itself, but I think this unlikely, as otherwise there would be a record of such a mill in the area.



Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 01, 2012, 05:39:37 PM
Another stimulating and ingenious contribution, and I like the introduction of the Anglo-Saxon 'halh' - that could be a very useful explanation for the 'Hill' part.

As for the jigging, I don't recall that among TD's old enterprises, weaving featured.  There is a Giggs Mill or two around the country if you search on Google maps, all I think 'oop North'

And then we have the Kingston Gigg's Hill.  Unlikely to be a meadow even in Elizabethan times, or not?   I've since found the following in my notes: "Giggehill in Kingston until late 19thC (Eden Chambers) Giggs Hill Passage is now Bath Passage (telecon w. June Sampson).  Name occurs as early as 1484 in Kingston."

But your theory is another starter, I think.

And I also found in my notes "Giggs Hill was in manor of Imber: Imber Court administrative books of 1794 describe 'a piece of waste ground lying between the footpath from Thames Ditton to The Marsh and the said house near to a place called Giggs Hill”  which I think is from the Mercer collection, Vol F

Now, the manors are a mess (witness West Molesey owning parts of Boyle farm and "Ditton Hill" or Colly's Ait/Eyte, as the Island was known variously)  They are almost impossible to sort out in detail after being messed up by the Saxons, the Normans, Henry VIII and sundry private Lords, with parcels of land here and there being sold to others.  The men of Kingston seem to have held the manor of Imber before Henry VIII took it over, and it does seem more natural that GH Green should be in the manor of Imber than in a manor of Kingston - especially when other accounts suggest that the "manor of Kingston" was a small area of the town itself, there being several other manors in the vicinity of the town held by various owners.  However, by the time the green was bought by Esher and the Dittons UD Council, Royston Pike has it firmly in the "manor of Kingston"

No wonder that, as the staff in the Surrey History Centre keep telling me, "the History of Thames Ditton has yet to be written."


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 01, 2012, 07:36:07 PM
Quote from: Keith on February 01, 2012, 05:39:37 PM
Another stimulating and ingenious contribution, and I like the introduction of the Anglo-Saxon 'halh' - that could be a very useful explanation for the 'Hill' part.

.... but thinking on....

wouldn't that mean that the 'Giggs' or Gygge' part would also be some corruption of an Anglo-Saxon word?  And if so, what might that be, Rhodrich?

Like, we live in DitchTown or DykeTown (Dictun -->Ditton)....so what would GyggeHalh be?  Did I hear somebody saying 'WhoresMead' ?!  (That might be a little hard for the Conservation Area Appraisal preamble to incorporate LOL).  It is definitely up to the inhabitants of WhoresMead in DykeTown to disprove that theory, mon cher collègue.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Rhodrich on February 02, 2012, 08:26:48 AM
Quote from: Keith on February 01, 2012, 07:36:07 PM
Quote from: Keith on February 01, 2012, 05:39:37 PM
Another stimulating and ingenious contribution, and I like the introduction of the Anglo-Saxon 'halh' - that could be a very useful explanation for the 'Hill' part.

.... but thinking on....

wouldn't that mean that the 'Giggs' or Gygge' part would also be some corruption of an Anglo-Saxon word?  And if so, what might that be, Rhodrich?

Like, we live in DitchTown or DykeTown (Dictun -->Ditton)....so what would GyggeHalh be?  Did I hear somebody saying 'WhoresMead' ?!  (That might be a little hard for the Conservation Area Appraisal preamble to incorporate LOL).  It is definitely up to the inhabitants of WhoresMead in DykeTown to disprove that theory, mon cher collègue.


Keith - I'm shocked at the suggestion!  It's a definite possibility though.  What with the highwaymen who are such a problem on the Portsmouth Road, and the women of ill repute who frequent the area, it certainly is a dodgy place to live!

As I'm sure you've seen, there are a lot of entries for the word gig in the OED, with the earliest reference for the word from 1225. It wouldn't be too fanciful to suggest that the word was Saxon.  :
Quote:
4. A flighty, giddy girl.  Obs.
   a1225 Ancr. R. 204 Hunten ther efter..mid gigge leihtre, mid hor eien, mid eni lihte lates. c1395 Plowman's T. (Skeat) 759 Some spend hir good upon [hir] gigges, And finden hem of greet aray. c1430 How Gd. Wyf taughte hir Dau. 55 in Babees Bk. 38 Fare not as a gigge, for nought that may bitide, Laughe thou not to loude, ne ghane thou not to wide. 1594 Willobie Avisa (1880) 41 Thou selfewill gig that doth detest My faithfull loue, looke to thy fame. a1700 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, s.v., A young Gig, a wanton Lass. 1780 F. Burney Diary June, Charlotte L-- called, and the little gig told all the quarrels..she led in her family.

(It's good that I have an electronic version of the OED at work....)

Perhaps we ought to ask Elmbridge to erect some signs on the green:
Wollcome to GyggeHalh, ye red light district of Dictun Mearc
Bewarnian of þeófscola!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 02, 2012, 09:19:59 AM
LOL  this is an entertaining and erudite threadlet forsooth.

OED online: if you know your Surrey Library card number, you can access the OED free (the Surrey Library service is excellent, that's why we must defend it against the beancounters).  Go to http://www.oed.com/loginpage and, where your Surrey library card number is 1234567, enter SURREY1234567 (capitals, no space) in the appropriate form field.

I must say that you are an impressive resource yourself - do you have background in Olde English etc?  And you'll have to help me out with þeófscolu  Villains, robbers, presumably?  It has defeated both Google and the OED

Dictun Mearc: I am in two minds about the boundary theory of the name as, with a nod to the late Howard Mallinson's theory that it was the boundary with Claygate or between the hundreds I find that plausible but not wholly convincing.  I'm not sure that the name "Ditton Marsh" stretches back all that far (that is, beyond the last 200-300 years to mediaeval & Saxon times) - something else to look out for in the meagre old source documents that are available.

Sometimes it is risky to draw too much inference from names!

The 'ditch' is also interesting:  the prevailing archaeological theory seems to be that it was a Saxon drainage or fortification/boundary ditch dug out from the Thames across Long Ditton southwards from where the Rythe joins the Thames, past Bankside Drive and across Surbiton golf course to Red Lane.  Some two miles long, a rather huge venture for manual labour in times when there was only a handful of households in both the Dittons.

The Rythe itself could be a good candidate for the 'ditch' - with the two Dictun settlements - Long and Thames - either side of it.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 02, 2012, 09:30:26 AM
Incidentally your sign would have been erected by Kyngestun not Amlebrygge.   Are we going to have an antient pageant on GyggesHalh this coming festival of Eostre, where we may mark the Spring solstice with the usual rites of fertility that long preceded the Christian church's annexation of the festival timetable?  Eggs and all.   As long as I am not the one organising it......


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Rhodrich on February 02, 2012, 09:56:27 AM
Unfortunately, my knowledge of Middle English only goes back to my study of Chaucer and the Anglo Saxon chronicles in school... 
There are a number of Middle English dictionaries available however on the web: http://www.oldenglishtranslator.co.uk/ and http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mec/ being a couple. 

In fact, I can see that I should have used the word þéofscola, being the plural of þéofscolu, which means 'a gang or band of thieves'.  'þ' is pronounced 'th', and this is where the modern word 'thief' comes from.

As for the Rythe being the 'ditch', it's an interesting suggestion.  It always grates on me to hear it called the 'River' Rythe, as it's a bit of a tautology - rīþe being the Old English word for a small stream or rivulet on its own.  Ditch and stream are pretty much interchangeable, so you may well be correct.

Oh, and as for a pagan festival on the green, bring it on! 


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: sesame on February 02, 2012, 12:15:27 PM
I have a copy of "a classical dictionary of the vulgar tongue" Francis Grose"  A reprint of the 1811 edition.
GIGG.  A nose ( as in Grunters Gigg...a hogs snout)
           A high one horse chaise
           A womens genitals. (from 1690 spelt Gig)
           A wanton (from Chaucer also spelt Gig)

Francis Grose was at one time Captain and Military Adjutant of the Surrey Militia and had spent time in Kingston. He was known as a "joker and fond of sleep".


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 02, 2012, 01:52:24 PM
Quote from: sesame on February 02, 2012, 12:15:27 PM
He was known as a "joker and fond of sleep".


I misread that as 'fond of sheep' at first sight.

Thanks for another interesting contribution, sesame.  I'm glad I live somewhere with a name like 'Church Walk'.

Thanks to you, I've now found and downloaded Grose's vulgar dictionary free online - google books have it as a pdf file if you google the title.  I will now go and look for The Complete Canting Dictionary to which it refers: "A Book very ufeful and neceffary (to be known but not practifed) for all People"

I really should be getting on with the mag.... but O sigh, sigh:

"Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind....."


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Juninho on February 07, 2012, 06:57:20 AM
Apologies if this has been posted before (Im sure they have been) - but I stumbled on some nice photos of Thames Ditton on this site:

http://www.edlhs.co.uk/Thames%20Ditton%20and%20Long%20Ditton%20Local%20Photos.html


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 07, 2012, 07:49:20 AM
Thanks for the link.  These are from Paul Langton's extensive collection of local postcards.  Chairman and a mainstay of the Esher District local history society, he has painstakingly amassed old postcards which have become a significant local history resource.  He gave an excellent talk at our Library about three years ago.

By the way, Juninho, did you know that your part of Thames Ditton was known as "The Clump" - from where "the children of the poor people" used to attend the schools?  Mercer (in 'More Tales and Scandals of Old Thames Ditton') has a brief account of the building of Alexandra Road and Queens Road there to provide housing for the workers at Ferry Works and the Foundry.

It was known as The Clump after the name of an old field of summer pasture there by the river, half of which was attached to Riversdale House, sold by Lord St Leonards' daughter and later demolished to make way for the suburban development of Riversdale Road.

And now, of course, The Clump is the desirable residence of bankers, actors, solicitors and the like.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Juninho on February 07, 2012, 09:31:57 AM
No but that is very interesting!

I was told that the cottages were built as housing for Hampton Court palace workers but makes more sense that it was for the Ferry Works and the Foundry.

Who would've thought that those cottages would be so desirable later on!

That all said - if I look at the lovely houses on roads like Speer Road, Station road and Basingfield road (not even going to mention Boyles Farm road) - well I still think in relative terms it still feels like "The Clump" houses the 'poor' people of our village !!

;)

Quote from: Keith on February 07, 2012, 07:49:20 AM
By the way, Juninho, did you know that your part of Thames Ditton was known as "The Clump" - from where "the children of the poor people" used to attend the schools?  Mercer (in 'More Tales and Scandals of Old Thames Ditton') has a brief account of the building of Alexandra Road and Queens Road there to provide housing for the workers at Ferry Works and the Foundry.



Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 07, 2012, 10:46:24 AM
Quote from: Juninho on February 07, 2012, 09:31:57 AM
I was told that the cottages were built as housing for Hampton Court palace workers but makes more sense that it was for the Ferry Works and the Foundry.


No, in the early 1500s they were swampy watermeadows ruled by a River Thames untamed by locks, where the rise and fall of the tide was still an influence.

The 'built for the workers at the new Palace of Hampton Court,' generally said of Thames Ditton as a whole, comes from a line in Mercer, but I don't think that is really true either.   Two or three substantial houses here, within the pale of the deer chase, were allotted by Henry VIII to his middle-ranking retinue.  There must have been other, rustic, houses here to service the farming activities of the manors; but three of the manors before Henry were owned and run by religious houses (so no manor house locally, just maybe a reeve's or a steward's house - Weston, Claygate, Molesey Prior).  Ditton and Imber almost certainly had manor houses  - probably the sites of Imber Court and Forde's Farm; but our Ditton became amalgamated by marriage with Long Ditton.

Some say that the bricks for the Palace originally came from Claygate but this is uncertain (p.31 of The Industrial History of the Borough of Elmbridge).

The real, day-to-day history of Thames Ditton and of its personages before the 1800s almost certainly had more to do with Kingston which had jurisdiction over matters both temporal (the courts, the justices, and commercial transactions; the weekly market for produce) and spiritual (St Nicholas came under the Rectory at Kingston until 1769).  But the proximity of  HC Palace will have had a definite role too.

Houses were built in a surge in the late 1600s and when the turnpike improved, Thames Ditton and Weston Green became a genteel commuterville.  The proximity of the Palace lent cachet.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 08, 2012, 12:57:53 PM
Last summer I spent a few days researching Miss Madge McIntosh, a middling actress who for a short while lived in Thames Ditton at the start of the 1900s.  The amazing genealogy enthusiasts at rootschat made a great contribution to hunting down parts of the timeline.  Then the thread went dead.

And now, someone looking for details of her ancestor (Madge was her great Aunt) has found it and replied.  Nice warm feeling.  I was thinking of giving a talk on Madge, whose story I found touching, if anyone would want to hear it.  During the research I was also pointed to the online archives of The Stage, and spent a fiver for a day's access, which could lead to another article or short talk on TD's theatrical past (1880s - 1930s)  if ever there is space and time!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 09, 2012, 01:41:42 PM
So,  bankers,  I found this:

The Morning Post, Tuesday, March 11, 1806

"MANSION HOUSE
Ditton Upon Thames Bank Notes

Yesterday White, alias Wilson, alias Wisdom, alias Wright, the man in custody for uttering notes purporting to be issued by the Ditton Bank, which stopped payment several months since, was brought up and underwent further examination before the Lord Mayor and Alderman Scholey. Twelve or thirteen respectable tradesmen, who had received notes from the defendant, attended....."


I don't think there's any mention in the Mercer collection of "the Ditton Bank".  Anyone dig up some more on that?



Title: Re: The old lock-up
Post by: Keith on February 15, 2012, 10:16:17 AM
BBC:  "David Cameron is set to suggest the use of US-inspired "drunk tanks", cells to house people overnight while they sober up." 

This may be US-inspired in the minds of our poodle politicians following US fashion but really goes back a long way to the English tradition of the roundhouse, or lock-up.  There's an interesting article by James Williams in the Molesey Review of August 1954, mainly about the roundhouse in Molesey (copy in Mercer Collection) From Vestry minutes we know that there was one in Thames Ditton, at some time in the early 1800s, but it is not clear exactly where it was.  Any clues?  My working assumption is that it was part of, or annexed to, the workhouse but there is no firm evidence of its location that I am aware of.  Roundhouses were used by the parish constables to detain drunks overnight to sober up, as well as to hold those arrested before they could be taken to the local Justices of the Peace or to Kingston for further legal processing.

Burchett in his local history avers that there was a House of Correction in Thames Ditton.  This is almost certainly not true.  He has clearly jumped to an 'unwarranted' conclusion from a line in the Vestry records of June 7 1719:
"Paid ye Warrant for ye rebuilding of a House of Correction for Thames Ditton. Constable £2.12s.2d  etc. etc."

Houses of Correction were established (for the able-bodied poor and vagrants who refused to work) at county level and the first one for Surrey was built in 1611 approx.  at Guildford.  The next one was at Southwark.  Dr Christopher Chalklin’s Introduction to Surrey Gaol and Sessions House, 1791-1824, 2009, states  that a prison building, funded by County Rates,  was erected in Southwark High Street in 1720-1724.  (Thank you,  David Kennedy of Kingston Archaeological Society,  who has written a very good short book on Kingston's prisons, with whom I have been in correspondence)

In the legislation for Houses of Correction, dating from Elizabethan times and reinforced under James, Justices of the Peace had been empowered to raise funds for these locally throughout the county by means of Warrants, and most likely the reference in our Vestry minutes refers to such a warrant for the parish's contribution to the  building in Southwark.  It might have been better drafted by the Vestry Clerk "Paid ye Warrant for Thames Ditton for ye rebuilding of a House of Correction"

The third House of Correction (or 'Bridewell') in the county was established in Kingston in around 1761 (Kennedy, History of Prisons in Kingston upon Thames, 2004).  Thames Ditton miscreants would have been taken to Kingston as soon as they reasonably could be.

I am working up a talk/article on Law and Order in Old Thames Ditton - new material welcome!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 18, 2012, 02:20:05 PM
Quote from: Keith on February 08, 2012, 12:57:53 PM
Last summer I spent a few days researching Miss Madge McIntosh, a middling actress who for a short while lived in Thames Ditton at the start of the 1900s.  The amazing genealogy enthusiasts at rootschat made a great contribution to hunting down parts of the timeline.  Then the thread went dead.

And now, someone looking for details of her ancestor (Madge was her great Aunt) has found it and replied.  Nice warm feeling. ......


And another hit on rootschat, from a thread I started on the Sandys / Speers / Litchfields.  William Speer II's wife Mary was a bit of a mystery.  Now a lady descendant of her brother has chipped in from Australia to add more info - She was Mary Jellico. 

She had 19 children by William, quite vigorous for a senior clerk at the Treasury.  Nine survived (including the egregious Rev Wilfred).


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on February 24, 2012, 07:59:16 PM
Quote from: Keith on February 02, 2012, 01:52:24 PM
Thanks to you, I've now found and downloaded Grose's vulgar dictionary free online - google books have it as a pdf file if you google the title.  I will now go and look for The Complete Canting Dictionary to which it refers: "A Book very ufeful and neceffary (to be known but not practifed) for all People"



And glory be! What do I read today, 16 days later,  but this:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9103258/Dictionary-of-the-Vulgar-Tongue-from-1811-becomes-online-hit.html

Another indication that all the right people read this forum!


Title: Re: Local History thread - street lighting...
Post by: Keith on March 04, 2012, 05:17:30 PM
"Sir,
Who on Earth is responsible for the latest horror in our village?  I refer to the ghastly lamp erected over the water trough (alas now dry). I presume it was thought up by some modern planners who could not care less about suitability or design!

Audrey Johnson, Oak Cottage, High Street, Thames Ditton."


- Surrey Comet 11 Feb 1961


Title: Re: Local History thread: Freemasonry
Post by: Keith on March 12, 2012, 09:48:16 AM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17272611  "They designed the pyramids, plotted the French Revolution and are keeping the flame alive for the Knights Templar. These are just some of the wilder theories about the Freemasons. Today they are associated with secret handshakes and alleged corruption in the police and judiciary.
But dogged by this "secret society" image, the Freemasons have launched a rebranding exercise.  On Friday, the United Grand Lodge of England, the largest Masonic group in Britain, publishes its first independent report. "


I have found few traces of Freemasonry in the local history of Thames Ditton and Weston Green.  Esher and Kingston, possibly more likely places, I haven't looked at yet.

Such traces as I have found include a brief mention of The Angel as a venue for lodge meetings in the late 1800s.

I would be grateful if readers with any knowledge of local Freemasonry either in the past or now would get in touch.  If (as is often the case with the Masons) people prefer to do this in private with their confidence wholly respected, please send me an email, or a pm via this forum, or phone (number on page 3 of TD Today)


Title: Old map in the Residents Magazine
Post by: midibob on March 18, 2012, 07:42:14 PM
Hi,

Reading the latest Magazine I was intrigued by the old map dated 1860. The large pond shown appeared to be somewhere around the Dell as I know it now. I thought this was a WWII bomb crater but maybe not?
Also the other pond pictured I would think would have been on the grounds of Esher College.

It was quite difficult positioning the map as Weston Green Road doesn't appear to be complete as we know it today. I only realised that the large pond wasn't the present one when I noticed the old Lamb & Star at the bottom left hand corner.
The Hampton Court Way as we know it now would run top to bottom roughly on the left hand margin of the map.

One other point to note is where is the Harrow??    I thought it was quite an old building.

Fascinating stuff.
Midibob


Title: Re: Old map in the Residents Magazine
Post by: Keith on March 18, 2012, 08:19:42 PM
The map is the OS map of 1868 (or 1869 - not sure off top of head).  It's in the Library if you ask, although I shot Peter Dodge's copy for "Weston Green in the 1860s."  The survey work would have been carried out in the few years preceding publication date.

Weston Green is the real original Weston Green  - the triangular bit between the Harrow and the Newlands.  The road to the north-west of it is still called "Weston Green" as opposed to the well-known Weston Green Road along the other long side of the triangle.

The hollow on Weston Green now is definitely the old pond, dried up, and not a bomb crater.  There was a V2 (I think) which hit nearby along Weston Green Road, according to some, but the exact spot is not identified - anyone?

The Harrow is on there, if you look a bit closer (to the upper right of the large Admiral's pond, you can make out the words 'Harrow (P.H.)'

The Dell is not on there - what I know as 'the Dell' is the grassy area of land close by the station (north side) leading along to Ash Path.

Even with maps you find questions as well as answers: I also have the tithe map of course (1843, with the work being carried out in the years leading to the final tithe apportionment) and a map of 1828 prepared by the surveyor who arbitrated between William Speer and Robert Taylor (father and son) in the dispute over what belonged to the Manor of Weston and what to the Manor of Imber.  Those houses alongside Weston Green are a little different in each one...  a reader lives in one of them and has enquired.  Another reader has pointed me to drawings of Weston House so that will be in the next issue, which deals with Admiral Robert Lambert (and maybe the third brother Henry too, if there is room).  The long thin pond that forms part of the pleasure grounds of Weston House in the map of the 1860s does not appear in either of the earlier maps.  In those, there is a long thin pond stretching up from the top left of Weston Green towards what was Manor Farm, now Esher College.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: midibob on March 20, 2012, 08:49:40 AM
Hi Keith,

Thanks for the extra info. Just goes to show how word of mouth passes down the wrong information.
After going over with a magnifying glass I did spot the Harrow.

One more question, do you know why the map has numbers allocated to every section?

Midibob


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on March 20, 2012, 09:34:16 AM
I think they are field parcel numbers (for land survey/registration/ownership/taxation purposes) but I am not an expert.  See e.g. http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/aboutus/foi/questions/2010/0013.html

I also found an interesting article on inaccuracies and errors in OS maps to the present day which makes an interesting read: http://residents-association.com/pdfs/ordnance_survey_map_errors.pdf

I have found several errors in original source material of various kinds, including within the past month the Tithe Apportionment 1843, books of the early 1800s with illustrations, Burke's Peerage 1834 (a critical typo!) and Mercer (although he did a terrific job).  I have been known to make errors myself....

By the way, when I wrote above that "'the Dell' is the grassy area of land close by the station (north side) leading along to Ash Path" I meant, in my haste, that the station is to the north side of the Dell.  To be clearer, the Dell runs from the station southwards along the western side of the railway line:
[img width=349 height=500]http://residents-association.com/images/the_dell_map.jpg[/img]


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on March 20, 2012, 09:52:58 AM
Here's part of the surveyor's map of 1828 to sort out what belonged to William Speer...  Evidently not all houses were marked on it.  The ponds are interesting.
(http://residents-association.com/images/weston_map_1828.jpg)

And here is that part of the tithe map 1843.  The numbers relate to a list of owners and occupiers.  The map was part of a national exercise (prompted like so many by reforming Liberals of those times) to commute tithes, which had thitherto been paid in kind although many settled for cash ad hoc, into cash payments.
[img width=388 height=500]http://residents-association.com/images/weston_tithemap_1843.jpg[/img]


Title: Re: Local History thread: John Turner
Post by: Keith on March 20, 2012, 04:20:55 PM
Anyone have any traces and a positive identification of John Turner, who according to an illustrated guidebook of 1817 was residing at Weston House, Weston Green?

In early 1812 Capt Robert Lambert, owner of Weston House from 1798, was given command of HMS Duncan. He and his wife had no surviving children as far as I have so far ascertained. On 1 April 1812 an advertisement appeared letting what is almost certainly Weston House with its grounds and 35 acres meadows for two years.  We then find in May 1813 a Col Greville listed in the poor rates accounts at £175 'late Capt Lambert' (£175 is probably a Mercer twist for £157) and then in Nov 1813: ‘Turner Esq late Robt. Lambert £157’ (£157 had earlier been the exact rate for Weston House in years in which a rate was levied on that property).

The most likely candidate for this John Turner that I have so far uncovered is that he was the "John Turner of Bond Street" in London who in 1808 rented Pound Farm from William Speer for a term of 21 years terminable in 7 or 14 years (so he could have terminated in 1815 having rented Weston House) [[ ref in Speer family conveyances at Surrey Hist Centre]].

Although the identification is still very tentative, this John Turner of Bond Street seems quite likely to have been of a family of high-class jewellers and silversmiths, fathers and sons called John, whose business was at 58 (New) Bond Street. There is an 1817 reference to "John Turner, of New Bond-street, jeweller" as a member of the jury during the treason trials following the Spa Fields riots. The V & A Museum notes that at the wedding of King George V in 1893, guest Queen Louise of Denmark wore an amethyst bracelet with diamond centre and broad gold band, by John Turner, 58 & 59 New Bond St. c. 1863, a wedding favour from King Edward VII to his mother-in-law. And Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr. in 1879 lists under Jewellers and Silversmiths Turner, John & Co., 58, New Bond-st.

Any alternatives?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on March 24, 2012, 09:27:56 AM
Now the wife of Admiral George Robert Lambert's great-great-great grandson, who is herself a fractional descendant of the Lamberts, has got in touch from Australia, with more info about George and descendants.  And glory be! - some images of Admiral George, General Sir John and others.

I love it when that happens.  I understand how it might bore the rest of you, but I find it thrilling!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Lilymaid on April 01, 2012, 04:02:43 PM
"There was a V2 (I think) which hit nearby along Weston Green Road, according to some, but the exact spot is not identified - anyone?"

I don't know about a V2 ... that would have resulted in massive destruction along Weston Green Road. There's a map of known bombsites here:
http://londonist.com/2009/01/london_v2_rocket_sitesmapped.php

However, there was some sort of bomb damage ... I think it occurred around May 1940 ,of one of the semi detached houses opposite the junctions with Newlands Avenue/Weston Park. I (or another family member] have the photo somewhere. There were reports in the local papers at the time.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on April 03, 2012, 09:28:45 AM
O thanks for that link, Lilymaid: amazing work enthusiasts put in!

If you have more info/photos on bombs in the area readers would be interested - I have had several requests for info over the past few years but i haven't worked my way much past the start of the 1900s in TD history (if anything, I'm going backwards!)


Title: Re: Local History thread: John Turner
Post by: Ratty on April 03, 2012, 02:32:35 PM
Quote from: Keith on March 20, 2012, 04:20:55 PM
Anyone have any traces and a positive identification of John Turner, who according to an illustrated guidebook of 1817 was residing at Weston House, Weston Green?

Although the identification is still very tentative, this John Turner of Bond Street seems quite likely to have been of a family of high-class jewellers and silversmiths, fathers and sons called John, whose business was at 58 (New) Bond Street. T

Any alternatives?


Probably a coincidence, but there is F.P Turner & Sons (http://www.surreyjewellers.com/), the jewellers in Surbiton who have been trading for 190 years.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on April 03, 2012, 06:24:54 PM
Thanks, Ratty - On the offchance, I've emailed them asking for more details of their origins in the early 1800s.

Just back from a day going bleary-eyed in the SHC Woking, leafing through Catherine Lambert's diary for 1784.


Title: Re: Local History thread (Lambert)
Post by: Keith on April 05, 2012, 09:32:52 AM
I found it difficult to pinpoint Capt Robert Alexander Lambert's career after 1780.  (He was the father of three Lamberts who came to live in Weston Green, starting with eldest son Robert Stuart Lambert, who became our "Admiral Lambert")

The only clue I had was from his wife's obituary, which referred to him as "a Commissioner in the Navy."  But I could find no confirmation in the several source and academic documents that list Commissioners.  He was not senior enough to be a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty.  There were also senior men of commissioner rank who supervised dockyards on home postings, and who were engaged in other naval bodies such as the Victualling Board.  He is not cited among any of them.

Latterly I have been in touch with the College of Arms concerning the Lambert heraldry (dating from his grandfather Sir John Lambert, Bt 1711, of the South Sea Company), and their records too have him as "A Commissioner in the Navy."

His wife's (incomplete) diaries, which I am toiling through in the Surrey History Centre, show that on 11 September 1782 he sailed from Spithead in the Proserpine.  Other sources do not list him as in command of that vessel and he must have been on passage.  The 1783 diary is missing, but that from 1784 records her receiving several letters from "Dear Capt. L" who is in Jamaica (Jamaica and its plantations being a recurrent theme with Lambert and his wife Catherine who was from the Byndloss plantocracy).  He returns to London from Jamaica on 19 April 1784.

I have lately discovered the various volumes of Biographia Navalis (Charnock, 1798).  In Vol VI there is an entry for Robert Lambert.  It seems to contain a number of errors/omissions  concerning his ships (this conclusion is based on other records including the Admiralty service record of his eldest son who was with him on two of them from the age of eight ).  The online 'seadogs' project also notes of the Biographia that it is  "known to be prone to factual error and contradictions"

However the last part of the entry for Robert [Alexander] Lambert reads: "In 1782 he was appointed a commissioner of the navy resident at Jamaica, it being thought necessary, in consequence of the very extensive naval armament then employed in that quarter, to establish a civil department to superintend the partial repairs, and refitment of ships, in order to lessen, in some degree, the care and labour of the commander-in-chief. Peace taking place very soon after this time, the newly erected office just-mentioned, was suppressed, and Capt. Lambert retired on a pension of £250. per annum, as a superannuated commissioner of the Navy."  This seems to resolve the mystery; fits with the diary; and as the post was in Jamaica accounts perhaps for his omission from academic material concerning commissioners in the UK. 

-----
I'm very interested in the very many people of Old Thames Ditton who were connected with the West Indies and slavery,  for I spent nearly three years posted  in Kingston, Jamaica as First Secretary Chancery, and know Trafalgar House well.  Now the High Commissioner's official residence, and in the mid 1800s (before it was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1907) the residence of Maj-Gen Samuel Lambert, Admiral Lambert's fourth brother, when he was Lt.-Governor there.  We were married on a British frigate in Jamaica, on duty as the West Indies Guard ship (you may have seen in the recent TV series on that duty); so when I read about Commodore George Lambert (of Weston Green) commanding the guard squadron out there at the time his brother died in Trafalgar House of yellow fever, 1848, I have particularly vivid images!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on April 07, 2012, 11:20:41 AM
I love pulling on these threads of local history, not that what follows has anything to do with Thames Ditton, as it was before any Lamberts came here, but fun nevertheless

So - on 11 August 1784, Catherine Lambert writes in her diary: "went in the morning to see an Air Balloon at Chelsea which failed."  I set out to track down this event.

It looks almost certainly to be the second failed attempt by balloonists in London to replicate the French technological achievements of 1783, the Montgolfiers etc.  I had not realised how fashionable the theme of ballooning then became - with balloon themes on everything from ladies' underwear to ornamental structure.  The event on 11 August must have been the failed attempt by Dr. John Sheldon using a hot-air balloon  in the grounds of Chelsea Military Hospital.  This followed an attempt one week previously at the same venue by a Frenchman known (by himself) as the “Chevalier de Morel” when failure had caused a riot as fraud was suspected.

On September 15, 1784, Vincenzo Lunardi - the self-styled "Daredevil Aeronaut" a young Italian, using a hydrogen-filled balloon, made a successful flight (a Scot had earlier made one from Ediburgh that year) before a crowd of nearly 150,000 in London including the Prince of Wales.  I like Lunardi - he was the First Secretary at the Embassy of Naples in London LOL:  clearly the diplomatic life was insufficiently exciting of itself.   Lunardi boarded just before 2 p.m. with a dog and a cat. The lines were untied, and the balloon rose:

(http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/aircraft/Balloon-Lunardi/IMAGES/lunardi-balloon-launch.jpg)

One of the two oars Lunardi intended to use to control his flight dropped to the ground. Following the example of the Prince of Wales, members of Parliament who had come to witness the liftoff (William Pitt and Edmund Burke among them) doffed their hats, fearing that they would never see poor Lunardi again. The aeronaut had a bit to eat and drink and allowed the balloon to drift. After a while, Lunardi began to row with the remaining oar, with little success. He touched down at 3:30 p.m. in South Mimms.  (THE BALLOON ERA, by Rénald Fortier Curator, Aviation History, Canada Aviation Museum, 2004). The following year Lunardi's balloon was used for the first flight by a woman aeronaut, though accompanied by a male.  Quiz question: what was her name?  Answer: Mrs Sage, a reputed belle.  Her portrait was then painted: here she is:

(http://residents-association.com/images/mrs_sage.jpg)

Women being critical of other women is a topical subject right now so I will pass over the uncharitable comments from others that Laetitia Sage weighed in around 200 lbs.  On landing heavily in Harrow on the Hill where the balloon damaged a hedge and gouged a strip through the middle of an uncut hayfield, leaving the farmer ranting abuse and threats, a young gentlemen from Harrow school  had a whip-round to pay off the farmer and then, it is reported, carried Mrs Sage bodily, in triumph, to the local pub (so she can hardly have been a two-hundred pounder)

Now for more on Dr Sheldon the balloonist, you must move to the Love and Marriage thread where in five minutes another remarkable story will appear....

[[ why don't they teach some of this history at schools these days - to leaven trench warfare 1914-18  then Holocaust, Holocaust, Holocaust....]]


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on May 14, 2012, 09:56:45 AM
Shirley Davenport, whom you may know from the Ripieno Choir, has been co-opted (willingly!) on to the Association's Exec to give more voice to TD residents living East of the turnpike.  Shirley, who lives on Thorkhill Road,  used to work as a journalist for the Sunday Telegraph, and is now deploying her skills as a newshound on the local history of the roads and houses in that part of Thames Ditton, especially the period in which they were developed (say, post-1880)  She has already unearthed some valuable info about Southville / Westville Roads, which is of use not just for history but to bolster views on current planning applications there.

a.  If you have info from your deeds or other sources about those roads, their history and their inhabitants in times past. please get in touch with Shirley (pm me for contact details)

b.  I'd love other residents to work up the local history of other roads/estates in TD & WG.  At the moment, Graham Cooke has done some work on Ashley Road, and Lesley (my other half) is adding to the history of Church Walk I began.  How about someone taking the lead on the Davis Estate?  Portsmouth Ave & River Road?  Speer Road?

The High Street has a long history and is partly covered by Mercer, but much more can be done to put it together....


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on May 14, 2012, 11:30:55 AM
Great - one useful reply already....


Title: Re: Local History thread "A Lambert Was There"
Post by: Keith on July 21, 2012, 10:38:57 AM
Been quiet lately because I've been immersed in researching Lamberts of Weston Green.

I chuckle each time I try a new thread of inquiry.  For about two hundred years, if something significant happened it was probable that a Lambert was there.  So far I have:

- South Sea Bubble: the first Sir John Lambert a founding director of South Sea Company; three-quarters of his estate confiscated after the bubble burst (they knew how to treat City slickers in those days); exiled to Paris where:
- slave trade: second Sir John Lambert in Paris a banker financing it (He was the father of Capt Robert Lambert RN who bought Weston House)
- American War of Independence: Capt L based in West Indies, raiding the coast and capturing trading vessels and sloops
- Bastille Day (last weekend!):  it looks ten to one on, that of the seven prisoners released by the mob that stormed the Bastille, one was married to a Lambert LOL - to Capt. L's sister Anne.  That's another interesting story!
- French Revolutionary wars: Capt L's son John Guards captain in the Flanders campaign
- Peninsular campaign: Capt L's sons John and Sam with the 1st foot in the thick of it; at Corunna, at Cadiz
- Ill-fated invasion of Walcheren: three Lambert boys in that, one on HMS Eagle, two in the Guards, their mother was worried, a close family friend died, son Sam got the Walcheren fever (probably typhoid) but recovered
- Mauritius campaign: Capt Henry Lambert in the thick of that, taken prisoner by the French, liberated when Mauritius was finally taken: a story immortalised in Patrick O'Brian's great historical novels in the Aubrey-Maturin series.
- War of 1812 with America: son John now a Major-General commanded the retreat from the awful Battle of New Orleans; Capt L's aggressive son Henry killed in famous  action as Captain of HMS Java against USS Constitution (also features in O'Brian's novels).  Sacking of Washington and burning of the White House - there was no Lambert present, but it was carried out by George Cockburn,  & the Cockburns were family friends (Thomas Cockburn a cousin of George was executor of Capt L's will) and George Cockburn was former shipmate of Robert Lambert Jr.
- Battle of Waterloo: John Lambert (who later retired to Weston Green) commanded 10th Bde & 6th Div and mentioned by Wellington in dispatches;  The first husband of Capt L's daughter Maria, a cavalry officer, was killed there. 
- Occupied France:  now General Sir John Lambert, his aide de camp Algy Greville (widowed cousin Lady Sophy Lambert had remarried to a Greville) went on to become Wellington's ADC then private secretary to Wellington as Prime Minister.  Wellington was a godparent to Sir John's first son, John Arthur, who was born out there and also lived and died at Weston House
- Irish Troubles - Sir John commanding the army in Cork & Limerick, in the heart of it
- Death of Napoleon on St Helena: Admiral Robert Lambert commanding the squadron, notified London of the event
- Maori Independence: Capt L's youngest son George Lambert as  Capt of HMS Alligator
- Coronation of Queen Victoria: Sir J commanding Household Division (needs confirming)
- Jamaica: Capt L's son Sam died there as Lt. Governor of the island
- Second Burmese war:  George Lambert, then Commodore, started it (will be in TDT Winter issue)
- Crimea: George's son Rowley as Captain in naval campaign in the Baltic
- attempted assassination of Prince of Wales by a Fenian in Australia:  a Lambert was right there in the Marquee:  Rowley Lambert, then Commodore commanding the Australia squadron.  His wife became the first woman councillor for TD

Not to mention threads such as: for a time when Capt L & wife Catherine lived at Weston House, they would visit the Cockburns (Thomas Cockburn, a Commissioner in the east India Company)  who had rented Randalls in Leatherhead.  The Cockburn's only daughter Agnes became the mother of Lord Northcote, Chancellor and Foreign Secretary.  The Lamberts were friends also of Prince William Henry & his mistress; two owners of Claremont; Mrs Fitzherbert; a Governor of the bank of England; and a host of distinguished naval men and members of the West Indian plantocracy.

There's a book in all this, if I have the time.  And maybe a talk on local "Life with the Lamberts" (I particularly like Catherine's diary entries for June: "Weston Fair.  It rained incessantly" and a visit in London to watch a French parachutist take off in his balloon: "Got thoroughly wet")

A fascinating family.  There should really be a granite memorial to our naval and military Lamberts on Weston Green.  Whatever their antecedents in slaving and bubbles, that generation of Robert and Catherine and their offspring beyond question served well, honestly and humbly.  They were a very close-knit family and showed all-round signs of being decent people you'd love to have dinner with.


Title: Re: enquiry: Ward
Post by: Admin on July 30, 2012, 04:33:22 PM
geoffporter@organist.me.uk writes to ask: 

"I don't know if you can help me but in the course of my research, I am trying to find out if the Ron Ward who I know was living at River Bank in 1940 was Ronald Ward the actor who appeared in many films. I have tried the Surrey History Society, but they were unable to help me and I wondered if you could perhaps ask some of your members

Geoffrey Porter
(392 Leigh Road, Hindley Green, Wigan, Greater Manchester, WN2 4XL) "


River Bank??  Any clues?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Rhodrich on August 08, 2012, 12:41:56 PM
I've just spotted a listing on eBay for a postcard of 'Thames Ditton Weir'

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390446626640

(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/NQL-Early-Postcard-Thames-Ditton-Weir-Surrey-1918-/00/s/NTI5WDgwMA==/$(KGrHqR,!q4E+oHOWO7WBQEtmWrLwg~~60_12.JPG)

Was just wondering where this is/was? 


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: craigvmax on August 08, 2012, 02:51:52 PM
up near molesey lock or where the mole joins the thames maybe>?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on August 09, 2012, 02:41:28 PM
Quote from: Rhodrich on August 08, 2012, 12:41:56 PM
I've just spotted a listing on eBay for a postcard of 'Thames Ditton Weir'


has to be round one of the islets at Molesey, I think, as Craig suggests.

I've brought it to the attention of Paul Langton, Chairman of the EDLHS, who has amassed an important collection of local postcards - thanks.


Title: Re: Local History thread "A Lambert Was There"
Post by: Keith on August 10, 2012, 01:00:45 PM
... I had to chuckle at the Olympics opening ceremony.  Right at the beginning, when the Union Jack was carried over by six servicemen to be hoisted up the flagpole, the first one mentioned was a Lambert LOL (unless my ears deceived me).

(But I don't think a descendant of the TD/WG Lamberts.)


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on August 20, 2012, 11:25:53 AM
I'm not covering much of Capt Henry Lambert in the TDT series, as his time at Weston Green was limited (he was pretty continuously at sea) and he played no part in local community affairs.  Nevertheless his short life was very exciting and he did spend his honeymoon at Weston House!  The sailing of USS Constitution yesterday prompted me to put up a brief something here: http://residents-association.com/news/henry_lambert.php

There is more on Capt. Henry Lambert in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography but they have his date of death slightly out.  Also the year of death of his father,  our Capt. Robert Alexander Lambert, is given incorrectly as 1810 when in fact it was 1805.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on August 26, 2012, 10:12:37 AM
Maureen Sheldrick, long a member of the Society of Genealogists, is clearing out her old copies of the Society's quarterly magazine, which has various articles etc. that you may find of interest.  Maureen would like to offer them to someone in the locality who is interested in genealogy - all they would have to do is to collect them.  They start with last two quarters of 1988 and then 4 x  year through to December 2011.  Only two missing and they are March 2007 and September 2011.

Please contact Maureen directly on 398 2651


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Dittonian on September 12, 2012, 01:17:23 PM
I hope that you are all following this remarkable story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-19561018) about King Richard III


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: craigvmax on September 12, 2012, 04:34:44 PM
that is remarkable. Also, on the maps at the bottom, do you see the road layout isnt dissimilar


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on September 12, 2012, 08:29:59 PM
It is a remarkable story - a detective story; and if the remains they have found are confirmed by the DNA as almost certainly those of King Richard III, it will be a simply fabulous story!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on September 12, 2012, 08:33:20 PM
It is a remarkable story - a detective story; and if the remains they have found are confirmed by the DNA as almost certainly those of King Richard III, it will be a simply fabulous story!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on September 12, 2012, 08:37:33 PM
and now for this gem (Hmnnn...they must be tracking my interests....):

"Your payment of $8.3m in CBN is not UNCLAIMED. The Federal Government has threatened to confiscate the funds, but as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, I decided to release the funds to you in CASH PAYMENT for our delivery agent to deliver to your residence.

The good news is that our delivery agent by name GEORGE LAMBERT has arrived with your cash consignment box value $8.3 million dollars in USA and he is now on TRANSIT at (Pittsburgh Int'l Airport, Pennsylvania)

I want you to know that you have 24 hours to reach him on (717) 435-4041 and also email him at [[email deleted]] with your delivery details stated below.

Full names:
Residence Address:
Direct Cell Number:
Copy of any ID:

These details will hasten delivery to you without delay; also will help our agent locate you as the original receiver of the consignment.

Ensure that you follow the instructions of the diplomat to enable him to clear your consignment from the US CUSTOMS and have smooth delivery to your residence. He is waiting to hear from you which will help him complete this delivery to you today.

READ AND UNDERSTAND BELOW CLEARLY:

Your $8.3m inheritance fund was loaded into two trunk boxes as a consignment, Agent GEORGE LAMBERT has a diverted knowledge of the content in the boxes, for security reasons and on no account should you reveal the content of the boxes.

Note: you must call me as soon as you receive this email for more discussion and probable guidance; my direct line is +234 704 4414633.

I will appreciate your understanding and collaboration to make the consignments delivered to you without delays, Hope hearing from you swiftly.

WE APOLOGIES DELAYS AND INCONVENIENCES EXPERIENCED IN RELEASING YOUR FUNDS. YOUR FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE NOW, SO IT IS LEFT TO YOU TO ACT AS DIRECTED.

THANKS,
Mr. LAMIDO SANUSI AMINU,
EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR,
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA"


I think I'll let Agent LAMBERT keep the inheritance....


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on October 08, 2012, 04:39:27 PM
Remember this? http://residents-association.com/news/henry_lambert.php

Now the great-great grandson of 1st Lt. Henry Chads of the Iphigenia then the Java, who served under Capt Henry Lambert, has seen it and got in touch to exchange info.  Splendid!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on November 13, 2012, 04:09:36 PM
Does anyone have chapter and verse on the date at which the waterworks at Seething Wells ceased being used for clean water production?  If thereafter it continued to be used as offices by the Thames Water Authority or later (post 1984) Thames Water, on what date were the offices there closed?


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on December 07, 2012, 02:30:42 PM
New web site maps bombs that fell in the London area during the blitz.  www.bombsight.org

Not that many in TD & WG during the period covered - 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941.  But still fascinating.  Under heavy use right now following its publication in the national press.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 04, 2013, 05:20:41 PM
This is such a lovely story, as was the Richard III story of 2012.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/9780819/The-time-is-right-and-we-are-ready-mission-to-find-lost-Spitfires-of-Burma-launches.html


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 23, 2013, 03:27:06 PM
Lizbeth Webb obituary (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/theatre-obituaries/9819554/Lizbeth-Webb.html) today

West End musical star, married Guy Campbell bart., lived for a while at Little Lodge TD.

Dreamy eyes! (Thanks to Peter Hickman, current owner of Little Lodge, for spotting this)


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 24, 2013, 10:09:21 AM
http://www.kingstonguardian.co.uk/news/10177063.June_Sampson__Pioneers_who_saved_Kingston_from_planning_doom/
" The title convinced me it would be dry reading, but I was wrong.

The First 50 Years, A History of the Kingston upon Thames Society, is an unexpectedly gripping account of the topographical development of Kingston town centre between 1962 and 2012...

The struggles that ensued and the hard-won victories eventually achieved are engagingly described in this new book by Michael Davison, a journalist and retired publisher’s editor, who joined the society in 1988 and was its chairman from 1994 to 1997.

One of his many surprising revelations is Kingston Council’s near-despotic attitude at that time.  Guildhall executives made it plain they saw the new society as a tiresome busybody, bent on meddling in planning affairs that were none of its business.  When the society eventually got them to agree to a meeting to discuss the so-called Kingston master plan (which would change the town centre almost beyond recognition) members were told any information revealed to them must remain strictly confidential. 

In other words, there was no public right to know.

Later, when the society objected to the “brutalist” buildings planned for Brook Street, the borough planning officer, Kenneth Beer, replied “I have architects on my own staff who are well qualified to judge architectural quality” and that they had advised him the design was “acceptable and suited to the purpose and location”. "
- June Sampson


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Keith on January 29, 2013, 08:31:22 AM
Good to see that the golf club on the common is making headway (http://thamesdittonandeshergolfclub.com/News_View.aspx?Articleid=9) in its battle for survival - let's support it.  Their article linked as an image here draws on some historic material I supplied to their new chairman last year:  http://www.thamesdittonandeshergolfclub.com/imagefetch.ashx?size=2&ImageID=26


Title: Re: Local History thread: Jones & McMillan
Post by: Keith on January 30, 2013, 03:58:52 PM
A Christopher Kennedy writes:
I wonder whether you can help me in tracing relatives who lived in the area in the 1960's through to the 1990's. They or the family could still be resident to this day.
Their married names were Marie Jones and Madeleine McMillan and their maiden surname was Brazzini. They were both born just after the First World War so could possibly no longer be with us.  Marie Jones was married to Ieuan G Jones and had at least one child, a son Peter J Jones.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Anyone have traces of likely candidates round here?  If so, please post here and Christopher will be reading the thread.


Title: Re: Local History thread: Ditton at War
Post by: Dictun Mearc on September 17, 2013, 08:25:08 AM
Having a day off on Friday, I decided to pop over to Weybridge to look at the stack of materials on Thames Ditton in the Elmbridge Museum. 

There is a real hotch potch of information there in a couple of folders, with newspaper cuttings, photos, typed up memories of what the village was like at the turn of the century (apparently, you used to be able to see Hampton Court from the back of the Almshouses in Station Road, before the houses in Speer Road were built), and various other random materials.  There is also a binding with all the newspaper cuttings related to the 'Joviel Plan', which for those that don't know was an attempt by a developer, Joviel Ltd in 1967, to bulldoze the west side of the High Street to replace it with a brutalist shopping centre. 
If anyone has an hour to spare, it's well worth a look, if you're into local history.  Of course, closer to home, there's also the Mercer Collection in the Library in Thames Ditton (ask for the key behind the front desk), which is another fascinating collection of assorted tit-bits.

One thing I did notice amongst the materials in Weybridge was reference to a bomb shelter on Giggs Hill Green.  I've noticed that opposite Raphael Drive on the green, there appears to be a concrete structure, with some steps going down that are filled in.  Is this the old bomb shelter?  If it isn't then what is it?

Finally, I had a look online for any other references to this bomb shelter, and came across this little piece on the BBC website regarding a man's experiences during the war in Thames Ditton:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/38/a2038538.shtml

This sort of social history really brings the past to life!


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Lilymaid on September 20, 2013, 01:23:33 PM
I can remember the air raid shelter on the green in Weston Green Road at junction with Weston Green (opposite Abingdon Cottage) which was still there in the 1960s. One school summer holiday some friends and I excavated in it and got through the old doorway into the shelter. Unfortunately, this was reported to the authorities and the entrance was closed up again ... and some years later I think that the shelter was razed to the ground.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on September 20, 2013, 03:23:18 PM
The mound opposite the library, between Watts Road and the car park resembles the old air raid shelter at my school. But, I think it may have been the site of the old fire station?

I loved the recollection Dictun Mearc found. I'll think about that couple every time I'm stuck waiting for the train to pass at the level crossing.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: craigvmax on September 20, 2013, 04:40:48 PM
thats amazing, I'll post it on the ATD facebook site credited to you and the forum, people would love to read this


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: speerroadres on November 15, 2013, 11:03:50 AM
Hello all, I hope it is ok to post this here - I am a Masters student studying Archaeology and Heritage Management, and having grown up in Thames Ditton and followed recent developments for the Home of Compasssion case, I'm really interested in doing one of my final projects about it. I was wondering if anyone knew who best to talk to regarding this, and particularly regarding getting access to look around the site if it was possible.

I've been trying to contact Nicola Thornton, the project manager, but I keep on having messages passed on - I wasn't sure if perhaps there was someone better to talk to.

Any help on this would be much appreciated!

Many thanks,

Flo


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on November 15, 2013, 11:41:10 AM
I'm not sure about access to the site itself, but have you been to the Library? If you ask to look through the Mercer Collection there is quite an extensive array of information - requires a bit of sifting. There is also a copy of a similar project to the one you're considering.


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Admin on November 15, 2013, 01:51:21 PM
Quote from: speerroadres on November 15, 2013, 11:03:50 AM
Hello all, I hope it is ok to post this here - I am a Masters student studying Archaeology and Heritage Management, and having grown up in Thames Ditton and followed recent developments for the Home of Compasssion case, I'm really interested in doing one of my final projects about it. I was wondering if anyone knew who best to talk to regarding this, and particularly regarding getting access to look around the site if it was possible.

I've been trying to contact Nicola Thornton, the project manager, but I keep on having messages passed on - I wasn't sure if perhaps there was someone better to talk to.

Any help on this would be much appreciated!

Many thanks,

Flo


Hi, Flo:  you could try via Libby McIntyre, ex-RA Chairman who in that capacity was in touch with Caring Homes.  8398 5534

You should be aware that at the present stage of a planning application, Caring Homes might be a bit sensitive to examination of the site for potential archaeological investigation.  At their presentation  of the plans, one resident suggested that a condition be imposed requiring prior archaeological investigation before building commences.  The developers visibly winced at the thought.

But the site is a good choice for that, I believe.  It was settled at least before Henry VIII's times and probably very much earlier - I suspect at least back to Norman times.

As ratty says, there is a wealth of material in the Mercer collection about Boyle Farm / Fords Farm.  You should also visit: http://www.moleseyhistory.co.uk/books/surrey/boyleFarm/  (online version of the late Rowland Baker's booklet on the subject)


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: fl65 on November 19, 2013, 07:51:48 PM
Many thanks Ratty and Keith for your responses! I've got in touch with Libby as per your suggestions and she's kindly helping me out. My degree is more heritage/history-focused - so absolutely no intentions of digging! My interest is more looking at the Home within its recent modern history and significance within living community memory, especially looking at the local library materials like the Mercer collection. I have seen that fascinating booklet by Rowland Baker - tantalisingly stops right when Boyles Farm becomes the Home though!



Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Admin on January 05, 2014, 09:57:39 AM
Two heartwarming local history developments for me over the period, as a result of one of my threads on another forum:  a gentleman in Arizona has come up with the portraits of Catherine and Capt. Robert Alexander Lambert, which he now owns and for which I have his permission to use the images in TD Today; and another descendant of Admiral George Lambert has got in touch - he now lives in UK so will be visiting.  Also, I finally managed to get confirmation from an old French archive of a Lambert connection to an amazing and amusing story, which I will trot out just when you think I've forgotten about Lamberts...


Title: Re: Local History thread
Post by: Ratty on June 09, 2014, 04:33:26 PM
I didn't know Mr Sykes but I thought his story worth remembering here.

From Surrey Comet - June 2, 1989

The identity of an unsung World War II hero was revealed at a tearful reunion, in a quiet cottage garden in Thames Ditton.

After 50 years, retired journalist Bernard Sykes, 75, met the Jewish women he had helped escape the clutches of Hitler.

It was the first time he had met Martha Bieler – now Bendoff – since 1938, when as a 26-year-old reporter on the Bolton Evening News, he had provided her escape route from Austria.

Martha, also 75, had long had a yearning to meet him again, but knew him only as Uncle Bernard, the name he used to fool the German authorities.

She tried all kinds of methods to track him down, including an unsuccessful attempt through Cilla Black’s Surprise Surprise! TV show, but eventually found him through friends, living in Church Walk with his wife, Dorothy.

Mr Sykes set up his escape route from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Italy. He established a pen pal club and got his newsroom colleagues to join him in writing to Jews in at-risk areas.

He adopted the Uncle Bernard tag to trick the authorities into thinking he was related to his pen pals.

Martha, who lived in Vienna, told him in a letter she “needed another holiday” – Bernard replied he would be delighted to see his “niece” again and said she should visit with her sister Sonya as soon as possible.

He even arranged job interviews for the refugees he brought to Britain.

Mr Sykes personally helped another 12 jews escape harassment, abuse, and potentially an even worse fate. His colleagues helped yet more.

Not many got to meet their Uncle Bernard. But he later helped Martha’s parents, plus another sister and her husband, all escape from Austria.

Martha spent a year as a cook in Bolton before moving to Manchester to make clothes for British service members. She married her childhood sweetheart, who had also managed to escape.

After his death in 1973 she met and married Hyman Bendoff, an English jew, and moved to Streatham.

Mr Sykes became a war correspondent, but was wounded. He married the physiotherapist who nursed him back to health.

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/11261767.Vintage_Kingston__War_hero_s_moving_reunion/


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