The Last Thames Frost Fair

February 1814: King George III was on the throne, Tory Lord Liverpool was Prime Minister and the Napoleonic Wars would soon be over. It was also the third coldest winter since 1659, when the Central England Temperature (CET) records began. After weeks of bitter chill, blankets of fog and drifting snow, Londoners awoke on 1 February to find that the River Thames had ground to an icy halt.

Save Hanworth Park House

A former hunting lodge of Henry VII is in danger of being pulled down. Hanworth Park House which comes under Hounslow borough, has stood empty for 25 years but was bought 3 years ago by Gary Cottle who wants to sell a part of the land off for housing and put the funds towards restoration of the lodge.

Aliens in Elmbridge

Acclaimed as a scientific and social prophet, Herbert George Wells was a prolific novelist famous primarily for science fiction but also for comic realism. After a brief apprenticeship to a draper, Wells became a student-teacher, eventually winning a scholarship to the Normal School of Science (later Imperial College) where his studies under the great zoologist T H Huxley inspired his science fiction writing.

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol was first published in London by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Telling the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, the story has become a firm favourite all over the world.

Tanners Bridge Painting in Molesey Library

This is a detail from the painting of Tanners Bridge, which hangs in Molesey Library. The caption of the painting reads ‘Bridge over the Mole 1905 by Arnold Helcke’. Tanners Bridge is the bridge across the Mole at the end of Spencer Road.

Weird Christmas Traditions

Forget the Christmas turkey or ham. For many Japanese, traditional Christmas dinner is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Due to a combination of tiny Japanese ovens and a clever marketing campaign convincing locals that fried chicken is a traditional American Yuletide feast, reservations must be made to eat at a KFC on Christmas Day.

A Little Piece of West Molesey History by H M Berry

The real development of West Molesey only really began in the third decade of the twentieth century. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it did include, however, many nationally known characters amongst its inhabitants.

70 Years of Marriage – Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Elizabeth and Philip were distant cousins, and first met at a wedding! They were both in attendance at another royal wedding – Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece to The Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of the then Princess Elizabeth, in 1934.

Out of the Ashes The Phoenix Club

“The idea of a social club for returning men and women of the Forces after the Second World War, as well as ex-members of Molesey Youth Club and any other young person over the age of 18, was originally conceived by Terry Curtis, Ivor Pooley, Bill Dawson-Marsh and Mr.

Edward Jesse Writer and Naturalist

Edward Jesse (1780-1868) was a writer and naturalist. He became clerk in a government office in 1798, and for a time was secretary to Lord Dartmouth, when president of the Board of Control.

Hampton Court Station

The London and South-Western Railway (L&SWR) opened its line to Hampton Court in 1849, as a branch of the main line from Nine Elms to Woking. For some ten or eleven years previously passengers from Molesey wishing to travel to London had to first make their way to Surbiton Station (now Kingston Station).

Don’t Forget to Change Your Clocks

The idea of summer time or daylight-saving time was first suggested in a whimsical article by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, But it arrived in the UK after Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s great-great-grandfather, a builder called William Willett, thought it was a good idea too.

The True Heroes of Enigma

On 30th Oct 1942 Royal Navy Officer, Lt. Tony Fasson, Able Seaman Colin Grazier and canteen assistant Tommy Brown from HMS Petard boarded the German U Boat, U-559, retrieving material which would lead to the decryption of the German Enigma code.

Molesey Lock

Our lock was first proposed in 1802 because of the shallows upstream but nothing came of the suggestion. During droughts, the Thames was liable to become too shallow for river craft to pass through. The heavily laden barges were held up, sometimes for weeks at a time while the bargemen waited for the weather to turn.

Where there is muck there’s is money

In the 1790s, the Board of Agriculture commissioned two qualified surveyors, Thomas Baird (1793) and John Middleton (1797) to report on the state of agriculture in Middlesex.

The Value of Dredging/Treasures of the Thames

The title is a bit cheeky. This is not a piece about flooding (we will follow up on this aspect of dredging at a later stage.). But it is indeed about the value and benefit of dredging it.

Memories of Molesey School Days

They say our school days are the happiest days of our lives. For most of us, it’s not as simple as that. We remember the headteacher we feared and the teacher we adored, the lifelong friends we made and the bullies we despised, the subjects we loved and those we hated…

Platts Eyot and Thornycroft

The name of the island is derived from Platt of Molesey who used it for growing withers. Until the 1880s osiers were grown on the eyot, a species of willow used for basket-making but it was also used for dumping spoil from excavation of the Stain Hill Reservoirs, creating the large hill on the island’s western end.

A Seal in Molesey

Seal numbers in the Greater Thames Estuary have increased almost back to their natural rates thanks to a conservation project, after being hunted for fur and meat.

Avoid Tragedy on the Water

I am sure you will join me as our thoughts go out to the family of a young man who tragically lost his life. A teenage boy drowned in the Thames on the hottest day of the year Wednesday June 21st.

Shepperton’s Hedgehog Sanctuary

Hedgehogs are in decline. Even over the past 10 years or so we have seen notably fewer on the roads or in our gardens. So many people I have spoken to about this wonderful charity have never heard of it. We want to change that!