This month sees the 120th anniversary of the installation of the Clock Tower at Sunbury Cross, a well-known local landmark.
Posts By: Nick Pollard
Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society presented an exhibit at the recent Surrey Local History Conference, which had the theme of ‘Feeding Surrey’. We were very pleased to be presented with the Gravett Award for the best display.
The Shepperton of 1908 was a pretty quiet place, with little in the way of sensation to disturb village life. On December 8th 1908 however, it saw an event which made headlines all over the country, and indeed in countries as far away as New Zealand.
With all the current controversy about the future of Kempton Park Racecourse, I thought it would be a good time to look back over the history of the site.
At this time of year, residents who live near the Thames will be remembering the terrible floods of three years ago, which caused such disruption and damage. Exactly 60 years ago, in 1947, our community was facing an even worse challenge.
With Christmas fast approaching, I thought I would take a look at the festive season in our community in years gone by, starting exactly 90 years ago in 1926.
This photo, taken exactly a century ago, shows a group of children and adults at the Good Templar and Temperance Orphanage, Marion Park, Sunbury. The Orphanage occupied a house erected about 1750 on the site now occupied by Sunbury Manor School in Nursery Road.
With the current plans to redevelop the Anchor as housing, I thought it was timely to have a look at the history of what is probably Shepperton’s oldest-established inn.
One of my favourite postcards of Sunbury is this one of the great fire at Darby House in Lower Hampton Road, on June 18th 1907. My copy was sent to an address in Shepperton and postmarked June 28th 1907, which means that someone was pretty quick off the mark producing a postcard of the event!
This postcard, dated 1908, is entitled ‘The Almshouses Shepperton’. Far from being Almshouses though, this was at the time the Shepperton National School. An illustration of how important it is not to take things at face value when researching history! Many readers will recognise that the building (on the right) is now the ‘School of Spice’ restaurant, at the lower end of Shepperton High Street.
The local bridges over the Thames are a vital part of our transport infrastructure, if often the focus of long queues of traffic. Many of them have a long and interesting history, and that between Shepperton and Chertsey is no exception.
I recently visited the Museum of London’s excellent (if gruesome in places) exhibition of items from Scotland Yard’s Black Museum, connected with infamous crimes. One of the displays was about the Great Train Robbery of August 8th, 1963.
Charles Dickens, who knew the Sunbury and Shepperton area well, was the man who popularised the idea of the Christmas Ghost Story, in the mid nineteenth century. Whilst looking through old Christmas editions of the Middlesex Chronicle at Spelthorne Museum in Staines, I came across the following story of ghostly goings-on at Battlecrease Hall in Shepperton in the edition for 27th December 1946.
Ignore the caption of this postcard dating from the 1920s, the view shown is of Lock Island and Hamhaugh Island, which are both definitely in Shepperton! These islands mark the most southerly point of the River Thames, but are both at least partly man-made.
For many years before the coming of the railway to our area in the mid nineteenth century, the main way of moving around bulky goods was by river.
A chapter in the history of Sunbury’s riverside ended recently, with the closure of the long-established boatyard of George Wilson & Sons.
Hopefully you will have already visited Spelthorne Museum in Staines, but if not you are missing a treat! Next time you are in Staines, ome and find us, just through Staines library.
As many of you will know from my last article, June saw several commemorations locally of the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta. My experience of the celebrations began on the evening of Friday 12th, with a reception at Bisham Abbey for Charter Bearers who had been nominated to carry a copy of Magna Carta in the River Relay from Hurley to Runnymede over the weekend.
As I write this article, the old Ship Hotel, (more recently called Harrison’s) is being demolished to make way for a block of flats. It’s a sad end for another of our old hostelries, in this case dating back at least 300 years.
The photograph of the PIM works at Sunbury Cross dates from just over a century ago, and shows the factory originally established in the late 19th century by Frederick Walton, inventor of Linoleum floor covering.
This fascinating 1930s postcard of the Church Square area shows how much has changed in the intervening 80 years or so.