Egham by Runnymede Historical Society

June 2017

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During June we supported two local events – Magna Carta Day in Egham and Carnival Capers at Virginia Water. We took along a different display to each event featuring aspects of local history and sales items. We warmly welcome some new members who joined this month at both shows and talks.

Last month Sally Botwright gave us a talk on London’s Docks from the beginning in the Pool of London (between where Tower Bridge stands and the City) through the growth in the Victorian era when Britain was the warehouse of the world. Each dock was a monumental undertaking done mainly by sheer manpower until the 20th century. As ships increased in size and then containerisation became the norm the docks could no longer cope and deep water facilities took their place. Most of the docks have been built on but there is the Museum of London Docklands Museum to show what it and life was like then – well worth a visit.

 

At the end of June William Suttie told us about ‘The Tank Factory’, a place on our doorstep but very little known, isolated as it was for good reason. Britain invented the tank but rather oddly this was under the Admiralty, not the Army. After the First World War the tank was thought to be out of date but the Second World War soon disproved this idea. Actually William believed there was little difference between British and German tanks in 1939. The Tank Factory had a testing ground on the other side of the Longcross road (and later the M3) where road tests on various surfaces & angles could be carried out. This is due to become a ‘garden village’, just as the Tank Factory is being built on. The house in the centre is listed and will be preserved.The research and development on the site produced some world beating tanks until its closure just over ten years ago. These had stable gun controls and had been tested under extreme climatic conditions. Some of the equipment had been sent to the Tank Museum at Bovington. We were pleased to see a number of visitors in the audience of nearly 70.

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