Egham Scrapbook coverThis will be available from November 15th price £8

The 68 page book contains 170 illustrations, many of which are in colour, showing the changing face of Egham even into the recent past. These are not illustrations that have been used in the previous ‘Picture Books’ about Egham.

An Egham Scrapbook begins at Staines Bridge and continues along the Causeway into The Avenue and Egham High Street  to finish at the foot of Egham Hill. Some additional illustrations from Englefield Green, Thorpe and Virginia Water are included.

The weight is just over 400g so that postage on this item is £1.74.

Initially it will be for sale in the Egham Museum on the first floor of the Literary Institute and at our November meeting.

Could this be an ideal Christmas present?




THORPE LEA: history of a community over 3000 years on 26th July 2018 by Jill Williams

Thorpe Lea is unusual locally having major changes in settlement. In the Iron Age/Romano-British period numerous small farms ranged between (present day) Thorpe village & Egham, followed by c1500 years of no discernible settlement.  By the 14th century the name of lea is used – East Lea, West Lea & North Lea (later Thorpe Lea). Personal names include North & Thorpe ley. Parts of Homestead Cottage date from the 14thC; Milton Place & Great Fosters existed. The first map, made of the Manor of Milton, was in 1659 & includes the (now) Goose Green House (it has had several names). Around 1716 probably the original Thorpe Lee House (corner of Vicarage & Thorpe Lea Rds) was built. Perhaps these large houses encouraged settlement as by the late 1700s a small hamlet clustered either side of the road from Egham to Thorpe. Then  the road ran south from Vicarage Rd crossing Clockhouse Lane (the King’s Highway).

Drastic change came in 1794 when a branch of the Blackett family bought Thorpe Lee House followed by the cottages/land. They built a new house, also called Thorpe Lea House (I will call it new), diverting the road to its present route & keeping the old road for their drive. Some 15 years later the Enclosure Act changed farming practices-open fields were re-allocated as blocks of land. Goose Green House became freehold in 1877 & just before WW1 Daily Mail Editor, Mr Hamilton-Fyfe, was the owner. In 1940 King Peter & Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia lived there. Across the Meadlake Ditch three new beer (later public) houses appeared along Thorpe Lea Rd in the 1860s, at Frogs Island.  Thomas Eyre bought new Thorpe Lea House from the Blacketts in 1897.  Nursery men began to own land – Thomas Mason, William Sherwood & the Egham-based W Parsons. Boscombe was built c.1900 for Mr Allistone as was, later, Strathcona & Rose Cottage was the ‘holiday’ home of Jean Allistone & her husband Tommy Handley (ITMA). The Allistones 26 acres of land became Warwick (complete by 1937), Asheigh, Clandon & Wavendene Avenues. Warwick Avenue  Hall was built 1949/50. Boscombe was split into flats & then replaced by The Lea (1961) & Boscombe Close (1984). Mayflower Fur Farm appeared, later Mayflower Nursery. The old Thorpe Lee house became a Guest House then a ‘nightclub’ & then offices.  In the 1970s the M25 caused road changes, cutting through Clockhouse & Wickham Lanes. In 1985 the old nursery site from Wavenden Avenue to Ayebridge’s corner, owned  by Express Dairy in the 1950s & 60s, was sold for building land & the ‘Lakes Estate’ created, built by Crest Homes starting in October 1985.




Brian’s lecture was adapted from one given to undergraduates at UCL & looked at 10 buildings from the Norman Conquest to the modern day representing stylistic changes & illustrating how architecture reflects society. Two questions were asked of each building – what did it mean when built and what does it mean to us now? The buildings were The Tower of London. It showed the Normans were staying & now reflects the ‘Disney’ aspect of mass tourism. The Holy Trinity Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral in the Romanesque Gothic style housed the Shrine of St Thomas a Becket. It was a success in manipulating beliefs and now marks authenticity even though pilgrims today are tourists. Ightham Moat was a reflection of peace in England. This family building was altered without sentiment but is now preserved rigidly. The Queen’s House, Greenwich in the Italianate Palladian) style was the first in England to reflect classical architecture. It made a splendid backdrop to the equestrian arena for the 2012 Olympics. Danson House, Bexley is a perfect late 18thC Palladian Villa, built for a wealthy London merchant. New mercantile wealth was mingled with sophistication, attributes still shown by those with recent wealth (but possibly less style). St Pancras Station, is industrial Victorian era disguised in High Victorian Gothic Revival. George Gilbert Scott was the architect of the hotel & W H Barlow was responsible for the Station canopy, the largest steel structure in the world. St Pancras was saved from demolition in the 1960s. We now have a more mature view of the past, allowing the new world to function in the old. Royal Holloway College is an an innovative & philanthropic Victorian building. Crossland was a pupil of GG Scott and there are many similarities. Pevsner praised its self confidence & now it reminds us of the stupendous wealth in Victorian times. The Royal Festival Hall is the only surviving part of the Festival of Britain. Then it was a statement about optimism – brave new world- & still a good cultural experience in spite of what might be seen a paternalism. Bankside Power Station (1955-1981) – then utilities were built by distinguished English architects, maybe a cathedral of modern times, especially now it is Tate Modern. 5 million people view ‘modern relics’ & it is busiest on Sunday. The Great Court at British Museum was opened in 2000 to solve the lack of exhibition space. Foster & Partners covered over 2 acres with a glass roof releasing qualities not seen before.


This talk showed a local view of attitudes to the right to vote for women & set it in the frame work of national debate. In 1866 an alumnus of Bedford College organised a suffrage petition which failed & even at the turn of the 19th century there was a belief that education would harm women’s health. At Royal Holloway College (RHC) there were both Old Students & Current Students Suffrage Societies. Debates, often heated, were held and there was division within, a vote in 1906 had 109 for but 40 against. Nationally there were the NUWSS (National Union of women’s Suffage Societies) and the WSPU (Women’s Social & Political Union) formed in Woking. Both contained Suffragists (law abiding) and Suffragettes (non law abiding). In 1913 the Picture gallery had to close due to Suffragette disturbances and Lady White’s (empty) house in Englefield Green was burnt down in an arson attack. There is well known footage of Emily W Davison being killed as a result of stepping onto the Derby course during the famous race – she had briefly studied at RHC following the loss of incmoe on her father’s death. The First world War meant that women took the places of many men & strenghtened their claim to be recognised. A conference on electoral reform in 1916/17 recommended limited women’s suffrage but cautious approval to the 1918 Act (women over 30 allowed to vote) indicated there was further to go. Full voting rights were only granted in 1928.

A synopsis of January’s talk will follow shortly.


Addlestone’s different geology to Egham, a more varied topography & less flood plain, influenced development. Archaeology includes hand axes & microliths, crafted from imported Salisbury Plain flint & a Paleolithic kill site which also had Bronze & Iron Age, Roman & early Saxon occupation items.

The wooden Wey Bridge(s) were replaced by the 1865 stone bridge carrying this major route which was also the Addlestone/Weybridge boundary. Crockford Bridge’s name is thought to be associated with potters, rather than crooked & its medieval village was later deserted There was also a causewayed camp of similar dimensions to the Yeoveney Camp near Staines/Egham. These occupation sites surrounded by triple, interrupted, ditches (about 90 country-wide) were continental There is another at Eton and (if the spacing is regular) may suggest another existed near Penton Hook

Two Magna Carta barons, Henry de Bohun & Geoffrey de Say, & their descendant families were associated with Addlestone. Sayes Court, painted by Hassell, was one of the principal houses. In the 1450s Addlestone had a white wine growing vineyard owned by William de Saye. The records of Manors of Walton Leigh & Chertsey Beomund & Pyrford mention the Crockford family. Oatlands Palace was close by (the bricks may have come from Chertsey Abbey) as were other local palaces like Hampton Court & Byfleet.  Victory Park, opposite the c1600 George Inn, contains sites associated with tile making c1575 to c1630. Addlestone remained sparsely populated until the Wey Navigation (1650s) and the later railway (14 Feb 1848) arrived. Crockford Mill began as an iron mill later a corn & adjacent silk mill. By the 19thC Addlestone was a separate parish & St Paul’s Church built (after the Baptist Chapel of 1812). Private houses were built & industry moved in – the Bleriot factory produced biplanes for WWI and later cars & buses. In its heyday some 7000 people were employed and the modern town developed.

From Turnpikes to Motorways

This talk by Gordon Knowles took us from the medieval period when a man drowned in a pothole on The Causeway between Staines and Egham to the M25. It is hard to believe that Surrey was poorly off for roads and sparsely populated then. Most traffic would have gone by water transport, The Turnpike Trusts improved roads and charging travellers (they had to pay to pass through the turnpike gate) funded this . Milestones were made compulsory so the costs could be calculated without argument. Surrey County Council became responsible for Surrey’s road in 1889. A Surrey man played a significant role in the repeal of the Red Flag Act. Plans after the Second World War gave high priority to London Orbital Roads and this led to the M25. A section of the M3 opened in 1971 and the Egham to Thorpe section of the M25 in 1976.

June 2017

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.