St James's Church, Hampton Hill

Chapter 1 - The Changing Face of Hampton Hill

'The Birth and Growth of Hampton Hill'

" "
I. The Early Days:

The neighbourhood which we now know as Hampton Hill cannot lay claim to a history stretching far back along the path of time, for its early development as a residential area was only just beginning to take shape at the commencement of the last century. If we were to allow our imaginations to roam back in time even as far as the year 1800 we should find that the district which was later to become New Hampton, and at a still later date, Hampton Hill, was occupied by an extensive tract of lonely heathland, covered in many places with furze, briars and heather, serving as common land on which the parishioners from nearby Hampton were privileged to turn their cattle for grazing purposes, and to cut the brush-wood for fuel.

Though tree-life was not one of the more prominent features of the heath, scattered oaks and other species dotted it here and there. Parliamentary Surveyors in 1650 had reported three hundred and nineteen trees of considerable size “in severall places upon the wast,” but it is impossible to tell how many of these were actually on Hampton Common. One of them had brought trouble to a “foreigner” from Twickenham in the dim days of 1692, when he was summoned to the Hampton Manor Court for “cutting of an Oake upon the Common.”

This common, was in fact, the southernmost tip of the notorious Hounslow Heath, the haunt of highwaymen and footpads, who occasionally patronised its byways, and held the coach-going travellers to ransom - though none of the more famous knights of the road is recorded as having considered our particular area worthy of his attention. According to Henry Ripley there is a tradition that a gibbet “bearing oftimes its ghastly burden, once graced its picturesque wildness near the spot where the Duke of Wellington inn now stands.” The area embraced a large part of the fifteen parishes adjoining Hampton-on-Thames which had formerly been declared “Royal Chase” by King Henry VIII, who had included a slice of “the hethe besydes Hampton town” in his new-made Bushy Park. Hampton, our village’s elder sister, was probably a river settlement in Saxon times, and is certainly mentioned in the “Domesday” Survey of 1086, but at the period at which our history commences, even she still consisted of nothing but a small cluster of buildings huddled around the church, amidst sylvan surroundings.

The trees, brushwood, turf, gravel and pasture to be found on the heath together formed a vital aspect of the economic background of the parish, and the Manor Court kept it under strict surveillance. The bye-laws drawn up by it imposed narrow restrictions on its use: for example, the “stint” or sheep allowance on the heath was three for every acre held in the common fields, and in the years 1688 and 1696, for instance, the Manor Court dealt with serious breaches of this regulation. Again, in the year 1695 fines were levied for the offence of transporting loads of turf from the Common to Twickenham. No man was allowed to “. . . Cutt any Turfs upon the Common . . . except he be appointed by four of the Jury so to do”; and the bye-laws said that “. . . no Parishioners shall Sell any Turf to Foreigners” - meaning non-parishioners. Moreover, turf was forbidden to be cut between May and July of each year. Yet it was not until 1788 that special “pinders” had been appointed in the Manor Court to safeguard such things as the pasture and the cutting of furze and turf.

Were we to have strolled over the bare waste of the heath nearly two centuries ago, we should, nevertheless, have recognised one or two salient characteristics. Let us consider, for example, some of the features shown on Rocque’s map of 1754. The Twickenham Road, which was later to become, for part of its course, the Hampton Hill High Street, and is still today the main road from Hampton to Twickenham, was a crude highway stretching across the heathland from north to south. Soon after leaving the town buildings, the road passed on its left a small group of ponds, known as the Townsend Ponds, these were filled in at the time of the construction of the Manor Estate - and then, after skirting the park, it crossed the serene, gently murmuring waters of the existing Longford “River,” at a point situated a quarter of a mile to the north of the last Hampton buildings, by a “wooden bridge vnder the Parke Payle” as the Manor Jury called it in 1677 on one of the occasions when they had accused the Lord of the Manor of neglecting its repair. It was perhaps the same bridge which stood there until the 1830’s, when it was replaced by a narrow, arched bridge, known as the “Pantile Bridge,” to be superseded in its turn by the one put there in 1902 and widened in 1910.

The Longford River which flowed beneath its span, wound its solitary way over the heath on its journey from the river Colne near Longford to join the Thames opposite Tagg’s Island, near Hampton. Though its present appellation is now well-established, it has enjoyed a long string of names during the course of its history, to wit - the King’s, Queen’s, Cardinal’s, Wolsey’s and New River, all of which have been current at some period or another. The bed, eleven miles long and twenty-one feet wide, was in fact excavated by Charles I’s orders in 1639/40 at a cost of £4,102, in order to supply Hampton Court Palace and its fountains with water; which would imply a certain inaccuracy in respect of the historical justification for the second, third and fourth names in the above list!

In 1648 residents of Hanworth, Bedfont and Hampton through whose lands the canal passed, objected to it, and during the rebellion attempted to block it by throwing in refuse and knocking down its bridges. Cromwell, when he went to reside at the Palace, had it cleared out and repaired, as did William III at a later date. The bed was formerly much deeper, being constantly kept so by the water bailiffs, and an elderly resident informs us that he remembers large chubb, a fish liking deep water, being caught in it.

Rocque’s map shows another rough track running from the Twickenham Road a short way to the south of the Townsend Ponds, which after passing between them, took a north-north-westerly course towards Hanworth, skirting the edge of the heath and following the line of the present-day Uxbridge Road from the junction with Broad Lane to that with the Hanworth Road, whence it ran westwards more or less in a direct route towards Hanworth. Though there is little positive evidence for the existence of such a track before 1700, there are strong reasons for supposing it to have existed. It would have been almost essential as a means of access to the field holdings which bordered the remoter boundary of the heath to the north, as well as for driving animals from the heath back to the home folds; whilst it would also have avoided making an inconvenient detour through the fields in order to reach Hanworth. Rocque’s map gives evidence of a row of trees standing at frequent and regular intervals between heath and fields, stretching from the Hanworth end for about half its length, though it is possible that this detail is purely conventional. It is interesting to observe that the Orders of Vestry of 1806 refer to an ancient track across the common in terms which probably indicate this heath-edge roadway. There is a faint likelihood that, in the earlier 1600’s, the east end of the ancient Broad Lane, Hampton, bordered the heath edge, since a 1640 Court entry referred to land “per fine vocat broad lane” which would appear to mean “along the boundary called Broad Lane.”

A third ancient eighteenth or even seventeenth century track still in evidence today was a lane which ran into the Twickenham Road north of the stream and which came from an east-westerly direction, having followed the line of the Hampton parish boundary from its westernmost point. The course of this lane which served as the dividing line between the heath and common, was that of the modern Burton’s Road, the ditch and bank of which, together with the old oak and other trees dotted along its northern border, and the open grassland on or bounding the contemporary Fulwell Golf Course, serve as a twentieth-century reminder of the lonely boundary track of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As we walk down this still rural-seeming roadway, our imaginations are kindled by the sight of those trees and this ditch which are legacies of the past. The vast alterations, whether for good or ili, which these same trees have witnessed in the surrounding landscape are the theme of the remainder of this chapter.

" "

The Windmill. Built 1780, demolished 1874.

It would be untrue to say that, at this early stage, the monotony of the common was entirely unbroken, for there were at least two buildings to be seen. One was a smock mill, which had been erected in the year 1780 and stood on a plot of ground across the river and a little to the west of the present-day Windmill Public House, at the upper end of Windmill Road.

This type of windmill, also known as a flock mill, invented about a hundred years after the older post mill, differed from the latter in that the mill itself was stationary but the sails and wind shaft were carried on a revolving top in the shape of a cap, which at first had an arm extending with a chain to pull the top section into the direction of the wind.

Later this was improved upon by an automatic device, but very few of these smock mills are now left and are chiefly found in Norfolk and Essex. It is not known to which type the New Hampton Mill belonged. It is interesting to find that two posts which formed part of a fence enclosing it and crossing the water, together with a brick hut used for the storing of tools employed in its maintenance, are still to be seen on the river’s bank almost opposite the Windmill Inn. A footbridge directly opposite the inn provided a short cut to Cambridge Villas in Uxbridge Road, during the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Pictorial records of the windmill which survive, show it to have been a solid and imposing structure of an old-fashioned picturesque appearance which must have dominated the surrounding countryside in the early days of which we are speaking, much as the spire of St. James’s Church dominates it today. There is, however, one important difference, for unlike the spire, it stood alone, its prospect unobscured by neighbouring buildings.

The second building on the heath, Upper Lodge, which was in evidence in those distant days, is still standing a few hundred yards inside Bushy Park. It is known to have been in existence as early as 1741. Originally built as an imposing private residence, it was for many years the ancestral home of the Pagets. One of the line, the Lady Evelyn Paget, daughter of Lord and Lady Alfred Paget, was, for twenty years a trusted maid of honour to Queen Victoria, and the family enjoyed the personal friendship and confidence of the Royal Family. During the Great War of 1914-18 the building, together with the addition of a number of wooden structures became the King’s Canadian Hospital, the inmates of which were often to be seen playing baseball in the park. The row of war graves to be found in St. James’s churchyard is a reminder of the existence of this hospital. After the war the property became the London County Council King’s Canadian Camp School, which served as a centre for under-nourished children from the east end of London, who were in need of fresh country air, and it used to be a common sight, on walking through the park, to see them playing games or having their lessons out in the open. After the closing of this school in the eariy 1930’s, the Camp School buildings remained empty for a long period, until, during the last war, they were occupied by American forces who were stationed in the park. After the war Upper Lodge itself was taken over by the Admiralty Research Laboratories and it is now almost completely hidden from our view by the buildings belonging to the latter which nearly suffocate it and destroy its character. There are few passers-by who, catching a fleeting glimpse of the few unromantic chimney tops poking out above the medley of grey dome and prefabricated asbestos shacks, can be aware of the history and past splendours which lie buried there.

Apart from the two buildings above mentioned there may possibly have existed one or two lesser structures. There is known to have been a water mill on the Longford River to the west of the present Uxbridge Road, and there must have been a pump-house for this. This mill is, in fact, still in existence - in its mid-Victorian form, access being gained to it along a gravel drive which lies behind tall green gates almost opposite the junction of Uxbridge and Burton’s Roads. It is now under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Works. This was the first mill to appear in the area, having been originally used to pump water for the domestic supply of Hampton Court Palace after the river was dug. The filter beds used for this purpose are still to be seen, though in a very overgrown state. Later, the mill ceased to provide the palace’s main water supply but it continued to supply the cloakrooms until just before the last war, when the large wooden wheel was finally dismantled. At the present time the fountains in the Hampton Court Palace gardens, and, it is believed, the Diana Fountain, are controlled from this point. It is mentioned as a flour mill in an 1863 edition of the SURREY COMET and on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1863. An 1868 edition of the SURREY COMET contains a letter from a Mr. James Deeks, the Hampton Parish Overseer, a master-miller by trade, who writes from “The Watermill, New Hampton.” It has a mill race many feet high, and it used to have a large wooden wheel of which the bay still remains. A pantiled shed which was the former pump-house (probably that used at the period we are considering), may still be seen. The existing pump-house is probably early or mid-Victonan. The spot is still extremely picturesque and rural - one can imagine oneself to be standing in the heart of the countryside and it is easy to evoke the atmosphere of the mid-seventeenth century.

Clump Cottages from rear, 1964

" "

Another group of buildings believed to have been in existence in these distant days is Clump Cottages, which as we go to press still stand at the top of Windmill Road. (Demolished December, 1964) A bronze plaque dated 1792 has been found behind the wistaria on the rear of the brick and wooden house - this side was formerly the front face of the property, Uxbridge Road being at the rear. The cottages, built as they are around a central yard, are said to have originally been built as kennels for the greyhounds belonging to Hampton Court Palace which were kept for coursing in Home Park.

" "

Oxford Cottage and Clump Cottages, 1964.

This cluster still, for a few last languishing moments, forms a pleasantly rural corner, half concealed from the road, with the gardens and vegetable plots bordering the stream, which flows peacefully past under the arch of the old red-brick bridge. Sad to relate, however, they are now at their last gasp, for they have recently been vacated and demolishers are, even at the time of writing, moving in at the rear of the property.

An article in a recent issue of the TEDDINGTON AND HAMPTON REC0RD states that the land on which Wolsey House now stands, on the corner of Windmill and Wolsey Roads, is reputed to have been part of a farm owned by Cardinal Wolsey, and that some of the building’s thick interior walls are believed to have been part of the original farm structure - hence the name given to the house and road. The article goes on to talk of an underground passage leading from the basement to Hampton Court. However, the existence of such a building at the time when our history begins is not authenticated, and it does not appear on the 1863 Ordnance Survey Map although it has appeared there by 1894. It is perhaps possible that this particular building had been demolished by the earlier date and was not rebuilt until later.

Such, then, was the state of the district in the eighteenth and probably the first part of the nineteenth century. The heath’s last epic was the establishment in 1784 of the geodetic base for ordnance, that is to say, gunnery survey triangulation, under the direction of General Roy, Master of Ordnance. The spot chosen, being the south-east end of the baseline eventually used for the beginning of the principal triangulation of Great Britain in 1791, is now marked by a gun barrel, protected within the housing estate off Hanworth Road in Roy Grove, the latter name commemorating the officer responsible. For many years before the building of the estate, the monument lay almost buried in undergrowth on the rough land which formed the site. It is about nine feet long, although only a minor portion, the narrow end of the barrel, is above ground. A similar relic, excavated from the north-West end of the line, at Heath Row, has a place of honour at the Ordnance Survey Headquarters at Chessington.

II. The Birth of the Village 1811-1862:

In 1811 an Act of Enclosure allowed the heathland to be portioned out and areas enclosed, and the land which is now situated between St. James’s Church and the High Street was converted into glebe for the purpose of augmenting the income of the Vicar of Hampton. Such an Act was a prominent feature of nineteenth century land allocation, being partly attributable to the cry for more land to grow corn. At the same time the move meant the destruction of our commons, since freeholders and copyholders on land adjoining them were able to buy and enclose strips of the common land. Here in Hampton Hill, the common gave way gradually to small holdings and then to market gardens, for the land which had lain fallow for centuries well repaid horticultural skill. A settlement grew up and the name New Hampton finally replaced the early designation of “The Common,” to be replaced in its turn in 1890 by the official name of Hampton Hill. As houses and wooden shacks were built for the increasing artisan population, so a community arose distinct from the old riverside one.

The Hermitage, High Street. Demolished 1964

" "

We cannot with certainty pinpoint a year or years in which a village as such first started to emerge. In the year 1820, for example, there was as yet only a handful of houses to the north of the present Uxbridge Road. The distinctive house known as “The Hermitage,” which is set back a short way from the east side of the High Street, not far from its junction with Hampton Road, was included in this number, and is believed to have come into existence about 1811 or possibly a little later. This is substantiated by an examination of old maps. The building shows marked Strawberry Hill influence, not only in appearance, being built in pseudo-Gothic style, but in its name.

The ground on which it stands, together with that of Templeton Lodge next door, was sold by auction on May 9th, 1817. The Hermitage (Demolished December, 1964) and the even handsomer residence next door to it on the other side from Templeton Lodge, namely number 110, High Street, (Demolished December, 1964) are tragically - in the opinion of many local residents - marked down for demolition, planning permission having recently been granted for the development of their respective sites for private dwellings of increased density.

Templeton Lodge, a further building dating from this early period, stands between The Hermitage and Hampton Road, and is of a particularly pleasing appearance. It has a similarly battlemented pediment to that of The Hermitage, and Regency bays flank the handsome front entrance. Fortunately, due largely to the energy and resource of its present owner, this building is now scheduled under Grade II in the Provisional List of Buildings of Architectural and Historical Interest, published by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. It is at the time of writing being meticulously and painstakingly restored by experts. Its owner was encouraged in her determination to save Templeton Lodge by a number of letters from the late Sir Albert Richardson, the eminent architect, who died on February 3rd, 1964. In his last letter he urges - ” Pray continue, for the sake of England.”
For a long time before the present owner bought it, Templeton Lodge was inhabited by a family of well-known local eccentrics. One of them constantly appeared dressed as a bride, even in advanced age, and was made up in lurid colours in the manner of a painted doll. Had she perhaps been jilted on her wedding day?

We learn from the SURREY COMET, September 4th, 1901, that the first owner of this pleasant home was one John Templeton, “one of the finest tenors of the early part of the last century.” He retired to New Hampton and is described as “one of the earliest to make his abode there.” He gave his name to his home but subsequently it became known as Temple Lodge, until it was renamed in 1901 at the time the article in question was written.

All the actual evidence available points to Templeton Lodge as being approximately the same age as its neighbours, but in appearance it seems of a slightly earlier period. The sites of both it and The Hermitage are shown on the Hampton Enclosure Award Map of 1826 as being part of a field which extended almost from the corner of what is now Hampton Road to the point where there is now a pedestrian entrance to Bushy Park. There is, however, an enclosed plot indicated, which could possibly be that bounded by the old wall which at present surrounds both Templeton Lodge and the present Pridham’s Nursery. This might lend weight to the supposition that Templeton Lodge is indeed older than its neighbours as its appearance - which is indicative of the last two decades of the eighteenth century - suggests. In that case it would not have been new when John Templeton moved in as the article would lead one to suppose. None of the buildings we have been discussing is shown on the 1826 map but this cannot be taken as proof that they did not exist by that date as the map dealt with land enclosures. The only actual site shown, which may well be that one already mentioned, is the one near the corner of Hampton Lane, the entry of which into the main high road cannot have been at all well defined at that time.

One piece of information of interest was gained from Pigot’s Directory of 1837 which states that there was a “Ladies’ Academy” in the village at the time, but where it does not say.

It is clear that by the year 1848 there had already sprung up a comparatively sizable community, there being a sufficient number of inhabitants to support the following tradespeople: one baker; two butchers, poulterers or fishmongers - one of which we know to have traded in what is now Humphrey’s butcher’s shop; three food purveyors, including, for example, a grocer and greengrocer; one men’s and one women’s clothier; one corn, coal and oil merchant; one builder or builder’s decorator and two beer sellers. The present Wolsey House Stores contains ovens located in the cellar; and iron gratings in the road, which are now covered by a display window, let out the heat and gave additional ventilation. These cellars have now been filled in with rubble. As has been indicated, it seems doubtful whether this baker was in existence much earlier than 1894 and it is believed that the 1848 bakery was on the site now occupied by the most recently acquired part of Garnell’s hairdressing establishment in the High Street.

The above list, obtained from information given in the trade directory published in that year, gives an idea of the already fast growing community which, although as yet in its infancy, had invaded the heathland to the west of the Twickenham Road, and sown the first seeds of the outspread suburban township of the twentieth century.

The area, in fact, underwent a fairly rapid development at this early stage of its existence. If we move on only another two years, for example, to 1850, we find that the number of tradespeople had swelled to twenty-four - an increase of a round dozen. It is interesting to note that there were now three beer retailers, a fact which is indicative, if not of the size of the community, of the apparently high degree of inebriety of its inhabitants!

One of the three above-mentioned beer houses stood on the site of the present Crown and Anchor. We first find mention of the site of this establishment in an official extract from the will of one James South, a Hampton farmer, who died on November 18th, 1823: “also I give, devise and bequeath unto my Brother, Richard South all that my piece or parcel of copyhold land on ground, situate, lying and being on Hampton Common.” There is, however, little concrete information to be derived from the circumlocutional expression of this document, as there is yet no mention of the house by name, nor is there in the statement dated April 21st, 1825, of the admission of Richard South under the said will. It appears that the house came into being some time soon afterwards. A deed of covenant dated December 19th, 1851, relates partly to one John Cox, of New Hampton, Middlesex, Beerhouse keeper, who was evidently the proprietor of the said house. Before departing from the subject of the Crown and Anchor, it is interesting to record the words of the particulars provided of it in relation to its sale by auction on March 17th, 1856, where it is said to be “a well built copyhold Beer-House, known by the sign of The Crown and Anchor, containing four bedrooms, two parlours, tap room, kitchen, bar, wash house, cellar, with yard and stabling at the rear. Eligibly situated for obtaining a Spirit Licence, being at the corner of the roads.” It was rebuilt in the year 1907 as is indicated by the date on the front of the house, probably in view of the envisaged widening of the High Street which took place between then and 1910. On June 30th, 1924, the property was transferred to Watney, Combe, Reid and Company Ltd.

The second of these public houses was the Duke of Wellington which apparently came into existence some time before 1816, as the contract for a lease of May 14th of that year refers to “all that newly erected messuage or tenement or Public House called or known by the name of the Marquis of Wellington, with the Gardens and Stable, all in the occupation or tenure of Joseph Burton, of the parish of Teddington, Middlesex, Yeoman.” It is reasonable to suppose that it was this yeoman who gave his name to Burton’s Lane. By 1837, however, the house, along with the noble lord for whom it was named, had been promoted to the Duke of Wellington, as is demonstrated by the wording of a similar contract. On October 23rd, 1959, Watney Mann Ltd. purchased the freehold.

It is probable that the third of these beer houses was the Duke of Clarence, which is of uncertain age. Although it could have been renamed, its name might be considered as giving a pointer to its age. There are indications that the present building stands on the site of a yet older one, as where barrels have cracked the cellar floor there can be seen signs of a former red brick floor beneath the present one.

It is worth mentioning that among the tradespeople in the village were a hurdle maker and a basket maker, both pleasantly rural sounding trades. The former would no doubt have used the wood from the nearby copses, recently planted, whilst the latter probably availed himself of the osiers growing by the neighbouring Longford River.

In a community which, although relatively young, was spreading its bounds at such a prodigious rate and was likely to do so even more due to the influx of labourers engaged in laying down the railway and erecting the waterworks, it is not to be wondered at that the spiritual oversight of the area from the Vicarage of Hampton should have been regarded as insufficient. Moreover, the journey to Hampton in those days, when the conditions were less favourable, to say the least, than those of today, must have caused no small inconvenience to the church-going members of the flock - if such there were! Thus it was that the year 1863 witnessed the consecration of St. James’s Church. The bare mention of this fact is all that concerns us here, as the matter will be fully dealt with in a subsequent chapter.

III. The Dawn of Prosperity, 1863-1885:

By a useful coincidence, the first Ordnance Survey map of the district was produced in the same year as that of the church’s consecration, so it is possible to obtain a reasonably accurate impression of the layout and size of the village at the time of the parish’s birth. New Hampton had now grown into a compact, self-contained village, most of whose buildings were nestling along the, old Twickenham Road, or High Street, as this part of it was by now officially called. Although this was by far the main centre of population there was also a fairly large cluster of dwellings in Mill Road (this being the name given to the southern end of the present-day Uxbridge Road). This road was, of course, named after the smock mill mentioned earlier, and ran from the top of the already existing Windmill Lane, as it was then called, to the Twickenham Road. The remaining part of the thoroughfare, to the spot where the Hope and Anchor now stands, was designated as Hounslow Road. Apart from the two colonies above mentioned, there was only the odd scattered dwelling-house to be found in the neighbourhood, and again, most of the latter were situated along Windmill Lane, which served as a connecting road linking together the two parts of the village. The community, at this period, or very soon afterwards, was able to support a far greater number of tradespeople than before: four bakers or confectioners; two butchers, poulterers or fishmongers; six food purveyors; probably at least one men’s clothier, two women’s clothiers; two boot and shoe makers; one corn, coal and oil merchant; five builders, or decorators; and three beer retailers. The last but one item is, perhaps, the most astonishing one in the list - it certainly points to the fact that the development of New Hampton was proceeding apace at this stage in its history.

Apart from the roads already mentioned, there is evidence on the 1863 Ordnance Survey of the existence of Hanworth Road; St. James’s Road (as yet unnamed); Hampton Road, and, of course, Burton’s Lane, as it was then called, together with one or two minor roads tuning off the High Street, namely, Providence Row or Road (this being an alley on the site of the present-day Cross Street); Holly Road (or Surmon’s Lane as it used to be called locally); Park Place; and a small cul-de-sac, leading to the Pantile Cottages. The latter are still to be seen, derelict, on an overgrown site adjacent to the Territorial Army Headquarters.

The High Street itself had by now been developed fairly solidly and there was already, as today, an almost continuous spread of residential and shop property on both sides of the road, stretching from Holly Road as far as Burton’s Lane.

Let us take a stroll in our imaginations, down the high road in a south to north direction, keeping to the left-hand side of the road and observing the various buildings as we go. After leaving behind us the Pantile Bridge, we pass the small row of cottages of the same name, standing at right angles to the road. There are no further buildings until Park Place which has two solitary dwellings in it and has not yet been named. There is no Myrtle Road but we see a house where it now runs. Next comes a line of a dozen or so houses and shops reasonably well spaced out, culminating with the Crown and Anchor and the bottom of Windmill Lane. This is followed by a small draper’s shop and two complete rows of shops and cottages separated by a picturesque alley in which two pretty cottages stand. (This alley must have looked much the same as it does today, flanking what is now Beale’s Butcher’s Shop.) We pass the Duke of Clarence public house at the corner of Providence Row (Cross Street) which contains a practically complete row of houses on the left-hand side from the direction of High Street, together with two houses a little to their rear. After passing this not very pleasant alley on our walk, we see two detached buildings (one of them probably being the contemporary “Prospect Place“). These are succeeded by a single house set back a little from the road and then comes another, facing directly on to the roadside, this being followed by a row of large, pleasant residences, separated from the roadway by seemly front gardens. (These “gentlemen’s” houses still exist at the time of writing but may well soon have ceased to do so as it is understood that a new road will run behind them through what is now their large back gardens.) We continue our walk and see no familiar parade of tall Victorian shops but in their stead, nursery land extending as far as the present-thy St. James’s Avenue in one direction, and as far as the point at which the present-day Sloggett’s the builders stands, in the other. We can see the path, later to be followed by Park Road during the early part of its course, as a gravel track through the nursery. Just in sight beyond the limit of the nursery land we can see the Regency terrace which ends at Burton’s Lane, and just across the lane from the cottage (which is appropriately called “Last House” nowadays) stands the Duke of Wellington inn, just outside the parish boundary.

Crossing the high road and returning along the other side in the direction from whence we have just come, we cross Hampton Road, then known as Teddington Lane, which has a row of terraced houses on the left-hand side as one directs one’s gaze from the High Street, with a gravel pit just beyond them. Opposite stands “The Laurels,” later to become Laurel Dene, which is now part of an old people’s home, and there are two large houses graced with front gardens on the site of the present Broadway shops and Paine’s undertaking establishment. Farther along comes Templeton Lodge, as yet unnamed, The Hermitage and the handsome No. 110, next we pass a very large house standing in its own grounds, several more slightly smaller establishments and then we come to a property believed to have been a brew house, this being probably The Jenny Lind. The brewer’s archivists inform us that it would appear that this was first used as a public house on or about May 31st, 1849, at which time it apparently traded as a beer house. Following this is the handsome house, recently demolished to make way for the new garage and flats being erected at this moment. This subsequently housed Mr. Chandler’s York Laundry and later became the West End Cleaners.

Proceeding on our way, we now pass a row of terraced cottages with long front gardens (these terminated at the lane which now leads into the Park, and have long since vanished. They were said to have had pretty painted ceilings). After the cottages are some further cottages and shops and the beer house known as The Brewery Tap. (This occupied the house next to the present Ye Olde Shoppe, and is now merely No. 46, High Street.)

We pass the Post Office and after passing several more little shops and cottages come to the building which is now Humphrey’s butcher’s shop, one of a small, old-fashioned row of shops set back a little from the pavement, and entered by descending two steps. This building is known to have appeared probably in 1819, as we have at hand an indenture dated December 30th, 1818, between one George Bevis, bricklayer, and Joel Hetherington, butcher, for the transfer of “that piece and parcel of freehold land situate in the Parish of Hampton - lately part . . . of a large piece of land formerly parcel of the commons or wastelands of the said parish” which lately belonged to a Samuel Durnford, who had recently purchased it from “the Right Honourables, the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Woods, Forests and land Avenues.” Although resembling buildings of an earlier period the property where Mr. Humphrey still carries on the trade of butcher, cannot therefore have been in existence until after 1818.

It would also be reasonable to assume that the present-day Post Office, which has a battlemented pediment similar to those of the Hermitage and Templeton Lodge, came into existence at about the same time as they did, following the disposal of the common and Crown lands as a result of the 1811 Enclosures Act. In 1835, the Post Office building went into the possession of Edwin Makepeace’s printing firm. The present Post Office took over half the building in about 1840, whilst the printing works, once owned by Mr. W. Austin, has continued to do business to the present day under the title of “The Hampton Press” in the remaining portion of the building.

We come now to a few more small properties, including, we believe, a forge and then to the Star public house of erstwhile unsavoury reputation. (Highly respectable and smart nowadays, this house had the reputation of being a most disorderly one, as the reader will be told in a subsequent chapter.) Although mention of it occurs quite early in parish history the brewer’s archivist tells us that their earliest known mention of this property by name is in a deed dated November, 1898. The house has latterly been renovated into its present trim appearance.

" "

Pantile Bridge and watersplash, High Street, 1890's

Continuing our walk in 1863 we leave the Star behind and pass a row of buildings long since vanished, which terminate approximately opposite Surmon’s Lane, and then stretching on our left is the unbroken expanse of Park Wall at the end of which can be seen the narrow Pantile Bridge with its watersplash by its side.

Buildings in Windmill Lane at the time included two cottages on or near the site of the present Windmill public house, two further semi-detached cottages and the long, low bungalow in front of that known as Rosedene today. This was originally two tiny cottages as can be seen by the shape of the two front doors visible through the stucco. This old property is now scheduled for destruction. There was then open ground until one reached a small house, recently demolished, standing at the corner of what is now St. James’s Avenue (which, of course, did not exist until much later). There was open farm land where the Windmill Road school now is and then then came a row of small cottages just before the railway cutting which was in course of being dug, although the railway itself was not to be opened until the following year. Past the cutting on the way to the high road were sundry small properties, including those of Lewcock’s and Larter’s alleys which still today retain their rural character, the former having recently been delightfully restored. (The 1863 Census gives the Lewcocks as being “powder makers.”) Next came the Congregational Chapel housed in the small white building which is at present the meeting place of the Hampton Hill Spiritualist Church. The Congregational Church was, in fact, the first church to appear in the village, having originally been opened as far back as 1838. Some years later it was closed due to lack of support, and it was not reopened until 1867 when it acquired a new lease of life. It is interesting to note that the followers of Johanna Southcott had used the building in Windmill Road, even before 1838. (Johanna Southcott (1750-1814) was the leader of a wealthy sect, still flourishing today with headquarters in Bedford, who believe that when a sealed box containing her prophesies is opened in the presence of twenty-four bishops, secrets will be revealed that will end “crime and banditry, distress and perplexity.”)

The southern side of the lane was at this time almost devoid of habitation save for the Crown and Anchor and the village smithy where the anvil rang out on the site of what is now Cadwell’s steel yard.

In Hanworth Road, there stood one building of particular note but of dubious fame. This was the Hampton Poor House which was situated in Cannon Field, it is believed just to the north-west of the point marking the east end of General Roy’s base. Though mentioned on the 1863 Ordnance Survey map its exact position, for some reason, is not indicated. This seemingly unhealthy institution was administered by the Hampton Board of Guardians, the reports of whom lead us to suppose that it was far from comfortable and that its fare was of the plainest. We hear that thirty years later, in 1894, “the house was clean and in good condition” and that “the bread was fairly good,” but these commendatory remarks are scarcely borne out by the fact that some of the men in the receiving Ward complained that their clothes had been gnawed by rats. The chairman of the board said that it was a new building and he could not for the life of him make out how it could be infested with vermin, but a Mr. Andrews offered to point out six or seven rat holes “any time the chairman liked.” So there seems to be a slight discrepancy between the evidence furnished from the official standpoint and that indicated by first-hand experience of the inmates themselves.

At this time, Mr. Gardiner, the master, reported at a meeting of the Board that he had three hundred and ninety-four such, and had helped two hundred and forty tramps “during the past fortnight.” At the same meeting it was agreed that all the old women should be given the option of having teapots and making their own tea. A little later there were allegations that the tramps lodged there were being ill-treated, and a grim resolution was moved by the Hampton Parish Overseer, Mr. Austin, to the effect that “the barrel cages now used as cells for tramps to pick oakum in be pulled down and entirely done away with.” Seven years ago he had found these cages full of tramps, locked in and unable to effect an exit to obey the laws of nature. In spite of the Board’s instructions, two years ago the cages had again been full. One very cold day a man had said, “This is horrible. I would rather be in prison any time than here. I should get better food and should not be shivering in cold to catch my death.” Mr. Austin solicited the Board “in the name of Christianity and humanity to do away with the cages,” and it is the writer’s pleasant duty to report that his resolution was carried. Although meetings of the Board are reported in 1894 the establishment does not appear on the 1894 Survey, so it is possible that by the time of the drawing up of the Survey it had been demolished. If conditions such as the ones described above, existed as late as 1894, one can only hazard a guess as to what they were like in 1863.

In Mill Road (Uxbridge Road from the high road to the river bridge) as has already been indicated, there was a comparatively large collection of buildings. Included amongst these were Clump Cottages, nestling by the bridge, in front of them the attractive Oxford Cottage. Further along the road stood the handsome houses which still grace the neighbourhood today, namely Rectory Lodge, with its long front garden, and Gothbrook House at its side and slightly in the rear of it.

This house is believed to be as old as any in the village and is again of very Gothic-type architectural style, manifesting Strawberry Hill influence. It is said to have been enlarged at about the same time as The Hermitage was built - the single-storey cottage part probably dates from an even earlier penod. Its windows were conveyed from a French monastery and this fact gives the place a most ecclesiastical appearance. We are told that the monastery bell originally placed there vanished soon after the house was occupied by a family by the name of Street Access was formerly gained to it by a curved drive, of which part remains as the track leading to the rear of Lady Eleanor Holles School. There is a small brook running down its present dnve, continuing under Uxbridge Road and along the newly-laid out Arundel Close. It is, no doubt, this brook - coupled with the house’s appearance, which suggested its name.

Next came the row of Regency-type houses known as Cambridge Villas, and directly opposite the Jolly Gardeners tavern stood a building which has since disappeared. There was no further building as far as the triangular junction between Mill Road and Hanworth Road, but at the junction stood, as it does today, the pleasant Pound Cottage and further on about four other cottages served by a well.

Pound Cottage owes its designation to the ancient village “pound” or enclosure, which once stood on the tiny isolated triangle between Mill and Hanworth Roads, This was where the Hampton parishioners could impound any animals straying over the boundary from Hanworth to graze on Hampton Common. The cottage now stands just outside our parish boundary to remind us of this bygone custom.

On the opposite side of the road from Clump Cottages, the smock mill would have no doubt held the stage. Then came the collection of picturesque cottages still in existence, just to the west of the Jolly Gardeners’ tavern which is marked clearly on the 1863 Ordnance Survey, although not, of course, by name. This house is known to have been in existence before 1851, as reference is made to it as a beer house in a lease contract of June 4th of that year. Apparently beer used to be served from the premises adjoining it, now 92, Uxbridge Road, and indeed there is mention of the sale of this and an adjacent cottage, together with the public house on March 22nd, 1860. It appears therefore that they were part of the Jolly Gardeners’ property. On June 30th, 1924, the house came into possession of Watney, Combe, Reid and Company.

Past the tavern were two further cottages, an attractive house now demolished to make way for a new building scheme, and a row of five terraced cottages which are in existence today. There were no further buildings between these and the Twickenham Road (or High Street). Between Hanworth Road and Broad Lane was an area of woodland. In the 1860’s the little Mill Road colony, which was served by a well situated opposite the end of Hanworth Road, would have formed a small village community of its own, huddled close to the mill.

Hounslow Road (the upper part of present-day Uxbridge Road from the river bridge to the Hope and Anchor) contained no buildings at all with the exception of Rosina Villa, known by 1894 as Ringwood and demolished since to give way to a house in Ringwood Way, and a large farm called Vicarage Farm, which was situated at the corner of what is now Cranmer Road. In the 1861 Census it is described as a farm of 135 acres held by Mr. William Deacon and employing seven labourers and five boys. Its life span was seemingly brief for it had disappeared by the year 1878.

A cart track left Hounslow Road at the side of the farm and wound its way round to St. James’s Church, following the course of the present-day Cranmer Road to the point where it now crosses Park Road, whence it turned right via the route of Park Road-to-be, joining St. James’s Road close to the Church. St. James’s Road was at this time no more than a crude pathway giving access to the latter.

Burton’s Lane joined the Hounslow Road at its present junction. It possessed no buildings except for a single unnamed house at the Twickenham Road end. The whole area between Burton’s and Windmill Lanes, together with the area north of the former, consisted of wide open fields, in the midst of which stood the church, a squat, humble, rectangular building without side aisles, tower or spire, completely isolated from the main village. The circumstance of its being erected thus out in the wilds is the occasion of much speculation, but it was probably due to the fact that the land, being glebe land, was of lesser value to the main church, than that bordering the main road. The prospect of St. James’s Church must have been an attractive one indeed in its original rural setting. Faced with the prospect of encroaching development, in 1874 the incumbent took the precaution of establishing a covenant on the glebe in the immediate vicinity of the church, to protect its amenities in the future and to maintain it as the centre of a high class residential neighbourhood - a far sighted piece of private town planning which, up to this day, has protected St. James’s from being spoiled by undesirable developments springing up around it.

Such, then, was the outward appearance of the neighbourhood just over a century ago. Its inward character, as is to be expected, is less readily definable but perhaps one of its most remarkable characteristics was the fact that it could boast an array of seven beer-drinking establishments, six of which still survive. This, at a time when the village was still in its swaddling clothes, and the parish itself only just born, is a figure which would take some beating! For all its small size and perhaps unpretentious air, Hampton Hill has certainly enjoyed - and at the same time been disgraced by - an astonishing record where the sale of strong drink is concerned! This was due largely to the fact that many of the first temporary wooden shacks, for such they were, were occupied by thirsty labourers imported into the area to build Hampton Water Works and also to construct the Thames Valley Railway. There were literally hundreds of these labourers - who would, no doubt, have prodigious thirsts.

The first essential difference which would impress itself on the casual observer, were he transported back in time over the last hundred years, would be, then, that the large area bounded by Uxbridge Road, Windmill Road, the High Street and Burton’s Road, which is today densely built up, was to a great extent devoid of human habitation. Secondly, the building which would first confront the eye of the observer would be the windmill, whilst the church building, lacking the dignity of its tower and spire, was certainly not the landmark which it is today. If we appreciate these two vital differences we shall be given a reasonably clear impression of the contrast between the one-eyed hamlet of New Hampton at the time of the parish’s creation and the bustling effusion of activity stemming from the newly emerged, stereotyped, red-brick offshoot of the metropolis which is Hampton Hill as it is seen at the culmination of its first hundred years of parochial life.

The first day of the year following that of the survey, namely 1864, witnessed the advent of the railway with the opening of the new-laid Thames Valley Extension Line, which is reputed to have run through “the most picturesque scenery imaginable.” During its making there was a camp in Burton’s Lane, the tents of which were occupied by Irishmen who were doubtless engaged in its construction.

There were at first fourteen trains a day, from Fulwell station, seven up to London and seven down. The greatest effect wrought by the introduction of the railway was, as we shall see later, the expansion of the existing local nursery industry, which no doubt profited greatly from the improved communications.

The year 1864 also saw the erection of the original vicarage of St. James’s, a large rambling, typically Victorian, house which occupied the same site as the present vicarage but was farther from St. James’s Road, down which it faced. It cost £1,269 to build, exclusive of the outbuildings, and various contributions were donated towards its cost. It must have appeared a splendid residence to the inhabitants of a community described by Henry Ripley as being “destitute of every social and useful institution.” The population of the village was now one thousand, one hundred.

The next year, 1865, saw the erection of the old school premises for girls, in what is now School Road. This was the beginning of the history of the church schools which is being dealt with fully in a subsequent chapter.

The next two or three years were fairly static ones, but some interesting SURREY COMET cuttings of the year 1868 refer to the sale by auction of a great many plots of land situated in Windmill Road, on an estate adjoining the “Queen’s River.” The lots mentioned had frontages on to the “highroad “ - meaning presumably Windmill Road itself - and the “New Road” which could be none other than the apparently newly-constructed Wolsey Road. This implies that development was envisaged on the southern side of Windmill Road at this time. On July 4th of the same year appeared a report of the completed transactions in respect of the plots of land aforementioned, and also of the sale for £195 of a site for a tavern thirty-one feet wide by a hundred and twenty-seven feet long, situated in the same road, and it may be fairly safely conjectured that the tavern to which reference is made is the existing Windmill public house. The original building was a pleasing weatherboard structure and was changed into its present form, it is conjectured, early in the first decade of the twentieth century, since in July, 1901, tenders were being requested for “the re-erection of the Windmill Road beerhouse.”

A further report of July 18th of the same year refers to the sale of a certain amount of leasehold property in the same thoroughfare, including a semi-detached dwelling house with “a blacksmith’s shop,” which has been mentioned elsewhere - this being in the occupation of a Mr. T. Lush. Another report of March 20th, 1869, refers to a house to be let near the “Queen’s River,” “suitable to laundresses and others, containing seven good rooms, side entrance for horse and trap, and room to build stable and chaise house. Plenty of spring and soft water, also a good drying ground.” There was indeed a laundry on this site until about the mid 1940’s. On October 9th, 1869, mention is made of the sale of plots of land “having frontages on Myrtle Road, Park Place, and Westbank Road,” while the sale of a freehold residence in Myrtle Road is announced as a footnote to the same report. It is thus revealed that the roads specified had sprouted up and that their development had been embarked upon by the said year. It is also reported that Wolsey Terrace, this being another comparatively new block of houses, “in the occupation of a Mr. Pasbach and others,” estimated production of £100 per annum. Clearly, as is shown by these divers scraps of information not only Windmill Road itself, but the area in general, was continuing to undergo a face-lift at about this period.

The Roebuck public house, in Hampton Road, situated just outside the parish boundary, one of the last licensed houses to make its debut in the area, probably appeared about this time. The brewers have in their possession a conveyance dated December 31st, 1867, to one William Farnell, brewer. The deed makes reference to land situated “near a Gravel Pit, the property of the Parish of Teddington.” There is no further mention of the house or site until July 15th, 1889, which is the date affixed to the conveyance to the Isleworth Brewery Ltd., of “all that piece or parcel of land in the Parish of Teddington, Middlesex, on the south-east of a road now known as Alpha - formerly Cambridge - Road and on the north-east side of the High Road leading from Hampton Road to Teddington, together with the messuage and premises used as a public house, called ‘The Roebuck,’ with the yard, stable, coach-houses and outbuildings belonging thereto.” Further conveyance of the property to Watney, Combe, Reid and Company Ltd. is dated June 30th, 1924.

Another public house, the Rising Sun, between the Pantile Bridge and Holly Road, on the west side of the High Street, probably came into existence as a beer house at about the same time or shortly afterwards, as there is definite proof of its existence by the year 1880, when the property was purchased on behalf of the old Friary Meux Company, then known as the Friary, Holroyd’s and Healy’s Brewery Company Ltd. In 1935 the house was granted a wine licence, and in 1953 was made a full on-licence for the selling of beer, wine and spirits.

The next principal event was the erection in 1870 of the new Congregational Church building in the High Street, which is still with us today. The foundation stone was laid on June 30th of that year by a Mr. Henry Wright, of Kensington. The site had been donated, with great generosity, by two ladies whose identity was not disclosed, and the cost of the erection of the church was estimated at £1,500, to which £1,243 had been contributed equally generously by public subscription. The actual cost was £1,600. The building Committee consisted of the Rev. D. Horscraft, the minister, a Mr. G. Graves, who acted as secretary, and three other gentlemen, to wit, Messrs. C. Allison, F. Newman and M. Loam. The building, in the words of a contemporary report, was “in the Gothic style of architecture, freely treated and adapted to modern requirements,” and was designed to seat three hundred persons; whilst the erection of a schoolroom to adjoin it was envisaged in the not too distant future. The SURREY COMET of July 2nd, 1870, relates that a large number of people were assembled for the ceremony of laying the foundation stone, and the report continues: “A bottle containing a copy of the Christian World and Daily News, a lithograph of the Church, and list of subscribers was placed in a cavity in the stone, immediately under the foundation stone.”

Mr. Wright, in his address, said, “May blooming youth and tottering age there blend with one accord in prayer and praise, and joyful ring Hosannas to the Lord.” He believed there was as much joy in the hearts of those present as there was when the first stone of St. Paul’s Cathedral was laid. It was quite certain, at any rate, that Mr. Wren had not such a nice stone as he, the speaker, had to lay that day. In laying the stone and erecting the building they looked to the Government for no aid. They did not desire to dip into the public coffers; the church would be raised by the free-will offerings of the people, and it would be a free church. A tea meeting was subsequently held in a tent which had been erected specially for the occasion in a field adjoining. It was “a day of great rejoicing and unmitigated happiness for all concerned.”

A remarkably short time afterwards, on Sunday, October 16th, the completed building was opened to the public. The SURREY COMET informs us that sermons were preached in the afternoon of that day by the Rev. J. Parker, of Poultry Chapel, on the theme of “To see Jesus” and in the evening by the Rev. L. D. Bevan, who deviated from his discourse to warn those present to beware of pickpockets, intimating that some were known to have been there; The collections on this occasion totalled £39 3s. and in the interval between the two services eighty worshippers sat down to tea in the old chapel in Windmill Road.

The SURREY COMET was pleased to describe the newly-opened church as “situated in the centre of a rising neighbourhood” and “built principally of brick and Bath Stone,” mentioning in passing that the builders were Messrs. Dove Brothers, of Islington, and that the architect was Mr. Tahlberen Basinghall St. Lord - an appropriately illustrious appellation! On the Wednesday evening following, the children attending the Sunday School in connection with the chapel were given a treat to celebrate the opening of the new place of worship. It was held in the old chapel “where they were regaled with a plentiful supply of tea, cake and bread and butter.” A Mr. Michael Loam afterwards exhibited “a splendid collection of dissolving views, illuminated by the oxy-hydrogen limelight, much to the delight of the little folks.” As an epilogue to these exciting events it may be mentioned that, on November 19th, 1870, is reported the sale of the unused chapel at New Hampton for £260 by public auction.

On the completion of the new building the church comprised thirty-two members. The schoolroom which adjoins the building at the rear was erected in 1873, whilst the detached school building to the north was put up in 1912 on an additional plot of land purchased in 1900. In 1910 the High Street was widened to accommodate dual track tramways, and a strip of land along the frontage of the church was purchased for this purpose. This resulted in the church’s entrance opening actually on to the pavement. A Manse was purchased for the occupation of the Minister in 1905. This was in Uxbridge Road, and was a large three-storey dwelling, old-fashioned and unsuitable for its purpose and was sold in 1921, the present Manse in Broad Lane being purchased in 1925. During the Second World War, the church sustained slight damage caused by bombing, all the windows being broken, and for some time the building was uninhabitable and services were held in the schoolroom. Soon after the war, however, renovations were effected and the interior of the church redecorated. Opportunity was taken at this time to do away with the hot water heating system, and to install gas heaters and a system of electric lighting. Owing to age, the roof, especially on one side, began to give much trouble and in 1957 this was stripped and reslated at a cost of £300. At the same time the spire on the roof was found to be in a dangerous condition, so this was taken down and the present cross erected in its place. Within the last two years additional alterations have been effected. The dilapidated entrance porch has been demolished and the interior altered to provide a porch within the body of the building. The interior of the church has been wholly redecorated, a new system of under-seat electric heating has been installed, and a false ceiling erected to reduce the great height and conserve the heat. In addition, the organ, which was purchased secondhand some sixty years ago, has been thoroughly overhauled and reconstructed. These works have cost in excess of £2,000 and the debt has not been entirely cleared by the time of writing. During its history the church has been served by ten different resident ministers. The Rev. T. A. Shepherd, pastor since 1957, left in September, 1964, and a successor has yet to be appointed.

The quality of the property in the neighbourhood during the period we are considering was apparently very poor. The area was described by the Rev. J. Burrows, Vicar of St. Mary’s, Hampton, at the ordination of the parish’s first incumbent, as “a wilderness with a number of habitations of the most wretched kind, inhabited by a still more wretched class of people.” In his annual parochial report of 1873 the Rev. F. J. Fitz Wygram made a statement to the same effect, in which he referred to improvements he had carried out at considerable cost, in the cottage property of the neighbourhood, which doubtless constituted a large proportion of the total property of the area. He declared that he had experienced great difficulty owing to the copyhold tenure of the land and the exorbitant fines demanded for enfranchisement. He then went on to say: “Arrangements, however, have been made at last by which eight miserable hovels will shortly be pulled down altogether, and eight others, which were not quite so bad, are being converted into decent cottages. There are still many cottages in a state which is perfectly scandalous, but I fear there is little chance of improvements being made, as the process of pulling down and rebuilding - which is the only thing to be done in many cases - is very costly, and the officials of the Manor Court have shown themselves utterly indifferent to the interests of the poor. Till the copyholders take steps to bring the matter under the notice of Parliament, or of the public Press, the royal manor of Hampton Hill will continue to be disgraced by a number of hovels which are hotbeds of disease and fever. It is very difficult for the poor to keep themselves clean and respectable in some of their present homes. Much misery is no doubt attributable to ignorance and drink, but no small amount is due to sickness, arising from causes quite within the control of the owners of the cottage property. Good cottages, at a reasonable rent, have a great tendency to raise the tone of the population and to prepare the way to the reception of religion. It has, therefore, seemed to me quite a clergyman’s province to call attention to the subject.”

It appears that the area causing greatest offence in this respect was Providence Row which is described in the SURREY COMET of March 20th, 1875, as “a well-known dirty alley leading from High Street.” Mr. Fitz Wygram was at this time directing his efforts towards the improvement of this particular part. He is quoted in the same issue as saying, “Twelve of the cottages having come into my hands, extensive alterations will be effected in the course of the summer,” and the report continues, “Having purchased a field at the rear of this row, the Vicar has opened a thoroughfare, widened, with a small exception, the roadway of this alley and lighted it throughout with gas lamps, thus converting a repulsive neighbourhood into a respectable near approach to both main roads. Several houses have been erected on this new road, all of which are occupied and at cheap rents.” Contemporary observers will have noticed that the same road, now Cross Street, has been subjected to a similar face-lift in more recent times, and many of the diminutive cottages, with their cramped living quarters, have been superseded by flats.

Providence Row was by no means the only offender, however, for the resourcefulness of Mr. Fitz Wygram was employed to great effect in the entire neighbourhood. It was indeed not until after his ordination that the era of prosperity of the village really began. Through the initiative and will power of this gentleman - combined, be it said, with the opportune construction of the Thames Valley Railway - the inferior property of the neighbourhood was swept away, lock, stock and barrel, and a rapid transformation was effected in the village, both on the residential and the spiritual and social fronts. In the words of Henry Ripley: “The many squalid, unhealthy and overcrowded cabins were acquired and pulled down; streets lined with comfortable cheaply-rented cottages or commodious villas sprang up in all directions, and nearly every institution or movement necessary to the well-being of a community was inaugurated and carried out to a successful issue, without any regard to the expense entailed.”

Many of the dwellings set up by Mr. Fitz Wygram may be recognised by the somewhat peculiar building material used in their construction. This is a tile-like material, the blocks of which are longer and less rough than bricks, said to have been manufactured by a building business under the ownership of Mr. Fitz Wygram in the north. These blocks form no more than a superficial casing; for old garden walls constructed with them, such as still exist in St. James’s Road, are observed to be no more than faced with this material, the backs being filled in with rubble. Houses built with this material are particularly numerous in School Road, School Road Avenue and the small stretch of Windmill Road, between the railway and School Road. These houses form one of the more unusual features of the neighbourhood.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the population of New Hampton had risen from one thousand one hundred in 1864 to one thousand three hundred and twenty-two in 1871, and again to one thousand five hundred in in 1875. Thus its growth as a residential area was still on the up gradient, and as yet showed no signs of slackening its pace, but the quality of the neighbourhood was apparently not keeping up sides with the rate of its development.

A more favourable note is struck, however, by Mr. Fitz Wygram on the occasion of the reopening of St. James’s Church following its enlargement in December, 1873. He referred to the changes which had been witnessed by the area during the previous five years: “Those who are acquainted with the neighbourhood will remember the little church on the rise between the railway and Hampton hill. But five years ago it and the vicarage stood alone. Now the whole neighbourhood is being dotted with villas, many of good size and considerable pretensions. We hear that an arrangement has just been made for the rapid completion of all houses and for a more systematic covering of a considerable additional portion of building ground. This should make New Hampton one of our fashionable suburbs with pure and bracing air and pleasant walks in pretty country lanes.”

The reference to Hampton hill, that is, the hill at New Hampton, is of particular interest as it shows how the official renaming of the district at a later date was anticipated, and no doubt occasioned by such a customary appellation. It would appear that the crest of the hill, which would, of course, have been far more conspicuous before increased development had obscured its contours, was regarded as being situated at the Westernmost end of the present Park Road.

After a further space of two years, there appeared in the SURREY COMET of March 13th, 1875, a report of the opposition to the procuring of a licence for the King’s Arms public house, “situate on the new estate called the Hampton Hill Estate, part of the glebe of Hampton, upon which estate there were originally intended to be six licenced houses.” Ouly two had been built at this date, one being the King’s Arms, which had cost £1,500— the Jolly Gardeners being the other. At the date of the article it is stated that only thirty-nine private houses had been completed. The King’s Arms was, until fairly recently (1954) situated on the west side of Uxbridge Road, close to the top of Windmill Road and its building has now been converted into a newsagent’s and greengrocer’s shop. Its opening in 1875 raised the total number of such structures in the village to eleven!

The building of fashionable villas was consistently progressing during the 1870’s and there were thus appearing in the area a class of people likely to increase its trade, augment its income, lend it tone and give alms and assistance when called upon to do so.

The energy and enterprise of Mr. Fitz Wygram was seemingly inexhaustible, for by the year 1881 he had further had erected seven or eight handsome houses in St. James’s Road (which now had a name), all of which residences were rented by the August of that year. The same year saw the erection in the High Street, at his instigation, on a site formerly occupied by a block of old cottages belonging to him, of the Fitz Wygram Working Men’s Club. This is described by Ripley as “a commodious block of buildings” which is “replete with every feature essential to the edification and amusement of the working man, and is an institution of which any village might be proud.” It was inaugurated on Wednesday, January 4th, 1882. The building still stands a short distance to the north of the Post Office, and the inscription over the doorway has not yet been effaced. On the same site was erected a “coffee palace” as well as various other shop properties adjoining it, these being the fruits of Fitz Wygram’s last endeavours in the direction of building improvements.

Some years previously, the village had at last bidden a sad farewell to one of its most ancient landmarks—the old smock mill. The exact date of its demolition had for a long time remained shrouded in mystery, but an enlightening news item extracted from the SURREY COMET of November 14th, 1874, by the abstract team, reports the interment of a workman “who . . . died from injuries received while pulling down the windmill at New Hampton.” Thus it seems that all arguments as to the date of its demolition are finally dissipated. One cannot write of this occurrence without experiencing a pang of regret for the windmill must have presented a most picturesque, old-fashioned aspect.

In the year 1882 there was much agitation in the neighbourhood for the provision of a new entrance gateway into Bushy Park. It was complained by the inhabitants that they “contemplated a brick wall which ran along the east side of their principal thoroughfare,” but had to go to Upper Teddington or to the Duke’s Head to gain access to the park. Towards the beginning of July an “influentially attended” public meeting was held at the boys’ school. The Lord Mayor of London, the Right Honourable Sir J. T. Ellis, Bart., who was in Twickenham with the Prince of Wales visiting the Police Orphanage, was expected to preside, and there were thus flags flown along the High Street, and the schoolroom was decorated in his honour. He was unforeseeably delayed, however, and the Rev, and Hon. H. Bligh, who had now succeeded the Rev. F. J. Fitz Wygram upon the latter’s death, took the chair. At this meeting the residents were given the opportunity to voice their grievance. The Rev. H. Bligh declared that: “while admitting they had many blessings for which to be thankful in the shape of pure air, a healthy locality, and their situation in the midst of cornfields and country lanes, there still remained a long blank, inpenetrable wall which ran the whole length of the village.” These remarks furnish us with a pleasing impression of the idyllic character of the countryside then surrounding the village - many of us alive today would wholeheartedly concur in the belief that as far as scenery was concerned, the villagers had indeed much for which to be thankful.

Mr. Bligh went on to explain that they could not approach Her Majesty directly but that their petition must be presented along the official highway, and he was afraid it might thus lose some of its effect. On July 29th, 1882, a deputation consisting of the Rev, and Hon. Henry Vesey Bligh, Vicar of Hampton Hill, General Hopkins, Mr. Loftus Fitz Wygram, Mr. H. Bowling and Mr. F. Martin waited on the Right Honourable Lefèvre, Her Majesty’s First Commissioner for Works, at Whitehall Palace, in order to seek satisfaction in this connection. The Commissioner, alas, obdurately refused to listen to their pleas, declaring that he feared that the park might be used as a means of communication between one place and another and that paths might detract from its rural character.

On September 9th, 1882, however, the long days of frustration and patient forbearance were over. The residents’ importunity, and above all, the untiring energy of Mr. F. Martin, of the Parish Vestry, had at last won the day, and it was reported in the SURREY COMET that “Her Majesty had signified her consent to the entrance in question and that the necessary instructions would be given in the matter.” The SURREY COMET of May 26th, 1883, states that “the new entrance into Bushy Park is at last made, though not in the position wished for, being at the extreme end towards Hampton instead of in the centre by the Fitz Wygram Coffee Palace.” The same report tells us that it was thirty-six years since an effort was first made to obtain an entrance. It is not known exactly when the “swing-gate” entrance (situated at the end of the short lane to the north of the Fitz Wygram Club) appeared, but it was there by 1890 as the new cricket pitch which was laid down in that year was described as being adjacent to it.

The year 1882 saw the provision of a cemetery to St. James’s Church where formerly there had been nothing but a small yard. The scheme that New Hampton should share a ground with Hampton had been found unacceptable, and so the Vicar of Hampton gave the parish a further acre of ground adjoining the original yard.

IV. Bacon’s Map and the Nursery Gardens, 1885-1894:

The next map of importance to which we can refer for details of the development which had accrued during the previous two decades is Bacon’s map of the Thames Valley dated c. 1885. This shows that a number of new roads had now sprung into existence, including School Road, which provided access to the school, Cranmer Road, Easthank Road, a portion of Queen’s Road branching off Hounslow Road, and, of course, Westbank Road, Myrtle Road and Wolsey Road. Cranmer Road did not extend for the whole of its present length, being curtailed about half-way between Burton’s Lane and Park Road.

Park Road, looking east, 1890's

" "

The two ends of Park Road, from Hounslow Road to St. James’s Road, and from High Street to the railway bridge, had also appeared as two separate tracks, but there was as yet no middle section. In addition to that mentioned earlier, further development had by now taken place in the following areas: along the Hounslow Road, Queen’s Road, St. James’s Road and the existing parts of Park Road, where a few odd buildings were scattered, including Park Villa (now 104 and 106, Park Road), and a large house standing in substantial grounds, known as “Chorlton Lodge,” situate opposite The Wilderness.

In addition the whole north side of Windmill Road is shown to be developed, and also the eastern end of Burton’s Lane. There is a large building marked to the south side of Burton’s Lane just to the west of the railway bridge. The old Congregational chapel in Windmill Road is marked as a Reading Room, and a Primitive Methodist chapel, since demolished, is shown on the west side of Wolsey Road on a site now occupied, we understand, by “Stanley Villas.” This chapel moved to the building which was to be later adapted into the Victoria Hall and is now occupied by Modern Industries Ltd.

The addition of the side roads, gradually encroaching on the unbuilt up areas, meant a steady increase in development but the area between Burton’s Lane, the railway, Windmill Road and Hounslow Road, however, was still a large stretch of practically unspoilt countryside; the tendency was as yet only a seeping in upon, rather than a large-scale inundation of, nature’s preserves.

The event of the greatest significance - dealt with in detail in a subsequent chapter - which was to take place during the next eighty years was the addition of the Golden Jubilee Victoria tower and spire to St. James’s Church. The spire has been a local landmark ever since - uncomfortably so during the 1939-45 war years! The additions lent a new dignity to the church, which was formerly of such modest proportions, and indeed it must have appeared very imposing and have made considerable impact on the village at the time of its erection. Below is an eyewitness description of the spire and the surrounding countryside as seen by a contemporary observer journeying in a trap from Twickenham to Hanworth :- “As we emerged from the confines of villadom, the country that met our view was charmingly picturesque and pastoral.

“Although modern railroads have shut us off from observing the general features of the country through which we pass so rapidly, still, when we drive along a country road like this, we find the same charms of Nature that inspired the ancient poets; the woods, the fields, the water and the very air being crowded with myriads of sporting creatures. Here, although so near town, we had, as we drove along, a peep at the heart of the country, with now and then picturesque groups of rustic labourers, and husbandmen in the harvest field, bearing their sunny burdens, whilst peace and plenty smiled everywhere.

“Presently, the much admired Church of New Hampton, with its beautiful steeple soaring into ‘the ambient sky,’ came into view, forming a fine background to the outspreading valley, in which pasture and cereal crops were most pleasingly blended.

“Then we had also a genuine country roadside with its wilderness of greenery to grace the travel-stained wayfarer’s pathway, with here and there patches of nettle, coltsfoot and dandelion ...."

It is perhaps hard to imagine that these words were inspired by the neighbourhood in which we now live. Nevertheless a walk down Duke’s Head Alley to this day may give a pretty fair idea of what it must have been like, and a stroll across the present Fulwell Park, formerly part of the Fulwell Golf Course, where nature has again been left to run wild, and where the church spire towers distantly above the meadow grass and bracken, will lend to the contemporary observer a glimpse of the countryside as at the time of the above description.

During the late 1860’s and the two decades following, the growth of Hampton Hill, as has been indicated, had continued to proceed at an ever-increasing rate. This onrush may be attributed to the fresh upsurge of activity occasioned partly by the building and operation of the new Hampton waterworks and partly by the spreading nursery industry, which had taken a new lease of life as a result of the opening of the Thames Valley Railway in 1864.

The large areas of ground under open nurseryland and glasshouse cultivation became the most characteristic feature of the area from this date onwards, not diminishing until the early 1920’s. The principal growers were Sherwood’s, Page’s, Gill’s and Mime’s as well as May’s Nurseries - from which Mays Road takes its name - which were just outside the parish but obviously employed many village workers. There were also many other small cultivators.

Sherwood’s Nursery, the largest, covered the area north of the railway between Burton’s Lane and the present Park Road. Mr. Sherwood, its founder, is understood to have originally lived in a house in Windmill Road, situated between the windmill and the present St. James’s Avenue, where he started to grow, as a hobby, asparagus fern in a small greenhouse, from plants given him by a neighbour. Finding a market for his produce, he then moved to the double-fronted house in Windmill Road opposite School Road, and, still being interested in asparagus fern, he rented a plot of land situate opposite, and erected a few greenhouses upon it. Apparently Mr. Sherwood started carnation growing at this time and being inspired by his great success in that direction, he launched out on a big scale and bought a considerable plot of land off the northern section of St. James’s Road. This extended along Burton’s Lane as far as the gardens of the newly laid-out Seymour Road. Mr. Sherwood became one of the finest carnation growers for miles around and his success in this direction earned him high renown. King Alfred daffodils were another of his specialities during the winter months, but carnations were his chief interest. The only reminder which remains to us today of the existence of this nursery is Sherwood Road, which follows the path of one of the old nursery tracks. Mr. Sherwood in the days of his prosperity inhabited the fine house called Haslemere, which he had had built, with a ballroom at the rear, in the recently constructed portion of Park Road. This house is at present occupied by Mr. Harrison who owned British Anzani Ltd., which has recently moved out of the district from its former Windmill Road site.

Page’s Nursery was situated where Ringwood Way now runs, to the west of the present Uxbridge Road. It specialised in carnations and gardenias. Gill’s “Swanhurst” Nursery was situated on the east side of Mill Road (Uxbridge Road) to the south of the Jolly Gardeners, and specialised in chrysanthemums, carnations, cyclamen, lettuce and all varieties of bedding plants. At the moment of going to press “Town houses” are being erected on this site.

The area to the west of St. James’s Road, bounded by Hounslow Road and Cranmer Road, was also occupied largely by nursery land belonging to the Milne family who lived in “Lindsay Lodge,” Park Road. This house was built by the said family in 1887. We are told that a box containing newspapers and coins was buried under the foundations when the house was built, to be discovered when it is demolished. Lindsay Road, which follows the path of another former nursery track, owes its name to these nurseries.

There were also the Avondale Nurseries in Queen’s Road, and at the rear of the Windmill public house was situated Greenwood’s Nursery, whilst Lay’s Nursery Gardens, in Hounslow Road, occupied the area between Thuriston House and the watermill, this being possibly the same as that observed as long ago as 1863. There were large nurseries on both sides of Hanworth Road at the Mill Road end, one of these occupying the triangle between Hanworth and Mill Road. A much smaller nursery was situated between Windmill Road and where Park Road now runs, to the north of the railway line, and there were even more minor concerns in the areas between Wolsey and School Roads and Windmill and Holly Roads. The area over which St. James’s Avenue now winds was occupied by orchards and allotment gardens.

" "

High Street, 1903, looking north.

A glance at the number of tradespeople able to be supported by the neighbourhood in 1890 shows the far reaching effect of the opening of the railway extension. For example, during the period between 1868 and 1890 there was an increase in the number of butchers, poulterers or fishmongers from two to three, of food traders from six to thirteen, of women’s clothiers from two to six, of boot and shoe makers from two to five, of corn, coal and oil merchants from one to five, of builders and decorators from five to thirteen and of beer sellers from three to nine, not counting the Duke of Wellington and The Roebuck situated just outside the parish boundary.

After 1891 the growth of the village received a sharp check for whereas between 1881 and 1891 there had been an increase of one hundred and twelve in the number of inhabited houses in the district, between 1891 and 1901 this number was increased by only forty-four. Similarly the rise of population which had increased by three hundred and fifty-nine in the first period, only rose by two hundred and sixteen in the latter time-span, standing at two thousand five hundred and eighty-nine in 1901 as against a present-day approximation of five thousand nine hundred and eighteen. The number of inhabited houses has now reached approximately one thousand five hundred and twenty-one, amongst these several blocks of flats.

High Street, c1903, looking south.

" "

The number of tradespeople suffered a marked drop also, bakers or confectioners by two, butchers, poulterers or fishmongers by one, food purveyors by one, women’s clothiers by one, bootmakers by two, coal merchants by one, and most significantly - builders and decorators by five. There was in fact a drop in the numbers of trades and professions in the area from one hundred in 1890 to seventy-seven by the turn of the century, almost as if the development of New Hampton up to the early 1890’s had run past itself and the time had come for it to pause, as it were, to take stock of itself.

V. The Turn of the Century, 1895-1915:

By 1894, which is the date of the next Ordnance Survey map, the most significant change shown is the linking up of the two ends of Park Road. Seymour Road and School Avenue - as it was first called, Albert Road, Edward and Laurel Roads had also made their debuts, whilst Queen’s Road had now been extended to join up with Burton’s Road, though it was no more than a nursery track. St. James’s Avenue existed at this time in the form of a simple pathway providing access to the church from Windmill Road, whilst School Road was a track leading exclusively to the school buildings. At the School Avenue end was a green gate which was generally kept locked, being opened only on special occasions, whilst School Avenue (now School Road Avenue) was also shut off at the Wolsey Road end. At the end of School Road was the playing ground, still in existence, which was originally given to the parish by the Fitz Wygram family. A bridge leading from Holly Road to School Avenue had come into existence but was not yet a public thoroughfare, serving solely as a cattle crossing. The land here was mostly agricultural ground, with only a few scattered houses. It is interesting to note that prior to Park Road’s completion, gravel was taken from its site to be used for the strengthening of Wolsey Road. At the same time - the beginning of the 1890’s - there appeared the plane trees which form such a familiar feature of Park Road, these being planted by Sherwood’s Nurseries on the road’s completion.

One or two minor changes in name took place during the last decade of the nineteenth century. Burton’s Lane became Burton’s Road, and School Avenue became School Road Avenue, whilst Queen’s Road first acquired a name. From 1890 onwards there were two Park Places, one being the road so called today, previously known, confusingly, as Park Road, and the other being the row of shops in the High Street, next to the Fitz Wygram Coffee Tavern and Club. Perhaps the most interesting change, however, was from Providence Row to the more prosaic Cross Street, this change being effected in 1893.

The High Street of the 1894 Survey would be easily recognisable today being then, as until recently, a mixture of good residential houses and shops and industrial property. There were even comparatively few changes in the ownership and use of the shop property. Perhaps the one most indicative of the age was that Messrs. Stockwell’s gave up being coach builders to become bicycle manufacturers.

As has been said, at the south end of the High Street, to the side of the Pantile Bridge, was situated a water splash. Owing to the narrowness of the bridge most vehicles made use of the splash’ which served to wash down the carts and also to supply a constant source of water for the Fire Brigade’s pump practice.

Taking a stroll down the High Street from this point, in the mid to late 1890’s, on the left-hand side one would encounter the Congregational Church, immediately afterwards came Holly Road, or Surmon’s Lane, which at this period could boast a pair of villas. On its left side, when approached from the High Street, was a large field, known as Bailey’s field, separated from the road by a ditch and a high hedge. A fair used to be held on this field, the roundabouts of which caused considerable local annoyance. On the opposite side of Holly Road was a nursery run by Chipperfield’s, a small greengrocery business, on the present site of Gostling’s builder’s yard and offices; between this and the Crown and Anchor were two firms familiar to us today - Keates, the funeral directors and monumental masons, and Prewett’s Dairy, as well as divers small dwellings and shops including Grey and Hill’s drapery store. Prewetts used to do their milking in sheds behind the shop but now their cows are at Leatherhead and the sheds have been converted to house their electrically operated milk floats. The yard behind the shop is remarkable for its picturesque bell tower which was bought, together with the bell which weighs five hundredweight, by the late Mr. T. Prewett from an estate in Combe Hill. Mr. Prewett also laid down the ornamental garden flanking the shop. We are told that this occupies the site of a derelict public house - which we are unable to identify - owned by Mr. T. Bailey, who also owned the field in Holly Road.

Continuing to the north of Windmill Road, on the corner opposite the Crown and Anchor, one would see Rowland Moores’ drapery establishment, entered by descending two steps, and then came a medley of cottages and shops terminating in the before-mentioned alley lying between the present butcher’s and tailor’s shops. Part of the present-day hairdressing establishment was Storey’s bakery. There were in fact some fifteen trades of every possible description spreading along this section of the High Street. Included in the array was the Duke of Clarence, on the site of whose garden was a small cottage.

On the far side of Cross Street - so called since 1893 - there was a dressmaking and millinery business following which came into view the handsome residences which we spoke of as having been in existence as far back as 1863. Next came the typically Victorian shops, including the Wellington Farm Dairy and the sub-post office and terminating at Park Road where an auctioneer and estate agent occupied the site where Barclays Bank now stands. It is probable that by this time, the gas lamp on its two-stepped platform, which used to stand at the cross roads before being removed for road widening, had already appeared. Behind the shops was situated a row of mews, occupied on the ground floor by stables and on the first floor by residents - these mews are reputed to have been “most picturesque.”

Across Park Road were two further tall shop buildings, now occupied by an ironmonger and a hairdresser; then the tennis club ground and finally the Regency cottages terminating in the contemporarily named “Last House” which occupies the corner of Burton’s Road opposite the Duke of Wellington.

On the opposite side of the road, starting once again from the Pantile Bndge, buildings began just opposite Holly Road where there are none today. These included a row of whitewashed cottages known locally as “Whitehall,” a barn, another building of unspecified use, and the old fire station which was a tall red brick erection with a Dutch gable, and large red double doors. In the yard at the rear there was a tall rack used for drying the hoses; the High Street façade of the Star public house was cement-faced and whitewashed but the side was of plain brick. All the buildings between the Star and the bridge are believed to have been demolished at the time of the road widening. We know that a bakery already stood where Clark’s bakery now is and that there was a blacksmith’s shop to the right of it. The rural post office - kept by Makepeace’s, and the Brewery Tap show little change. The Brewery Tap, which used to be called the “Mud Hut” in village parlance, retained its licence until 1913. It was the headquarters of the Pigeon Club and a fly was kept, presumably for hire, in the yard at the rear. Of later years the property has been used as a delivery depot for milk and latterly as a private residence. Further along towards the north, stood the building until recently the West End Cleaners. It is now demolished but at the period we are considering it was a flourishing laundry run by a Mr. and Mrs. Chandler. On the site of the contemporary Steven’s Garage there were situated four shop properties, one of which was occupied by a firm of auctioneers. The ground where “Gordon Court” now stands was at this time part of the gardens of “Laurel Dene” in Hampton Road, this being still a private dwelling house. Finally, on the east side of the road before the cross roads there came the buildings aforementioned, which were there in 1863, namely, the group including the Hermitage, Templeton Lodge, 110, High Street and Pridham’s Nursery.

The area enclosed by the northern part of the High Street, Hampton Road, Laurel Road and the Urban District boundary was known as the Grove Hill estate. Throughout the 1890’s, if not longer, the Misses Adams’ Ladies’ School thrived at Addiscombe Villas, in Hampton Road, and “Springfield” and “Stafford Lodge” had appeared in Laurel Road. Up to the year 1895 there was no building at all on the east side of the High Street between the district boundary and Hampton Road but then, from this time onwards Matthews’ (now Edwards’) stores, the London and Provincial Bank - the first bank to open in Hampton Hill - the Victoria Hall and three pairs of semi-detached houses made their appearance within the space of a few years.

The Victoria Hall stood on the site now occupied by Modern Industries Ltd. Its erection in 1897 was instigated by a specially-formed Hampton Hill Hall Company in fullflment of a growing need for a public meeting place other than the Boys’ School, which was situated in School Road on the site now occupied by the church hall. (Some confusion as to the whereabouts of the Boys’ School has been experienced due to the habit of the Press of describing it as being in Windmill Lane or Mill Road, even after School Road had been laid down.)

With a capital of £1,200 the Victoria Hall Company was able to acquire a site on a plot of vacant ground to the north of Matthews’ Stores for £400 and to buy a corrugated iron hall belonging to the recently dissolved Teddington Constitutional Club. The remainder of the money was used to rebuild the hall on the new site, to extend it and to equip it with a good stage, with seating for four hundred and a floor suitable for dancing. The Victoria Hall, which was of less pretentious appearance, perhaps, than its name would imply, was opened in Diamond Jubilee Year on Thursday, November 4th, 1897, by the chairman of the company, Mr. Foster. Since the licence had not yet been procured, the opening was limited to an impromptu programme consisting of music and recitations.

A Hampton Hill Day Nursery had been in existence at least since 1890 as the SURREY COMET, in March of that year, describes it as “an excellent institution” and reports it as being imperilled for lack of funds. The year prior to this it had fed and cared for four hundred and ten children at fourpence per day. We have not been able to find out the site of this establishment.

Of the roads west of High Street, Park Place, Seymour Road, Albert Road and Edward Road had all undergone building developments, but the most striking development was in Myrtle Road, where the number of dwellings shot up from three in 1892 to thirty-two in 1899. Albert Road had one pair of semi-detached houses on the east side whilst Edward Road was endowed with two rows of terraced houses on the west side, separated by a wide gap, and a further such row on the east side, at the Park Road end. Four “Holly Villas” were set up in Holly Lane where only three houses had stood in 1890. Twenty-three new houses had sprung up in Cross Street by the latter date, and a further eleven in Eastbank Road, making the total number of houses therein twenty-four by the turn of the century.

Ten new houses were constructed on the west side of Wolsey Road and in addition to the Primitive Methodist Chapel mentioned earlier, a corrugated iron chapel was built by Mr. Ridge (proprietor of the Wolsey House Stores and a lay-preaching enthusiast) in the grounds behind his shop. It was affectionately known as the Tin Chapel and a few of the older residents who attended Sunday School there recall how, on rainy days, they could hardly hear the lesson for the noise of the rain rattling on the roof. Though no longer in existence the whereabouts of the chapel are still shown on the Ordnance Survey Street map of the Twickenham Borough.

Another ecclesiastical erection was the Westbank Mission Room which stood, we are told, on the site of what is now No. 1, Westbank Road, and was demolished towards the end of the last century. Be it not thought that the spirit of mission in the parish had thus come to an untimely end, for there was built, without deferment, a new Eastbank Mission Room in Cross Street, being the second building along on the left-hand side when viewing from the Eastbank Road end.

Windmill Road was by now fairly solidly developed on both sides. The Phoenix Temperance Club, with its headquarters in the building now occupied by the Hampton Hill Spiritualist Church, was an active organisation in the early 1890’s but ceased to exist by the turn of the century. On the opposite side of the road the new Hampton Hill fire station was opened in 1899 on the site next to the present public library, and there were also one or two shops at the east end of the road, including a laundry and the village smithy - Dobson’s - where the blacksmith’s hammer still clanged noisily next to the railway line. Beyond the railway was Pavett’s farm, this being situated on the site of the present Windmill Road Primary School building; and in the whitewashed house next door, which has recently been demolished, lived a Mr. Blanchard who is known to have kept a horse and cab.

Opposite, stood the present Wolsey House Stores, which had now been converted into a shop combining butcher, baker and greengrocer, provisions and hardware. In the front of the shop was a long iron railing where the meat carcases were hung - the last remaining vestige of this is seen in a big black iron hook by the main entrance. Six ponies and traps were used to deliver orders as far afield as Esher. It was not until September, 1963, that the remains of the stables were dismantled.

On the opposite corner of Wolsey Road, a grocer’s shop was situated where one stands today. An interesting detail is that cricket balls used to be made at this time at 8, Wolsey Terrace, this being now 59, Windmill Road. At the upper end of the road stood the building which until recently was occupied by the Anzani factory which manufactured outboard motors. It was a saw mill at the period of which we are speaking, and at a later date was taken over by Rapid Photography Ltd., a firm which produced photographs of stage and early film personalities. The building is soon to be demolished, together with four others, including one of the oldest cottages in the village, to make way for a large council development.

Such then was Windmill Road in the year 1894. In the following year, 1895, there was some agitation for the construction of a railway station near the Windmill Road bridge but the railway company paid no heed to it. In 1896 the Urban District Council sought the Crown’s approval for the use of the south bank of the Longford River to provide an agreeable short cut to Hampton for the people living in the vicinity of the church, but the Crown could not be persuaded that this move was a desirable one and the efforts made were fruitless, as have been other such efforts made at intervals since then.

The inhabited part of Park Road was mainly confined to the section lying between the railway bridge and High Street although there were, of course, the aforementioned “villas” at its upper end. The reason for this appears to have been the state of the railway bridge which was described, in a complaint by a neighbouring resident, as “an unsightly and inconvenient bridge which is not safe for ordinary vehicular traffic and is so narrow that those who happen to be on the bridge when a trap is passing incur grave risk to life and limb.” In a further communication the same correspondent referred to this “inconvenient wooden abortion,” which, incidentally caught fire in its centre on August 3rd, 1899, being the second occasion in twelve months that such a vexatious circumstance had arisen and the SURREY COMET reported that as a result of this fire “an unofficial notice has been placarded on this effete structure requesting passers-by to refrain from dropping lighted matches on it" a wise precaution indeed. There were numerous appeals made to the railway company to erect a more satisfactory bridge but these were resisted on grounds of expense. Eventually, after a long struggle, the railway authorities announced that they would renew the bridge “between midnight and seven a.m. on Monday, September 18th, 1899" which measure, it can be appreciated, did not exactly comply with the requirements of the residents. In the year 1902, however, this frail, totally inadequate construction was replaced by the present bridge and at the same time the road, which had curved over the bridge was straightened into its present form. Beyond the bridge, on the south side of the road, was a large gravel pit on the site of the present Nos. 25-29, Park Road.

On the north side of Burton’s Road, just outside the parish boundary, there was a farm known firstly as Deacon’s, subsequently as Deacon Howe’s and sometimes as The Wellington Farm; access to its cowsheds would have been gained by an entrance in Burton’s Road at the point where Links View Road now joins it. The section of the road to the west of the bridge was still open country, not yet given over to nursery land.

By 1894 and even as early as 1885, thanks largely to the efforts of the late Mr. Fitz Wygram, St. James’s Road had been developed with large, good-class property, five large houses on the west side, “Willowbrook,” “Walton Lodge,” “Seacombe Lodge” (now “Heathcote “), and “Armaside” (the contemporary church house “Wayside,” built in 1883 as witnessed by the date on its façade), and Larkfield Lodge into which Mrs. Fitz Wygram moved in 1881. On the northern section of the road stood “The Limes” and St. James’s Lodge (believed to have been a nursery school), with fields opposite them. On the east side, as well as the church and vicarage, there were “Murree House,” built for the Butler family on their return from Indian Service, “Cornwall Lodge” and “Roxberry.”

Cranmer Road had now four houses on the east side at the southern end, “Somerford House,” Seaton House” and two unnamed. The remainder of the section south of Park Road was composed of nursery land on the west side and allotment gardens on the east. The section north of Park Road, which still did not meet Burton’s Lane, ran between the grounds of two large properties, both facing on to Park Road, the one to the east being “Carnanton,” home of the Stutchbury family, and the one to the west the house now converted into a home for the elderly. The northernmost part of Cranmer Road was given up to allotments.

The present-day Uxbridge Road was still divided into two distinct sections, Mill Road and Hounslow Road, separated by the bridge over the Longford River, which we are given to understand, also had a water-splash by its side. It was very narrow, and was widened after a considerable tussle in 1890, but it was not until 1898 that the new bridge was ready for use. On the south side of Mill Road were Clump Cottages, Oxford Cottage, the two pairs of large semi-detached houses next to it, Rectory Lodge with the present Gothbrook house to its rear, Cambridge Villas and nursery gardens between it and the Hanworth Road.

The area between Broad Lane and Hanworth Road, facing the triangle between the latter and Mill Road, was covered, for the most part, by extensive nursery land. Between this and the road, at about where Marling Park Post Office now stands, was situated a large female orphanage, housed in a building of “commodious proportions” originally intended as a luxury hotel. Although this was, in fact, outside the parish boundary, its inmates formed a prominent and well-remembered feature of the village life, and it thus deserves a special mention in our history.

The orphanage was founded in the first instance at Walthamstow, by a Mr. Joseph Stevenson, to look after destitute London children, and later moved to Elstree, Rickmansworth and Hampton (it is believed in 1873). The SURREY COMET of May 21st, 1892, tells us that sixty children were provided for at a cost of £60 per year, the medicine bill for the year being 9s. 9d.! The report goes on to say “the children wash and mend their clothes, knit their stockings, sew their garments, bake their bread before they eat it, and keep their large house beautifully clean and neat. The older ones look after the little “dots” and they are a little social world among themselves.”

In 1894 the home was able to accommodate seventy girls and had sixty-six actually “sheltered under its hospitable roof.” The inmates, all of whom had lost their fathers, many their mothers also, were described “as being most needy, some being cases of great urgency.” They were admitted by the committee in charge of the home “as funds permitted.” The home provided an outlet for the “beneficent intentions of the well-to-do,” and was run by a committee on which Mr. Kitchen, of the Hampton “Manor” House, was prominent. In 1894 the children were committed to the care of a most kindly and efficient matron, Mrs. Reddick, and the SURREY COMET stated at this period: “Not only is every attention paid to the bodily requirements and cleanliness of the little ones, but they also receive a sound Christian education and a thorough domestic training to fit them for the battle of life when they leave the home.” Many of the local gentry gave the children treats and we read of their being entertained to tea at Sussex Lodge. Sales of work were held to swell the funds demanded for the upkeep of so large a house and its extensive grounds; and games and sports used to be organised for the delectation of the little ones, on Cannon field. A resident tells us that the orphanage had its own school, whilst the children customarily attended either at St. James’s or the Congregational Church, and were always “neat and clean and well-behaved.” We are told that they were dressed in red frocks with white pinafores. We understand that the building later became a boys’ school whose pupils are remembered as “wearing tall hats,” and it was finally demolished in the early thirties.

On the opposite side of Mill Road there were still, as at the period of the 1863 map, several houses from the more recently built “Pomona” and adjacent houses facing the east end of Hanworth Road, to Fairlight - home of Dr. Dashwood Howard - and Sussex Lodge, which two houses had been built on the site of the smock mill. These have now been pulled down in their turn, to make way for the new Fairlight estate. There were still no houses at all between Hanworth and Twickenham Roads, (High Street) and the area to the south of the road, east of the railway bridge, was covered by woodland.

In Hounslow Road, there had arisen a number of sizable houses on the south side, Thurlston Lodge. Longford Villa, Eton Lodge - which was the home of the Mason family - Fawnhope and Burlington House, originally a boys’ boarding school, run by a Mr. Elsee. Later it became a school for girls and is now The Lady Eleanor Holles’ Preparatory School and boarding house. There followed a large disused gravel pit, which was succeeded by Lismore, three pairs of large semi-detached houses and the group of buildings which has since been transformed into shop property - namely Kings Arms buildings. On the opposite side of the road there were seven detached houses from Lothian Lodge to Melrose at the junction with Burton’s Road, but the stretch between Queen’s Road and Windmill Road was still undeveloped.

The neighbourhood was now beginning to resemble closely that with which we are familiar. The spread of development continued to encroach more and more on the dominions of nature, and the areas between the High Street and the railway and that surrounding the schools, all of which had now been almost completely filled up, did not differ greatly from the same areas as they appear today - the one notable exception to this being the field to the south of Holly Road. There were still, nevertheless, conspicuous oases remaining amid the expanse of bricks and mortar. In the terrain which lay between Hounslow Road, Windmill Road, the railway and Burton’s Road, nature still had a foothold controlled but as yet not obliterated.

At its meeting on May 11th, 1897, the Urban District Council took the vigorous step of instructing the Surveyor to prepare plans for the making-up of the portion of Park Road east of the railway bridge, Albert Road, Edward Road, Eastbank Road, Cross Street, Wolsey Road, School Road, School Road Avenue, Park Place, Myrtle Road and Westbank Road. This was the first occasion on which the Council had invoked the powers conferred upon it by the Private Street Works Act of 1892. A number of householders objected to the scheme on the grounds that the envisaged works were out of all proportion and that there was no call for them on account of the small amount of traffic which was liable to take advantage of them. Although these objections were overruled at a special sitting of the Spelthorne Petty Sessions on September 3rd, 1897, there were delays due in the first place to the difficulty in obtaining a loan sufficient to cover the cost of the development and, in the second, to the inefficiency of the contractor. As a result of this it was not until the year 1899 that the work was finally completed. In the same year a seal was fixed to a conveyance of a piece of land by Mr. H. Kimpton to connect Wolsey Road with School Road Avenue.

In 1903 the introduction of electric tramways - which will be dealt with in a later chapter - did much to open up the area. The following year saw the opening of the Fulwell Golf Course, which this year celebrates its Diamond Jubilee. This took over the large stretch of countryside - once Slade’s Farm - to the north of Burton’s Road, and, fortunately for us, has preserved it to the present day; otherwise it would have been, without doubt, engulfed by development.

VI. More Modern Times, 1915 onwards:

Development regained momentum again in the early decades of the twentieth century and by the year 1915, which is the date of the next Survey map - a copy of which hangs in the Church Vestry - further conspicuous changes had taken place. The most striking of these was in the area north of the railway line between Windmill and Park Roads, most of which had at last succumbed to the onslaughts of the builder. St. James’s Avenue had now been laid out in its present tortuous form, but the side of the horseshoe nearest to Windmill Road was curtailed at the point where the two sections now meet. This part of the road was already fairly heavily developed. The nursery situated to the west of the railway was still holding its own, though hemmed in on all sides. Marked alterations had taken place in the area bounded by Holly Hoad, the High Street, the railway and Long-ford River. Myrtle Road had been extended in both directions, whilst Bailey’s field had surrendered unreservedly to the besieging bricks and mortar. On the far side of Myrtle Road a small orchard still managed to survive.

The widening of the High Street to accommodate double track tram lines had swept away “Whitehall” cottages, the old fire station and several more barns and cottages. Park Road had by now been lined with houses on both sides between the railway and St. James’s Road, the most intensive development having occurred on the south side, erasing all trace of the old gravel pit The upper stretch of Park Road, on the other hand, still traversed open arable land, with the exception of the six large properties at the top - i.e., western - end.

There had been additional building on the south side of Windmill Road, between Wolsey Road and the High Street; Wolsey Road had been slightly extended; Holly Road, on the side opposite the old Bailey’s field, the east side of Edward and the west side of Albert Roads, the small stretch of Burton’s Road between Albert Road and the railway, Seymour Road and Hampton Road opposite Laurel Dene - all of these areas had now been entirely built up.

In St. James’s Road a church room had appeared halfway down the east side, in the vicarage grounds. Uxbridge Road had by this time had its present title conferred upon it. The land west of Uxbridge Road, including the Marling Park and the site of the present-day Rectory Estate, with Hanworth Road running through them, had up to now wholly escaped development. This large area was wooded on the east side and criss-crossed with paths. The twisting Longford River skirted its north edge and its west boundary was marked by Dean Road which provided access to the recently built sewage works.

There were two large nurseries, one situated to the west of the present-day Rectory Estate and the other being the still flourishing St. Clare Nursery. An isolation hospital stood on the south side of Uxbridge Road, east of the nursery, whilst filter beds, water and the before-mentioned sewage works did nothing to improve the area.

In spite of the fact that development was sprouting up here, there and everywhere, the nursery industry, far from being squeezed out of existence, was still thriving, and indeed if anything, slightly expanding. The areas still covered by nurseries were - apart from those already mentioned - those between Park Road and Burton’s Road, Uxbridge Road and the river, and between Hanworth and Uxbridge Roads. There was also a smaller concern between School Road and Wolsey Road. Thus there were nurseries of varying sizes scattered prodigiously over the neighbourhood. During the last thirty-odd years, however, all these patches of land have fallen, little by little, into the hands of developers. Five years ago Page’s Nursery was sold and this was followed, more recently, by Gill’s Swanhurst Nursery, in Uxbridge Road. So, in the year 1964, there is only one nursery of any size remaining in Hampton Hill - namely St. Clare’s Nursery, which owes its survival to the guardianship of its landlords, the Hampton Fuel Allotment Trust. Pridham’s still do a small but popular trade in the High Street and there is a further small concern in Uxbridge Road. Thus, of the widely spread acres of glasshouses which were the most characteristic feature of the neighbourhood less than a third of a century ago, there remains scarcely a vestige.

The changes which occurred in the area during the next twenty years were mainly due to the fresh building which arose on nursery ground, but one major development did not owe its appearance to this cause. This affected St. James’s Road when, in the thirties, the Rev. F. P. P. Harvey sold a large part of the vicarage grounds for building. This move on his part gave rise to much bitterness in the vicinity and several old-established families “left the church.” In 1939 the residents of the large houses opposite were so disgusted by the invasion of their privacy that many of them, gathered up their goods and chattels, held last regretful tennis parties and moved away in search of “fresh fields and pastures new.” Of those that remained there was one “die-hard” remnant of the village gentry who was so deeply wounded that he never again walked on the side of the road occupied by the new houses, but crossed the road immediately opposite his own house and walked past the offenders with averted face. Upon his death, however, the unfortunate gentleman was wheeled on the church bier along the offending side of the road, which must have done violence to his feelings, always supposing that he was, at the moment capable of having any!

The old, inconvenient vicarage had been pulled down previous to this event and the present building was built in 1937.

The south end of Cranmer Road was developed about 1924, followed by the part of Burton’s Road west of St. James’s Road and the north end of Cranmer Road. Lindsay Road was developed in 1933 on the site of the old nursery, and this was followed in the next year by the pulling down of Chorlton Lodge and the erection of the block of flats, known as Park Mansions, at the top of Park Road. The year 1935 saw the construction of the houses on the southern side of Burton’s Road between the railway and St. James’s Road as well as Sherwood Road and this development presumably marked the eclipse of Sherwood’s Nursery, although it may have lingered on in a restricted area for the next year or two. In 1939, or thereabouts, the houses which face the Fulwell Golf Course, at the west end of Uxbridge Road, were erected, and 1941 saw the construction of Longford Close although the road was not adopted by the Council until 1952. These were the first shoots of the newly-grown Longford Estate, which was to take the place of yet more nurseries.

At the extreme western end of the parish, there sprang into existence, just after the war, the extensive Rectory Farm Estate comprising Rectory Grove and Bishop’s Grove, both of which entered the parish scene in 1946. At about the same time houses and shops appeared in Dean Road opposite Rectory Modern School.

The Lady Eleanor Holles School, founded at Cripplegate in 1711, moved to its present building on the site of part of Mason’s Nurseries in 1937, to be followed two years later by Hampton Grammar School, which moved to its present modern-style £100,000 buildings from the Upper Sunbury Road in Hampton, where it had occupied the buildings which at present house the Twickenham School of Commerce. In 1939 also, Rectory Secondary Modern School moved into the third school building to be erected on this large area of ex-nursery “charity” ground at about the same time. The whole of this land formerly belonged to the foundation of Hampton Grammar School, having been rented from it by the nurserymen. The Old Hamptonians’ Association had already bought a corner of the land by Dean Road in about 1930, and this is still used as their sports ground and has recently seen the opening of a splendid sports pavilion, replacing the former wooden shack.

Mason’s Nursery still occupied a corner of the land east of The Lady Eleanor Holles School until a few years back when this last remaining remnant was finally sold to the school as an extension of their playing fields.

Just after the Second World War, at approximately the same period as the building of the Rectory Farm Estate in 1946/7 there appeared the council houses in the triangle between Hanworth and Uxbridge Roads, including Cannon Close and Roy Grove, appropriately named after General Roy, who, it will be remembered, set up an Ordnance Survey base there.

In more recent years there have appeared the block of flats called Gordon Court, situated to the left of Steven’s Garage, in the High Street, in 1960; Winifred Road and Ringwood Way, newer additions to the Longford Estate, in 1956 and 1962 respectively; Arundel Close, off Uxbridge Road, and Hartland Road, off Queen’s Road, on the site of part of the garden of The Wilderness, in 1960; Cranmer Court - the row of terraced maisonettes on the triangular plot of ground enclosed by Cranmer, Park and Uxbridge Roads in 1959 and 1960; the flats in Chelsea Close off Cross Street during the same years, work being resumed there at the present day, and finally, the Fairlight council flats in Uxbridge Road in 1963, these being the result of a competition in which well-known architects were invited to submit plans to Twickenham Borough, who were at some pains to choose those which they considered the most suitable for the pleasant site. At the same time care was taken to preserve the screening trees. The dates given for Ringwood Way, Arundel Close and Hartland Road indicate the years of the adoption of the roads in question whilst the other dates of the developments which have occurred since 1915 make reference to the years in which the plans for the developments concerned were passed. It may, therefore, be assumed that the developments themselves took place in the same or the following years.

At the time of going to press a number of additional striking developments are taking place, notably the building of a large block in the High Street designed to accommodate a garage, car park, public conveniences and a parade of shops as well as luxury flats, on the site previously occupied by the West End Cleaners and an adjacent plot of rough ground. Also in progress since last year is the erection of a housing estate in The Garth - not yet adopted - on the site of Gill’s Nursery and adjacent land in Uxbridge Road.

Other developments for which plans are on foot are, as we have already said, the demolition of the Hermitage and No. 110, High Streett (Demolished, 1964); the demolition of The Wilderness (Demolished, 1964) in Park Road - one of the finest and best-preserved properties in the parish - to be replaced by flats; and the demolition of Larkfield Lodge (Demolished, 1964), St. James’s Road, on which it was proposed - with the consent of the planning authorities - to erect a three-storied block of nine flats. This became the subject of a Land Tribunal enquiry. On Tuesday, July 28th, 1964, the Rev. R. H. Brunt, acting on behalf of St. James’s Church, and the St. James’s Residents’ Association formed for the purpose, opposed an application for the release or modification of the 1874 covenant which applied to the land under question. As a result of their action the application by the developers was refused. In the opinion of the tribunal the covenant was not deemed to be obsolete as claimed by the purchasers of the land, and the amenities of the church were thus protected, as had been the intention of the far-seeing Rev. F. J. Fitz Wygram when drawing up the agreement so many years ago.

Flat development is proposed for the garden of Haslemere in Park Road and also flats fronting on to the site of the old school buildings in School Road, as well as the aforementioned erection of a council estate on the site of the now disused Anzani factory in Windmill Road. Vigorous objections have been, or are being, made to a number of these proposals.

In addition it has recently been voted, at the June 1964 meeting of the Twickenham Council, to purchase compulsorily and demolish the row of four picturesque cottages, numbers 38-44, Windmill Road, west of the railway bridge, to be replaced by “thirty-two units of accommodation” for old people. Those who would advocate the preservation of the character of Hampton Hill should bear in mind the words of Alderman M. W. Garrett, who, speaking in opposition to the plan, said, “These houses are very much a part of the pattern of Hampton Hill. It was an error for the Corporation to purchase one individual house laying in back land and then, as a matter of convenience, turn out people who are happily housed.” The individual house referred to is presumably The Anchorage, facing the railway line and East-bank Road, built by the licensee of the Crown and Anchor, the late Mr. Wiseman, for his retirement.

Such then are the changes, which have taken place in Hampton Hill since 1915 and are in continuance at the present day. It will be seen that the most obvious alterations have occurred between Burton’s and Park Roads and on the hitherto unclaimed expanse of land west of Uxbridge Road, much of which has now given way to building. The growth of the village, which became relatively torpid in the period between the world wars, has, in our own day, suddenly acquired fresh vigour. In the last five years there have sprung up over two hundred and fifty new flats, maisonettes and houses - sixty of these being in Ringwood Way, forty-eight on the Fairlight Estate and a further forty, for example, are in Chelsea Close. The village is within easy reach of the metropolis and in reasonable proximity to London Airport; it and the National Physical and Admiralty Research Laboratories offer good opportunities for employment. Thus, in the year 1964 Hampton Hill is once again a thriving and fast-growing community, and is manifesting an increasingly marked tendency to swell its bounds and to exploit its present area for the provision of additional more compact living quarters.

In the course of this chapter we have set ourselves to trace the development of Hampton Hill from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Although major changes have taken place since the days when it was still a small village set in the midst of the countryside, the residents of the 1960’s have still much for which to be thankful in inhabiting an area, which, though almost engulfed by London’s suburbia, yet retains something of its old rural atmosphere and where people still talk of “going down to the village” to do their shopping. The property of the area is, for the most part, pleasant, of good quality and agreeably spread out, rather than standing in dense, serried ranks, and the district is fortunate in being endowed with large open areas surrounding it on all sides; Fulwell Golf Course, Bushy Park and the former Marling Park, now converted into the playing fields of the three aforementioned schools.

Moreover, the general layout of the village has remained, to a large extent unchanged. Windmill Road, although faced with considerable changes in the near future, still has the appearance of being little more than a small country by-road. Longford River, separated from the roadway by a narrow strip of allotments, still lends a pleasantly rural touch, whilst the ancient Clump Cottages, although empty and awaiting demolition at the time of writing, form, with Oxford Cottage, a most picturesque cluster by the side of the water. This particular scene cannot have altered appreciably over the years. Away to the north, Burton’s Road still retains its oaks and part of its ditch, and masses of hawthorn blossoms in the spring - much as it has done for over two centuries.

However, in spite of the fact that we have still much for which to be thankful, we are living at a time when the area, in common with a good many others, will have to face the most striking changes undergone by it in the course of its history, and one must ask oneself whither the recent spate of modern development will lead, particularly in respect to flats. The character of our village has not yet been entirely spoiled but it is in danger of becoming so.

However, let us not end this chapter on a note of depression. It is as yet not too late to curb the tendencies, which if given free rein, will completely mar and destroy the village atmosphere which we now enjoy. Let us hope that the newly formed Hampton Hill Association will in course of time grow into a thriving organisation, and that its members will unite in a concerted endeavour to revive community life and spirit and, in so doing, will be able to safeguard Hampton Hill’s birthright.

St James's Church
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: