The Soft Reds of Brick Hill.

Brick Hill owes its existence to its geology. It stands on the Bracklesham Beds, a geological seam holding sand and brick clays.

From the mid 18th century, bricks were made at Brick Hill, and the industry seems to have grown in the mid 19th century.

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Brick Hill and the brickyard. Ordnance Survey map, X.II. First edition, 1870. (With thanks to Surrey History Centre.)

But in 1902 John Henry Sturt, who had run a brick yard at Brick Hill, leased ground at Parker’s Hill for brick making. This was on the Common, opposite the Runic Cross.

Then there was a major fire at the brick field in 1907, and after this Sturt began his building business. Brick Hill stopped making bricks, and local employment shifted to building.

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The fire at Sturt’s brickyard, 1907. (Photograph by William End. Image courtesy of John End.)

What were the bricks from Valley End like? Why didn’t G. F.Bodley use local bricks for St. Saviour’s? The church was erected in 1867, when the brickfields were in operation, and he was inspired by local architecture in Surrey.

It seems that Valley End bricks were too soft. There is a photograph of bricks being delivered to Brick Hill. This was either done after the yards stopped working, or the builder found the local product inferior.

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Bricks being delivered to Brick Hill. (Image courtesy of John End.)

There are stories about soft bricks at Brick Hill. In one house the bricks in the kitchen were so soft that it was not only possible to poke holes in the wall with a finger, but mice were nibbling through the bricks to raid the cornflakes in the cupboards. The kitchen walls were replaced with some urgency.

In the mid 1980s Rosemary and Andrew James moved to Brick Hill. Rosemary had been born Rosemary Anscomb, and was going to a house on a road known locally as Anscomb Hill, due to the many members of her family who had lived there.

Their cottage was very small. It had been built in 1886,  and was a good example of the older dwellings in Brick Hill,  built by local labour using local materials.

“The rafters were rough. The ceilings were lath and plaster. When my husband went up in the loft there was no wall between us and our neighbour. He bricked it up. They are quite thin walls here. There was an outside toilet here when we moved in. There wasn’t even a bathroom. There were two rooms, the front door, and as you walked in you walked straight into the front room off the doorstep. We had one room with a big chimney breast. Small room there, small room at the front, and they had a winding staircase, it was steep. At the end of the house there was a wooden extension, with windows in. That literally was the kitchen. There was a stone sink, one cold water tap. There was no electricity upstairs. It was tiny. There were fireplaces upstairs in the two bedrooms, but they were small.”

They wanted to extend the house, and preserve the character.

Rosemary’s father, John Anscomb, was able to help. His father Alfred had worked in the brick fields as a child before becoming a builder, and John himself had been a carpenter working for Sturt’s. He got involved.  “He was great; he did it at the age of 70. He was up and down the ladder and on the roof, and we had the roof off and everything else.”

The cottage had been built of bricks called soft reds. They looked for old soft red bricks in reclamation yards, but with no luck.

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Re-used soft reds on Anscomb Hill.

So they demolished the internal walls, and spent one Easter cleaning the bricks. “Trust me, the bricks are very soft. I had to wire brush them and I had to be very careful. We had a few problems when we had to break them, or when we had to cut them.”

They then reused the bricks to face the exterior wall facing Anscomb Hill, where they remain as an example of local materials and a resourceful restoration!

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Brick Hill and the site of the brickyard. Ordnance Survey map, SU9644 – 9764. Published 1971. (With thanks to Surrey History Centre.)

The M3 now obliterates the site of the brick field.

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Sources.

All quotes by Rosemary James.

With many thanks to Rosemary James.

With thanks to Frances Harding.

“St. Saviour’s Valley End 150 years,” by Sallie Buchanan. 2017.

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For King and Country.

 

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Valley End War Memorial. (Photograph courtesy David Fettes.)

The war memorial at Valley End stands opposite the church, to record the names of those who fought and died in the two world wars. It lists seven men who left this small community in World War I, and who never returned. Two have the same surname. Thomas and Frederick Hizzey were brothers, the sons of Rosina and George Hizzey of Brick Hill.

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The Hizzey brothers. From left to right, Sydney born 09/04/1901,Thomas born 25/09/1894, and Frederick born 25/09/1899. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

Thomas Hizzey was born 25th September, 1894. He worked as a gardener at Westcroft Park and as an assistant milkman. He chose to fight, and volunteered to join the army in 1915.

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Thomas Hizzey. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

He enlisted at Guildford, and joined the 6th Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment.

His first day in France was 1/6/1915, and so he may have been with the transport and machine gun section.  These left Farnborough Station for Southampton on 31/5/16, while the 1st trainload of the Battalion left Aldershot 2/6/15.

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Thomas Hizzey in the uniform of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

They reached the trenches at Armentieres by the 21/6/1916. The history of their war experience can be traced through the Regimental War Diary.

Thomas Hizzey served in the trenches at the front line, and was awarded Victory medal, the British medal, and star.

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Thomas Hizzey’s medal and dog tags. (Photograph courtesy of Kelly Mills.)

The Battalion  lost men, but the scale of casualties was nothing to compare with the holocaust that was ahead. For example, during the whole of April 1916 the battalion lost 91 men – 75 wounded, 13 killed, and 3 missing. There were no casualties in May and June 1916.

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Thomas Hizzey. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

But the 1st July 1916 was the start of the Battle of the Somme,  later remembered as “the picture by which future generations saw the First World War; brave helpless soldiers; blundering obstinate generals; nothing achieved”.

The plan was that heavy bombardment over seven days would destroy the enemy machine guns and wire, and wipe out the enemy.

The Capture of Ovillers, from the 1st – 16th July, was a British local operation in which the 6th Battalion, including Thomas Hizzey, took part.

The 6th Battalion were part of the 37th Brigade, and were on the right in the first wave. They suffered heavy losses.

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The Battle of the Somme – an officer leading his troops over the top.(Image courtesy IWM. )

The War Diaries reflect the chaos and frustration of the battle. On the 3rd July 1916 the 6th Battalion went into action. At 3.15 am they went over the top,  but by 4.30am the situation was hopeless. The men were heavily laden with equipment, and had been forbidden to help wounded comrades. The enemy machine guns were sweeping across the battlefield, and the wire was impenetrable.

The Regimental War Diary analysed the failure, bitterly pointing the shortcomings. It said:

“The attack failed for the following reasons.

“The enemy machine guns whose fire completely swept the ground

“The enemy wire was insufficiently cut

“The short time to arrange the attack and not knowing the ground or being able to see the enemy trenches from our own parapet, consequent loss of direction

“The enemy trenches were thick with Germans, so the bombardment cannot have been very successful.”

The 6th Battalion lost over a quarter of its men, with 294 casualties. One of them was Thomas Hizzey, killed in action at the age of 21. He is buried in the Lonsdale Cemetery,  Authuille, France, with over 700 other men who died at the Somme.

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A chaplain conducting a burial service on the battlefield near Ovillers, middle of July 1916. (Image courtesy IWM)

Frederick William Hizzey,  his brother, was born on 25th September 1899. Like so many of his neighbours at Brick Hill he also worked as a gardener, for Mr. Souchon of Sunningdale.

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Frederick Hizzey, standing on the right. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

When he was 18, he enlisted at Guildford, and was attested on 26th October 1917.  He was 5 feet 7 .5 inches tall, and weighed 9 stone, with a chest size of 34 inches.

He joined the 20th Training Reserve Battalion, but later he moved to the 16th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

This Battalion had been raised from the Church Lad’s Brigade, a youth organisation attached to the church. A soldier who joined it in 1918 said;

“16th King’s Royal Rifles was originally what was known as the Church Lad’s Brigade Battalion. They were all recruited from the Church Lad’s Brigade. But of course they’d lost all their original officers and NCOs. But they were quite a decent lot.” (Charles Frederick Miller.)

In March 1918 Fred was sent to France. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal for his service.

The Battalion saw a great deal of fighting during 1918, culminating in October with the Battle of the Selle. On the 22nd October they were billeted at Bertry, and came under attack. There was shelling that night, and very heavy shelling the following morning. On the 24th the Battalion moved forward at 6.00 am, but found the situation “very obscure.”

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The pursuit to the Selle, 9 October 1918. (Image courtesy IWM)

Frederick Hizzey fell, killed by a shell. He died on active service, at the age of 19, on 24th October 1918.

He is buried at Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery, Montay, in France.

What must have made it even more bitter for his mother, Rosina, is that he died so close to the end of the war. His death was reported in the Surrey Advertiser for 9/11/1918, beside items about repatriated POWs, demobilisation, and a talk on “The Problems of Peace.”

Two days later, on 11/11/1918, the Armistice was signed.

When their mother Rosina Hizzey heard that her two sons had been killed, she ran outside her cottage in desperation, and beat her fists on a galvanised iron bath that was hanging outside, keening for her boys who had been lost in France.

 

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Roll of Honour, Valley End Institute.(Photograph by Suzanne Dolphin, Chobham Art Group.)

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APPENDIX

The Regimental War Diaries give a detailed account of the operations in which Thomas and Frederick Hizzey died.

THOMAS HIZZEY

War Diary, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. 6th Battalion. National Archives and Surrey History Centre. National Archives WO 95/1863/1

(A Battalion would consist of 1,000 men, divided into 4 companies.)

2nd July.

Quiet day. Battalion received orders to make all preparation to attack at dawn. Front line was shelled during the day. During the day the battn took over the front line of the Brigade, but moved back to original position during the night. Casualties 4 wounded.

3rd July.

In the trenches (opposite OVILLERS)

Received final orders at 1AM with reference to attack. The Battalion attacked the German trenches at 3.15 AM.

B Company

(RIGHT Company)

At 3.15 AM 1st Platoon closely followed by 2nd 3rd – 4th advanced. 1st Platoon got to Enemy parapet where the officer in charge was killed, and the majority of the men hit by machine gun fire. The bombers knocked out an enemy machine gun in an advanced sap.

2nd Platoon got to enemy wire + were stopped by machine gun and rifle fire.

3rd Platoon were stopped behind the second, 4th Platoon got about half way across but lost heavily + concluded it was useless to advance further.

C Company.

(LEFT Company)

1st Platoon went too much to their left, only about 8 getting to the German wire the bombers getting into the trench with the R. W. KENT REGT who were on the left. 2nd Platoon caught up 1st with about 5 men, the remainder being hit by machine gun fire. The Lewis Gun also entered enemy trench with R. W. KENT REGT and was captured.  3rd Platoon suffered heavily + were stopped by fire. 4th seeing things hopeless + losing heavily also stopped, the Company Commander being wounded.

A Company

(LEFT REAR Company)

Followed “C” over the top, but went more to the right. 1st Platoon got up to the German wire but had to stop owing to its not being sufficiently cut + suffered heavily. 2nd + 3rd Platoons followed + suffered from machine gun and rifle fire. The Company Commander is still missing.   4th Platoon owing to the trench being blocked did not arrive till late + were ordered not to advance.

D Company

(RIGHT REAR Company)

Seeing the hopelessness of further attack, this company was stopped advancing, but in consequence of orders received at 4.30 AM stating “Suffolks on your right have got in AAD endeavour to push on and support them” they were launched at about 4.35 AM, supported by the “Buffs,” but they immediately came under machine gun fire + did not get far. All the officers were killed or wounded.

The attack failed for the following reasons.

The enemy machine guns whose fire completely swept the ground

The enemy wire was insufficiently cut

The short time to arrange the attack and not knowing the ground or being able to see the enemy trenches from our own parapet, consequent loss of direction

The enemy trenches were thick with Germans, so the bombardment cannot have been very successful.

Casualties.

KILLED

LT.  C.W. FITCH

2/LT.  C. S. HALL

WOUNDED

CAPTAIN  L.H.R. BUTLER

LIEUT.  R. E. JOHNSON

2/LT.   T. L. ORMEROD

2/LT   F. W. ELLIOT

MISSING

CAPTAIN.  E. WRIGHT (KILLED)

CAPTAIN  R. B. RUTHERFORD (KILLED)

LIEUT  M. G. L. WALLICH

2/LT   A. D. W. WARD (since rejoined)

NCOs and men

23 killed

154 wounded

117 missing

Total 294

During the morning after the attack the enemy shelled the front line + support trenches with HE (high explosive) and shrapnel. The Battalion was relieved by 7th East Surrey Regt + went back to DONNET POST + RIBBLE ST. Relief complete at 4PM.

July 4th.

The battalion remained at DONNET POST. The day was quiet.

 

Extracts from 6th Batt. The “Queens’s” Regt. Orders for Operations 7/6/1916.

1/ Every soldier will carry

a/ Fighting order

b/ 220 rounds SAA

c/ Iron ration and 1 day’s ration

d/ 4 Sandbags

e/ 2 hand grenades

f/ 2 gas helmets and goggles

2/ The following will also be carried: –

a/ Pick or shovel by 3rd. platoon of each company

b/ Wire cutters and wire breakers by 1st and 2nd platoons.

c/ Hedging gloves

4/ All ranks are worried that the supply of water may be difficult. Water bottles must be filled before leaving the final billets.

6/

c/ No one is permitted to fall out to help wounded men.

d/ Wire-cutters of casualties must be collected.

 

FREDERICK HIZZEY

War Diary of  Kings Royal Rifle Corps. 16th Battalion. National Archives WO 95/2430/3

Oct. 19th.

Battalion marched to DEHERIES and then returned.

Oct. 21st.

Battalion moved to BERTRY and was put under 2 hours notice to move forward. Battle stores issued.

Oct. 22nd.

Battalion billeted at BERTRY. Orders received. Battalion to move to assembly positions. Moved off at 2030. Shelling experienced during the night.

Oct. 23rd.

At 0200 attack by 33rd Division. From 0200 to 0530 “shelling was extremely heavy.” Casualties were few although “neighbouring units suffered very heavily.” Little news was received of the progress of the advanced troops, except that the 1st objective had been gained. Battalion moved forward at 08.45 hours. There were orders to keep 1000 yards behind troops of the leading Brigade. The right leading battalion encountered opposition on the right of VENDEGIES WOOD. The line of the battalion was about 400 yards short of the 4th objective.

2 Lt C. V. J. EVRETT was wounded, and there were 38 other ranks casualties.

Frederick Hizzey died on 24th October 1918. This is the relevant entry from his battalion’s War Diary.

Oct 24th 1918.

“Battalion ordered to take over outpost line from CAMERONIANS who were to go through that line later and to take the 4th and 5th Objectives when the Brigade would follow up and go through them and establish the general line, LA COUPE GORGE – 5.26.a.oo to S.14 central CAMERONIANS remained in the outpost line by arrangement with us and advanced direct from there at 0400hours. At 0600 hours our advance started but was held up owing to the very obscure situation on the right. The advance was continued at 1200 hours for the line of the ENGELFONTAINE – LA COUPE-GORGE Road.

A Company left front,

C Company Right front,

D Company Left Support,

B Company Right Support.

“By 1800 hours the battalion was within 600 yards of the Road.

“Strong Fighting Patrols were pushed out who reported the road clear at 2230 hours. A and C Companies were thereupon ordered up to occupy this that portion of the road allotted to that Company. Counter attack next morning at 07.30.”

(The entry for the 24th October does not mention casualties, which seems to have been standard practice. Was Frederick Hizzey one of the other ranks casualties listed for the 23rd?)

 

Surrey Advertiser, 9/11/1918

“Rifleman Frederick William Hizzey, King’s Royal Rifles, second son of Mrs Hizzey, Valley End, Chobham, was killed by a shell in France on the 24th ult. He was 19 years of age, and had been in the Army 12 months, going to France last March. Previous to joining  he was employed in the garden by Mr. Souchon, Sunningdale. Another son of Mrs. Hizzey, Pte. Thomas Hizzey, The Queens’, was killed about two years ago.”

 

Other sources.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects. National Archives.

Medal cards. National Archives WO/372/9/213464

Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment website http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/index.shtml

Exploring Surrey’s Past website  http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/military/the_queens_royal_surrey_regiment/

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Roll of Honour, St. Saviour’s Church Valley End. (Image courtesy David Fettes.)

The names (with one exception) are given in the order in which they died. The list includes those with connections to the parish, rather than restricting it to those who lived there.

 

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Living at Brick Hill.

Mavis Smith, née Smith, has lived at Brick Hill for all her life.

I was born in Brick Hill. My father was born here, and his father.

My great grandfather built a house here, where we live. My father built a house in the garden next door. That was in 1928.

Where my house is now there was just a derelict bungalow. My father used to keep chickens in it. I can remember the wallpaper in one of the rooms, and how a lot of it was tumbled down. It was very small, with a sloping roof at the back. It had been in the family since 1860. My house is on the same footprint, but it’s bigger. My daughter lives next door. She lives where my mother was.

We’ve been here so long that the little lane beside my house has always been known as Smith’s Lane by local people.

All the family have been to Valley End School. We had to walk there. We just went across the Common. I remember starting school, and crying my eyes out.

Valley End School used to be very small. It’s much bigger now. There were only 3 classrooms when I was there. There were two head teachers while I was there, Mrs Kendall and Miss Abraham.

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Valley End School. (Image courtesy of Chobham Museum.)

Miss Abraham was nice. She was my Head Teacher, and later she always wanted my daughter to go to that school too. We lived in West End then, but we were coming back to Brick Hill. My daughter did go to Valley End because one of the teachers used to bring her. He would bring her in the morning, because he had to pass where we lived, and he brought her home of a night.

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Valley End School. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

Years ago you used to be able to hear the children playing in the school from Brick Hill. Of course with the motorway now you don’t. I think the motorway had been on the cards for years before it was built. My father died in 1963, and he’d talked of it long before that. He said it was spoken about in the 1940’s. Now we’re cut off from Chobham, we’re the other side of it now. We’re Chobham people! Not Windlesham!

I’ve done a lot in Windlesham and Sunningdale – it’s two miles each way, so you take your pick where you go. Years ago you’d walk or cycle.

You used to go across the golf course. By the time you went round on a bus, you could be across the golf course. You had to go right from the convent, down Highams Corner, where the bus stopped, and it’s pretty nearly a mile. So while you’re walking down there you could be half way there.

I can’t remember the Convent in detail. They did the laundry there. The girls who went there who either did something wrong, or didn’t have a home. One fellow used to live here in Brick Hill and he used to work there. I can remember him cycling by when I was young. After that he lived on the property down there until he died. They provided him with a house.

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Brick Hill. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

Where the roundabout is now was a crossroads. That’s where you used to see all the goldfinches in the gorse bushes.

When you grew up with the wildlife you didn’t really take any notice. It’s the same with wild flowers, when you see them all the time, you wonder why people are all going mad over them. But the Common’s all overgrown now. It’s because of all the silver birch and the trees.

You used to be able to stand in the garden here and see up on the golf course, up on the top green. I used to play up there, on the fairway, and my Mum would come out in the garden, and wave tea towels, and I would know it was time to come home. You could see the golfers going to the tee, and now you can’t see anything.

They’ve done a lot to clear the Common now, which has made it better. But it’s all overgrown to what it was. They have cut a lot of the trees down, but not enough for me. I like seeing the heather, and not all this silver birch taking over.

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Brick Hill. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey.)

We used to go up to the golf course and play in the summer. We would go with our bathing costumes on, and play where the sprinklers came on. Nobody took any notice in those days. That was just after the war.

When the War finished, we had a big party there. All down the fairway there were tables.

I wouldn’t like children playing on the golf course now. You would worry. You used to go out and you didn’t come back until it was teatime. But there are a lot of cars now.

There was only one man round here who worked on the course. That was Mr Hampton. I suppose boys did go caddying, but not my generation.

They can’t stop you going straight across it. There’s a footpath that goes across from here to Sunningdale.

Roy Smithers’ bench was a lovely place to go when it was Bonfire Night. You could see fireworks all the way round.

On Sunday you would go across to the Clumps, and they would have model aeroplanes flying. There used to be ice cream man, and that used to be our treat, to go over there on Sunday afternoon, really just for an ice cream.

In the War my father was the ARP warden for round here. I can remember in the night people banging on the doors, evacuees, and people coming, and he would help them.

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An ARP (Air Raid Precautions Warden) reports for duty. Image courtesy of IWM.

We had evacuees staying with us. I don’t know how long they stayed. There were two boys who came from different families. One had relations in Windlesham. His Granny was there. I don’t know why she couldn’t have him. The other one came from London. One of them came back and found me. When I was fifteen, he cycled from Buckinghamshire, just to find the place. I had just started work and when I came home he was here. I still hear from him every Christmas.

The Camp was built on the Common during the War. Soldiers were there first. I can’t remember much about them. My Mum used to their washing. When I was born, my father worked in Bagshot as a gardener, but when they built the Camp he worked there.

Up there they had electricity. We didn’t have it here. There was no electricity put on until the early 1950s. We used gas, oil lamps, and candles. One person down in Brick Hill had a generator, so they had electricity.

I remember one family up on the Camp had a television. All us children used to go when her husband wasn’t there. We had rows of chairs, like a cinema, but there was only one programme and then you had the interludes.

You used to have the water tower up on the hill, on Fox Hill. That was knocked down the day my youngest daughter was born.

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Fox Hill. (Image courtesy of Dave Hizzey).

They had main drainage at the Camp and we haven’t. We didn’t have the water put on until 1946. Before that we had a well in the garden. It was for next door too.

It was nice when you had the huts at the Camp. We were friendly with all the people. We still are with a lot of them.

You can see where the huts in the Camp were, and where we used to go and play. I was always baby mad, and I used to go for walks for miles with the babies. I used to push them out on a Sunday afternoon, and on school holidays I used to take all these babies from up the Camp out. Now they’re all grown up and got children and grandchildren of their own, but I think I used to push you about in a pram!

After the war the Camp finished. Some of the bases were left. All the tops were taken off and then a lot of the bases were gradually broken up. There are still some of the roads, but not many of the bases. They could have turned the Camp into housing because it had electricity, and main drainage. A lot of people from the Camp went to Windlesham, Bagshot or Chobham.

The Gypsies used to turn up and park at different places. They were never any trouble. They just used to come and pull up, perhaps with one single caravan. They’d maybe have dogs and a chicken. There were little places where they pulled up all the time, and they’d stay 2 or 3 days and then move on. I don’t think there was any trouble at all. They used to be down by the church, pulling off the road opposite Pembroke House. Or they used to park by the top of Round Pond. When they went you wouldn’t know they’d been. They left it all tidy.

My Mum used to clean the church at one stage so I used to go down and help polish, and do the floor. That was when I was 10, 11, 12 … I can remember being on hands and knees.

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Valley End Church. (Image courtesy of Chobham Museum.)

When I was a child most people worked in gardening, or building. Sturt’s had a building yard in Brick Hill. They built this house, and my mother’s. They were only 2 or 3 doors away. My husband worked for them at one time.

There was a shop in Brick Hill. It was just in a sitting room. She used to sell sweets, and tins of stuff At Christmas time she used to get bottles of scent, and hankies, the little things that you gave people. She sold bottles of pop. The Stanfields used to come and bring the drink and open the bottles on the fence.

The only thing you had to go out for was for the post office. We didn’t have one. The different tradespeople used to come round. I’d give an order one week and they’d deliver the next. Belchers used to deliver up here. Suttons used to come round with the bread. The coalman used to come.

I started work looking after Dr.Cooke’s children in Chobham. I was down there, from the time I left school, until my daughter was born. Their children were my bridesmaids. Once my children arrived I used to go out and do a little bit of cleaning.

Then I went from that to the school. I worked for Mr. Turner. I used to be the cleaner. I cleaned the school on my hands and knees, because it was easier. I didn’t realise what it was going to do to my knees, or else I wouldn’t have done it. I’ve suffered for it since. Then I took over as caretaker in 1974.

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Valley End School. (Image courtesy Valley End School.)

Mr. Turner was very good. The pantomimes he used to put on were good, even when they were done by really young children. I used to enjoy them better than going to a proper panto.

In 1980 I packed that up and worked for Brian Blessed. They moved here and his daughter was born, and I used to look after her. I only stopped working for him about 4 years ago. I used to do a lot of his fan mail. I used to get Brian to come and do Father Christmas at the school.

Brick Hill is either mud or dust. Either it’s all muddy when it’s been raining, or cars go by and you get clouds of dust. There’s an awful lot of cars come and you don’t know who they are. At one time you used to know every car.

You used to know everybody. If the lorry driver from Sturt’s was coming along when we were walking home from school, he’d stop and we’d all pile in the back. Things like that. And you were content to just play around here.

Now you never see any children out playing. I used to play all out on the Common, and my children used to, but they had children to play with. We’ve lost that.

So Brick Hill is not the same as it used to be.

By Mavis Smith, née Smith.

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Memories of the Institute.

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The Valley End Institute stands close to the school and church, and remains an important part of Valley End life.

Mavis Smith has many memories of the Institute.

“We used to walk down the road to the Institute for our school dinners, and we used to used to have our school Christmas parties down there. They used to perhaps do a play or something, and that used to be held there.

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Programme for a school concert in the Institute, 1916.

“It was a tin building. That did last a long time. In the early 70s it was really dilapidated. Then everybody wanted to get it up and running, so we all formed a party and got it going. I was on the Committee, and then I landed up being Treasurer. I’m still on the Committee now.

“We got it up and running in the old tin hut, and got toilets put on, because it only had the old bucket loos. Then we had it rebuilt.

“We wanted to raise money for building. We used to have jumble sales, and we did a calendar, of Chobham and Windlesham. Half of it was Chobham and half was Windlesham. It wasn’t a good idea, because Chobham and Windlesham people don’t mix! We’d have sold a lot more if we’d had just Chobham and just Windlesham.

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Photograph of the Institute from the fund raising calendar.

“But the worse thing was the builder went bankrupt. He pulled the hut down, and then we found out. Someone just gave a hint. He didn’t let us know he was bankrupt, but he wanted money all the time. Well, what do you do? It was then a question of do we carry on? It was all down and on the floor.

“We didn’t give him the money. We got it finished. In the end we were down there every weekend, doing what we could, painting, and putting the skirting on, and doing the doors. We had a kitchen – we were lucky. At the time Christopher Bailey was having a new kitchen, so we had the old one. We’ve had a new kitchen fitted now.

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Photograph of Henry Pigé Leschallas, benefactor of the Institute. This portrait is hanging in the Leschallas Hall. (Photograph by Suzanne Dolphin, Chobham Art Group.)

“The rooms are called the Leschallas Hall and the Christie Room. It was the Christies and Leschallas family who did a lot for the Institute in the beginning.

“There’s an old panel, saying, “Strength is Unity”. That was in the old building.

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“Unity is strength”; it is between a photograph of Richard Copley Christie, and a list of all those from Valley End who fought in World War 1.

“It supports itself. We tried to keep it decorated, because then you get people wanting it. You’ve got the Nursery School there. The Baptist Church has it all day Sundays and on Wednesdays as well. Then you’ve got the bowls, the dancing, and the art club. Now it pays for itself, so it’s very good.

“I don’t think you get so many parties now. You don’t get the teenage parties. In the beginning when I used to clean the place, they were terrible.

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Clock in the Institute, in memory of Lilian and Reg Millard. It was once stolen and retrieved from the bushes by the Vicarage before anyone realised it had been stolen.

“They don’t get many children’s parties now. Now and again there’s one. But they’ve had bouncy castles and all in there. You won’t get the big family parties, but once upon a time it used to be a party every week.

“I used to do the cleaning at one time, until I had my knees go bad, and had to pack it in. That’s when you weren’t being paid for it, because they didn’t have the money. Story of my life – you do everything for nothing! So I feel I’ve done my bit.”

 

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Valley End Institute.

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Sources.

With many thanks to Mavis Smith née Smith.

(With thanks to Pat Tedder for information about the portrait.)

 

 

 

 

The almshouses for Valley End.

 

Valley End has it’s own almshouses. It shares them with Windlesham.

The story starts in 1936, when William Charles Lee died. He had been born in a poor family in Windlesham, and understood poverty. Sally Clark has written about his life.

 

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Lee’s Court; the almshouses in Thorndown Lane.

“When William Charles Lee died on 15 December 1936 he established by his Will, two trusts – the first of £1000 to be invested and the income to be applied ‘for the general purposes of the Windlesham and Valley End Nursing Association’. This trust was known as the Windlesham Sick Poor Fund. The residue of his Estate, after some bequests to family (he never married and had no issue), he left for a second trust ‘to establish and maintain almshouses for aged poor persons born in (or if such are not available) residents of the parish of Windlesham and Valley End.’

“This trust was registered as W.C. Lee’s Resthouses, Windlesham.

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The Resthouses, Windlesham. (Image courtesy of Ann Wolfe.)

“William Charles Lee was born in Windlesham on 6 April 1840, the eldest son of James, and Sarah Lee. In July 1858 his brother George and his sister Emma died within a week of each other at ages 7 and 4 respectively. The nearest hospital was at Windsor and required membership of a hospital scheme at 2d a week. A single visit to a doctor could be as high as a shilling. James’s agricultural labourers wages were low and it would have been difficult for him to provide adequate nursing care for the family – something at age 18, William would have been very aware of.

“A year later in 1859 his mother Sarah died too. His father was unable to look after his remaining children and so Elizabeth, William, James and Eliza were passed to various relatives and again this was bound to have had a huge impact on William..

“William had been a farm labourer but on moving to live with his mother’s sister, Aunt Elizabeth Manzi and her husband, Innocent Manzi in Bermondsey, East London, his life changed significantly. Innocent worked as a picture frame carver and gilder (a process of covering a wooden frame with thin gold leaf to replicate solid gold) and he taught William the trade.

“William’s father James subsequently seemed to drift from lodgings to lodgings, probably following farm labouring jobs available to him and eventually died in Valley End. William’s brother James, described as a farm labourer and cowman at different times of his life, never married and also drifted from lodgings to lodgings until finally taking refuge in the Union Workhouse at Epsom where he died of pneumonia on 11 January 1892 at age 50. His death certificate lists his occupation as a stableman of Epsom. Again, the circumstances of neither of them having a permanent home right to the time of their deaths must have influenced William’s decision regarding his Resthouses.

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Gustave Dore. “Applying for admittance to a refuge.” 1872.

“By 1871 William had moved from the Manzi home but was still living in Bermondsey where the census describes his occupation as a picture frame maker. He developed his business, expanding as the years went by to include publishing and selling of art prints. It supported him for the rest of his life and at times his sister, Eliza who lived on and off with him.

“Eliza married Thomas Martin in 1878 and their son Percy was born in 1881. Relatives described the marriage as unhappy due to their heavy drinking. Percy left home at age 12 for this reason – in his own words he said that he no longer wished to sing in pubs for his father’s drinks and joined the merchant navy. Percy was a sailor most of his life. He met and married Margaret Maxwell on the east coast of Canada but ultimately took up US citizenship, settling finally in New York where Eliza visited them in 1930.”

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Plaque on the Resthouses.

On 15 December 1936 William Charles Lee died, and set up his trust to build and run almshouses, for the benefit of Windlesham and Valley End.

 

Two years later, some land was given by Charles Henry Bulwer Caldwell, of the Cedars, Windlesham, and W. C. Lee’s Resthouses opened in 1948.

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Memorial to Charles Henry Bulwer Caldwell in St. Lawrence’s Church, Chobham.

When the houses first opened the Trustees were able to avoid charging rent, but they were unable to continue to be so generous. At present, “the Trustees aim to charge around half of Equivalent Fair Rent as assessed by the Valuation Office Agency.”

At one point Joan Weymouth was a Trustee. “When I joined, you had to go and visit the people. I had the difficult lady.” Then the lady discovered that Joan’s mother had nursed her in the Cottage Hospital. “Not Mrs Millard? She was the only one that dried between my toes!” After that they were firm friends.

The almshouses still stand in Thorndown Lane, providing housing for the elderly, and continuing to fulfill the aims of William Charles Lee.

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Memorial to William Charles Lee in Windlesham churchyard.

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With many thanks to Sally Clark, for her permission to include her article on W. C. Lee. This was first published in the Windlesham Magazine, who have kindly agreed to let us use this item.

In her article Sally Clark added “My thanks to Marianne Robbens, former Trustee and Pat Tedder, current Trustee of the charities for all the material and putting me in contact with Linda Lee Franks Beeb.”

With thanks to Joan Weymouth.

Aviva Community Fund. W. C. Lee’s Resthouses.

Open Charities W. C. Lee’s Resthouses.

Charity Commission W. C. Lee’s Resthouses.

 

 

Fanny Teal and James Daborn.

James Daborn married Fanny Teal in 1899. He was Churchwarden from 1914 – 1932, helped to run the Institute, and played an active role in local affairs. Fanny was the daughter of John Teal, the gardener at Highams Farm. Margaret Christie was their granddaughter.

“My Grandmother Fanny Teal met my Grandfather James Daborn when she was 12 and a half, but she didn’t marry him until she was in her late twenties. They married in 1899.

“Her first pregnancy was a twin pregnancy, which didn’t survive, and she was told by her doctor that she probably would have no more children, but in any case they weren’t to try for at least 5 years. So there’s quite a gap between her having the twins and when Aunt Dorrie was born.

“In the end Fanny had three children. There was Dorothy the eldest, then there’s my mother, Emily, and James came suddenly out of the blue quite a bit later.

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Brick Hill (Photograph by Roy Smithers. With thanks to Mark Stroud.)

“James’s family were from Brick Hill, but not Fanny’s family. They were strictly Highams, and Fanny and James moved in there with her father. But when he died they were given the tenancy of Oak Tree Cottage. That was owned by Highams as well.

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Brick Hill (Photograph by Roy Smithers. With thanks to Mark Stroud.)

“It must have been a great change, because if you look at the farmhouse at Highams it’s big, and Oak Tree Cottage is a lot smaller. It must have been very hard work as well. The water was from the well, half way down the garden path, and there were no mod cons.

“Fanny was poultry mad. She loved them. At Oak Tree Cottage in the kitchen there was what we call in the West Country a Bodley Stove, a black iron range, that was up on legs, with a gap underneath. When she was hatching chicks it seemed that all the chicks came into the kitchen if it was cold. She’d bring them in during the evening if they were near hatching, because the stove would still be a bit warm. She had chickens everywhere. We had to go and feed them.

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Poultry were an important part of agriculture during World War II. Farmer’s daughter Barbara Hoare feeds the chickens at Mount Barton farm. (Image courtesy of IWM. )

“James, my Grandfather, had a stroke quite early. He was not anywhere near retirement age. He didn’t earn any money after that. There wasn’t any social security.

“Fanny used to sell her eggs. The amount of chickens that she had was more than they would need themselves. It was a business. She’d got all the skills. Because she’d grown up on the farm, she knew a lot about it and what to do, and how to rear them.

“During the wartime too, her chickens were quite valuable. She never went in for ducks or geese or anything like that at Oak Tree Cottage.

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Brick Hill. (Photograph by Roy Smithers. With thanks to Mark Stroud.)

“I remember her on a sunny day, when there isn’t any wind, in the summer time. At Oak Tree Cottage there were 2 big bedrooms, and then there was another little very narrow staircase up to the loft room, where there were some old bits of furniture she’d keep up there, all covered in old sheets.

“But on a sunny day with no wind, the windows would be thrown open. She would take all the feather beds, they’d be lugged up the stairs, she’d unpick the ticking, and all the feathers used to be shaken out on onto the floor, which was covered in a big sheet. She would be in her overall with a mop cap, so the feathers didn’t stick in her hair, and she’d sort of turn the feathers, throw them about to get all the dust out. Then the bed was all stuffed up again, and I used to help her sew it.

“This was why there had to be no draught in from the window, but she said the sun was good for the feathers. You didn’t do it on a damp day, because the feathers would get all matted.

“Once a year your feather bed had to be refluffed. To do this for one feather bed I should think took about 3 days from start to finish.

“Fanny made the feather beds herself. She used to keep not the prime feathers, but the under feathers of her chickens for this.

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Oaktree Cottage in the 1930s. (Image courtesy of Joan Weymouth.)

“She was a very neat little lady, and after the midday meal it was her turn to read the paper in the afternoon. James read it in the morning. She’d go upstairs and she would change into her afternoon dress, and come down, and the newspaper would be spread out on the kitchen table. There was a velvety cloth that went over the top of the scrubbed kitchen table, and the newspaper would be laid out, and she’d be there in her tidy dress. She had little wire glasses, very small glasses, and she’d read the paper until it was time to make the tea.

“Granddad, James Daborn, wasn’t particularly tall. I think in the end I was taller than he was. I think a lot of that was to do with his stroke. He was very bent, and he had one paralysed arm.

“He used to grow some tomatoes against the wall. And I loved tomatoes, and one day I pinched one. That was disaster! He counted them!

“James played the harmonium. He was very musical. He also played the clarinet. He was in the Chobham Band at one time in his life. In the sitting room there was a photograph of Chobham Band with him in it.

“He was a lovely man, a beautiful man, he was humorous too, full of fun. He was the kindest, most gentle man there was.”

 

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Sources.

 

With many thanks to Margaret Christie.

 

 

 

Farmer Glanfield and “the farm most disrupted by compulsory purchase orders.”

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Dudley Glanfield, by Dudley Glanfield, 1920s. (Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery.)

 

Prior to purchasing Twelve Oaks, Woodlands and Manor Farms in 1946 from Lady Wilson, Dudley Glanfield was an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and a well known portrait photographer of Royalty and the Nobility with a large studio in Knightsbridge, London. 185 photographs taken by him in the 1920s and 1930s are held by the National Portrait Gallery, including one of King George V1. A well educated man, he held a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration and was also qualified in Mechanical Engineering.

Whilst he had a love of the land, he was not an experienced farmer. Neighbouring land owners recall that he did for a period have a herd of cattle but generally the estate which he named ‘the Twelve Oaks Farm Estate’ was not properly farmed and the land returned to its natural state. He did not maintain the farm buildings and as they continued to decay, he resorted to living in a caravan. He had had a love of flying light aircraft from the 1920s and continued this hobby when he moved to Windlesham, flying his aircraft over the surrounding villages and often taking
photographs.

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Dudley Glanfield, by Dudley Glanfield, 1930s. (Image courtesy National Portrait Gallery.)

In a set of historical notes he put together, he states that ‘Twelve Oaks used to be a Hunting Lodge of Queen Elizabeth 1 when she was resident at Windsor circa 1563 to avoid the plague in London’. Whilst she was resident at Windsor to avoid the plague and whilst this area was part of Windsor Great Forest, I have not to date found any documented evidence of a hunting lodge on the site. Mr Glanfield writes that the original ‘twelve oaks, some 400 years old, were compulsorily felled in 1972 for the cutting of the M3 Motorway.’ He elaborates on this with the comment that ‘a mile of motorway bisects the farm estate in half and that access to the farm is now down Scutley Lane Public Bridleway, unsuitable for motor vehicles/trucks delivering fertilisers, cattle food and machinery.’ So presumably in the 1970s there was some farming activity.

His battle against Compulsory Powers on his land started before the motorway however. In the late 1940s a Compulsory Wayleave Notice for electricity pylons across his land was passed. He fought this with much publicity including personal appearances on radio and television and eventually issued a High Court Writ against the Central Electricity Authority delaying the erection of the pylons for 2 years and instrumental in getting the 1957 Electricity Bill through Parliament ‘to avoid such injustices being perpetrated on any landowner again.’ The battle with Compulsory Powers continued in respect of a giant sewer pipeline, new water mains and gas mains across his land. All of which earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the farm most disrupted by compulsory purchase orders’ and the nickname of ‘Dynamite Dudley’.

 

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Farm Patrol

2nd February 1957: British farmer Dudley Glanfield of Windlesham in Surrey prevents the Electricity Board from putting giant electrical pylons on his land. He patrols his land with a shotgun guarding against invasion by Electricity Workmen. (Photo by BIPS/Getty Images)

 

Dudley Glanfield is buried at St Saviour Church, Valley End and his grave
stone bears this epitaph composed by himself:

Farmer

Dudley Glanfield of Windlesham

1904 – 1992

A man of Earth who knew
How every inch of an acre
Is alive and what was best
For root and beast and got it
He argued as obstinately
For freedom as the sun does
With the seeds till they submit
Be proud
Of a man so placed so true
To why we are alive

 

Following his death in 1992, 400 acres of his land was sold at Public Auction in 16 lots. Manor Farm, Twelve Oaks plus a further 142 acres were sold to Mr Clive Smith the owner of Windlemere and Pine Ridge Golf Centres. However within days after the auction he sold the Twelve Oaks land to Ian and Graham Wooldridge without taking possession himself.

 
The farmhouse and most of the outbuildings by that time were completely derelict and had to be demolished with the exception of the stables. Dudley Glanfield’s notes refer to a Mr A E Barton’s ownership of the Woodlands Estate from 1911 until the Henderson family bought it and that he used Twelve Oaks as his racing stables. One of his horses, ‘Panther’ won the ‘Two Thousand Guineas’ race in 1919. Twelve Oaks is once again home to horses as the Wooldridge family run it as a Stables where Polo horses are exercised, trained and groomed for the competition season each year.

67,000 bricks from the old buildings have been recycled in the refurbishment of the old stables, the building of a new set of stables and staff accommodation and the grounds have been restored to an immaculate condition.

 

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Sally Clark, Local Historian
My thanks to Brian Wooldridge for the information on the auction
and Dudley Glanfield’s notes.

 

(First published in the Windlesham Magazine, August 2017. Reproduced with many thanks to Sally Clark and the Windlesham Magazine.)