Oxted in old picture postcards volume 1

Oxted in old picture postcards volume 1

:   Roger Packham
:   Oxted
:   Surrey
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3493-4
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Oxted in old picture postcards volume 1'

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The magnificent High Street of old Oxted was for centuries part of the well-travelled west-east route through Surrey, a few miles from the Kent boundary and Westerham. Well-blessed with inns and a variety of outstanding domestic buildings, the old High Street remains as a noble testimony to the splendid architecture of the Tudor period and earlier, despite a few sad losses sustained in the last war.

This book is not a history of Oxted, although it is hoped that the notes will be enlightening. It should be observed, though, that the village of Oxted - Acstede in Domesday Book - is an established Saxon settlement and that the parish church and local mills are mentioned in that massive compilation: both Domesday Book and St. Mary's Church celebrate novocentenaries in 1986.

It is one of Oxted's mysteries that St. Mary's is such a distance from the old village but W.F. Mumford in 1949 explained it thus: 'Widely separated from the village by fields and the marshy waste that is now Master Park, was the Church whose site had in early Christian times been deterrnined by the existing pagan burial ground.' It would be interesting to know if there is any

evidence of pre-Christian burials and why the church's situation in relation to the village is so different to the established pattern of Saxon settlements.

The population of the village would have been in the low hundreds for centuries and it is only in modern times that numbers have increased significantly. The influence of the railway which arrived in 1884 cannot be overestimated. Oxted Station is a considerable distance from the old village but an entirely new settlement arose around Station Road East and Station Road West and many well-planned roads were constructed. New Oxted, as this area was known at the beginning of the present century, quickly gained its own identity and the railway provided great impetus to local industries and has made commuting possible for the last hundred years.

Much more recently the old village has become something of a backwater to passing traffic, firstly by the construction of the Oxted by-pass (A25) and now, within the last few years, of the M25. Though the effects of the motorway cutting through Green Belt land, south of the North Downs, are to be deplored, it is a reassuring fact that those splendid High Street

buildings enjoy far less disruption and the prospect of ultimate structural damage is much diminished.

The postcards used in this book were published in the early years of this century when a lively commercial enterprise led to an absorbing photographic record being compiled, especially in the decade before the Great War. Postcard companies produced cards for local traders such as Loek, Cox, Johnson, Gregory, Richardson and Webster in competition with outside publishers who introduced their own views e.g. Frith, Valentine, W.H. Smith, Homewood, W.A. Field, Gordon Smith and Ace. Additionally, local photographers such as c.L. King and W. Suter produced good quality cards which all add to the comprehensive record. In this Golden Age of postcards, everyone sent them; they were eagerly awaited by the recipients and they were widely collected. It has proved a fascinating exercise to a modem collector to re-construct the Oxted of the early years of the twentieth century. I have started the book with a tour up and down the old High Street, taking in a glimpse of Brook HilI. This is followed by a visit to St. Mary's Church and the Master Park area. Before moving to New Oxted, the

local mill and lime kilns are included to show the industrial acitivity of the area. The central section is devoted to Station Road West and Station Road East and some adjoining developments are also featured. A few stately houses then follow before we take a look at the Oxted districts to the south - Barrow Green, Hurst Green, Holland and Merle Common. The Oxted Prize Band brings up the rear .

I warmly recommend 'Oxted Explored' by Annette Wells and Kay Percy (Tandridge District Council, 1975) for those interested in the architecturallegacy of old Oxted and readily acknowledge information which I have used for notes. However, there is a definite need for a full history of this outstanding Surrey locality and it is hoped that the present work will appeal to all residents and those familiar with Oxted in the way it re-creates the atmosphere of the gentie era before the onslaught ofthe motor car.

September 1986

Roger Packham Caterham

1. A view of the oid High Street, Iooking east about 1905, shows the oid sign for The Bell Inn prominently displayed. On the main west-east route to Kent (A2S) for many years, the High Street is now by-passed to its great advantage. This postcard was published by W.A. Field of South Norwood in bis Surrey Series (No. 417).

2. Two boys stand and watch the photographer in this charming view of the High Street, looking west, taken about 1910. The tiies have been removed from the upper storey ofThe Bell and the inn sign has become Iess noticeabie. Beyond the inn, the Old Dairy advertises R. White's ginger beer, soda and mille Beadies Cottage and the White House stand proudIy beyond the cross roads.

3. This is an earlier photograph-of the cross roads by The Bell by A.H. Homewood of Burgess Hill, about 1905 with Beadles Lane to the left and Brook Hill to the right, beyond the inn sign. A delivery horse and cart proceeds at a leisurely pace, followed by a respectably dressed couple untroubled by the traffic nuisance of later years.

4. Four Edwardian girls stand at the entrance to Brook Hill in this Francis Frith postcard, which was published in 1908. Lenton's Model Dairy (left) advertises teas: the solid building dates from about 1400 with a modern shop front. Today it is the office of a chartered architect.

5. A.H. Homewood of Burgess Hill published this postcard of the High Street, looking east, which was posted in July, 1907. The sign boards of The George and The Crown can be seen overlooking the road. In 1904, T. Troughton's London Stores advertised china, glass, ironmongery and bedding in addition to being a grocer, draper and wine, spirit and beer merchant.

6. This is a later view of the High Street, in Cox's Photo Series, and was posted in September 1911. Three girls stand outside Kenton's fumiture shop and a group of boys in the centre of the photograph also appear to be aware of the camera. The wine merchants on the right exists today as Unwins.

ou Oxied ViI/aRe

7. This R.T.M. Series postcard was posted in 1920 and shows some bold advertising on The George Hotel. Crowley's ales were brewed in Croydon and Bass, from Burton-on- Trent, was also available. The wing on the east ofThe George appears to have been built in the fifteenth century. In later years The George sold beers from Page & Overton, another Croydon brewery.

8. Moving further down the High Street, this photograph of about 1911 shows the attractive houses on the right Ieading down to The Crown. They rejoice in the names of Catmint, Oid Town House, Flaxman Cottages and The Nest. The first two are part of a sixteenth century hall house.

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