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Redhill Alan Moore

This third volume of ‘A History of

Redhill’ almost completes the story of the collection of shops, businesses and

houses that might be referred to as the ‘old’ town of Redhill, a Victorian

development known for a short while as Warwick Town, later becoming Red Hill,

chapters on various subjects as well as

the usual year by year accounts of times gone that fill over 260 pages in addition

to the 330-odd pages in the previous two volumes.

chapters are St Anne’s, the tannery, the

redevelopment. The ‘old’ town, a young

cinemas, the borough’s electricity supply

development by many standards, began

its journey in the 1840s. Volumes 1 and 2 told its story up to 1925. This volume carries that story forward to 1949,

completing just over a century of history. Many stories are related within these

pages. Two are told in separate chapters as the personal recollections of people

closely connected with the town in the 1930s and beyond. There are other

A History of

Redhill Volume Three

The town from 1926 to 1949

Subjects discussed in individual

and then simply Redhill, before the vast majority of it was swept away by major

A History of Redhill – Volume Three

A History of

telephone service, Graves’ Coaches, the

and, in the longest chapter, World War 2 as it affected Redhill and Reigate. Other

chapters chronicle the years 1926-1949. Accompanying the text are more than 350 illustrations, some not published

before, others not seen for many years.

As the final chapter ends the 1950s were about to dawn. Rationing was still in force and the transition from the old

town to the modern layout we see today would soon begin.

£18.95

Published by Alan Moore

Alan Moore

Cover design: Panda Creative Ltd

Alan Moore


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A History of Redhill Volume Three The town from 1926 to 1949

Alan Moore

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Copyright Alan Moore 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or manual, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

Published by Alan Moore

Cover design, printed and bound in Great Britain by Panda Creative Ltd – www.pandacreativeltd.co.uk

ISBN   

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A History of Redhill - Volume Three Contents Page Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Index

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

1926 – 1929 . . . . The Story of St Anne’s . . . 1930 – 1932 . . . . th . Redhill Tannery in the 20 Century 1933 – 1935 . . . . The Reminiscences of Kathleen Knight . 1936 – 1939 . . . . Graves’ Coaches . . . . Jimmy Bridger and Latty’s . . 1939 – 1945 The Years of World War Two. The Story of the Cinemas . . The Telephone Service . . . The Borough’s Electricity Supply . . 1946 - 1949 . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Acknowledgements Grateful thanks to Roger Ellaby who once again undertook the task of proofreading this volume. Other acknowledgements are included within the chapters.

Front Cover : Redhill town centre 1955. Copyright The Francis Frith Collection

iii

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 21 33 63 69 95 101 123 133 145 209 229 247 253 267


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In tro du c ti on This volume of A History of Redhill was mainly written in 2003 and then languished on my computer before I started work on it again in 2011. The delay was not wasted as more knowledge and pictures came to hand and hopefully its pages are richer as a result. This book continues the story of the town from where volume two left off at 1925, carrying it forward to 1949. During these years what had gone before was built upon to establish Redhill's position in the Borough of Reigate in a way that may not have been envisaged by many who had lived through the previous quarter of a century. But fading memories of the Great War were revived by the prospect of further conflict in the 1940s. Progress may have been halted during the Second World War, and for some time after, and redevelopment that took place in the following decades swept away most of the old town, altering its character dramatically. That, however, is another story. The format of this volume follows the pattern of that in the two preceding volumes, with chapters dealing chronologically with the passing years interspersed with chapters on subjects such as St Anne’s, the tannery, the cinemas of Redhill and Reigate and others. If individual subjects are pertinent to the years beyond 1949, as well as before, then they are dealt with fully, in some cases up to the present day. A departure from the previous formats is that the two-column page layout has been replaced with full page text. Another new feature is the addition of ‘Events’ below each year heading. These are not intended to be comprehensive lists but are meant to give a flavour of the times. Something I did not have with the previous volumes was personal knowledge of the times discussed in them. That changes with this volume as I came to Redhill as a baby in 1939 so the years from then on are a part of my life. I have therefore taken the opportunity to add some personal remarks under the heading ‘Author’s Notes’. This has given me the feeling of being a part of the Redhill story which, along with thousands of others of course, I am. As with the previous volumes this one has been a pleasure to research and write. I hope that some of my enthusiasm for my subject is apparent in these pages and rubs off just a little on the reader. AJM 2013 Me in 1940 with my father in the garden of the house where we lived in Upper Bridge Road, Redhill.

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A History of Redhill Volume Three ________________________________________________________________________

Chapter One

1926 - 1929

1926

General Strike Strike began. General began. ‘Flapper’ style in vogue. ‘Flapper’ style in vogue. First rocket rocket powered powered by liquid fuel fuel developed developed in First by liquid in USA. USA. Famous ‘disappearance’ Famous ‘disappearance’ of of Agatha Agatha Christie. Christie. Fred and and Adele Adele Astaire Astaire in in 'Lady Fred 'Lady Be Be Good' Good' at at London's London's Empire Empire Theatre. Theatre. Deaths of of Houdini, Houdini, Rudolph Rudolph Valentino, Valentino, Annie Deaths Annie Oakley, Oakley, Claude Claude Monet, Monet, Antonio AntonioGaudi. Gaudi.

Redhill Sports Ground In late May 1926 there was a proposal to carry out considerable improvements to the Memorial Sports Ground. The last time any major work had been done was around 1896/7 when Henry Trower had acquired the ground on a lease. Then around £4,000 had been spent on levelling the ground, building a wooden pavilion and erecting fencing. Due to lack of funds most of the work had been carried out on a temporary basis and the facility still remained in a temporary state, including the original wooden pavilion. The ground and its facilities had seen plenty of use over the years - football had been interrupted by the Great War and the ground had been taken over by the military for two years from 1916. After the war £2,500 had been subscribed to create a War Memorial Ground, which the Redhill Sports Ground had become in 1923, but £1,800 of this had gone to buy the freehold and the lease, leaving only £700. The new proposals included building a new stand to seat 300 alongside the existing pavilion, the resurfacing of paths, the provision of public toilets, the planting of shrubs and other improvements, all at a cost of £4,550. By August 1926 this scheme had been amended. The new stand was now to incorporate the old one, making use of an existing staircase and building two new staircases and providing seats for 1,000 people. This amendment raised the cost to £5,500. This was a large expenditure which to some seemed out of balance when the nine acres of Redhill's ground was compared with other recreation acreage in the borough. Even when looked at purely from the ratepayers’ point of view it seemed no less of a large expenditure. Not surprisingly there were objectors and a public enquiry was convened, as was often the case when the council was contemplating borrowing a considerable sum. Those who felt that the ground and its facilities urgently required money spent

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Chapter One

1926 - 1929

________________________________________________________________________

on it argued that the cricket pitch was in such a poor state that the cricket team could not get other teams to visit. The football club's facilities were also said to be poor, a fact borne out by H.M.Inspector presiding over the enquiry, who said that he used to play football and had been accustomed to better facilities than those he had inspected at Redhill.

The Reds in action at Redhill Sports Ground in the early 1920s before improvements were made. The crowd is several deep. The original stand can clearly be seen.

The ratepayers' alarm at the prospect of an increase in the rates was countered by the council’s argument that increased lettings of an improved facility would create an income that would offset this. The National Citizens’ Union representing the ratepayers was concerned that overall expenditure in the borough was putting an unfair burden on its inhabitants. Many arguments for and against the scheme and its expenditure were presented to the enquiry. The football club, the Chamber of Commerce and many other interested organisations were represented. The eventual outcome was that the scheme was to be proceeded with. And proceeded with it was. The new stand was opened by the mayor in December 1926. The original had had a depth of 13 feet compared to the 32 feet of the new stand which was built with 36 tons of steel and 300 tons of concrete to provide a seating capacity for 1,000 people. All users of the ground now had upgraded facilities as a result of the better accommodation and other improvements made by the scheme. In the first game played in front of the new stand the Reds celebrated with a win over Uxbridge Town. Petrol and Roads Until 1926 petrol was often supplied from pumps situated on the pavement or attached to the front of a garage, each having an arm that swung out over the pavement to the car parked at the kerb. The disadvantages to footpath and road users were apparent, as were the safety aspects, and the Ministry of Health stipulated that all petrol should be supplied entirely on private property. Many town garages that lacked the space to do this protested but the ruling stood and changed the face of petrol supply in this country to how we know it today.

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Chapter One

1926 - 1929

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1926 advertisement.

Mr Arthur Wood The death occurred in January of Mr Arthur Wood, who for many years had carried on a music business in Station Road where Rhythm’s shop was later to be established. He was 71 years of age and lived at Netherleigh, Hillfield Road, Redhill. Mr Wood came from the Berkhamstead area and first set up business in Station Road in about 1876 (a picture of his original shop appears on p148 of vol. 1). This was the year that the town's first newspaper, the Redhill and Reigate Express, was published by Joshua Brackett, whose offices were at 3 Station Road. The paper lasted less than a year but within its pages were adverts for a Mr A.P.Wood (no relation to Arthur Wood) a pianoforte and harmonium tuner, also of Station Road. It was this business that Arthur Wood bought and developed until he built a new shop when the Station Road frontage of the Market Field was developed (see vol. 1 p62). . An Arthur Wood advert from 1927.

In 1911 improvements to the Station Road shop were afoot. In an advertisement in the Surrey Mirror of November 17th of that year Arthur Wood stated that those improvements meant that he was now able to meet all requirements, and with 150 instruments of all leading makes in stock was able to sell and compete with any London store. He also said that a new electric passenger lift to all four floors had been added along with a new music room.

3


History of Redhill – Cover_v1:Layout 1

18/7/13

11:25

Page 1

Redhill Alan Moore

This third volume of ‘A History of

Redhill’ almost completes the story of the collection of shops, businesses and

houses that might be referred to as the ‘old’ town of Redhill, a Victorian

development known for a short while as Warwick Town, later becoming Red Hill,

chapters on various subjects as well as

the usual year by year accounts of times gone that fill over 260 pages in addition

to the 330-odd pages in the previous two volumes.

chapters are St Anne’s, the tannery, the

redevelopment. The ‘old’ town, a young

cinemas, the borough’s electricity supply

development by many standards, began

its journey in the 1840s. Volumes 1 and 2 told its story up to 1925. This volume carries that story forward to 1949,

completing just over a century of history. Many stories are related within these

pages. Two are told in separate chapters as the personal recollections of people

closely connected with the town in the 1930s and beyond. There are other

A History of

Redhill Volume Three

The town from 1926 to 1949

Subjects discussed in individual

and then simply Redhill, before the vast majority of it was swept away by major

A History of Redhill – Volume Three

A History of

telephone service, Graves’ Coaches, the

and, in the longest chapter, World War 2 as it affected Redhill and Reigate. Other

chapters chronicle the years 1926-1949. Accompanying the text are more than 350 illustrations, some not published

before, others not seen for many years.

As the final chapter ends the 1950s were about to dawn. Rationing was still in force and the transition from the old

town to the modern layout we see today would soon begin.

£18.95

Published by Alan Moore

Alan Moore

Cover design: Panda Creative Ltd

Alan Moore

A History of Redhill - Volume 3  

This third volume of ‘A History of Redhill’ almost completes the story of the collection of shops, businesses and houses that might be refer...

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