Lawford's Hill Road and Lawford's Hill Close since 1902
The history of the Lawford’s Hill Road and Close areas up to 1902 is covered in The Fairway and Storr’s Lane section. Therefore this section deals with events since 1902 – firstly Lawford’s Hill Road, and then Lawford’s Hill Close. Below we have shown a table of the dates when each house was built.
Lawford's Hill Road
Lawford’s Hill Road (and its little brother, Lawford’s Hill Close) has existed for nearly 100 years. But what is the origin of the name Lawford’s Hill? A quick look at one of the 19th century OS maps will reveal the presence of Lawford’s Farm nearby, and this is indeed part of the answer. But the farm was actually located about half-way down Storr‘s Lane (on the north side), about 100 yards away from where Lawford’s Hill Road is today. The rest of the answer to the Lawford question, and the identities of Edward and Ann Lawford are spelt out in introduction to The Fairway and Storr’s Lane section. But ironically, neither Edward nor Ann actually owned the land on which Lawford’s Hill Road and Close now stand.
More difficult is to work out where the “Hill” is. Presumably it is the very gentle slope to the south of Storr’s Lane, but can this really be described as a hill?
Anyway we will pick up the story of Lawford’s Hill Road in 1902, when it had just been acquired (as part of the Bridley Estate) by the rogue solicitor, Thomas Montagu Richards. His full story is told in the Berry Lane section.
As explained in the Berry Lane section, Thomas Montagu Richards was in rather a hurry to sell his Bridley Estate, as he wanted to ensure his criminal activities were not discovered. Accordingly he put various pieces of the estate up for sale separately. One of these pieces was the 26-acre area coloured pink on the 1905 sale map shown below (right). Today’s Lawford’s Hill Road and Close comprised around 20 acres of this plot. The missing 6 acres are today occupied by Berry Lane houses along the south border, and Bagshot Road houses along the eastern border. The northern edge of the pink area is Storr’s Lane, with Lawford’s Farm clearly visible on its north side (marked “Lawford”).
Mr Richards struck lucky, and the 26 acres were sold to a Thomas Groves for £2,000. Equivalent to around £250,000 today, that sounds quite a bargain. Mr Groves described himself as an auctioneer, valuer and land surveyor. He hailed from Shropshire, but was spending a short time working in London and obviously thought he had had spotted a good deal. Within 6 months he had sold the property to an Albert Fletcher for a profit of £100. Mr Fletcher was a stockbroker from Caterham, and his story is told in the Berry Lane section.
After 1905, the 26-acre plot was bought and sold several times, by one investor after another. One of these investors was a Joseph Dowsett, and we are fortunate to have a copy of the deed by which he acquired part of this land in 1908. We are even more fortunate that the deed includes a plan (shown below left).
Some of the more interesting features of this plan are:
The numbering of the plots (10-12, 18-20, 24-26) indicates that there was a “master plan” for the whole of the 26 acres, which comprised at least 16 plots. Unfortunately we don’t have a copy of this master plan.
Lawford’s Hill Road was envisioned (named in the plan “Proposed Lawford’s Road”). As we can see, it was originally intended to curve right around to Berry Lane. The northerly part of the curve exists today as Lawford’s Hill Close, but the southern part now comprises private gardens belonging to houses in Lawford’s Hill Close and Berry Lane.
Plots 10-12 were eventually (1913 and 1983 respectively) built on as Hunter’s Green and Mascot House).
The other 6 plots (which the deeds state should contain only 1 house each) ended up looking very different from that envisioned on the plan.
Mr Dowsett was required to start building work within 5 months of the contract, but this did not happen, and we assume that later plans were drawn up resulting in what we see today.
By 1923 most of the undeveloped parts of the 26-acre plot had ended in the hands of Henry Terrell Chalcraft.
Henry Chalcraft was born in Alton in 1866. His middle name was the name of his maternal grandmother (who had died back in 1840, aged only 37). His father, Henry, had farmed 1,000 acres near Alton (as had his father, Thomas, before him). Henry (the father) must have thought the beer market would flourish, as he specialised in hop-growing at the end of the 19th century. Henry (the father) died in 1905, leaving £26,000 (worth £3.3 million today).
Henry the younger didn’t fancy a farming career, and became an architect / surveyor. In 1897 he married Margaret (nee Hunt) and they lived in a semi-detached house near Claygate Station, which would have been (fairly) convenient for travelling to his office in Bishopsgate, London. In 1911, having inherited some of the family money, he was living at Chester Lodge, Austen Road, Guildford with his wife, 4 children and 3 servants.
We know that in 1914 he owned some land (in Woking) on the Bagshot Road. We suspect that this is the land occupied now by Lawford’s Hill Road. We have shown below the 1915 OS map with our guess (and it is a guess) as to the plot edged in red. Next to it we have shown the current OS map for comparison, with the plot again edged in red.
The Chalcraft family moved house a few times in the next few years, living in Austen Road and The Ridgway at various times, but these were all in the same area of Guildford. Perhaps they were new builds that he had designed and financed. In his later years he had an office at 183, Guildford High Street. Henry died in 1940 at Launceston (Cornwall, not New Zealand). His obituary in the local newspaper is reprinted below.
Henry named the plot “Lawford’s Hill Estate”, built a road (which he named Lawford’s Hill Road), divided the property into lots, built one house (The Whins) and put the whole lot up for sale at auction in 1925. The initial auction didn’t go too well, as he had to place subsequent ads in 1927 (see photo below).
The ads were clearly more successful, as by 1930 there were 4 houses in the road as shown by an extract from the Bridley Rate Book of that year (photo below).
Okawa is now called Lawford’s Hill Cottage. The sharp-eyed reader will note that Lawford’s Hill Road only starts with Wyngate, not The Whins (as it does today). That is because the entrance to The Whins was originally on the Bagshot Road, and only moved to Lawford’s Hill Road c1960.
A 5th house (Greenways) was built in the mid-1930’s, and thus by 1955 the road comprised just 5 houses. A 6th house (Heron’s Court) was built in 1956. It must have come as a surprise to the residents of the time to learn that an application was being made to build 5 further houses at the north-western end of the road. We have shown this on the current OS map below. The 5 houses that already existed are coloured blue. The proposed plot for the 5 houses is outlined in red.
The application was refused, as was a subsequent application for 4 houses.
But the next application (for 3 houses) was accepted, and thus Woodlands, Wildacre and Hetheringstoke (now Courtenay House) were built. 3 more houses were built in the road over the ensuing 20 years.
Other than Okawa, there have been relatively few changes to the names of the houses. This is in marked contrast to The Fairway. We have absolutely no idea why this should be the case.
We will now look at each house in turn, starting at the south-east corner and working our way around the road in a clockwise direction.
The Whins was the first house to be built in Lawford’s Hill Road. It was built by Henry Chalcraft in 1925, and was immediately sold to Rachel Currie (a widow, temporarily living in Russell Square). Mrs Currie also bought the land on which next-door Summerfield now stands. She paid £2,950 (nearly £150,000 today) for both properties – a bargain.
Rachel (nee Thompson) was born near Peterborough in 1861, the daughter of a Scottish feather merchant. Her father died when she was only 7 years old, and her mother died 7 years later. Both were aged 50. Rachel spent her youth in Dundee, but in 1890, she married John Currie (who was 17 years her senior). John was a cotton yarn merchant in Glasgow, and the couple moved to western Scotland. During the next 15 years, Rachel produced 7 children, but John died in 1914 (aged 70), leaving Rachel with a large, young family to bring up. His estate was valued at £24,000 (£2.2 million today), which would have helped Rachel to deal with some of the practicalities of family life, no doubt.
One of her children (William, a Captain in the Gordon Highlanders) died in 1918 in France. For whatever reason, Rachel and one of her daughters, Agnes, decided to purchase The Whins in 1925. Agnes (who had been born in 1899) had been living near Reading, and had recently returned from a voyage to South America. Perhaps she had enticed her widowed mother to move to southern England, and the 2 ladies lived together in what was then the only house in the road.
Rachel died in 1934, and Agnes sold the property soon afterwards. A photo of Rachel is shown below (top left).
In 1945 Agnes was awarded the CBE for her role as a superintendent in the Women's Royal Naval Service (“The Wrens”). Her (impressive) citation and a photo are shown below (centre and below left).
In 1956, while serving as a postmistress at Chiddingstone in Kent, Agnes was attacked and robbed as described in the cutting below. The assailants confessed 6 months later. The episode is described below (right).
Agnes never married and died in Aldeburgh in 1968.
Soon after Rachel’s death, The Whins was bought by Charles and Cora Turner. Charles, born in 1906, was the son of Alfred Turner, an insurance broker at Lloyds of London, and a freemason. Alfred’s wife, Hannah was from Knutsford. Judging by the house in Gerrards Cross where they were living in 1939, Alfred was quite a successful insurance broker. Alfred’s father (from Blyth in Northumberland) had been a shipbroker.
In 1930 Charles had married Cora Stewart (born Cora Ferrier MacLean Stewart in 1907). The couple had a daughter (Sally, born 1933), followed by 2 further children. In 1939, Charles, like his father, was an insurance broker at Lloyds of London.
We are not certain, but Charles and Cora may have separated shortly after WW2, with Cora proceeding to marry a Mr Murray-Smith in 1954. Cora died in Midhurst in 1996.
Charles continued to live at The Whins with his daughter Sally. Sally married Peter Stern in 1955, and they both lived at The Whins with Charles for a while, but Charles died in 1957, aged only 51. Sally and Peter moved to Church Lane, Worplesdon soon afterwards and The Whins was sold to Hugh and Christine Grace.
Until 1960 The Whins was recorded as being on the Bagshot Road, not Lawford’s Hill Rd. This means that the main driveway fronted onto the Bagshot Road, which would have been a nasty turn to make, as traffic speeds increased. Not surprisingly, by 1971 the entrance was moved to its current position on Lawford’s Hill Road. There is no trace today of the original entrance today.
Hugh was born 1911 in Ashford, Kent, the son of a stockbroker, and was brought up at Chevening, near Sevenoaks (that’s Chevening the village, near the country house, but not in the country house itself).
Christine was born in Watford in 1916, the daughter of Sir Trevor and Christabel (nee Stogdon) Matthews. Trevor became a director and later chairman of Grindlays Bank (later bought by ANZ Bank, which was then bought by Standard Chartered). Trevor also reached the dizzy(?) heights of Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Grand Council of the Masonic Order in England. Her family was living at Brasted, just a few miles from Chevening.
Hugh and Christine were married in Sevenoaks in 1937. Hugh served in the army (Royal East Kent Regiment) and (as Captain Grace) was interned in the Eichstatt POW camp in Germany during WW2. He later became a Colonel and was awarded the OBE.
The Graces didn’t stay at The Whins for long. In 1961 they auctioned the house (see press cutting far left).
The Graces moved back to Kent. Hugh died in 1982, and Christine in 2002. A photo of their gravestone in Ashford is shown left.
The new owners of The Whins were Graham and Lillian Stewart, who had previously been living at Ewell. Graham had been born in Lewisham in 1929, the son of a civil engineer. In 1939 he and his family were living in Beckenham. After WW2 in 1948, he joined the Royal Artillery aged 18. Lillian (nee Evans in 1934) and Graham married in 1959.
In 1967 the Stewarts sold the next-door plot of land (which Rachel Currie had bought back in 1925) to a development company, which promptly built Summerfield on the plot. The history of this house is described in the section below.
Graham and Lillian moved to Church Lane, Worplesdon in 1977. Interestingly, this is the same Church Lane where Peter and Sally Stern (ref a few paragraphs above) had moved to from The Whins in 1958. But they only lived there for around 10 years until c1968. Was this a coincidence? Historians tend to very sceptical of coincidences, but this just may be one. Or it may not. If anyone has any information on this, we would love to hear from you.
c1978 The Whins was occupied by Margaret Hobday, together with Christopher and Terry Croxton. The relationships in this family are tricky to work out, but we will do our best below.
We will start with the 1939 register, where Margaret and Carville Armfield Hobday are recorded as married and living at Croydon. Margaret (born in 1900) was a Company secretary and stenographer, while Carville (born 1905) was a baker and cook. However it seems that they were only actually married 3 years later in the summer of 1942, when Margaret’s maiden name was recorded as Monaghan. By the end of the year a baby girl, Terry Carville Hobday, was born to the couple in Romsey. Terry was presumably the catalyst for the marriage.
Carville and Margaret lived in Purley until at least 1962.
In 1970, Christopher Croxton (born 1943) married “Terry C Smith”. Terry died in 1982, and her name was recorded then as “Terry Carville Croxton”. Because of the unusual middle name, we think that “Terry Smith” was really Terry Hobday, who, when married became Terry Croxton. We have no idea why her name was recorded as “Smith” in the marriage register. Was there something secret she was trying to hide?
After Terry’s death in 1982, Christopher Croxton remarried Stephanie Brown in 1983. It was probably at this time that the Croxtons left The Whins. Margaret Hobday died in 1991, when her birth year was recorded as 1916 (not 1900). So the facts don’t seem to tie up completely. Again, any clarification would be much appreciated.
By 1986 Brian and Margaret Weight owned The Whins. Brian Herbe Weight was born in Bath in 1949. He married Margaret (born Margaret Hasdell, probably at Worksop in 1940) in 1975 at Croydon.
The Weights sold The Whins in 2006 and moved to Knaphill, near Hermitage Road. The current owners moved into The Whins in 2006.
The plot on which Summerfield now stands was bought in 1925 by Rachel Currie, who also bought The Whins next door. We talk more about this and about Rachel in the section dealing with The Whins above.
It remained as part of The Whins until 1967, when Graham and Lillian Stewart sold off the plot to a company called Eden Development Ltd (based in Camberley), and Summerfield was built.
The first owners were Hugh and Rosemary Impey. Hugh was born in London in 1934, the son of a Master printer. In 1958 he married Rosemary (nee Moody) and the couple purchased Little Hadlow on the Bagshot Road (which is just a little distance outside the scope of this site) before moving to Summerfield in 1967. Hugh and Rosemary had the good fortune to produce 4 daughters and (unsurprisingly perhaps) sought some help with looking after their family, as the ad below from 1970 indicates.
Hugh was a member of Worplesdon Golf Club and must have been a reasonable player. His exploits in the Worplesdon Foursomes of 1971 were reported in the local newspaper (he and his partner reached the semi-finals, but lost to the eventual winners).
Hugh worked in the City, and in 1973 the Impeys moved into Mount Lodge in nearby Malthouse Lane. However they stayed at Mount Lodge only 4 years before returning to Summerfield in 1977. Apparently financial issues may have caused this reverse but we do not know any more than this.
We do not know who lived in Summerfield between 1973 and 1977. The Electoral Register shows a Walter W Mould as living at “The Fillies” in Lawford’s Hill Road in 1976, and we think that this is the most likely candidate. However no Walter W Mould appears in the telephone directory as living anywhere near Lawford’s Hill Road and we cannot trace any other information about him.
So when the Impeys returned to Summerfield in 1977, we think that they changed the name from The Fillies back to Summerfield (a good move in our humble opinion). The Impeys remained at Summerfield (second time around) until at least 1981, before moving to Pond Road (near to Woking Golf Club). Hugh died in 2002.
The next owners from c1983 were Robin and Beryl Kendall. We have no information about them. c1993 the family of the current owners moved into Summerfield.
Wyngate was built c1930. The first owner was Miss Mabel Coulston Lock. There is a bit of mystery about her surname. She was born in 1887 and christened in 1899 (in Benhilton, near St Helier Hospital in Sutton). The baptism certificate (see photo below) gives her surname as Cocking, as does the birth register from 1887. This is not surprising, given that her father was Albert Coulston Cocking (1865-1939). Albert and Mary (nee Stevens, 1867-1894) had married in 1886. So why in the 1901 census, when Mabel was aged 13 at school in Eastbourne, did she call herself Mabel Lock, whereas 2 years earlier she had just been baptised Mabel Cocking? And why did she continue to use the name Lock for the rest of her life?
The answer is that, from about the age of 13 (ie c1900), Mabel went to live with her aunt Harriett (Albert’s sister, born 1857, died 1922), who had married a Charles Lock. This arrangement was not unusual in Victorian times, but the name change suggests a permanent separation from her parents. We don’t know the reason for this, but suspect that it may have been due to her father’s remarriage to a Louisa Lowden (who was 13 years his junior) in 1899. Maybe Louisa and Mabel just could not get along with each other.
Anyway, by 1921 Mabel was ensconced with her Aunt Harriett and Uncle Charles. Charles was the Managing Director of United States Debenture Corporation in the 1900’s and 1910’s, based in London. The company was British, despite the name, and today would be described as an Investment Trust focusing on US markets. The family lived right next to Wimbledon Park with 2 nurses and 3 servants, so whatever the reason for her move, Mabel had certainly landed on her feet.
Mabel’s middle name of Coulston is easier to understand – it was her great grandmother’s maiden name and was used as a middle name frequently by the Cocking family.
So Mabel purchased the newly-built Wyngate in 1930, having previously been living in Sutton. Within a year Edward Coulston Cocking (1867-1957) moved into the house with Mabel. He was one of Charles and Harriett’s sons (ie, he was Mabel’s cousin).
The 1939 register shows Mabel and Edward living at Wyngate with a cook, the 50 year-old Barbara Dendy, whose husband was living at No 2, Pirbright Cottages. Given that the houses are only 5 minutes’ walk apart, this seems an odd arrangement. Mabel and Edward remained at Wyngate until c1948, when they moved to Eastbourne. Edward died in 1957 at Eastbourne, naming Mabel as his executor and Mabel died there in 1976, aged 89. Neither Mabel nor Edward ever married.
Between 1948 and 1954 Hugh and Ruth Price lived at Wyngate, having moved from Springwood in The Fairway.
Hugh was a keen cricketer for Horsell Cricket Club. In 1949 he was elected president, at the time being the managing director of a local timber firm. In 1952 he presided over a match between Horsell and Surrey. The Surrey team included the Bedser twins (who were from Woking), Laker, Lock and McIntyre, all stalwarts of the most successful county side in English cricketing history. The result was not in doubt, but it must have been a wonderful day. Part of a press report on the day is shown below.
In 1955 the Prices moved to Wych Hill in Woking. Hugh died in 1961, aged only 58. After Hugh’s death Ruth moved into a house in Hook Heath, naming it Wyngate. Ruth then moved house again a short distance into a small cul-de sac in Woking and died there in 1988.
In 1955 the current owners purchased Wyngate and have lived there ever since.
Lawford’s Hill Cottage (previously Okawa)
Okawa was built in 1930. Today the house is called Lawford’s Hill Cottage, but it is not really a cottage, more of a rather austere-looking house. One might think that the original name Okawa derives from the Japanese language, where it means “Big River”, but there aren’t many of those around Lawford’s Hill Road. In fact the name derives from the name of the farm on which one of the first owners grew up (see a few paragraphs below).
The first owners were Percy and Gertrude Chapman. Percy (1900-1961) had a particular distinction. He was the England cricket captain at the time. Cricket historians will instantly recognise the name APF Chapman, and we should spend some time writing about such a distinguished person – albeit a one with a fatal flaw, as we shall see.
Percy was born in Reading in 1900, the son of a schoolteacher. He went to Uppingham School, where he excelled as a batsman and a useful bowler. He then studied at Cambridge, and scored a century in his first match for the University. He was an affable man, popular with players and public alike.
He started working for Simonds Brewery of Reading and his cricket rather took a back seat, as he started the process of qualifying to play for Kent. But in 1924 he was picked to play for England. Unbelievably (by modern standards), he had not played a county game of cricket when he was picked.
He played again for England when they toured Australia in 1924-25, though he did not have much success. In 1925 he married Gertrude Lowry (born 1902) in New Zealand. Gertrude was the sister of the New Zealand cricketer (later to become their captain), Tom Lowry. Tom had been at Cambridge at the same time as Percy, and that is probably where they first met. Tom later played for Somerset. Apparently he qualified for this by stating that he had been born in Wellington (which was true). The club chose to believe it was Wellington, the small Somerset village, rather than the city in New Zealand....
Tom was the son of Tom Lowry, who had inherited a 20,000 acre property in the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand. The property was called (as you have no doubt already guessed) Okawa. Hence the name of the house in Lawford’s Hill Road. The farm is still owned and managed by a Tom Lowry (the 5th generation of Tom Lowrys to do so).
Chapman’s fame as a cricketer made him a popular public figure. He and his wife were well known figures in fashionable society and their appearances were followed closely in the press. A selection is shown below.
By 1926 Percy had made his cricketing mark through his batting and his excellent fielding. He captained England in the final test match of the year, which England won, thereby winning The Ashes and defeating Australia in a series for the first time in 14 years.
He liked a drink, and was beginning to put on weight, but continued to captain England, and won The Ashes in Australia in 1928-29. It was not until 75 years later, in 2004 under Michael Vaughan, that an England side equalled his feat of winning 8 test matches in succession. As a captain, Percy would consult frequently with his team-mates. This was seen as a strength by some (building strong team spirit), but a weakness by others (lack of tactical awareness and nous).
It was at this point, in 1930, that Percy and Gertrude moved into Okawa. As a Kent and England cricketer, Percy would have been on the road a lot of the time, and many of his Kent games would have involved him travelling to Canterbury – not an easy trip today and considerably slower in the 1930’s. Quite why they chose the fledgling Lawford’s Hill Road is a mystery. But perhaps it was because he was still employed by the Simonds Brewery in Reading, and maybe this particular location was convenient for him to perform his cricketing and PR duties. In which case, surely he would have known and (probably) been a regular at his nearest pub, The Fox, which was owned by Simonds Brewery. He also worked as a representative for Buchanan’s the whisky distiller.
But from the time he moved into Okawa things began to go downhill. He put on more weight, his batting success was mediocre, and England lost The Ashes in 1930. Mind you, a young Australian called Donald Bradman was a major reason for losing the ashes. Percy’s emphasis on positive, attacking cricket didn’t work against Bradman (echoes of England’s Bazball approach in the 2020’s perhaps?). With Bradman to deal with, we can only wonder whether any other England captain would have done much better.
Percy was dropped by England, and the captaincy was passed to Douglas Jardine, who adopted the Bodyline approach against Australia in the next series, which is still remembered (unfavourably) today. Percy captained Kent from 1931 to 1936, although his drinking by then had become a problem. He would apparently leave the field from time to time in search of a drink (not water).
He played on until the outbreak of WW2 in 1939. His wife divorced him in 1942. They had no children.
By 1945 he had moved out of Okawa into the house in Horsell of a friend who was the steward of West Hill Golf Club. The same year he was disqualified from driving for 12 months after driving under the influence (see press cutting below).
In the 1950’s things became even worse: He was ejected from the Lords pavilion, and was seen drinking whisky out of a half-pint mug. He died suddenly in 1961, aged 61, in a hospital in Alton after suffering a fall at home. His former wife commented that he “must have died a very sad man”. Old friends reminisced that he was always a boy at heart and lamented how he was never able to move on.
We will finish our commentary on Percy with tributes from two of the finest cricket writers: EW Swanton wrote: “The elderly and the middle-aged will recall him rather in his handsome sunlit youth, the epitome of all that was gay and fine in the game of cricket.” Neville Cardus described Chapman as “the schoolboy’s dream of the perfect captain of an England cricket eleven. He was tall, slim, always youthful, and pink and chubby of face. His left-handed batting mingled brilliance and grace … His cricket was romantic in its vaunting energy but classic in shape.”
All very sad, but to cheer us up, below is a picture of Percy in his youth, and also one showing Percy (right) with Jack Hobbs – one of England’s best ever batsmen. There is also a delightful 3-minute clip of Percy at the crease available on YouTube if you’re interested.
Below is a copy of the ship manifest for his trip to the West Indies in February 1932. His name is at the top of the list not because he was the captain, but because the passengers are listed alphabetically by surname. Interestingly he gave his address as Worplesdon, not Woking or Bridley.
For those who enjoy cricketing history, the attached article is well worth a read (with thanks to The Nightwatchman): https://wisdenblog.wordpress.com/2020/10/01/the-sorry-story-of-percy-chapman/
The next record of occupants of Okawa is in 1945 when Theobald and Phyllis Mathew lived there. Theobald (1898-1964) was a solicitor who had recently (1944) been promoted to Director of Public Prosecutions. He was to hold this post for 20 years until his death in 1964 – the longest ever tenure.
A son and grandson of lawyers, he was brought up in London, and in 1923 married Phyllis Russell (1897-1982), who was the niece of the senior partner where Theobald worked. This sounds like a rather smart career-enhancing move to us. Phyllis’s grandfather was Baron Russell of Killowen, who had been Lord Chief Justice of England between 1894 and 1900.
The couple lived in London, although Theobald made several trips to New York, presumably for business reasons. In 1941 he joined the Home Office, and we think that he decamped to Okawa around this time, in order to be away from any danger in London during the war. He may have been a little embarrassed when their son John was charged in 1945 with causing an unnecessary obstruction in Commercial Road, Woking with his motor car, and fined £1.
In 1946 he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, thus becoming Sir Theobald Mathew. The couple moved back to London around this time, and Sir Theobald directed a campaign against homosexuality. A picture of Sir Theobald is shown (right).
The Mathews moved back to London in 1946, and Colonel Gordon and Elizabeth Dixon purchased the house.
Gordon Hollingsworth Dixon was born near Sheffield in 1915. His father, Edward Dixon, a steel manufacturer, had married Kate Hollingsworth in 1871. Kate died in 1911, and 2 years later Edward married Jessie Hollingsworth. Jessie was Kate’s younger sister (by 11 years). This is rather unusual. In fact up until 1907 it was illegal, but at that time Edward’s actions were within the new law (by 6 years).
Both were daughters of Alexander Hollingsworth, the proprietor of the newspaper “Engineering”. He was also a director of A&F Pears Limited, the well-known (at the time) soap company.
More unusual is that 33 years later Gordon (whose middle name was Hollingsworth) married Elizabeth (“Betty”) Hollingsworth, in 1940. Was Betty related to Gordon’s father’s 2 wives? Yes is the answer. Jessie and Kate’s grandfather was Betty’s great-grandfather. So Edward and Betty shared a great-grandfather and were second cousins. Again, in case you were wondering, this was absolutely legal. But we would observe that it seems to have been a rather close-knit family.
Betty was born in 1916 and had been living with her family in a large house in Hook Heath. Her father, Sydney Hollingsworth was a director of Lawrence Philipps’s shipping company. She had been a bridesmaid at the wedding of Anne Stewart, whose sister, Cora Turner (nee Stewart) was living at The Whins (refer section above). The wedding reception was held at The Whins. Perhaps her friendship with Cora was what persuaded Betty and Gordon to buy Okawa, just a few doors away. If so, the plan failed, as Cora soon left her husband, Charles. Charles carried on living at The Whins, while Cora moved away and remarried. That would have been rather awkward.
The Dixons changed the name of the house to its current Lawford’s Hill Cottage and stayed there until 1962. Gordon died in Windsor in 2004, aged 89, and Betty died the following year, also aged 89.
The current owners moved into Lawford’s Hill Cottage in 1963.
Henry Chalcraft managed to sell the Lo Andalocia plot as soon as he put the Lawford’s Hill estate on the market in 1925. The plan accompanying the deed of sale is shown right. The plot is shaded pink, and sharp eyes will spot some minor differences to the current Lo Andalocia plot. Today’s Lawford’s Hill Close can be seen as a 30-foot track, and the 2 intervening plots on the plan must have later been combined into a single larger plot (now containing Lawford’s Hill Cottage).
The buyer in 1925 was Leonard Cyprian Giffard Booth, who had bought Waldens (now Avila) in Malthouse Lane in 1918. The Booths had already extended the Waldens house, and owned the land on the east side of Malthouse Lane abutting the Lo Andalocia plot, so it seemed that the Booths were intent on extending the Waldens plot as well as the house. In the event, the Booths only stayed at Waldens for another 6 years before moving on. Their story is told more fully in the Malthouse Lane section.
We think that Lo Andalocia was built during the 1960’s and has remained in the hands of the current owners ever since.
A detached annex was built away from the road right next to the Woking-Pirbright boundary, perhaps in the 1970’s. This annex is used as a storage building.
Denton’s Green, built in 1930, was one of the 4 original houses on Lawford’s Hill Road. The first occupants were Charles and Dorothy Laidlaw Cross, and Margaret Moore. Charles and Dorothy were brother and sister (they were born in Penge in 1871 and 1878 respectively, and their surname was “Laidlaw Cross”). Their father had been a wine merchant. Margaret Moore may have been a 79 year-old widow who was born in Ireland, and who had previously lived at Maybury, Woking, but we are not sure.
The Laidlaw Crosses only stayed in Denton’s Green for 3 or 4 years. They were followed c1934 by Mabel Beyers and her family. Mabel’s life seems a rather complicated one. Born in Northern Ireland as Mabel Kidd in 1869, she emigrated to South Africa and in 1899 married Henrique Beyers. They had 2 daughters and then in 1905 emigrated to New Zealand, where they had 2 more daughters. The marriage failed, and in 1928 Mabel returned to Britain with her daughters. Initially they moved several times around the Guildford/Woking area, including Denton’s Green. They were no doubt attracted to the area by Mabel’s brother, who lived in Maori Road, Guildford. A photo of Mabel is shown below.
A small mystery is why one of her daughters, Ruahine Catharina, used the surname Naylor, despite being single. The family moved away from Denton’s Green c1938 to Weybridge, where Mabel died in 1948, aged 79.
The next owners were Gerald and Mary Debenham. Now an obvious assumption would be that Gerald was a scion of the Debenham family who founded the retail store, Debenhams. Probably not, though. Both families can trace themselves back to Suffolk in the early 1700’s, albeit 20 miles apart from each other. So if they were related, it was extremely distant.
Gerald Dalton Debenham (1901-1971) was the son of Gerald Dalton Debenham (yes, really) (1865-1902). Gerald the elder was a clergyman who served across the country, moving location frequently. He died aged only 37 when Gerald the younger was only 1.
Gerald the younger married Mary Stella (known as Stella) Rutter (1904-1984) in 1936. Their honeymoon involved a journey by ship (first class) to Madeira. This sounds very nice, although Gerald’s mother accompanied them, which may have put something of a dampener on things.
Gerald and Stella moved into Denton’s Green c1938, and the following year on the register he described himself as “Proprietor of Vita Sugar & ?? (illegible). Manufacturing chemists and distributors of Special preparation of glucose. Am also a Chartered Accountant.” One of the more comprehensive entries we’ve seen. We know what a Chartered Accountant is, but we can’t find anything out about Vita Sugar.
As far as we know Gerald and Stella had no children. They moved out of Denton’s Green c1959 and went to live near Chichester. Gerald died in 1971 and Stella in 1984.
The next owners (from c1959) were Captain Robert and Gabrielle Parker. Robert was born in Worcestershire in 1910, the son of a chartered accountant (another one of them). He joined the RAF and flew during WW2. After the war, he became a senior captain with BOAC. Robert and Gabrielle had 3 children.
Gabrielle (nee Brewitt) had been born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and after leaving Denton’s Green in the late 1960’s, the couple moved to South Africa. Robert died there in 1984.
The next owners were Erik and Christine Wills. Erik (full name Erik Raymond Bjorkman Wills) was born in Merrow in 1931, the son of a solicitor (Leslie Wills) and a Swedish lady (Sigrid Bjorkman) who left her native Sweden in 1930. They married just 2 months after Sigrid arrived in Britain, and Erik was born 10 months later.
Erik and Christine (nee Pollard) lived in Fairway (the road in Merrow, not The Fairway next to Lawford’s Hill Road). They then married in 1956 in Gloucestershire, and lived there for a while, before returning to Surrey (living in Carshalton in the late 1960’s). They moved into Denton’s Green c1968, but only stayed for a short while and moved out in the early 1970’s. Erik died in Hindhead in 1993.
The next owners (briefly) were Leslie and Suzanne Allen Vercoe. They had married in 1967. Leslie Allen Vercoe was a director of Capital Properties, a Frimley-based property company, and later Cranwell Properties. He was also chairman of the Bagshot and District Round Table. It seems that the Allen Vercoes obtained permission to demolish the existing Denton’s Green house and build a replacement in 1972.
By 1976 Joseph and Edna Ross had purchased Denton’s Green. They soon (1978) added a 2-storey extension to the house.
In 1998 Sean Revitt purchased the property. He added a rear extension in 2016.
In 2021 the house was sold to the current owners.
Woodlands was built on one of the 3 plots approved for building in 1958 (along with Wildacre and Hetheringstoke – see comments in the introduction to this section). In fact it was the only one of the 3 that was built then – the other 2 houses were built 10 years later.
The first owners were Lloyd & Vera Manuel. Lloyd was born on the outskirts of Manchester in 1920, while Vera was born Vera Wild in Stockport 4 years later. They married in Manchester in 1950 and came south soon afterwards. By 1953 they were living in a flat on Chobham Rd, Woking. They moved into the newly-built Woodlands in 1958.
We don’t think that they had any children. Lloyd died in 1994 and Vera remained in the house until 2000, when she moved to Knaphill. She died there in 2014.
New owners bought the house in 2000. The husband was a builder by trade, so perhaps it is not surprising that he soon demolished the house and rebuilt it. In 2011 he obtained permission to add a single-storey side extension.
The newly-rebuilt house was sold to the current owners in 2014. Meanwhile the previous owners moved not far away to Mandalay on the Ash Road.
Wildacre was built in 1969. We have shown below an extract from an earlier plan prepared in 1958 for a Mrs JM Dennis. The proposed house is described only as “Plot 2, Lawford’s Hill Road”. It was one of the 3 plots approved for building at that time (along with Woodlands and Hetheringstoke – see comments in the introduction to this section). However, the plan was not acted on and the house was not built at that time. Mrs Dennis appears to have had a change of heart, and never lived in the area.
But the plan is of mild interest. It shows that the only 5 houses that existed in the road at that time were The Whins, Wyngate, Lawford’s Hill Cottage (Okawa), Denton’s Green and Heron’s Court (Aprilia). Also shown are Hunter’s Green and Abney (on the Bagshot Road) and Lawford’s Farm and Primrose Cottage (on Storr’s Lane).
It was not until 1969 that Wildacre was built (by Eden Developments) and sold to William and Violet Cathles.
William (“Bill”) Anderson Cathles (1918-1986) was the son of a building manager in Norfolk (also called William Anderson Cathles, 1861-1933), who in later life became a wine merchant. Bill (the younger) was a journalist who edited “Advertiser’s Weekly” and was vice-chairman of his local Conservative Association in Southgate.
Violet (nee Summers in Glamorgan, 1919) and Bill married in Chichester in 1942. They lived initially near Enfield and had 2 daughters. They then moved to Woking in the mid-1950’s, living in Egley Road before moving into the newly-built Wildacre in 1969. But after only 5 years there they moved (in 1974) to London Road, Guildford, and thence to Bognor Regis. Bill died there in 1986 (aged 68) and Violet in 2007 (aged 88).
The next owners were Dulal and Pamela Mukerjee. They had married in Harrow in 1960 and since 1968 had lived in Westfield Road, Woking. Pamela’s maiden name was Clegg. They lived at Wildacre until c1980.
The current owners bought Wildacre c1980.
Courtenay House (previously Hetheringstoke)
Courtenay House is a recent build and stands on one of the 3 plots approved for building in 1958 (along with Woodlands and Wildacre – see comments in the introduction to this section). Work on its predecessor house was started in 1962, but not completed until 1966. As the local authority inspector wrote in his notes in 1965, it was “Very slow progress”. It seems that the new owners were building the house themselves. They were living in part of the house already by 1965, but it took another year for the council to be completely satisfied with the work.
The house was named Hetheringstoke, although we cannot think what the origin of this name was.
The first owners (and the builders) of the house in 1968 were Cyril and Iris Tether. Cyril (known as Gordon) was born in Essex in 1913 into a family of drapers operating in Highgate. In 1938 he married Marjorie Gurney, and at that time Gordon described himself as a “Financial and general journalist. Statistician.” They had 2 children, but the marriage was not to last. They divorced during the 1940’s. Marjorie died in 2004.
Photos of Gordon and Marjorie are shown below.
Gordon remarried to Iris Lawson (born 1925, probably in Islington) in 1953 and the couple lived in Stoke Newington before moving to Hetheringstoke in 1968. Gordon and Iris had no children.
Gordon wrote in the Lex column for the Financial Times, but his services were dispensed with in 1976 after he wrote some conspiracy theory stuff (that in the end was not printed).
In 1979 he was a member of Turning Point, a group of people who had concerns about all sorts of issues and believe that mankind was at a “turning point”. Today he would probably be branded as “Alternative”. He wrote one article entitled: “The Great Common Market Fraud”, and also spoke about an unnamed subject to supporters of a group called “East West People”.
If you look carefully on the internet, you may be able to find a used copy of a 1977 book called “The Banned Articles of C. Gordon Tether”. In view of the type of content it is likely to include, we have not invested the required £50 to buy a copy.
Iris died in 1993 and Gordon in 1997, while they were living at Hetheringstoke.
Hetheringstoke was sold in 1999, and then left vacant for a while. During this vacant period the house began to show its age – it became rather run down and shabby.
However, a series of planning applications was made, which resulted in the magnificent edifice which today is Courtenay House. The casual observer might wonder how such a grand house could have been built in the place of the unassuming 1960’s house which had existed until then. We have summarised the planning applications (all made by a Jane Richards and involving demolishing the old house and building a replacement) below:
• 2000 – application for a 300% increase in size – refused.
• 2001 – application for a 70% increase in size – permitted.
• 2004 – an amendment to the 2001 application (further increase in size, but % not specified) –permitted.
• 2010 – an amendment to the 2004 application (further increase in size, but % not specified) –permitted.
So finally in 2010 the current Courtenay House was built in “neo-classical” style. We are not sure whether Mrs Richards ever lived in the house, or whether she built it as a development opportunity. We think that Jane was married (or otherwise related) to Arthur Richards, who was born in 1921 and was a director of Hermes Group (now rebranded as Evri, the delivery company). Arthur lived in Cobham and died in 2011.
The new house was sold to Mr and Mrs Caskie in 2012. It was sold again to the current owners in 2018.
Above is an agent’s photo of Courtenay House (with thanks).
Greenways was built in 1935, at the time of a housing boom across the country. The first owners were James and Helen Morton.
James was born in 1888. Helen was born Helen Stephens in 1900 in Gloucestershire. In 1929 James was working for Harrisons & Crosfield, a tea and rubber company which traded in the Far East. [The company has since morphed into a chemicals company, changing its name to Elementis.] James and Helen were living at Eslington House, Cheltenham (today a listed building – see photo below), but then travelled to Sumatra with their 2 young sons for 4 years (presumably for James’s work). They were married in Penang in 1929, and returned to Britain in 1933, and perhaps a job move required them to move closer to London. For whatever reason, they were the first owners of Greenways from 1936. Also living there was Ada Stokes, a child’s nurse.
By 1939 they were living back near Cheltenham in another large house – this time more rural than before. James was a director of a jam and pickle factory (perhaps with a different employer). They both died in Sussex: James in 1962, aged 74, and Helen in 1993, aged 93.
The next owner of Greenways was Edith Bertha Rathbone (nee Hampshire in Sao Paolo in 1879). Her father, Francis Hampshire, originally from Liverpool, had operated an import-export business out of Sao Paolo, then moved to Bedford, and in 1908 retired to a large house called Redcourt, just north-west of Woking. It may seem a strange place to retire to, but it was right next to a golf course (now named West Byfleet Golf Course), so maybe not so strange after all. Francis died in 1924, leaving £68,000 (£3.5 million today). Francis’s wife, Annie, stayed at Redcourt until her death in 1935.
Edith was married in 1908 to Francis Warre (“Frank”) Rathbone, (1874-1939) who was a direct descendant of the founders of Rathbones, the private bank.
The bank had been founded in Liverpool as a timber trading business by William Rathbone II in 1742. For the next 150 years, under the guidance of a further 4 William Rathbones (Nos III, IV, V and VI), the company continued as a trader in various commodities. In the early years of the 20th century macroeconomic pressures forced it to drop its trading activities and instead it became a specialist bank. Today it operates as an investment management bank.
A useful history of the bank can be found at: https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/42/Rathbone-Brothers-plc.html
Francis (“Frank”) was the youngest of 10 children of William VI (1819-1902). He ended up running the bank between the wars, and was responsible for steering the business towards wealth management. A newspaper obituary of Frank is shown below.
There have been 2 other notable (non-banking) individuals in the Rathbone family. Firstly Eleanor Rathbone (1872-1946), who was Frank’s sister and the 9th of William VI’s 10 children. She studied hard at Oxford University, and then began to make a name for herself as an active campaigner on various issues. In 1929 she became an independent MP and continued her campaigning, notably for a system of providing Family Allowances to mothers. This finally came to fruition in 1945, the year before she died, when Family Allowances became a reality. She has a blue plaque at her address in London. She also has a building at Liverpool University named after her. She never married. A photo of Eleanor, together with one of her blue plaque (with thanks to Oosoom at English Wikipedia) is shown above.
The second (non-banking) notable in the Rathbone family is Basil Rathbone (1892-1967), an actor best known for his impeccable portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in 14 films. For those of a certain age, he defined the role, and others have merely followed. A photo of him is shown below (with thanks to 20th Century Fox). Basil was the great-grandson of William V and therefore the first cousin once-removed of Frank.
Arthur was born in Steyning in 1909, the son of a Quartermaster Sergeant in the army. Irene (nee Sands in Greenwich in 1912) was the daughter of a schoolmaster. They married in Bromley in 1937, and in 1939 Arthur gave his trade as “Works planning estimating clerk (aircraft and civil)”. In 1940 Arthur sailed (alone) to New York, which would have pretty hazardous during WW2. He now described himself as an engineer.
By 1958 the Duffys were living in Kingfield, Woking, with their 3 children, and then moved into Greenways in 1960.
Arthur died in 1998, and Irene sold it to the current owners in 2003, having lived in the house for over 40 years. Irene died in 2004.
Right is an agent’s photo of Greenways (with thanks).
Back now to Edith. She moved to Greenways within 5 months of Frank’s death in 1939. It almost seems that she couldn’t wait to leave Liverpool and move near to where her parents had lived. She lived at Greenways on her own (though with some domestic help) for 20 years.
Edith and Frank had 6 children. One became the National Secretary of the National Trust for many years. Another ended up living very close to Edith. A third lived in Guildford before emigrating to South Africa. A fourth became treasure of Liverpool University. A fifth emigrated to the US in 1960, ending up in Salt Lake City. The sixth became a local director of Barclays Bank and stood as the conservative candidate in a 1957 by-election (unsuccessfully, we think).
After leaving Greenways in 1960, Edith lived in Blackdown House, Woking, which was very near to the site of the house to which her parents had retired in 1908. She died there in 1967, aged 88.
Greenways was purchased in 1960 by Arthur and Irene Duffy, who promptly divided the house into 2 semi-detached houses, each with its own (roughly equal-sized) plot. The “new” house formed was named Guildown, and is covered in the section below.
As described in the section on Greenways (above), Guildown was formed in 1960 by the division of Greenways into 2 semi-detached houses. The house furthest from the road (down a driveway) was named Guildown. The first owners were Ronald and Pamela Rideout.
Ronald was born in Kensington in 1910, the son of Frank Rideout, a “Club waiter”. By 1921, Frank had been promoted to Superintendent of the Wellington Club at 1, Grosvenor Place. This was an exclusive members’ club, but is now defunct. Pamela (nee Robinson) was born in Aldershot in 1912, the daughter of a soldier.
Ronald and Pamela were married in Surrey in 1938. By 1939 Ronald was a “Buyer and Manager for a mens’ clothing dept store”, living with his parents in Barnes. Pamela was living in Esher, working as a domestic for a civil servant. That’s a tough separation for a newly married couple.
Ronald and Pamela moved into Guildown in 1960 and remained there until c1965. They then moved to Elstead, where Ronald died in 1978 and Pamela in 1995.
The current owners bought Guildown in 1965. One of the owners was a GP at Fairlands surgery.
Heron’s Court (previously Aprilia)
When Henry Chalcraft put Lawford’s Hill Estate Plot up for sale by auction in 1925, the Heron’s Court plot was purchased by Elton Higgins, who was living at Linksholme (now named Hunter’s Green), which was next door on the Bagshot Road. The plan relating to this sale is shown below left.
Muriel and William had 3 children over the next 10 years. In 1937 the family were living at Perry Hill Lodge in Worplesdon, less than a mile away from Lawford’s Hill Road, and had the rather flashy phone number Worplesdon 123. 2 years later they were living at Shamley Green, and William described himself as a Chartered Accountant (following in his father’s footsteps, to the extent of even working in his father’s old firm). After WW2 the Ogles moved to near Horsham. William died in London in 1974, and Muriel died at Poole in 1984, aged 92.
A copy of the 1956 plan for the new house, to be named Aprilia, is shown below.
The plot then remained undeveloped for 30 years until 1956, when a Mrs MJ Ogle submitted a building plan. We don’t know how Mrs Ogle acquired the plot. We can’t even be 100% sure who Mrs Ogle was, but we think that she was Muriel Josephine Ogle (nee Hall in Walton-on-Thames in 1892). Her father (who was born in Cork) was an architect.
In 1915 she married (in Reigate) William Ogle (born 1890), a Captain in the Royal West Kent Regiment, whose father was a Chartered Accountant (that’s the third in this section so far). The newspaper announcement of this is shown below. The unusual wording may have been caused by the worries about what might happen during WW1, which was in full swing at the time.
The Brooms remained at Aprilia until c1967. Valencia died in King’s Lynn in 1979, while William died in Camden in 1981. The next owners were John and Louise Davies. We think that John and Louise (nee Haufgartner) were married in Cardiff in 1948 and had 1 son, but apart from that, we know very little about them. They stayed at Aprilia until 1997.
The next owners were Michael and Carol Ingarfield. Again, we know very little about this family, except that they changed the name of the house from Aprilia to Heron’s Court for reasons unknown. They sold the house to the current owners in 2014.
Right is an agent’s photo of Heron’s Court (with thanks).
The plan shows 4 houses: Linksholme and The Whins (spelt “The Whines” – was this accidental or deliberate?), Greenways and Wyngate. Summerfield was not built until 10 years later.
The name Aprilia is interesting. It is the name of an Italian city just south of Rome. But it is also a make of Italian motorcycle, as well as being a model of Lancia car. Take your pick as to which was the inspiration for naming this house Aprilia in the mid-1950’s.
The first owners in 1957 were William and Valencia Broom. William was born in Plymouth in 1903, the son of a “Sick berth steward” in the Royal Navy, according to the 1911 census. 10 years later in 1921 he was a Dental assistant for The Admiralty in Devonport. Valencia was born in 1903, the daughter of a corporal in the Royal Artillery. In case you’re thinking that the name Valencia could have some Mediterranean link to the house name Aprilia, we can’t find one. Valencia was born in Portsmouth, while her parents were born in Bath and Newton Abbott respectively).
William and Valencia married in Bath in 1931, but initially lived in Battersea. By this time, William was a BSc and a PhD. They had 1 son, and 8 years later were living in Bath, a few doors away from one of Valencia’s cousins and his wife. William described his job as “Technical Petroleum”. He worked for Standard Oil, which became Esso (today known as ExxonMobil), one of the largest oil companies in the world. He is named on one of Standard Oil’s patent applications (for an improved temporary protective coating for metal) in 1951.
After WW2, they moved to Queen’s Square Mews in Westminster, very close to the Houses of Parliament. They then moved to Aprilia in 1957. William’s work necessitated several trips to the USA, accompanied by Valencia on one in 1958.
Lawford's Hill Close
Lawford’s Hill Close is a quiet cul-de-sac tucked away off Lawford’s Hill Road. It is invisible from the Bagshot Road, and many local residents may be unaware that it exists. It contains 5 houses, each built at the same time in the early 1970’s on a generous plot. We have shown again the recent OS map of the area (with thanks to Ordnance Survey) below. Lawford’s Hill Close is clearly marked running south off Lawford’s Hill Road.
After walking past the gardens of Lawford’s Hill Cottage and Wyngate on either side of the road, we come to the 5 houses numbered in a clockwise direction starting with the first house on the east side. These 5 houses lie in a 3-acre squarish block, with an extra bit added to the north-east corner. We have considered each house in turn, starting at the northernmost house and going clockwise around the cul-de-sac.
Without seeing the detailed drawings, we can’t be sure who owned this piece of land before the houses were built, but we think that the squarish block belonged to Hillbrow (annoyingly shown just as “lbrow” on the map above) and the extra bit at the north-east belonged to The Corner House. The developer who purchased the land and built the houses was JR Carr Ltd. The 1969 and 1970 telephone directories show the company as Civil Engineers, operating out of a Hook Heath address. Intriguingly, it is also shown with a Lawford’s Hill Road address, but with no house name given. This could have been La Andalocia, which had recently been built
An interesting question arises. How did a gap wide enough to take modern-day traffic magically appear between Wyngate and Lawford’s Hill Cottage in the early 1970’s? Perhaps it was conveniently carved out of the gardens of the 2 properties at that time?
Not so. If we look at the 1908 plan for the development of the Lawford’s Hill estate (shown below left), we can see that originally Lawford’s Hill Road was originally designed to curve around to meet Berry Lane. And then the 1925 deeds of the Lawford’s Hill Road properties (also shown below - right) specify a 30-foot gap at that point, and it is this gap that now comprises the start of Lawford’s Hill Close. Clearly the original owner of the land back in 1908 foresaw that there may have been a need at some future date for an access route to the piece of land where Lawford’s Hill Close now stands, so 10 marks out of 10 for advance planning (it was actioned 60 years later).
In tune with many of the other houses in the area, most of the houses have undergone significant extensions during the last 30 years.
The first owners of No 1 purchased the house in 1970. The family of the first owners still live in the house.
No 2 (previously Culfor)
The first occupiers of No 2 in 1970 were Owen and Teresa Jones. They named the house Culfor (which is a welsh word meaning channel), so we suspect that, with a surname like Jones, they were from Wales. However, within a couple of years, they had moved away, so they were possibly tenants, rather than owners.
The house was then purchased in 1973 by Norman and Margery Williams, who promptly removed the name of Culfor from the house, which therefore became known simply as No 2, Lawford’s Hill Close. The decision to do this seems rather odd, as Norman was born in Cardiff 1920, the son of a Welsh engineer. Margery was born in 1923 in Chester, the daughter of a golf professional.
In 1950 Norman and Margery married in Chester and had 1 daughter. Norman died in 2000, and Margery remained in the house until 2015, when she moved to Fleet.
The house was purchased in 2015 by Ashley Hurst. The house was sold to the current owners in 2021. An agent’s photo of the house is shown right (with thanks).
No 3 (Folly House)
The first owners of No 3 in 1970 were Michael and Audrey Stock. They had previously lived in a house called Follyfield in Mayford, so perhaps this is the origin of the name of the house (Folly House). Of course there could be a much more interesting explanation.
Michael was born in Stoneleigh in 1932, the son of an electrical engineer. Audrey was born in Camberwell in 1934. After the death of her father shortly afterwards, her family moved to Sutton. Michael and Audrey married in 1957 and had 4 children (including twin girls). c1986 they sold No 3 to Bruce and Paula Coward.
Bruce was born in Bournemouth in 1947, the son of a Welsh father and a Yorkshire mother. Paula (nee Creigh) was born in Bournemouth in 1945. She and Bruce married in 1975.
Bruce was the founder and managing director of Computer Marketing plc, a firm based in Knaphill which sold IBM mainframe computers (turnover was c£40 million pa, we understand). Unfortunately, the business world was fast moving towards smaller, cheaper computers at this time, and demand for large IBM mainframes was dwindling correspondingly. The company went into administration in 1991 and was bought by another computer company. Bruce went on to found and run 2 other tech companies (and was still doing so in mid-2023 when this piece was written).
A newspaper photo of Bruce from 1986 is shown left.
The Cowards sold the house in 2000 to the current owners.
No 4 (The Burrow)
The first owners of No 4 in 1970 were John and Doreen Shaw. We think that this was John Thornhill Shaw (“Johnny”), who was born in 1916 in Worksop. His father Roland, who was a valet, died the following year, aged just 30. We don’t know the cause of his death, but it does not seem to have been connected with WW1. His mother Delia (nee Ellis in 1890) was a pianist in 1911, and had only married Roland in 1914. She remarried in 1928 and died in 1960.
In 1939, aged 23, Johnny was a Council ARP clerk in Derbyshire, and the same year he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1941, and the same year he married Jessie (known as Doreen, nee Ward in Derbyshire in 1917) in Chesterfield, whose father had been a colliery hewer. They had one daughter.
Johnny was awarded the DFC in 1942. His citation is shown below. He was awarded the DSO in 1943, and ended up as a Group-Captain.
3 pictures of the Shaws are shown below (L to R): Johnny in his RAF days, Johnny and Doreen at their daughter’s christening, and the couple later in life. The right-hand photo may have been taken in front of No 4, but we can’t tell from looking at the house today.
Johnny died in 1976, aged only 60, and Jessie and her daughter soon moved out of the area to Broadstairs, where she died in 2009, aged 92.
In 1978 Alan and Doris Spores bought No 4. Alan was born in Hammersmith in 1928, the son of a commercial traveller. Doris (known by her middle name of Marion) was born in Bayswater in 1923. They married in Streatham in 1953 and had 3 children, living first in Brixton, then Sunbury, and then in East Molesey before moving into No 4.
Alan and Doris built a rear extension to the house in 1993. Alan died in 2001 and Doris sold the house in 2004, moving to Guildford. She died there in 2018, aged 95.
The purchasers of the house in 2004 are unknown. But they obtained permission to convert the garage to living accommodation and to add an extra storey to the existing house and garage (which is what gives the house its block-like appearance). Having made their alterations, the owners immediately sold the house in 2007, to Matthew and Claire Pinnock. In 2020 the house was sold to the current owners.
An agent’s photo of the house is shown right (with thanks).
We are not sure when No 4 was christened “The Burrow”. Or why, for that matter.
No 5 (Regency House)
The first owners of No 5 were John and Margaret Croft. We don’t know much about them, except that they may have married in Leicester in 1958. They built an annexe to the house in the early 1980’s, and an Alice Croft lived there. Perhaps Alice was a daughter, or John’s mother? The Crofts stayed at No 5 until the late 1980’s.
The next owners from c1988 were Stuart and Susan Jane (Jane being their surname). Stuart (born 1938, we think) and Susan (nee Ternouth in 1940, daughter of an elementary schoolteacher and a supply teacher) married in Poole in 1964, lived near Exeter and had at least daughter. Susan may have followed in her parents’ footsteps and become a primary schoolteacher (and even a Head Teacher). For a while in the early 1990’s Susan’s mother, Lois, was living in the annexe, but she died in 1997, aged 94.
The house was sold in 1997 to Sing Chai Lau. Mr Lau may have been born in the mid-1950’s, and married in 1982. The family moved to Camberley 4 years later.
In 2001 Mrs Mary Piterse bought No 5. We know nothing about Mrs Piterse. The surname seems to be found mainly in South Africa. Mrs Piterse extended the property in 2013.
In 2015 the house was sold to the current owners. We are not sure when No 5 was christened “Regency House”.