July / August / September 2014 Score: Comment Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF

Posted on Sunday, October 12, 2014 @ 19:36:51 UTC in Notes and News
by neil

Friend’s evenings

A most successful evening was held in May at the Social Club with almost 70 people attending. I spoke about some of the larger houses and estates in the district, much of this based on the sale documents recently given to the archive. Also the J.Arthur Coe billiards trophy (more details below) was officially handed back to the Village Hall management by Peter Hatch. Refreshments as usual kindly provided by Jan and John Bebbington.

Next Friends evening will be on Tuesday 4th November at the Social Club. The subject this time will be 'Transport around Grayshott' from the horse drawn delivery vehicles, through the motor era, the Aldershot and District Bus Co. a major employer in the area and we may even find a picture or two of Sidney Jeffery’s ‘Grayshott Coaches'! More details in due course.

Archive committee

Following the AGM the following changes have taken place. Clive Slaughter who has represented the Parish Council has retired and his place taken by Ann Myers. We are also pleased to welcome John Hill to the team.

The J. Arthur Coe billiards trophy

Following the Friends evening last November about the Village Hall it was found that 'in store' at our hosts the Social Club was a trophy presented in 1911 to the Village Hall Men’s Club for an annual competition of billiards by J.Arthur Coe who lived at Moor House, Tilford Road, Hindhead. By good fortune the trophy has survived the closure of the club in the late 1970s. It has duly been handed back to the Village Hall where in due course it will be put on display. A minor point of interest is that the bus stop at the apex of the Tilford and Churt roads at Hindhead was always known as Coe's Corner.

Future projects and new information

The plaque to commemorate Grayshott’s involvement with the billeting of troops within the parish 1914/15 is at present being manufactured and will be displayed above one set of entrance doors to the Village Hall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the Great European War.

A new item will shortly appear on our website in the form of a regular feature ‘Do You Know’. Covering the district we hope it will be found of interest and bring forth more information.

Other items of local interest have come to light recently. The donation to the Archive by Derek Hoy of a plated cigarette case inscribed ‘Grayshott Military Hospital Xmas 1915'. The hospital was at the Catholic Church area of the Cenacle. Further information can be found on this website under previous articles.
Recently acquired on Ebay are two Walder photographs of the wedding in 1923 of Olive Larcome and William Diamond, the pictures are taken at the rear of his butchers shop (now the vets) in Crossways Road looking to the rear of our present post office. These photographs 'surfaced' at Clydebank, Glasgow!

Tracey Sharpe, our secretary, is keen for the Archive to expand appeal to more local people, in particular those moving to the area in recent times. We are interested in gathering more information on the history of what have become housing estates around the village. Also we would like to talk with more of our long standing residents to record more of village life.


The Grayshott War Memorial book is selling well and is available from the Pottery, Post Office, Village Kitchen Caterers and Applegarth.
Don’t forget there are always a good selection of other local history titles available including “The History of Grayshott Fire Station 1906 – 2007”, “Grayshott, and a Hampshire Village” and a good selection of other new titles about walks in the district from Jo. Smith who of course is adding new titles. All are stocked at Grayshott Pottery and now at Grayshott Post Office.


Richard Peskett
Grayshott Village Archive


A most successful evening was held in May at the Social Club with . . . . . . . .



The Portsmouth Road Score: Comment Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF Read More...

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 @ 00:00:00 UTC in Articles
by neil



Some of the earliest references to the road go back to the 17th century when pioneer road map maker John Ogilby included ‘Hynde Head’ in his 1675 first edition of ‘Britannia – A Geographical and Historical Description of the Roads of England and Wales’.  William Cobbett in his ‘Rural Rides’of 1822 quotes ‘Hindhead, that miserable hill, the most villainous spot that God ever made’.  Quite possibly many travellers of these recent times when queuing at Hindhead have come to similar conclusions.  To all of us living locally ‘The Portsmouth Road’ is a household phrase, at times cursed but also giving us all access to the channel ports, airports and the British motorway network in general. Soon with the opening of the new road tunnel life around here will change forever.


The Saxons and Romans constructed the basis for the road network in this country but from when the legions were withdrawn from Britain in AD 411 it was not until 1555 that the first general act was passed, not for road construction but for repair.  Earlier an act was passed in 1285 directing that ‘highways’ leading from one town to another shall be free of ‘dyke, tree or bush whereby man may lurk to do hurt within two hundred yards on either side of the way’.  This measure was designed to protect travellers and had no concern with the repair of the road.  Expanding trade and commerce led to roads getting into even worse condition than previous.
It is claimed that Sameul Pepys stayed at the Anchor Hotel in Liphook when Secretary to the Naval Board in 1661, so the road was being used by travellers from London to Portsmouth which was already well established as a naval base.

The road network in this country was in a deplorable state and in 1663 Justices of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire made representation to Parliament for a Private Act to operate a ‘Toll Road Trust’ on the London to York post road through their area.  This became the first English Turnpike Act and was to become the Great North Road.  With the granting of this, many similar representations were made and granted so by 1770 there were almost 500 trusts and by 1829 some 1,119 trusts were controlling 19,798 miles of road.  To achieve this it was estimated there were over 3,783 Private Acts of Parliament.  In 1712 the Edinburgh to London coach took 13 days and the fare was £4 -10s with a free allowance of 20lbs of luggage.  As a condition of the granting of ‘Trust’ status the roads first had to be put into a good state of repair and income used to maintain them as such.  These ‘Trusts’ were formed by groups of local people and as trustees were responsible for collecting the tolls with gatehouses and toll bars being set up.  Considerable sums were borrowed and by 1829 a total debt of £7,785,171 has been incurred with worse to come by 1865 the figure had reached a staggering £9,000,000.  Pedestrians were free, toll collectors absconded with takings, double charges on Sundays unless travelling to church and often long queues formed when disputes broke out over charges based on weight.  From the 1750s milestones had to be erected along the route.  To travel from London to Scarborough in 1772 would have cost £22 in 19 stages of tolls and from London to Edinburgh in 1798 the 39 stages would have cost the traveller £36-11-7d.  Within this system in 1764 the Milford to Portsmouth and in 1768/1792 the Kingston to Sheetbridge (north of Petersfield) acts were passed by Parliament.

The original route took the road across the top of ‘Gibbet Hill’ aptly named as such but in 1826 the Trust built a new road at lower level around the punchbowl on the line that it is today.  At date unknown but probably during the late 1700s a small inn was established on Hindhead later to become known as the ‘Huts Hotel’ and after about 1900 the ‘Royal Huts Hotel’.  Because of the inhospitable terrain and chance of robbery the route across Hindhead was not preferred by most travellers, many of whom were sailors making for Portsmouth.  The alternative was from Milford to Haslemere and then either to Midhurst and Chichester to Portsmouth or from Haslemere to Liphook and on.  Growing in importance as a mail coach road gradually more people used this direct route and by 1820 there were at least 24 coaches crossing the hill daily.

These toll roads were gradually abolished during the 1870s and responsibility handed to local Highway Authorities with all toll or turnpike roads becoming main roads.  With the introduction of the Highways and Locomotive (amended) Act of 1878 authorities were given leave to reduce the status of some main roads to that of ordinary roads.

The advent of the Portsmouth ‘direct’ railway opening in 1859 finished the mail coach trade and not until 40 years later did Hindhead rapidly expand to become a tourist haven from the 1890s onwards.  Pioneer motorists including S.F. Edge lived locally and in November 1900 a motor run was organised from London to Portsmouth via Hindhead.

There was much criticism of the road surface in particular that between Hindhead and Liphook, many entrants took too long for lunch at Godalming thus arriving at Portsmouth well after nightfall.  Ben Chandler, proprietor of the ‘Royal Huts Hotel’ pioneered motor bus services in the district and later established a considerable garage business at the top of the hill (now Barons site).

The Roads Act of 1920 brought about considerable alterations and a new road numbering system was introduced, the Portsmouth Road becoming the A3.  With the rapidly expanding interest in motoring the ‘A3’ brought many visitors to the district with charabanc outings being very popular.  From the mid 1920s express coach services commenced between London and Portsmouth with several private operators competing with each other until the Road Traffic Act of 1930 effectively put an end to the competition and Southdown Motor Services then had the monopoly for many years, the smart green and cream coaches being a familiar site at the refreshment stop at the ‘Royal Huts Hotel’.  In post World War two years summer motoring in the form of days out to the seaside along with many coach outings made good use of the road again patronising the ‘Huts’ as a mid way stop.  Unfortunately with the ever increasing popularity and usage, the motor car became a victim of its own success, long queues formed each side of the traffic lights on summer weekends this gradually turning into a daily occurrence when the increased volume of local traffic became mixed with commuting and through traffic.  Now the tunnel is to alleviate much of this.....

Further reading: A published work on this subject which gives a very interesting insight into the entire subject of roads, commerce and communication is ‘ A History of Inland Transport and Communication in England’ by Edwin A. Pratt. Published Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. 1912.  Generally available from second handbook sellers at ABE Books online.

Richard Peskett
June 2011


Some of the earliest references to the road go back to the 17th century when pioneer . . . . . . . .



Dennis Bros. Score: Comment Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF

Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 17:04:29 UTC in Photo of the Month
by neil

Image showing advertisement from Dennis Bros.

From a Dennis Bros. advertisement of 1934, the 20 seat Aldershot and District bus became a familiar sight in Grayshott for many years being used on the hourly no. 17 service from Grayshott to Farnham.


Thumbnail of Dennis Bros Advertisement

Dennis Bros.



May / June Score: Comment Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF

Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 @ 10:03:28 UTC in Notes and News
by neil

May / June 2011

Friends of the Village Archive

A very successful; evening was held on Tuesday, May 10th, at the Café Bistro, Grayshott Pottery.  Jo Smith from Headley presented a very interesting insight into the life of Flora Thompson revealing what is involved in researching such a person and tracking down the real people and residences from her characters in the book.  John Bebbington’s ‘Superior Camp’ again gave great insight into life there, a place at its peak provided over 120 dwellings after its world war 2 use as a Canadian army camp.  Still today many local people remember or have connections with the families who lived there.  Finally refreshments were most ably provided by Jan Bebbington.

Next meeting will be early November, more details next time

Annual General Meeting

This took place on Tuesday, May 17th with a reasonable number of people attending. Just as a reminder of who is who within the Archive; Phil Bates, Chairman; Brian Tapp, Secretary, June Mills, Treasurer and Village Hall representative, Richard Peskett, Friends Secretary; Clive Slaughter, Parish Council Representative; Neil Jaques, Webmaster; John Bebbington, Registrar. We can all be contacted via the web site.

Fox and Pelican Signs

All have now been installed at Grayshott Pottery where they can be viewed during any of the normal opening times.  A copy of an original postcard of the pub and sign has been reproduced and is available at the Pottery.

Web site

Continues with a good number of visits being made.  Please use the system to comment and make suggestions.  More interesting ‘Photos of the Month’ to follow and there will also be a full article and photographs on the Portsmouth Road to coincide with the tunnel opening appearing soon.

Portsmouth Road

With the tunnel opening becoming ever closer we will be providing a display on the history of the Portsmouth Road in connection with Andrew Meehan, Keats Estate Agents at their premises in the Square and at Grayshott Pottery.

Richard Peskett
Grayshott Village Archive


A very successful; evening was held on Tuesday, May 10th, at the Café Bistro, Grayshott Pottery. Jo Smith from Headley presented . . . . . . . .



November / December 2010 Score: Comment Printer Friendly Send to a Friend Save as PDF

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010 @ 15:37:29 UTC in Notes and News
by neil

November / December 2010

Fox and Pelican Signs

Good progress has been made regarding both signs, the Walter Crane painted original has now been restored and returned to us. Replacement ironwork has been made, it was found to be impractical to copy the original, partly because of the new location and also the cost. The second pressed copper sign has also now been restored and in the process of being refinished to the original colours of mid green with gold leaf applied to the lettering, this will be wall fixed adjacent to the hanging sign. These will be permanently exhibited at Grayshott Pottery and early in 2011 is our target date.

Friends of the Village Archive

A very successful evening was held at Grayshott Pottery on November 2nd with some 50 friends and guests attending. With a full evenings programme this comprised a most interesting illustrated talk by John Bebbington about the background and the work involved in the research of Miss James, local benefactor, formerly living at West Down, (the large house now visible to the north from the new overbridge at Hazel Grove). Miss James, a name well known in the district but little was previously known of her background. I spoke on the history with illustrations of the Portsmouth Road through our district and portrayed a great changes which have taken place in the past 100 years. To finish Derek Read told us of more tales of his school days and life in Grayshott during the second world war. Refreshments were served with the kind help of Jan Bebbington. Our thanks again to the directors of Grayshott Pottery for making this venue available to us.

Next Friends evening will be April / May 2011, and hopefully will included a talk on Flora Thompson, Superior Camp and again a few words from Derek Read.


We are pleased to say that the new site is working well with a good number of visits being made. Please use the system to comment and make suggestions. Both the subjects of our last Friends evening , Miss James and the Portsmouth Road, will in due course appear as web articles on our site.


Photographs of interest are still turning up including two of ‘Radley Motors’, Headley Road in the 1960s. Petrol was then still being sold by no less than three garages in the village.

Richard Peskett
Grayshott Village Archive


Good progress has been made regarding both . . . . . .


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