Discussion & Comments

We will always try and help with enquiries relating to Molesey if we can, but we are afraid that our resources do not allow us to carry out research on local or family history enquiries.

33 Replies to “Discussion & Comments”

  1. My family surname is GONNELLA, which is Italian. My grandparents and large family lived at various addresses in Essex and Surrey, one being 153 Walton Road, East Molesey between 1921 and 1924. Grandfather was a Fishmonger-cum-fish and chip shop proprietor, and I am wondering whether 153 Walton Road was just the family home, or whether it was a fishmongers / wet fish/fish & chip shop as well. Using Google StreetView, it seems to have been close to where the premises of Bentleys of Surrey (Butchers) is now, which according to their website, is number 155. Also, my father recalled that the family business sold fish & chips “at, or close to, the main entrance of Twickenham rugby stadium” probably sometime between 1916 and 1924. I’ve checked a good book about the history of the ground, and from what my father said, the family may have had a retail unit somewhere inside the stadium as was, , or perhaps outside where the pedestrian paths and turnstiles were at the Wooton Road end.

    In retirement my grandparents lived at St. Werburg, a large family house overlooking the Thames, in an area called ‘River Bank’, West Molesey. On Google Street View it is the light grey, modernised house beside the dead-end of Hurstfield Road. I was last there as a toddler in about 1949. From memory it was a cream coloured 1930s house and the lawn that went down to a rough towpath. It was a magical place….

    Any information, especially about a fishmongers/fish & chip shop/fishmongers at 153 Walton Road, would be most welcome.

    I am doing some family history research on this family, and I would be happy to eventually lodge my findings with this Society, if appropriate. (I am not local).

    1. Hi Geoff
      Thank you for getting in touch and sharing your memories of Molesey! Anthony Lewis is listed in the 1918 Kelly’s Directory as a fried fish dealer at 153 Walton Road. I wonder if your grandfather bought the shop from him in 1921? It will be exciting to find out more about your grandparents in Molesey when the 1921 census is published next year. Some of our members may remember when the fried fish shop finally closed. Do get in touch again with more of your memories. You can also email us at people-buildings@moleseyhistorysociety.org

      1. Many thanks for replying. My grandfather’s name was Louis Anthony Gonnella, so that fits in nicely with the 1918 Kellys. Louis’s eldest son was my father, Jim (b. 1912 d. 1985), who told me his memories of the shop. In the late 1920’s,1930’s and into the 1940’s Louis and my grandmother tried other fish/fish & chip shops, notably in Wickford and in Leigh on Sea, Essex. Some time after WW2 they retired to live at at St. Werburgh, West Molesey (my previous spelling was wrong). He died in 1950 and my grandmother stayed on there, but the house was put to good use, with various sons & daughters & their children living there and using it as a base in the 1950s as they emigrated in small groups to the USA. Eventually my grandmother moved out and emigrated, so that was the end of my family’s association with East and West Molesey. My father always spoke fondly about the area, and ‘the river’ as he always called it. Since then I’ve had cousins in Surrey so the name Gonnella does pop up from time to time in Esher, Surbiton, Kingston etc.

  2. Does anyone have any information about the existence and/or demise of the following three schools?

    I used to live in Park Way, and if memory from the early 60s serves me right, attended all of them.

    Croft House School, Park Road School and Summerbee (?) School.

    1. Hi Kelvin
      Croft House was a private day school for girls with a mixed preparatory section in Matham Road. It opened in c.1932 and closed in 1963. Park Road School opened in 1859 and was a boys’ school from 1885. From 1973 to 1986 it remained open as St. Lawrence C of E Lower School.
      I wonder if ‘Summerbee’ was Sunnymead Primary Infants’ School in Priory Lane, West Molesey. It opened in the 1930s and closed in 1987.

  3. I am trying to find out exactly when St Lawrence Junior School was founded – and when the original building was built. I have seen lots of mentions of other schools – the original Orchard school being built in 1913, St Andrew’s Hall etc. There were also the 2 single sex schools on Park Rd and School Rd – these were later amalgamated into one mixed school, I believe, so was this the start of St Lawrence? Judging by the previous building, one would assume it wasn’t opened until the 1960s.. but would love to find out more, if possible. Many thanks

    1. Hi Liz
      By the 1970s, the replacement of the Victorian school buildings in Park Road and School Road was long overdue. The Diocese, supported by the Council, proposed to build a new school in Church Road in a single phase but central government funding was not forthcoming for this. Hence, St. Lawrence upper school opened in 1973 but the younger children continued going to Park Road for their lessons until 1986. St. Lawrence opened in its new building in September 2017.

  4. At the time of my mother’s birth in November 1925 her parents lived in Feltham Avenue, East Molesey, but her birth certificate gives her place of birth as “Lunn House, East Molesey UD”. Can anybody tell me where Lunn House was please?

    1. Hi Hilary,
      We are still trying to investigate this further but this is where we are at present:
      Lunn House is or was in Park Road. Ray James was living there in 1911 and it is described as having 10 rooms so it was a substantial house. The enumerator appears to have been working his way up the west side but not necessarily recording the houses in order. Doing a bit of deduction involving Kelly’s 1934 Directory, it is possible that no. 46 Park Road, which looks to be a big detached Victorian house, could be it but we need additional confirmation. We also have a concern or know about why 48 Park Road is a 20th century house. Could Lunn house have been demolished and this is its replacement? Some houses in Park Road were damaged by the Pemberton Road V1 rocket. We will post more info if we find details.

      1. Hi Dave
        Thank you very much for your response and all the work you have done to provide the helpful information contained therein. Perhaps we will learn more about Park Road in January when the 1921 census is released. I look forward to future posts if you find more details.

  5. Hello, I was wondering if anyone could provide me with some history on Bridge House on Creek Road? I have just started working here and would love to know the history of the building. Many thanks

  6. Hi, I was just wondering if you could confirm that what was East Molesey Court was redeveloped and is now Spencer Park.

    Many thanks

  7. I have dug up in my garden a little milk bottle with e.g.clifford molesey on it. Was this a local dairy. And would you like it.

    1. We believe Clifford Dairies was in Walton Road, the entrance being between the Con. Club and what was once Devonshire stores. Similar bottles have been found but we suggest you contact Elbridge Museum and ask if they would like the item. I’m afraid we do not have storage facilities for such items ourselves. – elmbridgemuseum.org.uk

  8. My great uncle was Major William Smith, who lived at Imber Court Cottage in the period between the wars and owned a company called Trianco Ltd (Triangular Concrete and Construction Company). My father was Derek Topham, son of Lily and Lewis Topham who lived at Ember Court and ran a building business. I would be grateful for any information regarding these people. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Rachel,
      To answer this question, research into family history would be needed, which is something as a society we do not undertake.
      Also, Imber Court, comes under Esher rather than Molesey.
      I have done a quick look up on Ancestry and this confirms that Derek is living with his sister Audrey and parents at Ember House in 1939. It would also seem Lewis came from Yorkshire. Should you require I could do further research, but there would have to be a fee and this would depend on how much information you require!

  9. Does anyone have any information about Lear Place in East Molesey. I have been looking at the history of School Road. The censuses of 1871 and 1881 indicate that Lear Place was part of Cul de Sac Road but it seems to disappear as a street name by 1891. The name Cul de Sac Road seems to have persisted until after 1939 when, at some point, it took on the name of School Road which had only been applied to the first part of today’s road. I assume School Road got its name after 1860 and the building of the school there. I suspect that some of the houses in what was Lear Place were demolished and replaced by newer buildings towards the end of the century, but this is a conclusion drawn from the reduced numbers in the cenuses of 1901 and 1911.

    I believe Lear Place took its name from the builder Richard Ward Lear (b 1838).

    Thanks for looking.

  10. Can anyone offer advice as to how we can find out the original name of our house in Arnison Road. I have a list of house names from the 1911 census, but can find no original maps etc to match them up. When our house was built in 1879, there were fewer houses than there are today. The houses must have been numbered sometime after development in the 1920s and 30s.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Sorry for the delayed response.
      If you have the property deeds, normally now given when one buyers a house, then you should be able to trace land / house ownership to the, 1881, 1891, 1901 & 1911 census. However, I doubt if the house had a name as normally the occupier would be ‘known’ and unless the house had some significant reason for naming it, it would just have been known as ‘Sarah’s Place’ or something similar.
      However, just as a final check if you could email me your house number I will see if anyone else has any information – website@moleseyhistorysociety.org

  11. Hello there,

    I was wondering if anyone could help me – in July last year my partner and I moved into Spencer Park in East Molesey. We absolutely love it here and I have read a lot of information about the local history of the area. However I have yet to come across any specific information regarding Spencer Park, and given it’s size and nature, I would have thought it might have been a stately home for somebody back in the day! The only manor houses I’ve read about are East Molesey Lodge, Grove House, The Grove, Radnor House and of course The Wilderness next to us. Does anyone know of sources of information that I could look up? Obviously I cannot search the local libraries due to the pandemic, and an Internet search has unfortunately not been fruitful.

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Jon,
      Sorry for the delayed response.
      The ‘park’ to which you refer is; MOLESEY PARK and Spencer Road was the Eastern Boundary. The Northern being the Walton Road and the River Mole being the Southern boundary. The Park went almost as far as Green Lane which is the boundary line between East and West Molesey.
      At the South of the park was Molesey Park Farm.
      We will be resuming research shortly on Molesey Park for a book on ‘Missing Molesey’. Unfortunately, access to some info held in Surrey Records Office is restricted at present!

  12. Hi, i have some photos of the winter of 1963 when the River Thames froze by Hampton
    court Bridge. Also one photo of carnival floats entering Cigarette Island in 1958. I was a pupil
    at Orchard Infants School then, and we used to walk to Cigarette Island from the School to
    have our sports day. I can only print the photos on ordinary A4 paper, also i have 2 School
    class photos at Orchard Infants School with me on around 1958. if you are interested i would be happy to send them to you,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr. John Fenwick.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr. John Fenwick.

    1. I would be very interested in your photos of Cigarette Island Carnival and your memories of school sports days. I am doing some research on the history of this park and why its use and interest has declined.

  13. can you tell about the flat roof houses on eastcote ave and molesey ave , when they were build , any info would be gratefully recieved

      1. Hello David.
        I’m doing some research into my mother’s childhood for a novel and she was relocated during the war to East Molesey. She has dementia, so I was only able to verify that based on a report card she received from Mildred Lodge Preparatory School @ 3 Matham Road. Why I’m telling you this is because I remember the many years ago, long before I was interested in writing anything about my mother’s childhood, she told me that she stayed with the Jupps. In 1969, when I was 11, I remember that we visited the home where Mum stayed. As I’m poking around on-line for some sense of what this experience was like for her, I saw your last name, and thought I might as well ask if perchance, you are a descendant of that family, perhaps your grandparents put my mother and her sister up during the war?

        Robert Williams
        (mum’s name at the time: Lisa Levy, she was 3 in 1940 when she was taken out of London)

  14. Welcome to the discussion page of Molesey Local History Society. Please make comments, raise issues and ask questions about Molesey, past or present. Your email address will not be made visible and we only ask for it to reduce spam.

    1. This is to ask whether any member of the Molesey History Society has information on the Dodwell family, who lived in West Molesey in the eighteenth century. I believe that their house may have been called The Priory. My wife is descended from the Dodwells, and we would be interested in any pictures of the house of details of the family.

      1. The house and grounds of The Priory occupied the area where Molesey Football ground, Anne Way and Helen Close are today. The first mention we have of The Priory is from 1769 when it was the residence of Henry Dodwell (1706-1784), a barrister and religious controversialist.

        Less than two years after the Montgolfier Brothers demonstrated their hot air balloon, on 5th May 1785, one of the earliest flights in England took off from the grounds of The Priory. James Sadler and William Wyndham MP set off for France but came down at the mouth of the River Thames.

        The outbuildings were acquired by Messrs J. C. & C. Field, candle-makers, in 1845. They specialised in bleaching wax for church candles but the factory closed in the 1890s when they switched to importing wax from the south of France.

        Charles de Montmollin La Trobe, a theatrical manager, bought it in April 1928 and sold it in March 1933 when he moved up to Chiswick Park. His daughter Carlotta was born there in September 1928. Writing to Elmbridge Museum in July 2001, Carlotta Blake recalls:
        “The grounds were extensive, lawns, copse at one side, a paddock, a very large walled kitchen garden with fruit trees… [They were] beautiful. There was a drive from the main entrance at the side of the house end on and a small lodge in which our gardener lived.

        “Also, an interesting detail, the floors were flagstone and my father and some friends prised up one on the large hall finding a cellar which had a tunnel going off on one side (in the direction of Hampton Court I was told). They couldn’t follow this up as the air was very foetid, and it looked dangerous (possible cave-ins I suppose).”

        The house was demolished after the sale in 1933.

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