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.

81 Replies to “Discussion & Comments”

  1. Looking forward to Dr Simon Brown’s talk on ‘Dream factories and picture palaces’ at St. Lawrence School, East Molesey at 8pm on Wednesday 21st February. It is the story of film-making and cinema-going in the days of Cecil Hepworth. You can hear Simon Brown talking about his boyhood memories of going to the cinema in a fascinating documentary called From Muybridge to the Multiplex https://www.reelstories.org.uk/kingston/index.html. Read Rowland Baker’s article about Molesey’s ‘The Court’ cinema in our online collection https://www.moleseyhistorysociety.org/mlhs/wp-content/uploads/The-Court-Cinema.pdf

  2. I found a record in East Molesey Church Poor records.
    I think it reads Graffin or Griffin Hospital or hospice and dated 1808.
    Does anyone know where it was?

  3. I am a new member, with roots in Molesey. I was born at Lyndsey House, Matham Road in February 1937 and we lived at 19 Ember Farm Way (I was then Gillian Thompson). My maternal grandparents Frank and Mary Brown lived at 33 Ember Farm Way and bought the house new in the 1930s. As father and grandfather were in the police we spent a lot of time at Imber Court. Neighbours I remember were Major Mead (had Rolls Royce), Bumpstead family (with Eric and Patricia), Squance family (with Pat), Wright family (Mrs Wright was an artist, with son Tony), and Mr and Mrs Bennett who sadly lost both sons in the RAF during the war. I recently discovered my uncle, also a Frank Brown (died 1941) has a War Grave in Molesey Cemetery and I hope to be able to go there this year. I started at East Molesey Juniors in 1942 but was moved to Emberhurst, Esher. During the war mum had a milk round with horse and cart and delivered to a site near The Splash, and she also emptied gas meters when there were few men to do the job. Nan and Grandad previously worked as domestic and outside staff supervisors at Tags Island and Thames Riviera but lived in Manor Road along with some of the other staff. Any memories or connections would be great!

  4. Does anyone have any information please on the Arnison Nursing Home on Hansler Grove in East Molesey (poss named after John Arnison??) I have a relative who passed away there in July 1923. It’s possible it was situated in a private house, but I don’t know for sure.

    1. Hi Sue,
      Your info on the Arnison name is probably correct as there was a William Arnison a Market Gardener whose property covered 22 Acres in 1851 – the area now accommodating Arnison Road and Hansler Grove –
      This is the info we have at them moment.
      A 1922 Directory lists the Arnison Nursing Home (Miss Scarfe) on the east side of Hansler Grove. The nursing home is still there in the 1934 Kelly’s – this time as No.7 Hansler Grove. What I don’t know is if the street numbering has changed as more houses were built
      The 1918 Kelly’s lists Sarah O. Scarfe at the Nursing Home at Arnison Lodge, Arnison Road. I don’t know where Arnison Lodge was/is ?
      The 1921 census shows her at the Arnison Nursing Home now in Hansler Grove. It appears to have been a sizable house as there were 5 nurses, 2 maids and 5 patients in residence at the time. I looked at the current no. 7 and wonder if this property would have been large enough to accommodate all those ladies, so you could be right in thinking that the numbering might have changed ? Just further along, before the current two large modern houses were built on the bend, there was one very large old house which was demolished in the late 1990’s?

    2. As a child I lived next door to arnison nursing home, at ockwells, No5 as it was then. At the time there were only 7 houses on that side of the road. It became Rowallan school, and was then demolished and 3 new houses were built on the site, still there today. Ockwells has also been demolished and 2 large houses built on the site. I seem to remember arnison nursing home moved to arnison rd.

  5. My name is Clive I’m trying to locate members of the sales family dad was anthony sales who did removals mark sales was the son and Kim Sales. there daughter she would be 66 now theay lived in west molesey through the 70s and Longer hope someone has heard of them

  6. Hello

    I am trying to research my parents history for a possible book. My Mum was Kathleen Duffield and lived in Molesey Avenue (born 1931) during the war years until she got married. My Dad (David Huntingford) was born in First Avenue in 1934 and lived there until he married my Mum in 1957. They joined the local St Johns Ambulance when they were older which is how they met. Does anyone have any memories of them or the roads that they lived in, please, especially during the war or just post war?

  7. My grandfather was born in 1905 at Avondale, Feltham Avenue, East Molesey, Surrey, England
    Feltham Avenue is easy to locate but finding references to this property itself are eluding me. Any help to find images historic or modern, or even just the location on a map. Most properties in Feltham Avenue appear to be numbered, not named.

  8. Does anyone have any information on the Hampton court laundry ltd which was on pemberton road. I know it existed in 1953 but cannot find any other information.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated

  9. Dear members,

    I was student in West Molesey at English course in 2002 before my general exams.

    I come from Prague, the Czech Republic, I lived 2 weeks at 8 Ann Way, Mr. Grimmes family. I don’t have any contact, but I remember them very well.

    Are they still living there to write them letter or have they moved?

    Thank you for your reply, if possible at e-mail: martin.vanecek82@gmail.com

    Yours sincerely Martin Vanecek, Prague.

  10. Hi
    I’m doing some family history, and have found that one of my great grandfathers was a Hotel manager living at Sunnybrook, Walton Road, East Molesey when one of his daughters was born there. I’m assuming that the hotel was called Sunnybrook. He had only recently moved from Central London and was to move to Hampton by the time of the 1911 Census, so it’s probable they were only there for a couple of years. I’ve tried to locate Sunnybrook on maps and in census returns and electoral rolls etc without any success. I suspect it got renamed after they moved out ? (I notice that the children’s novel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was published in USA and UK in the previous year. Which may or may not be relevant.) Any help would be warmly appreciated.

  11. I am trying to contact a Valerie Kempster ( maiden name) who attended Croft House School in Molsey in the late 1950s – mid 1960s. Her brother was Rodney Kempster.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Jane S

  12. Hello! In 1977 I did a backpack tour of Europe & ended up in East Molesey in a large house called The Cottage. I’ve tried and tried to find this house on google maps but to no avail. The only “The Cottage” that comes up is a row house in the wrong place. The house I stayed in was very large and its yard backed onto a river that was probably only about 20′ wide. We put a kayak in one day. Across the river was some sort of a green park with some horses. The house was only about a 20 to 30 minute walk from the nearest train station in East Molesey. If anyone knows of this house I would really appreciate an address. Cheers from Canada!

    1. It was probably the old manor house in Bell Road. My mother, Mrs Glanville used to take in foreign families and youngsters in the 40s. The river was the mole. You may remember there were stables in the grounds. The Meadow across the river was called the Quillett, you should also remember a very attractive summer house on the edge of the garden overlooking the river

  13. during the 2 world war my mother and i lived at south view cottages, these were situated up a lane off Mosely road. i should imagine they are gone now perhaps someone can let me know.

  14. I have a pewter jug inscribed ‘Castle Hotel East Molesey’ along with the licencee’s? name. A photo can be supplied later. Is this of interest ??

  15. Hi, does anyone remember a cafe next to Molesey British Legion called Jax Snax dont think it was
    there for long . Also has anyone got photos or information about the Imber Court Proving &
    testing ground, part of the Munitions & inventions Department in ww2.
    John Fenwick.

    1. Yes, I remember the Jax Snax cafe at Walton Road near the Legion. Born in 1952, I lived in Spencer Road and as kids we often walked past it in the late 50’s and mid 60’s. Always a popular place it seemed. As for Imber Court proving ground, that was part Major Smith’s land and the house adjacent. I believe he developed a not very practical shielded gun for home guard defence among other things. Living near Cow Common as we did, we explored the strange buildings that were left over. Most probably firing ranges but we didn’t know. Always kept an eye open in case somebody came along; but they never did.
      Regards, David J

    2. I well remember Jax Snax. Good transport type cafe. Wonderful sausage sandwich etc. After it closed the premises became a Boutique started up by Brian Wooley and Frank Beeston.
      Happy memories. Mike Sullivan. I lived at 35 Arnison Road 1959-1970

  16. Hello. I work in Bridge House down Creek Road. It is such a lovely old tudor building and I have heard mixed stories regarding its history. Some say it was the old bridge keepers house and others say it was the gatekeeper to Hampton courts house.

    We’d love to know it’s true story if anyone has any info.

  17. I have discovered from the 1921 census that a relative was working at the Imber Court Engineering Works. He later went on to work at Supermarine on Spitfires as the foreman of the Wing Shop. Can anyone provide me with any information on the Imber Court Engineering Works or direct me to where I may find out what the works produced? Many thanks.

  18. Hi,

    Perhaps not of great historical interest to many, but I wondered if anyone might have any historical photographs of Berkeley Drive . I would like to see original windows, also whether there were ever trees planted. Many thanks.

    1. The MLHS has several photos of Berkeley Drive during the 1968 floods. I will send an example by email to you direct.

  19. We moved from Ember Gardens in Thames Ditton to Ember Farm Way to look after my grandmother in 1951. My older brother attended West Molesey Central Boys school around 1948/49 and is keen to find any school photographs that may be available. I would be very grateful if you can suggest any possible sources to research these. Thank you.

    1. Hi Peter, my name is Terry Baker and lived in Beauchamp Rd. I went to Molesey secondary boys school in Ray Rd. from 1948-1952, I have no photos as they were lost in the floods of 1968.
      School mates I can remember are Donald May, Tony Barnes, Graham Belcher, Brian Turner, Eddy Carter, Jimmy Kerr. Would also love to find photos of that era.
      I believe the school is now an adult education centre, maybe they have some old records!
      Teachers from memory were headmaster Mr.Gibson, teachers Holdsworth. Thomas, Mrs.Harper,

      1. Thanks Terry – I’ll pass your comment to my brother John together with your name. He is not so confident with the internet – I will let you know what says.
        I went to Hinchley Wood in 1955 and am 8 years younger than John.
        Thanks again – Peter

      2. Hi Terry
        I have replied to Peter with my contact details. Eddy Carter is named in one of the photos we have. Please get in touch so that I can put you in contact with Brian Turner. We’d also love to hear any of your memories of your school days at Ray Road Boys!

        1. would love to get ln touch with Brian Turner.
          I have a few old photos of me,Eddy Carter,Brian Ely, John Skilton,Mickey Hyland,Kenny, Jupp
          standing on the old tanners bridge which maybe of interest, unfortunately I am not very technical with computers so do not know how to download these,will have to get my grandchildren to assist.

    2. Hi Peter
      Both you and Terry Baker have asked about Molesey secondary boys’ school in the late 1940s/early 1950s. The Society has a couple of photos that may be of interest to you and I have been in touch with Brian Turner (mentioned by Terry) who would be delighted to share with you what he has. If you email me, Anthony Barnes, at people-buildings@moleseyhistorysociety.org, I will put you in touch with Brian and send you what we have.

  20. 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. I’m still trying to work out the exact spot, but my grandfather CJ Holden had a fishmongers on Walton Road after the war until the 60’s. They certainly had it from the late 30s / 40s as my aunt was born there I think? I do have a photo somewhere of when he was interviewed for radio 4 in the 50s standing outside the huge iced slab of fish. It was magical to a child because there were also pheasant feathers from the game he sold for us to make gliders out of with his pipe cleaners and corks.

    3. I believe you received comment from my colleague but just to confirm what was advised:

      The history of the fish shop at 153 from when her grandfather had it and she sent photos of then and now. Your Grandfather took it over in the 1920’s. It is not remember it in the 60’s, so I suspect it was no longer there. There was Pondsford fish shop near, if not at, the Polish Deli shop and also Martins which is now Molesey Fish bar opposite Dennis Rd.

  21. 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.

        1. My sisters and I went there from 1945- 1950 ish. Judith, then I went on to Wimbledon High School. I don’t know which years Hilary was there but was contemporary of Barbara and Petula Clark!

    2. Hi there, I am another Kelvin Kelvin Gosling. I attended Croft House school around 1949 – 51 going on to Lincoln Hose School. Just about remember a Christmas concert coming out into snow. We were given a rest period after listening to some children’s radio programme. My family lived in Ember Farm Way.

  22. 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.

    2. Hi there,
      I believe you are referring to Miss Snow’s, where the girls had to curtesy and to Ol’ Farrow’s. They were church schools in East Molesey and considered posh. We used occasionally get refugees at Dunkley’s (Rivermead). I imagine they were amalgamated in the 1970s to become St Lawrence’s as that was a CofE school in Church Road.

      I actually came across this site while I was hunting for info on Mr Heinz, the Rivermead caretaker. I wondered if he had been a German prisoner of war or a refugee. I was there until 1965 and so was he.

  23. 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.

  24. 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

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

    Many thanks

  26. 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

  27. 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!

    2. Hi Rachel
      I was interested to read your comment as I lived in Ember Farm Way from 1951 -65. I was friendly with a boy called Jimmy Boswell and we often played in the field between our garden and the river. I understood that his grandfather was Major Smith (please correct me if I am wrong) and thought he lived in the house on the other side of the bridge at the end of Orchard Lane ( opposite Imber Court Cottage). I went in there once to see the most amazing model train set up – we also played in the woods around that house. That part of the river was an idyllic part of my childhood.
      I think our house may have been built by Topham’s but will have to dig out the plans which I have stashed away somewhere. My mother worked at Trianco during the war.

    3. Did your Uncle Major Smith live in the house at the end of Orchard Lane, by the bridge on the left hand side which goes into cow common. I remember visiting there with a class from Miss Snows school. School road, East Molesey. I often wonder when I walk past. Thankyou

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

    2. I would really like to receive a copy of the Orchard infant school class for my brother who would have been there in 1958. I was there from 1963.

      1. We do not have this information and I doubt if the local authority / school would be able to release the information but your best chance is to ask them.

  32. 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)

  33. 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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