Recollections about Local People

Wartime People:

Michael Budd: My Auntie Edie as a girl remembered the lads signing on to go to war with the band playing by the church. Fourteen signed on and none came back.

During the First World War, Eric Meadows' father, Charles Meadows, recalled a German Zeppelin flying over the village. There were searchlights that frightened Syd Budd at the site of Betchworth Post Office and along the coach road near to where the golf coarse now is. After the war another airship the R101 was seen flying over the village and was later to explode over Beauvais - this may well have been 1930.Syd Budd'sbrother born in 1903 saw a German Zeppelin looking like a large cigar flying along the North Downs above Box Hill going towards Guildford.


Reg Glanfield: I was born in 1918 in Brookside Cottages; number one in those days but now numbered forty something.  My father Edgar had moved here from Shalford and mother came from Whyteleafe near Caterham. There were six of us in the tiny house, the four boys sharing the back bedroom and my parents and a sister in the front. My eldest sister Margery had to leave home as soon as possible as there was no room and she went in service to Jeremiah Coleman of the mustard family in London. My other sister Phyllis caught polio and spent a great deal of time at the Chailey Heritage home in Sussex. She had callipers on both legs.  Mr and Mrs Sherlock lived next door- he was caretaker at the Church Rooms. In our row were the Wakefields with two boys Jimmy and Fred - he was butler for Gordon Touche MP at Betchworth. At the other end were the Harris family with children Ken, Don and Dolly. In one of the houses live Mr and Mrs LeCluse and their son Clarence. He was the village postman. Mrs LeCluse was very kind and would treat our minor ailments and cuts and bruises. She wiped cuts with lily leaves Strood Green side of our cottages was a bungalow lived in by Mr and Mrs Jennings. They had two large barns and were used to make wheelbarrows and ladders. There was also a barn next to Brockham House where the Budds kept their coal lorry and this was torn down and a house built.


Mr LeCluse the village postman:

Len Jordan: When my dad left school he went in to the building trade.  But only for a fortnight!  Apparently it rained every day and he earned approximately nothing. Edward Jordan took up gardening just after he left school and worked for Sidney Poland at the Manor for around fifty years until his retirement aged sixty four due to ill health.  Dad seemed to take part in most things in the village in those days.  He was, by all accounts, a good cricketer.  In fact Mr. Poland, who was a member of the Surrey County Club, used to get father to bowl to him in the nets on the manor lawn.  He would put a sixpence on the middle stump, and when dad knocked if off he kept it, and it would be replaced by another tanner. Later on, when Mr. Poland had the bowling green laid, down by the river, dad took up bowls.  He was also in the Church choir, he played in the village band and used to amuse with his description of Uncle Ted Jordan, who wasn't very tall, and had a job to see over the big drum when they were marching along.  Dad was also in the Fire Brigade.  The fire appliance was kept at the rear of the Royal Oak, and had to be pulled along the road by handles.  He also took part in village concerts of the day, usually as a stooge for his old friend Jack Tickner.  Dad spent all his life in Brockham with the exception of his service with the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment during the 1914-18 war, and he seems to have spent a pretty full life.  He married my mother in 1921.  She had come to live on the Green from Reigate Heath when she was 15, but her mother was a native of Brockham, and her grandmother lived at Puddenhole, up "The Straight" as Brockham Lane was called in those days, and just along the Reigate Road, on the opposite side to the Puddenhole Cottages of today.

Len Jordan: Sue Smith: A Miss Eacottused to make coconut ice to sell at fetes before the War

Sue Smith: Mr. Potter from Dorking and his assistant Sam used to sell us vegetables from a horse drawn flat cart. I also remember the Muffin men with a flat tray on their heads and ringing a hand bell.

Sue Smith: Pre-War the Francis family who lived in the cottage between the butcher and the "Rec" did laundry and then delivered snowy white washing to their customers in an old black pram.

Sue Smith: 1930s: Mr.Salloway used to carry banners with a religious theme - I was only about seven when I laughed when I was sitting in the garden and he called out - there will be no laughing in hell my friend - I was terrified.


Local People and their Houses:

Sue Smith: As far as I can remember, Brockham House was lived in by the Palmers, then Bill and Noeline Hall and two children. (Mrs.Putttockworked for them and that is why she was still in the other end of our cottage long after she stopped working for them), Then I believe it was Mrs. Bridgesand her housekeeper Zellie (French - fierce, and her name was a short form of Mademoiselle), then Pam Perks and finally Hugh and Rosemary Mote.

Barn Cottage by the pond was a lovely barn when I went into hospital - eight days later when I returned it had gone - I was having a baby so that makes it 1961. 

The Romanes family lived at Whyteways.  Mrs.Mary Romanesmarried a widower with five children and sadly he died soon after and she was left with the step children, one of whom was Sheila who married Dr. Newton; he was living in a house just before you get to the vet in Middle Street.  They had Kilbrennan built in Wheelers Lane (architect Mr. Frederick Hagyard of Old School Lane).  I think, as the large family left home that Mrs. Romanes moved to Noyes End with Kilbrennan next door.  

Len Jordan: My great grandfather Edward Jordanand his wife Rosalived in Noys End in Wheelers Lane when it was a number of workman's cottages. Old Cottage next door was two houses with a connecting arch between the two.

Sue Smith: The people at Brooklands were called Roberts.  I cannot remember the name of the next family but after them the Golding-Birds.  Their daughter,Yolanda, married a man who was totally paralysed and adopted Rob a very, very bright limbless boy who campaigned vigorously for the rights of the disabled.  The husband died, Yolanda died sitting in the Church and Rob died as a young man.



Sue Smith: Next door to Brooklands nearer the Green (White Lodge) lived David Hunter,his wife Joan and their beautiful son, Hamish.  Hamish had some health problems and had a nanny to look after him.  David was the Lobby correspondent for the Daily Herald.  One day Joan vanished - her clothes and handbag were found on Brighton beach - there was no trace of her and David had to wait many years before she could be presumed dead.  There was a desperate housing shortage and he offered a home to Bill and Joy Glanfield and their two small children - Joy in return had to look after the house and cook.  Later the Glanfields moved to a house in The Smithers.

Sue Smith: A family called Rykens(possibly Dutch) lived at Brockham Park - I remember the son Paul - in the 1930s and Ribbentropused to visit them. (German Ambassador to the UK in the late 1930s who also went to Cherkley Court the home of Lord Beaverbrook).

About Sue Smith: Father Jack Blanchborn 1899 and Lily born 1906 married at 9am on 27 August 1927 and drove to Bamboo Cottage, Kiln Lane in the edge of the grounds of Mr Poland's garden, now almost opposite the rugby club house. The house, not much more than a large shed was owned by Poland was set to and scrubbed by Lily as Jack chased off the rats. The new Mrs Blanch had been a silent screen actress and jack had been in the army having been to school at Dulwich and trained at Sandhurst. They moved to a larger bungalow and in 1930 were living on the corner of The Borough and Brockham Lane in "Sunnyside". In 1931 they moved to Harefield in The Borough, a large but flimsy asbestos roofed bungalow. Damaged during the war the house was demolished and rebuilt a small brick house. Jack died aged 91, Lily following him seven years later also aged 91. Martin Smith and his wife Louise had Harefield extended and moved in around 1999.

Lily Blanch was during the war to run the national savings committee in the village which opened in the Reading Room for people to buy stamps that were turned into certificates. The Reading Room had a large veranda to the front which was used as a bus shelter. Mrs Blanch was also helped run a baby clinic for many years until she was 80. This was held in the Parish Room, Way House and then the old surgery in Wheelers Lane. Lily also ran the library.Some time after the war, heard a commotion outside her house and found a man gored by a bull he was leading. Mrs Blanch waving her tea towel chased the bull off ("told it to go away") and rescued the injured man.

Sue Smith nee Blanch was born in Southsea Nursing Home, Harrow Road, Dorking. Sue and Michael met on The Green when they were both fifteen. Michael was living in Sutton and came to stay with his parents and sister in a caravan in the grounds of Riverdale in the Coach Road. Michael was to become a chartered accountant a profession useful to many village organisations. Mike was a keen village cricket player for many years. Susan Blanch 6October 1930 married Michael Smith 6 September 1930 on 20 April 1957.

Elsie Spaina (stage name for Elsie Rickett), was a member of the D'Oyly Carte opera company and lived in Cotterstock, Wheelers Lane running grand village concerts at the village hall. Her daughter wasEverall Rickettwho ran a touring Jazz band who later in life would push her dog around Brockham in a child's push chair.

Nora Baringan actress lived in Holly Cottage in Middle Street at the junction with Wheelers Lane. She starred opposite Herbert Marshall in Hitchcock's 1930 classic "Murder!" and made her last film in 1934.

William "Bill" Bowry[4]: Born in 1924 in Gadbrook Road close to the entrance to Brockham Park then owned by Mr Whitelaw. We lived in one of two cottages that are now one house and just up the lane was a laundry for the big house. In 1927 my family moved to Oakdene Road where I lived until 2001 when I came to live in Poland House. I went to the village school until I was fourteen leaving to become a milkman working for Mr Swann at Brockhamhusrt farm. I had a round in Dorking and when old enough a van. I delivered bottles, half pints, pints, pint and a half bottles as well as quart bottles. It was four pence a pint and two and a half pence fro half a pint. I would go out early, 5.45 and do the round once and after breakfast load up and go around again. This was how people had fresh milk without fridges. I would finish about one but later when there was money to collect. This was seven days a week and so I had every other afternoon off.

There were other dairies in Brockham. Court Lodge Farm from where Harry Colewell delivered with a horse and cart in the 1930s when the farmer was a Mr Ayr a Scotsman. Teddy Stanford delivered from Strood Green Farm. He was a case - strong as a lion. He would have a churn on the horse and cart and take a jug to the kitchen door. Once this was stopped and he had to use bottles he bought a van but had no idea there needed to be a licence to drive. Once the van ended up in a ditch and he lifted it out. In Root Hill the Holland family ran a dairy farm and delivered to Dorking in the 1930s. Also Tumbledown in Wheelers Lane had a dairy, a Mr Potter. There was another in Oakdene Road on the left going from Wheelers Lane - made of wood with a tin roof- a lock up premises. On the opposite side of the road was shop run by Mrs Fuller a general store. There was also a dairy run by a man called Pirt.

In 1942 I was called up and trained in Glasgow before joining the Royal Engineers. I was a combat engineer landing D day plus 3 in Normandy and making my way to Germany where I stayed until 1947. I celebrated my 21st birthday living in digs with a German family who made me an apple strudel. They had very little. The area where I was the SS were locked up and were treated harshly by the local Germans. When I was demobbed my father got me a job with JEA Electricity at the Burford Bridge where I stayed for forty one years.

I remained single so took advantage of the social life in the village. I played billiards often with Len Jordan in the club where there were two tables. You had to book a table as it was very popular. There was a small and large table and you had to start when new to the club on the small one.

There were a lot of characters in the village including Fred Hayes and Gus Gooding who liked the pubs as did Percy Homewood of Oakdene Road. I would often go home with Percy and he would be in trouble with his wife who locked him out so he slept in a local barn on the hay. He could turn up at work at Hortons the following day completely sober and with no hangover.

We had lots of local shops and in addition there were bakers who delivered. On Monday a man from International Stores would call to take an order and later that week a delivery would come from Dorking.

Mr Coleman a cobbler was in the shops where the Vet now is which was taken over by Sallabank and it became an iron monger also selling fishing tackle and paraffin. In the 1950s in the middle shop of the small parade there was a Mr Smith, a clothing shop, with a sweet shop at the end run by an old man who was frequently taken advantage of by the children.

Len Jordan 1930s: Vicarage Cottage: Along the Green in Vicarage Cottage lived Mr. Chudleyand family.  Mr. Chudley appeared around 1931 I would think, and immediately threw himself into the life of the village, he played cricket, football, was into the bonfire when it re-started, in fact anything that went on round The Green. He was particularly interested in cricket, and obtained a bag-full of gear (boy size) and would come out on Monday evenings and teach us how to bowl a length, and play a straight bat.  We used to have a proper match, usually of twelve a side, and also played matches against other boy's teams such as Betchworth and Dorking Grammar School.  The bag of gear was kept in Mr. Chudley's garage, and we could fetch it out whenever we wanted, which was most evenings! (At some stage Mr Roger and Elvira Bennett moved into the cottage followed by Mr and Mrs Vera Kimberley)

Sue Smith: the Bob Chudley family lived there in the 1930s. Mrs Chudley left and Bob married Fifi Mayor a painter from Shantock in Middle Street. They eventually moved to Mynthurst in Leigh.

Roger and Elvira Bennett moved to Vicarage Cottage from Tumbledown and then to Old Cottage in Wheelers Lane. Vera Kimberley moved from Surrey House into Vicarage Cottage.

Vicarage Cottage was from where for many years the bonfire committee organised the final stages of the bonfire. Moved back to The Meadows on the death of Vera Kimberley.

Joan Redmond: Occupants were Chudley, Mrs Ogle, then Mr and Mrs Roger an Elvira Bennett, Vera Kimberley then the Harmon family.


From discussions with Joan Redmond Aug 2010 and using her family archive

In discussion with the  editor Aug 2010


Conversation with Bob Bartlett April 2010