Greetings from Bagshot - Christmas 2020
What a year we have had with Covid-19 precautions and three lock-downs. But I'll start prior to that.
Winter had been mild and some of the trees and bushes were showing signs of new shoots before 2019 was out. We had very little snow at all.
It was not until I read my notes that I remembered that we had a train strike in December last year and the railway company ran buses as a 'rail replacement service'. The destination display on the front of one raised a smile. It declared "I'm a Train. Choo choo!" Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me.
When Covid precautions hit in March with a lockdown I guess most of us assumed that it would be all over by the autumn. How wrong we were. Although the instruction was "stay at home" we were allowed out for an hour's exercise each day. Bagshot is surrounded by sufficient countryside to enable us to get out into the open quite easily. The public footpaths across the local golf course were particularly attractive with no need to be on guard for little white projectiles! At some points the route of the paths was not very obvious and people were to be seen walking all over - whether intentionally or accidentally I would not like to say. The ground staff rapidly put up markers, which have now become permanent. I gather that they were not too pleased to to find people picnicking on the fairways and building sandcastles in the bunkers!
show ground from Waterer's nurseries
the housing development and in May the bushes make a wonderful show as
Traffic on the A322 road was a clear indicator of the response to lockdown. Initially hardly a vehicle to be seen, then slowly traffic reappeared.
Reports of people in Australia
panic buying toilet rolls led to the same thing happening here.
One of our neighbours who used to live in the Balkan states
observed that if things get really tough then toilet paper is the least
of your worries! One of our local shops put a stack of rolls
their window offering them free to anyone who really needed one.
I'll not comment as to whether I think this was primarily a
philanthopic gesture or an excellent publicity stunt - photos of the
shop widow echoed around social media.
In June the bomb disposal squad got called to the the museum store in the council offices. An intact WW1 bomb had been found in a cupboard. It transpired that it was an inert practice bomb that was in a collection of material donated to the museum by the late Leon Chapman whose shoe shop was in Bagshot's High Street. You can read about it here: www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/staff-discover-intact-ww2-bomb-18475158
Chobham Common has featured here through the
prisoner of war
camp there. In August it was the scene of an extensive
heathland fire. The fire appears to have started on the edge
of Sunningdale Golf course and threatened some very expensive
properties, crossed the Sunningdale to Chobham road to the main part of
Chobham Common then across the railway line onto Wentworth Golf Course
where it stopped a ladies golf tournament. Drone footage can
be seen on the BBC
If you want to orient yourself the sequence at the end of this link is
taken from above the Victoria monument looking south with the main
'roundabout' car park in the top left corner of the image.
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that the
heathland burns. A couple of months later signs of new growth were
The fire cleared dead undergrowth revealing features that few people know about including several bomb craters of which this is one. The target of the German bombers would have been the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment situated at the edge of the common, but fortunately all fell short.
In October Surrey County Council implemented a one-way scheme in the High Street which, by taking out one lane, gave more space for pedestrians to be able to keep the mandated 2 metres apart on the north side. It came in for almost vitriolic criticism on social media from people who objected to the inconvenience to motorists. The council took it out again very soon. There were some significant flaws in the implementation which could probably have been corrected, but were not. To what extent the objections represent the views of Bagshot residents or of those people who use the High Street as a rat-run is not clear.
The village war memorial, originally sited on the A30 at the
bottom of Church Road and now relocated to the church grounds, had been
showing its age with significant degredation of some of its stones.
It has been comprehensively restored.
I don't know who is responsible for them, but someone has been painting stones as commemorations and in November initiated a 'treasure hunt' for stones placed around the village.
This year's Remembrance Day service was very different to the
norm, being totally streamed. You can view a recording of the livestream at
. From about 2 minutes
in are photos of the memorial, its inscriptions and some of the painted
stones. Fast-forward to 21 minutes for the service.
In my last newsletter I described the history of Moscow Villa, a property whose near-derelict state had prompted many questions. It has now been demolished and a block of apartments are being built on the site.
Queen Anne House, also known in the past as Red House, is a
large red brick building on the junction of London Road and Bridge Street.
It has been a private residence, a restaurant, a cafe and
recently offices. There is now an application to convert it into flats
and to build more houses in its grounds. We have some history about it
and I would welcome any more information about it and its
Among the website contributions and questions since my last newsletter are:
June's question about the location of the house March Hill was answered by three readers including Hilda Williams who wroteA hunt through old Ordnance Survey maps came up trumps with one that had house names on it and this placed March Hill, as Hilda said, opposite Bagshot Park. The location is given here. The house, and its neighbour, was demolished a few years ago and a Neuro Rehabilitation Centre built on the site.
This was one of the large houses opposite Bagshot Park. I’m not sure if it is still there or if something else has been built there. During the 40’s we had an evacuee living with us (I still keep in touch with him). His cousin's grandparents had a small factory at March Hill manufacturing clothing. I’m not sure how long this went on for.
Barrie Dammarell's request in the Christmas 2018 newsletter for contact with former Pantiles DJ Lindsey Duckers has been fulfilled thanks to Ian.
Lauren asks: Does anyone have any information on the pond that’s near Yaverland drive? You can access it by walking through the woods at the bottom of the playing fields! [Jun 20]
We have more about the Little Chef cafe from 'Bagshot Boy'.
Tommo has added his recollections of guard duty at Bagshot Park in the 1980s.
- Kimlet has added her memories of visiting The Cedars in the 1950s.
Adrian wonders whether Rose Cottages on Jenkins Hill had an existence prior to being tied cottages for Waterer's workers
Lynne has been told that 81 College Ride used to be a bakery. Can you throw any light on this?
Bob Chapman has sent two items of memorabilia: this photo of Bagshot Square circa 1950 that includes the family's Chapman shoe shop with the firm's van parked outside, and a copy of the script his father, Leon Chapman (he of the bomb recounted above), used for a talk he gave in the 1980's recounting yester years, which makes fascinating reading .
- Having seen the piece about the Violet Tea Rooms that
Berts Gone Mad, Michael Campbell wrote:
my mother told me that my grandmother worked at a tearoom that was off
the Bypass in the 60's,I wonder if this could be the one in the
I guess the answer is almost certainly 'yes'.
With best wishes to
those you hold dear.
The previous newsletter was last Christmas
The opinions expressed here are those of the author, writing on his own behalf and not representing anyone else or any organisation. The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by this website.
I get several bounce back as undeliverable because the intended recipient has changed their email address, and I have no way of knowing what it has changed to. So if you change your email please remember to put me on the list of people to tell if you want to keep in touch.
You will appreciate that it is particularly annoying if you have posted an enquiry on the website and then when I get a reply I am unable to forward it to you.
There are two very obvious causes of changed email addresses. The first is when I've been given a business email address and either you change employer, or the employer changes their name and with it their email address. The second is if you use an email address tied to your Internet Service Provider (addresses such as email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) and you change your ISP. For both of these situations there is a simple solution to the risk of loosing an email address that you have given to people such as myself who mail only occasionally, and that is to use an email address from one of the many web-based free email service providers. These three seem to be very popular, but there are many others: http://gmail.google.com (Google), http://mail.live.com (Microsoft Windows Live / Hotmail) and http://mail.yahoo.com (Yahoo).