Roadworks warning!

MGJV, on behalf of Thames Water, have notified residents of impending work in the area.

Part of the sewer between Broadford Lane and Scotts Grove Road will be replacedwith the aim of reducing flood risk in the area. Work is scheduled to commence at the end of October for 6 weeks with hours of work between 0730-1800 Monday – Friday and 0800-1300 on Saturdays.


Contact Thames Water:

Customer relations, Thames Water, PO Box 286, Swindon SN38 2RA

0845 641 0011

Reference CAP 5 / BB 946433


Robin Hood request

I’ve been contacted by Anthony, a regular from the Robin Hood pub in Robin Hood Lane (where else?!) with a special request for our readers – does anyone have any old photos of the pub and the area that they wouldn’t mind sharing with the new owners, Jackie and Andy? The pictures are to be framed on the walls after an extensive refit starting in October and will [hopefully] reflect the history of the pub inside and out.


If anyone can help out, please send your contact details to me at and I shall pass them on.

Woking Choral Society performance

Elijah comes to Woking!

A very special night for lovers of classical music is planned by Woking Choral Society when they perform the epic oratorio Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn which is scheduled for the H G Wells Hall on  December 3rd 2011.

Elijah is widely considered to be one of the supreme works in the choral repertoire standing alongside Handel’s Messiah in popularity. It is a truly momentous and awe- inspiring experience, placing great demands on the choristers, soloists and orchestra.

It tells the story of the Old Testament prophet Elijah who is instructed by God to bring his wrath on the Israeli King Ahab and his wife Jezebel for their worship of false Gods. It is a powerful story based on a text taken from The Old Testament Book II Kings. It is a work that is powerful, dramatic and full of beautiful melodies; the high point in the creative output of the German composer Felix Mendelssohn.

The work has a special place in British culture, having been specially written for the 1846 Birmingham Festival, where it had its first performance to an audience of two thousand  on 26th August 1846, who gave it a rapturous reception. It has never lost its unique appeal and remains perennially popular to this day.

The concert will feature the Bartholdy Chamber orchestra and four soloists under the baton of Woking Choral Society’s conductor Ben Palmer.

Further information on the concert and ticket prices can be found on the choir’s website  where ticket reservations can be made for what is sure to be a sell-out occasion. Alternatively telephone  Susan Nichols on 01483 767852.
The tickets will be £15 full (£14 for parties of ten or more) or £8 for students. They can be booked online at or obtained from H. G. Wells Centre Box Office | The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking | Christ Church Shop, Town Square, Woking | Surrey Music Store, Woking | Brittens Music, West Byfleet.  Woking’s The Key scheme applies.

Knaphill Wanderers FC want new players


Knaphill Wanderers Football Club is looking for players for r U8 (year 3)) age group.

The teams are playing the Surrey Primary League next season 2011/2012.

The club provides regular training and matches for all age groups for boys from Under 7 to Under 18 and girls from Under 11 to Under 15.

For further information contact James on the following: –

Under 8’s – James Collyer – Call 07748 848946

or email

Or visit our website at: –

Village Show 2011 – Children’s Horticultural Show Pictures Update

We had lots of super entries from local children for the Children’s Categories at the Horticultural Show: The Miniature Garden and the Object or Animal made from vegetables and/or fruit. Well done to all the youngsters who took part. The judges really had a difficult job to decide on the winners. Well done everyone.

Please note that these pictures are copyrighted low-res editions and if you want a copy in a better resolution or to use them elsewhere please contact the Website Editor for copies and permissions.

If you have more pictures of the show, please contact us to share.

Well done everyone.

We are looking forward to having a new competition next year and even more entries from local children.

We had a wonderful time!

Volunteers from The Knaphill Residents’ Association (KRA), Mizens Railway and local community groups had been working for months to prepare for the Knaphill Village Show on 16th July, so we were not going to let the grey skies and a few drops of rain dampen our enthusiasm.

There were stalls and attractions from Knaphill community groups, churches, craftsmen and women and local businesses, plus marvellous Mizens train rides. There was Live Music from The Charlie Farley Sunday Four, a well stocked Beer Tent, BBQ and lots of food and refreshments to try. Popular new attractions this year included: Professor Dickie Richards Punch & Judy Shows, Bellytricks – Belly dancers, Alysia Welch’s Diddi Dance and Chobham St Lawrence Morris Dancers.  We had a wonderful day with over a thousand visitors to the Show.

The Knaphill Residents’ Association would like to thank everyone who helped to make the show such a success.  We are really grateful for the financial support of Andrew White at Seymours Knaphill as the main show sponsors, and the many other local businesses and individuals helped by donating Prizes for the Horticultural Show and for the Tombola.

Special thanks go to the volunteers, the clubs and stall holders who worked so hard to create a traditional event for everyone to enjoy. Thanks  also to the people of Knaphill who brought the sunshine with them to share for this fabulous community day.
Thank you everyone.

Photographs reproduced by kind permission of Surrey Advertiser (top photo.) and of Ron Dewar(other photos on this page).

Remember Mizens Railway is open on Sunday and Thursday afternoons during August.

See the Mizens website for details:

Memory Lane – Knaphill History, The Brookwood Hospital

When we look back over the history of Knaphill we find that the ‘Brookwood Hospital’ played a vital part in the development of the village. In the 1850’s local settlement was at the bottom of Anchor Hill, near the thriving nurseries, but the building of the ‘Brookwood Lunatic Asylum’  (completed in 1867) brought major changes.

The initial hospital population was 650 patients: 321 males and 329 females. It was built in 150 acres of land in an isolated part of the country as the trend at that time was to house those deemed to be ‘lunatics’ at a distance from ‘normal’ people. Over the next hundred and twenty years it was a major employer, recruiting doctors, nurses, ancillary staff, maintenance and support workers and the life of Knaphill flourished around it.

From the early days the hospital expanded and by 1903 the patient population had risen to 1,265. In 1919 the title ‘asylum’ was dropped and replaced by ‘Mental Hospital’. With so many patients and staff to care for them, Knaphill grew. The brick works were busy and so were the builders and developers. We can still see the many different styles of houses that were constructed for the growing population of the village. Shops of all kinds, public houses and churches thrived too, catering to the earthly and spiritual needs of the bustling community. At the time of The National Health Act in 1946, the hospital was the home for 1,900 patients.

For our Memory Lane articles in the Knaphill News we have spoken to many local people who still remember the hospital in its hay-day; and they have clear personal recollections of this aspect of our local history. Many local people worked at the hospital and have vivid memories  of the years when it was a major local employer and played a key role in the treatment of mental health in South Eastern England.

Marion Healy started her nursing career here in 1948 and stayed until 1990. Marion told KRA about her memories of the Hospital and changing attitudes to ‘Mental Health Care’ during the years that she worked there. Marion remembered Brookwood’s high standards of care and training, but also the locked wards, many geriatric patients and the T.B. Unit. As a Nursing Sister she saw how the gradual advances in medicine helped to bring patients’ symptoms under control by drugs. Change continued so that in 1974 the NHS was being reorganized again and it was decided to close all large mental hospitals and from 1986 a programme was underway for the closure of the Brookwood Hospital in 1994.

Marion’s recollections were of the tolerance of local people; of nurses from all over the world coming there to train there; of the range of social events that entertained patients, staff and locals and that made it a very happy place to live and work. For so many Knaphill residents the hospital was the source of employment. It attracting people from all over the county and many of them settled down and got married, had families and those families continue to live locally.

June Harding was born in Knaphill. Her parents met when working at the hospital and later married. “My father came here in the 1920’s and worked mainly in the high security unit. My mother left home in Wales aged seventeen to come to work there because her father was so strict.”

“The farm had cows, sheep, and shire horses and where the Vyne Car Park is now was the piggery. The hospital driveways were lined with beautiful rhododendron bushes, kept in immaculate condition, largely by patients working under supervision.” June recalled Christmas parties, annual coach outings to the seaside and Saturday Dances. “That was the highlight of my week as a teenager! And the highlight of the year for everyone was the August Bank Holiday Fete on the   main playing field. There were marquees exhibiting flowers, fruit and vegetables, handicrafts; side-shows, swinging boats and stalls. It was a wonderful event for everyone attracting people from miles around.”

Willi Jost came to work there in 1956 as a ‘drain man’, keeping the sewage etc clear. Over the years he was promoted and eventually came to be in charge of the staff restaurant. (Yes, an interesting career path!) Willi remembered Brookwood as a good place to work. Staff lived in the ‘hospital cottages’ on Oak Tree Road, Sparvell Road, The Spur; everyone lived locally and worked locally, people were good neighbours, all helping one another.

In the hospital there were workshops for boot-making, printing and all manner of repairs. Brookwood even had its own Fire Station and Willi worked as a Volunteer Fireman for extra income. The good social life was important to Willi too: the cinema shows, weekly dances (old time and modern), and Willi mentioned that quite a lot of ‘courting’ was done on those famous dance nights!

Since the hospital closed in 1994 the area has changed dramatically. The clock tower and the central building around it were converted into expensive apartments and named Florence Court (acknowledging the ‘Florence Wards’ originally named after Florence Nightingale); but most of the buildings were demolished, trees and flower beds etc removed. New houses were built, creating Redding Way, Percheron Drive, Barton Close, Florence Way, Tringham etc, again being given names that had links with the ‘Brookwood Hospital’. These are reminders that, for so much of its history, the life Knaphill was interwoven with the life of ‘the Hospital’.

Prince Edward visits Peer Productions in Knaphill

HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, visited Peer Productions in Knaphill on Wednesday 12th January. The visit was part of the 5th Anniversary celebrations of the work of the Community Foundation for Surrey in supporting local community projects. 

The Prince started his day visiting the Foundation’s offices in Guildford. Later he travelled to Knaphill to spend time with some of the young people involved in Peer Productions at their base at the Woking Youth Arts Centre (WYAC), on Trinity Road.

Peer Productions is a highly praised and very popular local organisation working with 8 to 23 year olds, which specialises in providing peer education through the medium of theatre and film. The Earl is a known supporter of the arts and youth projects. The Earl of Wessex was received by the Deputy Lieutenant Sally Varah, who introduced him to the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Councillor Diana Smith, and Dr Helen Bowcock, author of Hidden Surrey and trustee of the Community Foundation for Surrey. 

Co-Artistic Directors of Peer Productions, Nina Lemon and Jason Orbaum, created a special 15 minute performance for the Earl, which was performed by the group’s young volunteers. The piece was a humorous and entertaining ‘Day in the Life’ look at the work of the group, focusing on the three groups of beneficiaries they work with.  The Earl then spent time chatting with the young actors, as well as members from Peer Productions Youth Theatre and previous graduates from the company’s full time course. 

Peer Productions full time volunteer Rebecca Alloway (18) said “We were really excited when we were told that Prince Edward would be coming to see us perform.  It was like our own Royal Variety Performance!”.  Nina Lemon said “It was a huge honour to be chosen by the Community Foundation for Surrey to receive the Earl of Wessex.  He was a lovely, down to earth man, who really engaged with all the young people he spoke to.”

You can find out more about their wide range of current projects by checking the Peer Productions website: 
Or for more information please contact Claire on 01483 476825 or email

Other local community groups and the people of Knaphill have also benefitted from the generous support of the Community Foundation for Surrey through the grant KRA received for the Knaphill Village Show 2010. The Show  brought the whole community together and involved a great deal of work for the Residents’ Association. Without the valuable support of the Foundation we could not have undertaken such a substantial project.

In the last five years, as well as Peer and the KRA Knaphill Village Show, the Foundation has awarded grants to over six hundred community and voluntary groups and built a permanent fund for Surrey which will be used to support projects throughout the county. 

Following the Royal visit Professor Patrick Dowling, Chair of Trustees of the Foundation, said, “This was a very special occasion for the Community Foundation and follows a really extraordinary 5th birthday year which has seen us celebrate a record number of grant donations as well as a glowing Quality Accreditation from the Community Foundation Network (CFN). We were delighted to be able to highlight these achievements as well as some of the extraordinary work that goes on in Surrey to support need.

You can find out more about the Community Foundation for Surrey on their website:

Christmas Market – supporting local troops

There is a Christmas Market at Pirbright on Wednesday 1st December which is being organised by the local Army Welfare Service (AWS). They are holding a Christmas Shopping Bonanza – with the opportunity to get your Christmas gifts and help raise funds for helping local families of serving troops.

The event will be held at the Jubilee Centre, Billesden Road, Pirbright GU24 0PL, from 1.00 pm till 7.00 pm.  Admission for Adults is £ 1.00 and includes a glass of Mulled Wine and a Mince Pie.

You can find out more about the event by calling Finola Pickwell 
on 01483 798296
or email her at

Background to the fundraising for ‘Army Welfare Service’.
One of the main sources of support available to Army personnel and
their families is through the Army Welfare Service (AWS). It offers important welfare support service for servicemen and women and their families, wherever they are located. They help families to settle in
to new surroundings when there are postings; support families during periods of separation; offer advice and help on housing and health,
schools  and childcare and other aspects of life that forces families may face. Funds raised from this Christmas Market will help in the work that AWS does at Pirbright Camp.

Knaphill History, Memory Lane – WOMEN at WAR

The history of Knaphill owes a great deal to the people who live here; to long established residents and some more recent arrivals.  KRA’s Memory Lane articles are based on the stories of real people who have made their home in Knaphill. When we were preparing the article ‘The Men and the Boys’, some of the wives overheard our conversations and they asked us to remember that wartime is not just about the exploits of the men! So we went back to record some of their wartime experiences; recollections of rationing, joining the Women’s Forces or doing ‘war work’, because the upheavals of 1939 – 45 were important for women too.

Josie Plant was born in Knaphill in 1937. “My dad, Joseph Plant, was a soldier, posted to Inkerman Barracks with The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He met and fell in love with my Mum, Joan (Frost). Once War was declared he went off to fight, and was reported “missing” in 1940; I think we all thought we’d never see him again.  It was not until 1943 that Mum was notified he was being held as a prisoner of war by the Germans. On the day my Dad came home, my cousin Neil and I saw a chap coming down Anchor Hill, I didn’t know who he was; I didn’t know it was my Dad. Mum and the family put on a big party for him and made banners saying – ‘Welcome Home Joe’. He didn’t talk about it a lot, but we knew he’d had a terrible time at ‘Stalag XX1D’ prison camp.

I was only a kid, but I remember the ‘Doodle Bugs’ – bombs that would cut out and stop; some landed in Knaphill, the houses would shake. We often slept in the cupboard under the stairs (for ‘protection’ from the bombs) and later we had an ‘Anderson Shelter’ in the front room. It was like a big metal cage that you crawled under. In the first year after the war it was still there; we threw a cloth over it and used it like a table for my birthday party.”

Grace Ludlow (nee Small) was born in 1918 and from the age of 5-12, by coincidence, lived in the very same house Josie was born in years later. Grace’s father was a well know local nurseryman, renowned for his roses. “I used to cycle down to our Village Hall for dances. I met my Joe when he was serving in the ‘Royal Welsh Fusiliers’ stationed at Blackdown Barracks. My Dad was none too pleased that I was being ‘courted’ by a soldier but I knew he was the one for me. We got married in 1939 and Joe was one of the first to leave for war. He had a gift for languages so he was seconded to ‘Intelligence’ and he didn’t get much home leave all through the war.

He was injured before Dunkirk and brought home on a ‘hospital ship’. Once he recovered he was sent to the Far East, down the Burma Road and he was briefly a Japanese prisoner of war, but managed to escape. Talking about it now you can hardly believe what the soldiers went through.

While Joe was away I moved back to live with my parents in West End,  and I worked at the bakery in St Johns, and in the evenings I was out in my tin hat as an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Volunteer. I had to make sure everyone’s windows were ‘Blacked out’; so the bombers wouldn’t see us.

The siren at Brookwood Hospital often warned of attacks. Once a fighter plan crashed on the Recreation Ground at West End Village and my middle brother Alf found a machine gun in the wreckage. He brought it home, and sat with it propped it up on the kitchen table until Dad shouted – Get that back where you got it from!”

Patricia Norman was twenty-two when war started and was living in Bath, Somerset then. Pat worked as a civilian at the Admiralty. She had to sign the Official Secrets’ Act.  But despite the coded messages, teleprinter and a secret ‘phone, Pat said it was often boring.

Bath’s historic buildings were bombed as part of Hitler’s “Spite Raids”, and a bomb dropped very close to Pat’s (less historic) home. She also remembered the long years of rationing. When a food parcel from Australia Pat and her mother were overjoyed to have dried egg powder, jelly crystals and tinned fruit; it was years before she could eat a fresh egg without feeling guilty!

Di Blair grew up in Mitcham. Aged fourteen, in 1938, she started full time work as a clerk at Conservative Central Office in Westminster. At that time Britain was not ready for war, so when Chamberlain (the Conservative Prime Minister) came back from Munich with ‘peace’ secured it was a great relief to the British public. Thousands sent him letters of gratitude and Di’s office had the job of acknowledging every one of them.War came, and for a while Di continued to work at Central Office. On one occasion Di actually spoke to Winston Churchill! She had to take an urgent message by hand and as Di approached he said “Is that for me my dear?”… which she calmly replied “Yes sir.”

Di saw a poster – ‘Join the WRNS’. She join-up in June 1942, aged just 18. Initially as a ‘Wren’ within the Fleet Air Arm, but later as an ‘Air Mechanic – Ordnance’ (AM-O). She was taught how to strip down and repair all manner of small arms and ground defence weapons– rifles, Bren guns, Machine Guns. Most of the time she was based near Portsmouth; so it will be no surprise that she met and later married a sailor; she married Danny Blair, who features in one of our ‘The Men & the Boys’ articles.

Life was not easy for the girls who were at home. Soon after war started Joan Clark went to work in an aircraft factory, making parts for ‘Spitfires’. The bombs, time spent in the air raid shelters, the hardships, they were all part of everyday life and shortages meant Joan, like everyone else, had to adapt and cope. When Joan got married in 1941, she chose blue cloth for her wedding dress; it had to be ‘practical’, not just for one day!

Like other forces wives the early years of her married life were mostly spent apart from her husband. John was posted to Africa in 1943, when Joan was heavily pregnant. She was able to write and send photos, but it was nearly three years before he got home to see her again and to see their son for the first time. But as Joan said…..”at least I was one of the fortunate ones, my husband returned safely”.
Thank you to everyone who has shared their memories with us for these articles.