Newsletter January 2017




Horley Local History Society


NEWS Letter

January 2017





The Venue


The Society meets at the Methodist Hall, Victoria Road, Horley, Surrey, every 4th Thursday in the month at 7:30pm for 8:00 unless otherwise stated below.


Parking is available at the rear.

Meetings Calendar

Thursday 26 January  2017  The Black Museum at Scotland yard, by Ralph Keemar

Thursday 23 February 2017 HLHS AGM

Followed by History of Balloons & Aircraft seen around Horley, by Brian Buss

Thursday 23 March 2017 The Battle of Vimy Ridge, by Andy Thomson (It was almost 100 years ago)

Thursday 27 April 2017  An Evening of Viewing old Photographs of Horley. (Including some not published by HLHS before)

Thurs 25 May 2017 Remembering the DamBusters,

 By Jim Barnes

Thursday 22 June 2017.  Speaker evening. Details later.

Thursday 27 July 2017 A local walk, details to be announced at a later date

The Passing of A O Brown

 As many of you probably know from the last News Letter, Os as he always wished to be known, passed away last May at 101 years of age. He was possibly the oldest member ever of the Society and possessed great knowledge about our locality. As someone once described him as “The walking encyclopaedia of Horley”, most thought this was considered almost an understatement. A note to remember him and his contribution to the Society and the town has been compiled and now sits on the library shelves for all to see and read.


One or two members were requested to help his family to sort through his collection of books, maps, photographs and historical papers to add to our archives. This brought forth several interesting items that had not before been seen that included: a list of Horley properties damaged through enemy action in WW2 with estimates of repair costs, letters on headed notepaper and invoices from shops, etc, that ceased trading many decades ago.

 Lee Street Burial Site

 In 1995 an over anxious developer used his JCB and started to clear this site, including the grave stones, before he could be stopped. As no layout of the stones had been made, Os with a colleague did their best to estimate where most of them were originally placed and Os produced the following plan and many were replaced using it.



(The history of this site is given in Aubrey Cook’s booklet called “The Chapel by the Mill” 1986, that can be seen in the Library) Recently the Society has been approached re the replacement of its plaque and discussions are in progress. We will be keeping you informed of the outcome.


History in the making or Forgotten?


 The above are the very first properties under construction off Meath Green Lane on the new West Vale development.


(A meaningless name with no relationship to the past whatsoever.  Christ Hospital bought most of Horley in 1602 and named this area Moy Grene on its detailed map of that date that still exists. Why could this name not have been retained today in perpetuity and for the new householders to appreciate the land they will live on? Despite the Society strongly voicing this suggestion, it wasn’t listened to. Has some of our history therefore now been forgotten rather than grasping an opportunity to preserve it?)

 History already made but not Forgotten

 A letter from the General Manager’s Office, London Bridge Station, SE, 5th October 1905 to the Head Porter, Horley.

 My attention has been called to a case of attempted suicide on the part of a man named Wellbeloved at Horley Station on the 5th ultimo, when, at considerable risk to yourself, you rescued him from his dangerous position, when an approaching train was within about 20 or 30 feet of him.


I have very much pleasure in commending you for this very courageous act, and I have given instructions for it to be recorded in our Staff Register and to be mentioned in the Special Traffic Notice.


I have pleasure in enclosing £1 in recognition of your praiseworthy conduct on the occasion


General Manager

 Remembering Horley men who fell in WW2

 No doubt most of you already have your copy of Doug Cox’s excellent book “Men of Horley” in WW1. Now he is currently collecting similar information concerning those who gave their lives for us in WW2. If YOU have, or know of anyone who might have information about them please contact Doug on 01293 410366. Who knows, you might see his results in another edition of “Horley in Wartime” (WW2) in the future. Who knows?

 On the same subject, have you bought David Hall’s book “Henry Webber’s Horley” about the oldest man to have lost his life in WW1 and who did so much for Horley before going to war? (copies available from David (01293 784276), the Library and the Book Shop)

 Can you help?



This photo of a fuselage of a Percival Proctor has been  given to the Society by someone who could not recall where he took it in Horley in the early 1950s. By its markings and paint scheme, it had obviously been in Maintenance or Training Command of the RAF early post-WW2.  But what was it doing in Horley, what was its purpose, where was the photo taken and who owned it? Can any past member of the Air Training Corps for example have any ideas, or others with aircraft interests?

 Strawson Hall

 On 18 May 2015 this Hall with a history dating back to 1919 that was built by George Frederick Strawson, was burnt to the ground. He built it for the men returning from WW1 as a place where they could rest and entertain themselves while seeking work. Since that period it has been used extensively by the community, even as a classroom to teach our evacuees during WW2.

 It has during its lifetime been run and tendered by various volunteer trustees and has been in constant use that has included the History Society over several decades. At the time of the fire it was and still is under the excellent leadership of Doug Kilborn. He has striven to make certain that it will rise again despite all the legal and financial problems he has had to overcome. He is still looking for help in many areas and would welcome hearing from anyone who could do so. He can be contacted on 01293 782619, Thank you.



We are all pleased to see Betty Woodburn, one of our long-standing members, up and about again after a long period of poor health.

 Alan Wilson has been the member who has handled all our book sales for the last 15 years for which we say thank you for your long and considerable help. (Please see the list still available on our website) Doug Cox has now taken over this post from Alan.

 What has come & gone in the Town

 The HSBC left a while ago but a new cash machine has been placed directly opposite. The mother and baby shop beside Cubitt & West in Victoria Rd has been replaced by Riadh a barber shop, and Frillies has been replaced by Beaux a ladies fashion boutique in the High Street.

 It was interesting to see the Pine Cane & Calico shop sign re-appear from the 1980s after being Ray Cook’s white goods shop for many years, then it was Euronic’s for a while, and now the shop has been added to Collingwood’s.2nd hand furniture shop next door.


What we are seeking


The Society is actively wanting a place to store its archives in, where members and genuine researchers can undertake their studies and we can encourage young and old to explore what we already hold. All that is irreplaceable and of importance to Surrey we copy for our own archives and pass the original to The Surrey History Centre at Woking that is always worth a visit even on its website.

If any one knows of a likely site or building in the locality of Horley, please contact any member of the Committee (see HLHS website given at the base of page 1). Thank you.


 (thank you Brian Buss - Ed)

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WEBSITE   www.horleyhistory.org.uk         webmaster Peter Cox

Want to know what is happening in Horley or need some information - why not try looking on our site?  We also have a presence on Facebook, find us on Horley Local History Society page but DO NOT mix us up with Memories of Horley page, they are nothing to do with us at all.


website     www.horleyhistory.org.uk           Facebook    Horley Local History Society

Chairman   Alan Reid  01293-782630        Vice-Chairman  currently vacant

Treasurer   Doug Cox  01293-410366        HLHS Archives  contact via Chairman

Newsletter Editor   John Chisholm   01293-786419  email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Committee  Betty Woodburn 01293-784668  &   Samantha Marshall  01293-201908 


PDF versions of many of our Newsletters can be downloaded.