Hinchley Wood shown within Surrey
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Esher and Walton|
Hinchley Wood is a residential community approximately 14 miles (23 km) south-west of London, England, within the Greater London Urban Area. At the 2001 census it consisted of 1,429 households with a population of 3,674. It developed largely because of the railway line which passes through the area, and many of its residents are commuters to London. There are a number of shops and a petrol station. The suburb is served by a railway station.
In 1999, Hinchley Wood residents took on McDonald's to defeat a plan to turn their local pub into a fast-food outlet. In 1997, the pub had earlier provided a historical footnote when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, visited it when their flight home to Russia was delayed.
The only old listed building is the 16th century Old Farm House in the town. Its listing states '... C16 with C18 addition to front left, C19 addition to right. Timber framed core, stuccoed over with plain tiled roofs. Large brick stack to rear and ends. 2 storeys with 2 tripartite wood casements to centre of first floor...' and is now on an ordinary street.
Initially the farmland on which Hinchley Wood was to be built was part of Thames Ditton. In 1925 Esher Council considered a petition from the small number of residents of Manor Road, in which ribbon development from Thames Ditton was taking place, for the provision of a new station between Surbiton and Claygate on the railway that had opened in 1885. The Southern Railway was not interested in a new station; the low population would create negligible new custom; the opening of the Kingston Bypass changed the commercial viability of new station.
Immediately the speculative possibilities created by the bypass were considered. Furthermore even as it was being built a sewer was laid under it, at Manor Road, to facilitate development. The opening of Hinchley Wood railway station brought about the rapid emergence of Hinchley Wood as a coherent, identifiable settlement, with a housing stock so plainly superior to that typical of the 1930s.
At its annual general meeting in 1927, the chairman called attention to “great increment in the value of the land, which goes into the pockets of vigilant people at our expense”. G.T. Crouch agreed to contribute £2,500 towards the cost (about one-third) of the building of the station. Having been given planning permission to build Hinchley Wood in September 1929, Crouch struck a deal with the Southern Railway for the construction of the station. In order to persuade the Southern Railway to build it, Crouch had to help pay for it. Although the Southern Railway knew that a new settlement would bring new business, it also knew the benefit to Crouch.
The Inland Revenue had large offices on the north side of the railway station that have become a housing development.
In 1953, the communties local church, St. Christophers Church (as an Anglican church), was built.
||Lower Green, Esher||Weston Green and Giggs Hill Green, Thames Ditton||Thames Ditton, Long Ditton|
|Sandown Park and Esher||Long Ditton|
Transportation and Growth
Hinchley Wood railway station was built at the point where conveniently the tracks forked already, making it the more economically built and manned. Additionally, the Southern Railway bought some more land on which to build a goods yard, which in the event was never built because competition from road haulage became too great, but the land was retained; ultimately this allowed a car park to be provided.
When the station opened, Hinchley Wood comprised a couple of dozen houses and a petrol filling station in a field that bordered the bypass. Development took place around the shops that were built next to the station.
The speed at which the houses in Hinchley Wood were built was phenomenal, with the peak years being in 1933-34 when 750 residents moved in, many of whom were London commuters. The Hinchley Wood Residents’ Association was formed in 1931 and quickly became an effective voice for the community on Esher Council.
The train service in the 1930s, although more frequent and faster than today, was the regular cause of complaint: such was the rapid growth of Hinchley Wood that overcrowding of trains became an issue as well as their timing.
Countryside and Recreation Parks
Hinchley Wood is within easy walking distance of Littleworth Common, just to the east southwards, where it meets Esher Eagles Rugby League club then followed by, in the south west, a historic but now small wood which shares its name with the community. Telegraph Hill is also southwest of Hinchley Wood and is the largest nearby walking spot and has some visitor attraction for its Grade II (architecture) listed 'Semaphore House' semaphore tower described as "c1822. Rendered brick on projecting plinth with hipped slate roof. 3 storey square tower to centre...C20 glazing bar sash windows throughout".
Hinchley Wood has two schools, Hinchley Wood Primary School and Hinchley Wood School, one of the main secondary schools in the area.
In 1999, Hinchley Wood residents, organised as Residents Against McDonalds (RAM), took on McDonalds to defeat a plan to turn their local pub into a drive-through fast-food outlet. The residents defeated McDonald's on June 16, 2000 after a 552-day continuous occupation. The pub has since been demolished and has been replaced by retirement flats.
Hinchley Wood was featured in the book 'Crap Towns' and was ranked 48th worst in the United Kingdom. The local councellor stated “People like it here because it is a quiet place, very convenient for the city and, if you want to get to Kingston, it is easy as well. You have all the peace and quiet you want and it is near the countryside and the rivers. While we do not have a pub in the village we do have a strong community spirit.” in response to the ranking. The town lost its "crap" status in 2004.
- National Heritage List online edition accessed 16-04-2012
- Hinchley Wood history from the Surrey Advertiser
- National Heritage List online edition accessed 16-04-2012
- McDonalds foiled at Hinchley Wood (Surrey) r0006163
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