|Area||10.29 km2 (3.97 sq mi)|
|Population||12,414 (2011 census)|
|• Density||1,206/km2 (3,120/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference||TQ114641|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||01932 and 01372|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
Hersham is a village in Surrey, within the M25. Its housing is relatively low-rise and diverse and it has four technology/trading estates. The only contiguous settlement is Walton-on-Thames, its post town.
Hersham is served by Hersham and Walton-on-Thames railway stations with a minimum of two trains per hour and differing types of services on the South West Main Line.
Two golf courses are within its bounds, Burhill Golf Club and Hersham Village Golf Club; considerable other land is wooded, used for mixed farming or Esher Rugby Club,[n 1] much of which is Metropolitan Green Belt.
According to Hersham in Surrey:
Hersham began as a strip of woodland beside the River Mole. It was occupied by pre-historic folk whose flint instruments have been found in large numbers beside the River on Southwood Manor Farm[n 2]. These date mostly from the mesolithic period. Somewhere around 200 B.C. a huge defensive earthwork was erected on top of St George's Hill (ecclesiastically in Hersham, but in Weybridge post town), probably as a refuge camp against invaders coming up the Thames Valley.
That this could have been constructed at all indicates a fairly large population in the district, a chieftain of some sort, organised labour and a desperate perhaps recurring danger. Bronze and Iron Age burials have been found on the slopes of the hill which was clearly a feature of some importance in ancient times.
The Anglo-Saxons may well have been the first permanent settlers here; they gave the name to the place and no older remains of actual dwellings in areas not mentioned above have been found. In the 12th century it was written Haverichesham suggesting Haeferick's hamlet or river bend settlement. By contraction the name become Haverisham, Haversham,[n 3] Harsham or Hersham before finally settling only on the latter.
Hersham's first chapel of ease (Holy Trinity church, which was demolished in 1889 having been superseded) was built of yellow brick in Anglo-Norman style in 1839. Similarly congregationalists had a Round Chapel which existed from 1844 until 1961, the year in which the single dual carriageway in Hersham was created, and enabling its construction.
Instead of merely (for vestry and property owning matters such as poor relief, road maintenance, manorial ownership, land tax and tithes) being the southern hamlet of Walton, Hersham became an ecclesiastical parish in 1851. The dividing line was what then officially termed the "London and South Western Railway line" and all borders remain almost unchanged by later local government and ecclesiastical parish decisions. The present Anglican church of St. Peter was built by Mr. J. L. Pearson, R.A., in 1887 on a site was given by Lieut. Col. Terry of Burvale, Hersham. It is of brick and stone in 13th-century style, has a nave and aisles, five arcades, chancel, transepts, and a western tower and spire.
Hersham has an interesting industrial history with notable companies such as ABC Motors, Air Products, Faulkners, Hackbridge & Hewittick and Vickers-Armstrongs all having factories in the village during the last century. In 1929 an aeroplane designed by Anthony Fletcher was constructed in the village by ABC Motors. Designed by Anthony Fletcher and fitted with an ABC Scorpion aero engine, this was test flown from nearby Brooklands and had could have been built in quantity but became a victim of the economic depression of 1929-32. Other specialist Hersham firms include coachbuilders Compton & Herman Ltd based in Molesey Road in the 1920s before being renamed Compton Motor Body Builders and later moving first to Kingston and then to New Malden.
In World War II, in a daring daylight raid on 4th September 1940, German bombers successfully attacked the important Vickers aircraft factory at Brooklands killing nearly 90 people. Four of the victims were never identified but buried in Hersham's Burvale Cemetery and another Vickers worker, 36 year old William E Hunt, was buried close by. Luftwaffe bombers also dropped various bombs on and around Hersham and six V-1 flying bombs exploded in the parish. Besides the significant contribution of ABC Motors to the British war effort with products that included auxiliary power units for Short Sunderland flying boats), Vickers-Armstrongs had four secret production sites in the village and its surrounding parish occupied the existing Ben Stanley Ltd bus depot and workshop in Burwood Road as part of its dispersed Tinsmiths Department. Known as depot 'W15', this site supplied essential sheet metal parts parts for Vickers Wellington and Vickers Warwick aircraft manufactured at Brooklands. The other locations were at Burhill Golf Club ('W32'- see below) plus Corbie Wood ('W86' which included both a Bellman hangar and an Air Ministry T.2 Type hangar) and Riseholme ('W63'), both located on the St George's Hill side of Seven Hills Road.
- Moor Hall, Syklesmore or Southwood Manor
Hersham contained one manor alone known as Morehall alias Sylkesmore or Southwood. Mention of a court held at Hersham in 1272 by Reginald de Imworth and Matilda his wife, may indicate that he was then lord of the manor. When Henry VIII built Nonsuch Palace in Cheam as many as eighty loads of timber were obtained from Southwood, or the South Woods, for it. In 1540 he purchased from John Carleton the "manor of Morehall or Sylkesmore" in Hersham, together with lands and woods in Burwood and Hatch in Hersham. The manor remained in the possession of the Crown, and was granted by Philip II of Spain and Mary I of England to David Vincent. In 1579 Queen Elizabeth granted to Thomas Vincent "the manor, site, and demesne lands of Morehall, and the wood called Sylkesmore coppice". In the 18th century and until 1802 at least, the estate, then known as 'the manor of Southwood and Silksmore,' appears to have been held by the Frederick family.
- Whiteley Village
This private retirement village, which allocates some of its accommodation to disabled poor residents, is set in a lightly undulating, elevated, wooded part of Hersham and was created from a bequest of £1m left by a London department store pioneer William Whiteley.
Hersham is in the borough of Elmbridge, in northwest Surrey and has no particular sub-localities except for Burwood Park, which alongside certain other addresses in the village is, when published for any purposes, due to its proximity to Walton-on-Thames railway station, done so under the name of Hersham's post town only, Walton on Thames. A planned community also exists in the south almost entirely for the retired, Whiteley Village.
In the nucleus of the village is Hersham Green, 3.4 acres (1.4 ha) of open space on which regular events take place throughout the year. Just across from the green is a shopping centre, consisting of multiple shops and restaurants. Within a few minutes walk of the village centre in the east are green fields and meadows alongside the River Mole and footpaths both through and by fields used for mixed farming.
The parish boundaries run from the South West Main Line railway in the North to the East and through St George's Hill in the West. Places within Hersham therefore technically include part of Saint George's Hill, all of Burwood Park and Whiteley Village.
Notable people past and present
- Julie Andrews (born in Walton on Thames) speaks about her early days in Hersham in her book, Home.
- Granville Bradshaw (1887-1969), accomplished engineer and inventor, worked for ABC Motors and its earlier incarnations in the early 20th century.
- Ross Davidson (b 1973), former professional footballer (defender) for Sheffield United, Chester City and Shrewsbury Town.
- George Greenwood (dec. c1986), local author and historian and former borough and county councillor.
- Odette Sansom GC, MBE (1912–1995), a.k.a. Odette Churchill and Odette Hallowes, was a French-born secret agent for Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) in France. The first woman to be awarded the George Cross by Britain, she and her third husband Geoffrey Hallowes (a former SOE officer) lived locally and are both buried in Burvale Cemetery.
- Robert (Bob) C Handasyde (1908-1979), Vickers-Armstrongs test pilot and sales executive at nearby Brooklands, lived at Hershambury in Hersham in the early 1950s.
- Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), the 31st President of the United States of America, lived in Hersham briefly in 1902. Today, a blue plaque is displayed on his former home in West Grove.
- Colonel Sir William Heaton Horrocks, KCMG, CB, was buried in St Peter's Churchyard in 1941, as was his late wife, Lady Minna Horrocks in 1921.
- William Lilly, astrologer, lived in Hersham from 1652 until his death in 1681.
- Bruce McLaren (1938-1970), an accomplished New Zealand-born racing driver and designer, lived in Burwood Park at the time of his tragic death in a motoring accident when testing his new McLaren M8D at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Sussex on 2nd June 1970.
- John Dennis Profumo, CBE, (1915-2006), was a post-war politician who married actress Valerie Hobson (1917-1998) in 1954, but is best known for his scandalous affair with Christine Keeler in the early 1960s and also for his subsequent charity work. His and his wife's ashes were buried in his family's vault in St Peter's Churchyard and Profumo Road commemorates the family name near the village centre.
- Jimmy Pursey, lead singer with Hersham punk group Sham 69, lived and grew up in the village.
- Lauren Rammell, member of Four of Diamonds.
- Luke Shaw, footballer for Manchester United, attended Rydens Enterprise School in Hersham.
- Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard (1873-1956), Marshal of the Royal Air Force, lived at The Kings House in Burhill by 1953 and is commemorated in the village by the road name Trenchard Close.
- Tommy Trinder (1909-1989) well known comedian, war-time entertainer and former chairman of Fulham Football Club, lived locally and was buried in Burvale Cemetery.
- Frederick Loring Vaux (1842-1933), local resident and a significant village benefactor whose name is remembered today by Vaux Crescent off Burwood Road and Vauxmead Field opposite St Peter's Church.
- Frederick Wicks (1840–1910), author and inventor, retired to the village and died there.
King George III visited Weylands farm in Hersham where he saw the first drill plough. Queen Victoria wrote in her diary how she saw her first steam train in Hersham when she was a young girl.
In more recent times the punk group Sham 69 with lead singer Jimmy Pursey, had its roots in Hersham. The band's biggest hit was Hersham Boys. Sham 69 took their name from the remnants of a piece of graffiti in the area which made reference to when Walton and Hersham Football Club secured the Athenian League title in 1969.
Due to its proximity to London and Shepperton Studios, Hersham is frequently a filming location for film and television productions including Nighty Night, The Glass, and Monty Python The second series of the TV show, Ashes to Ashes was filmed in Hersham. The Mummy was filmed in Hersham.
Hersham is also home to Britain's largest colony of parakeets near Esher Rugby Club. This was estimated in 2004 to have consisted of around 7,000 birds.
Within Hersham is the mixed, secondary Three Rivers Academy. The school holds specialist Business and Enterprise College status, and boasts an impressive drama programme. Its roll holds approx. 1200 students. Hersham also has three primary schools – Burhill, became primary in 2015, Bell Farm, became primary in 2014 and Cardinal Newman.
Esher RFC is a multi-pitch rugby union club in Hersham since approximately 1939 (see notes). Their first men's team is notable in the region and saw 2012-14 among the upper 50% of clubs in RFU National League 1 (the third level of the sport in England), having been relegated in the previous season. Esher play at The Rugby Ground, 369 Molesey Road. The 1st XV play in a black-amber strip.
TV presenter John Inverdale has long been associated with the club, albeit the 2010s saw his involvement diminish.
Hersham Village Golf Club is on the south side of the village; snooker player John Virgo is a former president.
Hersham's large second golf club is Burhill Golf Club (with North and South courses, the latter of which has been added near Burwood Park. Early in World War II, Barnes Wallis and several hundred staff were evacuated to Burhill Golf Club from the nearby Vickers-Armstrongs aircraft factory at Brooklands and designed the legendary Dambusters 'bouncing bomb' there.
Four technology/trading estates exist in Hersham:
- Hersham Place Business Park
- Hersham Trading Estate
- Riverdene Industrial Estate
- Hersham Green Technology Park
A major nearby conjoined set of trading estates spans the Weybridge/Byfleet border at Brooklands and Heathrow Airport also has a range of employers, though this is across Walton-on-Thames itself and the borough of Spelthorne. Most important to the local economy is the accessibility of Central London – see Rail below, with more than 500,000 train entries and exits per annum recorded across the two stations bordering and in the village itself.
The very modest High Street contains almost entirely only convenience and socialising stores; fashion and leisure shops are to be found less than 2 miles (3.2 km) to the north, in Walton on Thames. As part of the development of Hersham a new shopping centre was built in the early 1980s with a large supermarket (30k sq feet ) now occupied by Waitrose, although the whole complex is currently under consideration for major redevelopment by the owners.
Another well-established commercial business is the popular Squires Garden Centre adjacent to the Burvale Cemetery in Burwood Road. A new Lidl supermarket was given permission in 2015 and subsequently opened on a site formerly used by ABC Motors and latterly by Ian Allan Publishing, increasing Hersham's retail floor-space in addition to Waitrose.
Hersham is served by Hersham and Walton-on-Thames railway stations with a minimum of two trains per hour even on Sundays and differing types of services on the South West Main Line. Fast trains stopping at Walton-on-Thames reach London Waterloo within 30 minutes.
The M25 Junction 10 is 4 miles away and an A-roads and dual carriageway connect neighbouring (but not contiguous) Esher and the almost bordering towns of Weybridge and Cobham, across a narrow strip of Walton on Thames.
Demography and housing
|Output area||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes||Shared between households|
|Hersham North (ward)||497||1,084||436||451||1||0|
|Hersham South (ward)||973||928||348||405||10||0|
The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.
|Output area||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
|Hersham North (ward)||5,992||2,469||27||41||230|
|Hersham South (ward)||6,422||2,664||35||35||799|
The proportion of households in the settlement who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).
- ^ Although based in Esher between 1923 and approximately 1939, Esher RFC have occupied land in Hersham since this date and expanded this to 23 acres (9.3 ha) and a 1,200 seater stand main pitch.
- ^ The artefact-rich manor is at Burhill Road KT12 4BJ
- ^ Will of Dame Dorothye Edmondes, widow of Sir Christopher Edmondes, of 'Est Moulsey, Surrey', line 39 of her registered will; National Archives; PROB 11, proved 21 Sept 1615: 'And the lease of the Coppice called the Hurst Coppice, lying & being in Haversham, in the parish of Waltoun, in the said county' (spelling modernized)
- ^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density 2011 United Kingdom census Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
- ^ Esher RFC – History Archived 3 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2013-09-30
- ^ Hersham in Surrey: a brief local history of the parish of St. Peter's, Hersham, in the Borough of Elmbridge in Surrey, George Greenwood, publisher: Elmbridge Borough Council, 1986
- ^ a b c d H.E. Malden, ed. (1911). "Parishes: Walton on Thames". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- ^ St Peter's Hersham – History Retrieved 2013-09-30
- ^ Whiteley Village Museum Archived 28 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2013-09-29
- ^ Burwood Park Residents Association Retrieved 2013-09-29
- ^ 'The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover, The Cabinet & Presidency 1920–1933' (Pub. 1952)
- ^ Dunn, Barbara. "William Lilly (1602-1681) By Barbara Dunn. Acclaimed Astrologer". Urania Trust. Archived from the original on 19 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- ^ Pearson, Michael (14 October 2016). "They've been kept hangin' on for the X Factor live shows!". Get Surrey. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
- ^ Dawson, Shane (18 October 2018). "Manchester United's Luke Shaw signs new contract at Old Trafford until 2023". Manchester United FC. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
- ^ "Birthday boy Shaw signs on". Southampton FC. 12 July 2013. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
- ^ "Death of Mr F. L. Vaux". The Times. No. 46638. London. 29 December 1933. p. 12.
- ^ "Mr Frederick Wicks". The Times. No. 39236. London. 2 April 1920. p. 17.
- ^ Parakeet population booming in borough – Molesey News & Mail, 7 July 2004
- ^ Wintle, Angela (21 January 2014). "Big Break star John Virgo on trick shots, snooker legends and his Cobham home". Great British Life. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
- ^ Grid square map Ordnance survey website
- Barker, J L & D M (1996) 'Hark Back to Hersham' (self-published);
- Greenwood, George (1986, 3rd Edition Revised) 'Hersham in Surrey' (Elmbridge Museum Service);
- Pulford, J S L (1988) 'The Church of St Peter Hersham - Monumental Inscriptions' (Walton & Weybridge Local History Society, Paper No. 26);