The village shops
St Christopher's, a 20th century church, is in the village
|Area||3.2 km2 (1.2 sq mi)|
|Population||5,068 (2011 census)|
|• Density||1,584/km2 (4,100/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
Hinchley Wood is a suburban village in the Elmbridge borough of Surrey, England, approximately 13 miles (21 km) south-west of Charing Cross in central London, and within the Greater London Urban Area. It developed largely around its railway station at its heart on the New Guildford Line — and many of its homes house at least one commuter to Central London. The village has one main parade of convenience shops, local services and a petrol station; throughout the area is a light smattering of small businesses.
A double-width section of the A309 bisects the village which acts as a local spur road to a semi-urban section of the motorway-standard A3 road. The village's main retail area is directly north of a traffic light intersection adjoined by a large set of the village's retirement flats. The village has no high-rise buildings and gained its first place of worship in 1953 (meaning the place meets the conventional criterion for villages in England). Hinchley Wood, also considered a suburb, has the London dialling code 020.
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. 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 1999 residents took on McDonald's to defeat a plan to take over and convert a public house. The pub had been visited two years before by the Soviet leader from 1985 to 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife when their flight home to Russia was delayed.
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 regionally monopolised owner-operator, 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 local authority has varied from Conservative to Residents Association since its 1974 formation.
Countryside and recreation parks
Many residents visit Littleworth Common, where it meets Esher Eagles Rugby League club, a community rugby club. These are followed by, in the south west, a historic but now small woodland named Hinchley Wood. 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.
Demography and housing
|Output area||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes||Shared between households|
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|
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).
In the media
Hinchley Wood has independent cafés and small supermarkets. Nonetheless in 1999 McDonald's sought to widen its reach, by opening a rare pure suburbia outlet. Hinchley Wood residents, organised as Residents Against McDonald's (RAM), took on McDonald's to defeat a plan to turn their local pub into a drive-through fast-food outlet. The residents defeated McDonald's on 16 June 2000 after a 552-day continuous occupation. The pub has since been demolished and has been replaced by retirement flats.
Hinchley Wood unwittingly featured in an irreverent semi-comical book Crap Towns to be ranked "48th worst" in the United Kingdom. In response to the ranking, the local councillor 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". The town lost the status in later editions.
- Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1030164)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- "Gorby pops in for pie and pint". Thefreelibrary.com. Daily Record (Scotland). Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- Sounes, Howard; Wilson, Emily. "CHEERS, IT'S GORBY". Thefreelibrary.com. The Mirror. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- Hinchley Wood history from the Surrey Advertiser
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1377481)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Sengupta, Kim; Lyon, Nina. "Villagers' McDonald's protest may force new law on pubs". The Independent. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- Almond, Peter. "Victory for the village that took on McDonald's". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "Hinchley Wood". Closedpubs.com. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hinchley Wood.|