Virginia Water

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Virginia Water
Virginia Water - aerial view.JPG
Aerial view of Virginia Water
Virginia Water is located in Surrey
Virginia Water
Virginia Water
Location within Surrey
Population5,940 (2011, Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceSU982679
District
Shire county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townVIRGINIA WATER
Postcode districtGU25
Dialling code01344
PoliceSurrey
FireSurrey
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Surrey
51°24′07″N 0°35′20″W / 51.402°N 0.589°W / 51.402; -0.589Coordinates: 51°24′07″N 0°35′20″W / 51.402°N 0.589°W / 51.402; -0.589

Virginia Water is a commuter town or village in northern Surrey, home to the Wentworth Estate and the Wentworth Club. The place occupies a large majority of the Borough of Runnymede. Its name is shared with the lake on its western boundary with Windsor Great Park. Virginia Water is close to the M25, M4 and M3 motorways. Heathrow Airport is seven miles to the north-east.

A report from October 2015 listed Virginia Water as the most expensive town (excepting individual London boroughs) for property in the UK, having an average house price exceeding £1m.[2] The 2011 Census showed the population of Virginia Water to be 5,940. Many of the homes are situated on the Wentworth Estate, the home of the Wentworth Club which has four golf courses.[3] The Ryder Cup was first played there. It is also home to the headquarters of the PGA European Tour, the professional golf tour. The estate reached the headlines in 1998 when General Augusto Pinochet was kept under house arrest in one of its houses prior to his extradition.[4]

Etymology[edit]

The town is named after the nearby artificial Virginia Water Lake, which forms part of the Windsor Great Park.

History[edit]

The Devil's Highway Roman Road, running from London, through Staines-upon-Thames (previously Pontes) to Silchester is thought to run through Virginia Water. The location of the road has been lost, with its course disappearing at the bottom of Prune Hill, and reappearing at the Leptis Magna ruins in the Great Park.

Nicholas Fuentes has argued that defeat of Boudica's insurrection by the Romans in AD 60/61 took place at Virginia Water, with the landscape between Callow Hill and Knowle Hill matching the battle landscape described by Tacitus, and the battle commencing roughly where the modern day railway station lies.[5]

The Duke of Wellington's brother-in-law lived at the 'Wentworths' house; this building now forms the Wentworth Club. During the Second World War, plans were put into place to move the government to the house, with tunnels dug underneath what is now the club carpark.

Holloway Sanatorium was constructed in 1885. The building was designed by William Henry Crossland and funded by Thomas Holloway. In 1948, it was taken over by the newly-established National Health Service, and closed in 1980. After years of neglect, in 2000 the building and grounds were converted into a housing estate called Virginia Park. The main building is grade 1 listed and has been used for films, television, and music videos.

To the east of the lake is the Clockcase tower, a grade 1 listed belvedere built in the Great Park during 1750s. The tower is three-storey Gothic style construction. George III made the tower into an observatory and Queen Victoria occasionally had tea there.[6] The building is inacccessible to the public, lying within a private part of the Great Park. It is still owned by the Royal Estate, being used as a residence.

1750 acres of Virginia Water are owned by the Wentworth Estate. Founded in the 1920s, the estate includes private residential areas, woodland, several golf courses and a leisure club.

Geography[edit]

The River Bourne runs from Virginia Water Lake through Virginia Water.

Transport[edit]

The town has a junction railway station, built in 1856. Frequent South Western Railway trains run to London Waterloo, Weybridge, Twickenham, Richmond, Staines, Feltham, Clapham Junction, Vauxhall and Reading.

Education[edit]

Christ Church school was built by the National Society in 1843 on land given by Saint George Francis Caulfield of the Wentworths, with the deed to the land stating that: "all buildings thereon erected or to be erected to be forever hereafter appropriated and used as land for a School for the Education of Children and Adults or Children only of labouring manufacturing and other poorer classes". The school was built for a cost £716.16s 7d. In 2020, due to the site no longer being financially viable, the council decided to close the school and move students and staff to Englefield Green Infant School by 2023.[7][8][9]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Runnymede Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 20 March 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  2. ^ Olivia Blair (26 October 2015). "The UK's first 'million pound towns' outside of London". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Virginia Water community website - your source for local information". Archived from the original on 29 December 2003. Retrieved 13 January 2004.
  4. ^ "Pinochet retreats to luxury estate". BBC News. 2 December 1998. Archived from the original on 16 July 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2004.
  5. ^ Fuentes, Nicholas (1983). "Boudicca Revisited". London Archaeologist. 4 (12): 311–317.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2021.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 13 January 2021.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 February 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2021.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 13 January 2021.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Virginia Water: the village where houses cost £1m and up". The Week. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  11. ^ "From the archives: An obituary of Vaslav Nijinsky". The Guardian. 10 April 1950.

External links[edit]

Media related to Virginia Water at Wikimedia Commons