The Old Manor House, Walton-on-Thames
|Area||9.66 km2 (3.73 sq mi)|
|Population||22,834 (2011 Census)|
|• Density||2,364/km2 (6,120/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
Walton-on-Thames, known locally as Walton, is a market town on the south bank of the Thames in northwest Surrey, England. It is in the Borough of Elmbridge, about 15 mi (24 km) southwest of central London. Walton forms part of the Greater London built-up area, within the KT postcode and is served by a wide range of transport links. According to the 2011 Census, the town has a total population of 22,834. The town itself consists mostly of affluent suburban streets, with a historic town centre of Celtic origin. It is one of the largest towns in the Elmbridge borough, alongside Weybridge.
The name "Walton" is Anglo-Saxon in origin and is cognate with the common phonetic combination meaning "Briton settlement" (literally, "Welsh Town" – weal(as) tun). Before the Romans and the Saxons were present, a Celtic settlement was here. The most common Old English word for the Celtic inhabitants was the "Wealas", originally meaning "foreigners" or "strangers". William Camden identified Cowey Stakes or Sale, Walton as the place where Julius Caesar forded the River Thames on his second invasion of Britain. A fisherman removed several wooden stakes about thigh-width and 6 feet (1.8 m) high that were very black and hard enough to turn an axe, and shod with iron. He sold these to John Montagu, 5th Earl of Sandwich, who used to come to the neighbouring Shepperton bank to fish, for half a guinea apiece. Elmbridge Museum requires definitive evidence of these stakes, the evidence at present limited to pre 20th-century secondary sources that conflict as to detail.
Walton appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Waletona". The settlement was held jointly as overlords in the feudal system by Edward de Sarisber (Salisbury) and Richard de Tonbrige. Its Domesday assets were: 6 hides; 1 church (St. Mary's), 2 mills worth £1 5s 0d, 1 fishery worth 5s, 14 ploughs, 40 acres (16 ha) of meadow, supporting 50 hogs. It rendered £28.
The nucleus of the village is in the north, while later development took place in the southern manors on all sides of the railway station. About half of the land was south of the South Western Main Line. This included, from west to east, Walton Heath, Burwood manor and Hersham manor; these together became the civil parish of Hersham in the 19th century. On a smaller scale, the majority of Oatlands village, to the south-west, formed part of the town. St. Mary's Parish Church has some Saxon material and an architectural structure of the 12th century, with later additions. The square flint tower, supported by a 19th-century brick buttress, has a working ring of eight bells, the oldest bearing the date 1606. In the north aisle is a large monument (1755) by the French rococo sculptor and bust maker Roubiliac to Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon, commander-in-chief in Ireland, who lived at the former manor and house of Ashley Park in the parish; this was demolished and its many acres subdivided in 1920. Also in the north aisle is a brass to John Selwyn (1587), keeper of Oatlands Park, with figures of himself, his wife and eleven children. An unusual relic kept in the church is a copy of a scold's bridle presented to the parish in the 17th century, which is mentioned in Jerome K. Jerome's classic Three Men in a Boat. The royal palace of Oatlands, built by Henry VIII in 1538, was a mile upstream to the west.
John Bradshaw lived in the Tudor manor house in the 17th century. He presided at Charles I's trial. Under the Inclosure Act 1800 there were enclosed (privatised from common land or manorial land subjected to agrarian rights of others) 3,117 acres (12.6 km2) of the Walton manors, which included holdings at Chertsey and 475 acres (1.9 km2) of arable common fields.
A School Board was formed in 1878. A previously existing school was enlarged in 1881. The infant school was built in 1884. The Methodist Church, with a spire taller than the tower of the Anglican Church, was built in 1887. The Baptist Church was built in 1901.
A Public Hall, in High Street, was built in 1879 by Mrs Sassoon, who resided at Ashley Park House. This is still in existence and is visible behind the present shopfront. Ashley Park Golf Club was laid out in the 1890s, but ceased to exist prior to 1918.
During World War I, troops from New Zealand were hospitalised in the No. 2 New Zealand General Hospital at Mount Felix House, which is now demolished except for its stable block and clock tower. They are remembered by a memorial in the cemetery, where those who died at Mount Felix are buried, and one in St Mary's Church where an annual service of remembrance is held. They are also remembered in the street name New Zealand Avenue, the Wellington Pub (formerly The Kiwi), and a small memorial in the Homebase car park.
Walton upon Thames Urban District merged with Weybridge Urban District to form Walton and Weybridge Urban District in 1933.
In World War II, owing largely to the proximity of important aircraft factories at nearby Brooklands, the town was bombed on various occasions by the Luftwaffe. On 27 September 1940, fighter pilot F/Sgt. Charles Sydney, who was based with 92 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill, died when his Spitfire (R6767) crashed in Station Avenue. He was buried in Orpington and was commemorated by a memorial plaque adjacent to the former Birds Eye HQ close to the crash site although this has recently disappeared with current major redevelopment of the Birds Eye site with new apartments. Hopefully the memorial will be re-erected and re-dedicated later.
Hersham and Walton Motors (HWM) constructed its own racing car in the early 1950s. Stirling Moss competed in his first Formula One Grand Prix in an HWM. HWM was the world's first Aston Martin dealership that diversified into Alfa Romeo in 2009.
Walton Town hall, which was commissioned to serve as the offices of Weybridge Urban District Council, was designed by Sir John Brown Henson and Partners in the modernist style, featured a curved structure built from concrete with stone cladding and was completed in 1966. It became surplus to requirements and was subsequently demolished after Walton on Thames was absorbed into the Borough of Elmbridge in 1974.
Demography and housing
The accommodation included 28% detached houses, and 22.6% apartments.
|Output area||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
The proportion of households in the town 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).
For information on the 1851–1901 change in population see Transport below. In 2001 and after boundary changes the population was just over 1,500 lower at 22,834. According to the 2001 census, the population of central Walton was 5,862, with Elmbridge's population being 121,936. Central Walton had a male population of 2,791 against Elmbridge's male population of 58,867, and the female population of central Walton was 3,071 against Elmbridge's 63,069.
The GSS (ONS specifically) identifies a Built-up Area of its name generally cited for other articles of this work as to their populations e.g. Guildford, Salisbury, which has a population of 66,566 and extends to Hersham, Sunbury-on-Thames and Shepperton.
The Heart of Walton is the name given to the re-development of Walton town centre alongside the relatively short High Street. This main area of the town centre was built in the 1960s and had become run down owing to poor maintenance. The redevelopment includes a shopping mall and 279 one- and two-bedroom apartments, many with views over the private gardens, avenues and public section of Ashley Park. The main part of the centre, a covered walkway, has several brand retailers including Next, Waterstone's, River Island and Desire by Debenhams. The public library was moved here. Further redevelopment has upgraded or built new shops, widening the scope high-end fashion, jewellery, bakery and supermarkets. Restaurants along the New Zealand Avenue side of The Heart include three independents, Nando's, Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Wagamama. Further restaurants exist along the High Street axis and at the far north-eastern and southern parades within the town boundaries. Around the periphery automotive, construction and landscaping businesses have a large presence and the Walton station area has a number of headquarters sized office buildings, including Kia Motors. As well as this, the long-awaited redevelopment of Walton bridge finished in 2013.
Walton-on-Thames is served by Walton-on-Thames railway station, which provides 4 trains per hour to London Waterloo, consisting of 2 semi-fast services and 2 stopping services, with the semi-fast services taking only 25 minutes to reach the terminus. This has proven pivotal to the demographics and to the nature and degree of the town's development – in 1851 its population was 4,106 which more than quadrupled in the 60 years to 1911, when its population reached 19,142.
Walton has regular bus services supported by Surrey County Council to nearby towns Weybridge, Shepperton, Hersham, Molesey and Kingston-upon-Thames. A pleasure boat service runs regularly on a stretch of the river that includes a loop around Desborough Island.
Local taxis: there is taxi rank at the Walton-on-Thames Station for approximately 12 taxi cars, which is served between 6:30am and 1:00am.
The first bridge, constructed between 1748 and 1750, was a timber structure that stood until 1783. Canaletto painted a picture of this bridge in 1754. The painting, which shows the rococo-style of this bridge, may be seen in the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
The second bridge was constructed in 1788 and stood until 1859. Constructed of brick and stone, it lasted much longer than its predecessor. This bridge was painted by J. M. W. Turner in 1805 following his sketching tour of the River Thames and River Wey.
After the second bridge collapsed a ferry crossing resumed until the construction of the third bridge in 1864. This was a girder bridge on stone piers. At the same time, a brick viaduct was constructed to span the flood plain to the south of the river. The viaduct is still standing.
The third bridge was damaged during World War II in 1940, leading to a permanent weight restriction. To alleviate this a fourth temporary bridge was constructed in 1953 on the downstream side of the old bridge; this was relegated to use by cyclists and pedestrians only until finally demolished in 1985.
The fourth bridge was constructed from prefabricated sections designed by A. M. Hamilton in 1930; built by Callender Cables Ltd, it was called the Callender-Hamilton Bridge. In 1999, the fourth bridge was replaced by yet another temporary, fifth bridge occupying the line of the original bridges. This initially had several problems and had to be resurfaced a number of times causing huge traffic disruptions. The fourth bridge was restricted for use by cyclists and pedestrians only once the fifth bridge was completed.
Building a sixth bridge began in 2011 and was completed in summer 2013, being opened to traffic on 22 July. The two previous bridges were removed. The supplemental brick viaduct to the east remains for cycle and pedestrian use. The £32.4 million bridge is single span (has no piers in the river, which increases views from upstream and downstream and particularly navigation for boats – the first such bridge heading up the River Thames. This is also the only parabolic tied-arch bridge without piers across this river.
The Elmbridge Xcel Leisure Centre is to the east of the town, near the Thames. The centre includes two swimming pools, an extensive gym, indoor courts and a climbing wall.
The River Thames offers extensive opportunities for water-based sports, including rowing, canoeing, kayaking, skiffing, punting and sailing. Walton Rowing Club, Thames Valley Skiff Club and St George's College, are on the river towpath between the town centre and the Elmbridge Xcel Leisure Centre. Weybridge Rowing Club is further upstream in Weybridge.
Walton Athletics Club was founded in 1942 and is based at the new Waterside Drive Athletic Arena. The club has around 200 members ranging in age from 9 years to over 60 years old. The club provides qualified coaching in all athletics disciplines and participates in a number of different leagues to provide appropriate competition for all age groups in track and field, cross country and road running.
Walton-on-Thames Cricket Club are based in Ashley Park with the first team captained by Daniel Roberts. They will play in the Surrey Championship Division two in 2020, having previously won Division Two in 2015 & 2018. Over the years, Walton have had a host of players who have gone on to further honours including Mark Bainbridge (Surrey CCC & England Under-19s), Stephen Murdoch (Wellington), Anthony Alleyne (West Indies Under-19s) and Greg Lamb (Hampshire CCC & Zimbabwe). The club has four Saturday league senior sides and enjoyed a successful 2015 with three of the four sides gaining promotion. The club's training is run by Brian Berthoud.
Walton Casuals are a football club who are currently in the Isthmian League Division One South, a level above their neighbours Walton & Hersham. Nicknamed the Stags, they play at Church Road in a ground share with Whyteleafe while developments take place at the Waterside Drive Sports Hub. They previously played at the Waterside Stadium, just off Waterside Drive and adjacent to the modern Elmbridge Xcel Leisure Centre. They are expected to move into their new home ahead of the 2017–18 season. The club play in a tangerine orange and black home kit and a blue and white away kit.
Walton & Hersham are a football club who are currently in the Combined Counties League Premier Division. Nicknamed the Swans, they play at the Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub. The club play in a red and white home kit and a yellow away kit. In 1973, they won the FA Amateur Cup in its penultimate year, beating Slough Town 1–0 in front of 41,000 spectators (the third largest crowd of the day) at Wembley. Later that year, they achieved a shock 4–0 win over Brian Clough's Brighton & Hove Albion (then a Football League Third Division side) in the FA Cup.
Motor cycle racing was staged at Walton Bridge in October 1938. An event was staged on October 30 records that Walton Bridge raced a team from Hounslow at a venue described as Walton Bridge Speedway (on the programme). It is not clear if the event was a grass track meeting or a speedway meeting.
Walton-on-Thames is part of the parliamentary constituency of Esher and Walton, which is a marginal Conservative seat. The current MP is Dominic Raab.
In local elections, recent contests for seats on Elmbridge Borough Council and Surrey County Council have been between the local Conservatives and the local Residents Association, the Walton Society.
The Walton Society was founded in 1975 by the writer and intellectual Ronald Segal, and entered local politics in 1980 with Gordon Chubb who served until his death in 2006. At one point there were nine Society councillors in all four Walton wards during the period of Residents Groups' control of Elmbridge from the 1990s to 2006. Following the 2012 elections, the Society holds all three Walton Central seats, with the Conservatives holding all eight seats in the Ambleside, North and South wards. Walton's most recent Labour councillor was defeated in 2000.
From 2005 to 2013 the Walton division of Surrey County Council was held by the Walton Society's Tom Phelps-Penry. Upon his retirement at the 2013 elections, the seat was gained by Conservative Rachael Lake who had previously held the seat from 1997 to 2005. The Walton South & Oatlands division has been Conservative held since it was created in 1973.
This article's list of residents may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. (June 2018)
The following were born in Walton:
- Julie Andrews, actress, singer and author, in 1935.
- George Brydges Rodney (1718–1792), Royal Navy Admiral.
- John Carver Meadows Frost, aircraft designer, in 1915.
- Samuel Croxall (c. 1690–1752), noted for his edition of Aesop's Fables.
- Milly Dowler (1988–2002), school student murdered by Levi Bellfield.
- Sean Emmett, Grand Prix motorcycle road racer, in 1970.
- Susan Ertz (1894–1985), author.
- Bede Griffiths, theologian and mystic, in 1906.
- Luke Haines, pop musician, in 1967.
- Fred Atkins (1859–1881) a Police Constable whose murder on Kingston Hill remained unsolved and who is buried in the local cemetery.
- Nick Lowe, singer-songwriter, musician and producer, in 1949.
- Natascha McElhone, actress, in 1971.
- Ian Rank-Broadley, sculptor and designer of previous British coinage, in 1952.
- Julian Russell Story, American painter, in 1857.
- Danny Sapsford, tennis player, in 1969.
- John Somers-Smith, Olympic sportsman.
- Gail Trimble, nationally headlining contestant on University Challenge, in 1982.
- Tony Walton, set and costume designer, in 1934.
- Anthony Watson, England International Rugby Union Player.
In 1909, composer Jerome Kern took a boat trip on the Thames with some friends and when the boat stopped at Walton, Kern went to the old inn, the Swan, to have a drink. The proprietor's daughter, Eva Leale, was working behind the bar and on 25 October 1910, the two were married at the traditional parish church.
The following have been residents of Walton:
- Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, lived in the town during World War II.
- Hugh Gusterson, author and professor, grew up in Walton.
- Bill Manuel, aeroplane designer and British gliding pioneer, retired and built his Ladybird powered glider in Walton.
- Richard Murdoch, actor.
- Fay Ripley, actress, grew up in Walton.
- Janek Schaefer, artist, won the 'British Composer of the Year Award in Sonic Art' 2008, and UK 'Best Mobile DJ Award' 2020.
- Eileen Sheridan, model.
- John Strachan (1896–1988), cricketer and British Army officer.
- Barry Thomas, author and TV script editor, especially of BBC TV drama series including The Onedin Line, Dr Finlay's Casebook, Z Cars and also writer and creator of the 1970s series Wings.
In film and television
Some of the sketches for Monty Python were filmed in Walton. Walton Town Hall could be seen in one sketch. Another sketch shows an Admiral Nelson dummy being thrown from one of the flats in Wellington Close.
Location scenes for the cinema film Psychomania (1973) were shot in Walton, including the town's centre.
Series 8 of BBC sitcom Not Going Out features aerial views of Walton-on-Thames between scenes. Find the Lady (1956 film) was filmed in Walton. A restaurant called The Hovel appears in some scenes. Though now gone the sign for the restaurant is available as a poster and jigsaw puzzle.
In the media
The Walton Hop was a teen disco started by Deniz Corday in 1958, and ran until 1990. It is reputed to have been the first public disco in the UK, enjoyed by thousands from surrounding areas. Musician Luke Haines, born in Walton, released a record titled "The Walton Hop" in 2006. During the 1970s and 1980s, it was frequented by now-convicted child sex offenders such as former Radio 1 DJ Chris Denning, Tam Paton (manager of the Bay City Rollers) and Jonathan King.
Amanda "Milly" Dowler, a murder victim, was born in Walton in June 1988 and was still living there when last seen alive on 21 March 2002. Her body was found 45 kilometres (28 mi) away in Hampshire six months later.
- With exact definition
- Ashley Park
- Variously defined
- Oatlands broke away from the parish and was made part of Weybridge post town in the 19th century
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- Local Community Website – For the local community.
- Community Facebook Group
- Community Facebook Page
- Walton Business Group ~ taking action for Walton
- Walton-on-Thames – local website
- Elmbridge Borough Council
- Parish of Walton-on-Thames
- Walton on Thames Trading Alliance
- No 2 New Zealand General Hospital, Mount Felix, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey (Lost Hospitals of London)