You can download a fully printable pdf version of all information and photos contained in this 'History Section' here.



Other 1980s Activities

The Society lobbied for the following buildings to be rebuilt in the same style :

  • Hareton Cottages, London Street
  • 9-15 Windsor Street following a fire
  • 132-134 Guildford Street

In addition The Society organised another photographic competition (1989).


Blanche Heriot

Representatives of The Society were involved with the design of the statue of Blanche Heriot which was provided by Richard Cook under a Section 106 agreement associated with the development of an office block near Chertsey Bridge.
It was sculpted by Shelia Mitchell of Puttenham. It depicts the 15th century tale of Blanche Heriot who stopped the curfew bell ringing by hanging on to the clapper and thus stopped her fiancé, Neville Audley, being executed at sunset when the curfew bell was rung.
In 1840, Albert Smith published the story, and stated that it was based on a Chertsey legend. His work became a very popular West End melodrama, and the tale inspired American writer Rose Hartwick Thorpe to pen her poem ‘The Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight’ which became one of Queen Victoria’s favourite poems.










   Blanche Heriot Sculpture













   Poem Illustrations



Town Crier

In 1993, The Chertsey Society decided to reinstate the role of Town Crier at the suggestion of Mrs Jocelyn Barker, and the cost of purchasing a costume was kindly given by Norman Rogers in memory of his wife. Over the last 17 years the task has included leading the Black Cherry Fair, opening shops and various publicity / photo opportunities. The role has been undertaken by Robert Knock, Michael Dollery and Terry Pattinson.







   Town Criers in

   Black Cherry Fair parade:


   Robert Knock (1993-2003)

   Terry Pattinson (2004)

   Michael Dollery (2005)













   Terry Pattinson








   l.-r.: William Taylor,

   Mary Blaker & Dicky Field









   l.-r.: Ron Taylor,

   Terry Pattinson & Victor Spink

   (June 2007)



Cowley's Almshouses

In the mid 1990s, the triangle of land south of Chertsey railway station was redeveloped for Floral House and the original proposal was to clear the entire site including Cowley’s Almhouses which were originally erected in London Street in 1671 and subsequently rebuilt at their present location in Guildford Road in 1786.
The Society objected to their demolition but agreed to their being extensively rebuilt to meet modern standards, so we managed to ensure that another part of Chertsey’s heritage was retained.







   Memorial Plaque











   Cowley Almshouses,

   Guildford Road




Dorothy Everall Memorial Seat

Mrs Dorothy Everall, Secretary /Chairman 1979-2002 sadly died aged 88 in 2002. A seat was erected on the corner of Abbey Field between the Freda Atkins Memorial Garden and Abbey Green within sight of her house, The Old Parsonage.






   Memorial Seat  

   photo and drawing by Victor Spink





The Beacon

The Society has instigated the lighting of the beacon on St Ann’s Hill on a number of occasions. On 3rd June 2002, to celebrate the 50th Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, it was lit by The Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr. Peggy Broadhead, accompanied by her husband, Jim Broadhead, and Malcolm Loveday, Chairman, The Chertsey Society, watched by King Henry VIII (Victor Spink).
In was lit again in 2005 to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, although on that occasion the fuse leading up to the basket fizzled out and it was only due to the ingenuity of Society members who scrabbled in the woods to find a long branch and strap on a blazing brand with trouser belts to reach up high enough to set fire to the beacon!













   Lighting of the Beacon in 2005

   Cllr Peggy Broadhead

   (The Mayor of Runnymede)














   The Lit Beacon

   the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar





















   Beacon Logo




The Tom Banner Photographic Collection

Tom Banner died in July 2003 aged 87. For many years he was on the staff at Holloway Sanatorium, and subsequently retired to live in a flat at Beamonds in the centre of Chertsey.
His hobby was photography and when he died he left his extensive collection of approximately 8000 photographs to the Society together with a legacy. An exhibition of Tom Banner’s photos and cameras was mounted at Chertsey Museum in February 2006,  organised by The Chertsey Society and the Museum Curator.








   Tom Banner with one of his cameras








   The "Tom Banner Photographic Collection" Exhibition

   at Chertsey Museum




Other 1990s Activities

In May 1991, a ‘Fun Day’ was organised which included the closing of Guildford Street where stalls were erected and street theatre enacted. In addition, a circular walk / cycle route was arranged including the operation of the river crossing at Laleham Ferry.
During the 1990s, the Goose Fairs were restarted with a view to bring a bit of colour to the town for a couple of Saturdays prior to Christmas. Guildford Street was shut to traffic so that stalls and children’s funfair rides could be set up. The Fairs were organised for several years by the Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with The Chertsey Society.
The Fairs ceased when the Chamber were no longer willing to participate and many of the local shops in Guildford Street were not overenthusiastic. It is interesting to note that in 2010, the Chamber of Commerce once again decided to revive the Goose Fair on a Saturday in December.















   Fun Day programme and logo















   Goose Fair Logo



Mrs Fox's Grave (2007)

Charles James Fox is buried in Westminster Abbey; however, his wife Elizabeth (1750 -1842) is buried next to the north wall of St Peter’s Churchyard.
Over the years, members of the Society have cleaned her grave and painted the railings. Unfortunately, the inscription on her gravestone is very badly eroded, so with financial support from County Cllr Ray Lowther’s SCC member’s allocation, the Society arranged for a new tablet to be placed on her grave in Summer 2007.








   Elizabeth Fox









  The new plaque


      l.-r.:  Malcolm Loveday, Thelma Lake, Margaret Nichols
     & Peter Lake, September 2006.




Display Stands

Cherry Fair and The Agricultural Association’s Chertsey Show on the Meads and has manned display stands at the events.






   The Chertsey Society’s Town Crier,
   Terry Pattinson , in front of our stall
   at the Black Cherry Fair, July 2008








   The Society’s stand at The
   Agricultural Show, August 2008









   Black Cherry Fair, 2010


Opening of Phoenix Plaza and Fox Statue - Sept 2006

A large area of the town immediately north of the railway station known as The Chertsey Revitalisation Area was redeveloped during the 1990s to 2006. It included a £3 million investment in the road infrastructure including rebuilding of the road bridge across the railway which would allow the platforms to be lengthened to accommodate 8 carriage trains; sadly, this latter work has not yet been undertaken. Old buildings were demolished, including the old Chertsey council offices.
The Society objected to the demolition of the listed cottages next to Thompson’s blacksmiths in Guildford Street and they were subsequently retained and incorporated into the new development. A number of new office blocks were built together with housing units including some affordable housing and a number of retail units, the latter all now being restaurants and a sandwich bar.
At the suggestion of David Wheeler, the Society’s Vice Chairman, the Society proposed to RBC that a statue to commemorate the Rt Hon Charles James Fox should be provided in the square using section 106 money from the developers.
The statue was sculpted by the nationally recognised artist Ian Rank- Broadley who also designs coins for the Royal Mint. It was unveiled by Philip Hammond, MP, in September 2006.





   left: Fox by I Rank-Broadley





   Philip Hammond, MP & David
   Wheeler, September, 2006


The Rt Hon Charles James Fox was probably Chertsey’s most famous resident and was an outstanding parliamentary orator who spoke in support of William Wilberforce’s Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. To commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Bill, the Society organised an event on Sunday 25th March 2007 attended by over 50 people which included dramatic readings narrated by Valerie Lane with Peter Anderson as Fox and James Hanley as Wilberforce (from Thorpe Players) using a script prepared by Malcolm Loveday (see Spring 2007 Newsletter).






   Valerie Lane, James Hanley & Peter Anderson,
   March 2007



The Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr Prof Morton Moore, laid a laurel garland on Fox’s statue and read a stirring address which acknowledged Fox’s contribution to British politics which included being Britain’s first Foreign Secretary (a post which he held three times). The Mayor referred to Fox’s passion for Human Rights, originally embodied in the Magna Carta and he quoted extracts from Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The Reeds at Runnymede’.









   The Mayor, Prof Morton More & his wife,
   Linda, with David Wheeler, March 2007



Chertsey's Literary Connections (2008-2009)

Chertsey’s rich literary connections were the subject of one of our talks in April 2009 which was based on two guided walks led by Mrs Jocelyn Boater, one of which finished with readings in Chertsey Bookshop. It is hoped to produce a separate publication highlighting Chertsey’s links with a number of authors of generally recognised traditional literature including:
Thomas Cranmer : Book of Common Prayer (1548); William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616): Richard III; Sir John Denham (1615-69): poem from Cooper Hill, Egham, mentions St Ann’s Hill; Abraham Cowley (1618 –1667): John Dryden lines in Fox’s Temple of Friendship - St Ann’s Hill;  Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866); George Meredith ( 1828 - 1909); Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870); Samuel Carter Hall (1800 -1889);  Anna Maria Hall (1800 -1881 );  Albert Smith (1816 – 1860 );  J B Priestly (visited Chertsey in the 1920s, biographer of Thomas Love Peacock);  Nina Bawden (1925 to date ); Edward Lear (1812 - 1888): Limerick.

In addition, books on local history and technical subjects have been produced by a number of local residents including Lucy Wheeler, Eric Chambers, Robert Poulton, James Lander, Geoff Chapman, David Wheeler, etc etc.













Thursday 21st August 2008 – Jocelyn Boater leading a Literary Tour finishing in Chertsey Bookshop


Mary Giles Alms Houses, London Street (2008)

In 2008, the Society wrote to the Alms House Trustees requesting that the badly eroded plaque on the front of the Alms House should be replaced. Since the previous plaque was illegible the Society drafted the wording for the new plaque and contributed toward the cost of its installation.


View of the building and picture of the new plaque