History of Brockham
Brockham was originally named 'Brook Ham' from the establishment
of a small hamlet on the River Mole (no more than a 'brook' in
those days perhaps). General distortion and colloquilisation over
the years, along with a tenuous link with badgers commonly
known as a Brock - being the ancient name for the
animal - in the local area have resulted in the modern day
version of the name which was first officially used in about
Originally a temporary watering hole
for travellers between Dorking and Reigate, Brockham remained a
very small hamlet for many years. Local residents were mainly farm
workers with a smattering of people to provide service for
the many large houses in the area (Wonham Manor, Betchworth House,
Betchworth Castle and the Deepdene Estate in Dorking).With the
expansion of the limeworks at Betchworth and the brickworks in Kiln
Lane, the local population began to increase slowly.
It was not until the
1920's however, when the A24 and A25 around Dorking were
extensively improved, that the real growth got underway. Firstly, a
large development of individual, architect-designed 'executive'
homes was established at the north end of the village. In
the early 1930's a large private development to the south
of the village established the Strood Green residential area
and in 1947/8 a number of council-funded homes were
developed to the south of the village green close to the local
school - The Smithers, Dodds Park and Warrene Road.
The housing boom of the 80s created a
demand for 'homes in the country' which artificially inflated
Brockham's land and house prices, and as a consequence, the village
continues to suffer the problems of trying to meet demand without
spoiling the qualities of a small community.
Many of the village's original
buildings are made of local materials. Lying, as it does, on the
Weald Clay Deposits, most buildings are brick based. Some of the
older buildings around the original village centre include timber
framing but there are few thatched properties in the vicinity, most
original buildings being roofed with clay tiles.
For hundreds of years Brockham only saw
a one or two buildings being erected each decade and therefore you
will find many 'leaps' in design between neighbouring properties.
The inter-war and post WWII periods saw the greatest increase in
the number of buildings erected giving Brockham an overall feeling
of a 'suburban' area.
Brockham is surrounded by farmland
and consequently the predominent industry is agriculture. However,
this does not support the local populace and many residents commute
into London and the surrounding towns and cities (Dorking, Redhill,
Guildford) to work.
As mentioned earlier, there are large
deposits of clay in the area but also a strong seam of sand. The
clay provided the basis for a large brickworks to be established
and thrive for many years before closing in the early years of the
twentieth century. This was sited on the road between Betchworth
and Brockham which is now known as 'Kiln Lane' in consequence. The
extraction of sand from the local area continues today with large
excavations at Betchworth and Buckland.
Brockham postcard below which was posted to a Brockham resident in
1947 - it looks like the early days of colour photography
Here are some
pictures of festivities in Brockham from times gone by!
RIGHT: Jake Dudley
and Frank Huggett (Brother in law)
Silver Jubilee of King George V June 1935
Yes they really did
used to play cricket on the Green - here are some photos of
Brockham playing a Surrey XI back in 1935.
A couple of photos of Borough Bridge
heading into Brockham - the photo above of Jack Tickner and Miss
Lucy Cox is dated 1928. The one below is dated circa 1900.
The architect of Brockham Church was Benjamin Ferris, an
associate of Augustus Pugin who designed the Houses of
Parliament. As illustrated, the entrance was shown on the
south side of the church, which was customary through the
centuries, to glean the warmth of the south winds and avoid the
cold of the northerlies! When the plans were
published, the population of the village demanded that the main
entrance be placed on the north side, so that on leaving the
church, one was confronted with the glorious view across the Green
and up to the hills! The architect's office during the
construction of the church was the little hut at the NW end of
North View, subsequently used for many years as a cobbler's
below is the Reverend Alan Cheales rose. Alan Cheales
was Vicar of Brockham from 1862 until 1892. He was also a
passionate rose grower. Where the school Hall now stands was
his rose garden. A casual search on 'google' traced his rose
to Germany to the European Rose Centre in Germany.
Brockham is a rare
example of the way in which rural community values co-exist with
the cut and thrust of today's modern suburban life.
from the ravishes of London's incessant sprawl by the North Downs
Brockham nestles below Box Hill within a mile of the busy A25 route
between Dorking and Reigate in Surrey.
The village is
centred around a proper village green with its obligatory 2 pubs
and local shop. This area is bordered to the North by the River
Mole (which will meander through the Surrey countryside on its way
to join the Thames at Molesley) and to the south by a band of
farmland which stretches from Reigate to Dorking.
Perhaps Brockham's greatest claim to
fame is the annual Guy Fawkes Night bonfire celebrations. These
have been a regular feature on the local calendar for many years
and are now established as a local tradition! The effort put in by
the committee responsible ensures that the spectacle is, perhaps,
the greatest bonfire night celebrations in the South East of
England. A fantastic firework display which is always better than
the one the year before ensures massive crowds and the proceeds
from the evening are donated to local charities.