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Surbiton is a suburban area of south-west London within the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. It is situated next to the River Thames, 11.0 miles south west of central London. Surbiton was formerly within the County of Surrey, but became part of Greater London in 1965 following the London Government Act 1963, together with many areas including neighbouring Kingston and Richmond. Surbiton possesses a mixture of Art-Deco courts, more recent residential blocks and grand 19th century townhouses blending into a sea of semi-detached 20th century housing estates.

Surbiton
Central Surbiton - geograph.org.uk - 1077777.jpg
Surbiton is located in Greater London
Surbiton
Surbiton
Surbiton shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ180673
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SURBITON
Postcode district KT6, KT5
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
UK
England
London
51°23′38″N 0°18′25″W / 51.394°N 0.307°W / 51.394; -0.307Coordinates: 51°23′38″N 0°18′25″W / 51.394°N 0.307°W / 51.394; -0.307

Contents

HistoryEdit

See the article on Thomas Pooley for his rôle in the establishment of the present-day town of Surbiton.
See also the article on the Municipal Borough of Surbiton for the period 1855–1965.
 
Grade-II listed Surbiton railway station. Art deco architecture

The present-day town came into existence after a plan to build a London-Southampton railway line through nearby Kingston was rejected by Kingston Council, who feared that it would be detrimental to the coaching trade. This resulted in the line being routed further south, through a cutting in the hill south of Surbiton. Surbiton railway station opened in 1838, and was originally named Kingston-upon-Railway.[1] It was only renamed Surbiton to distinguish it from the new Kingston railway station on the Shepperton branch line, which opened on 1 January 1869. The present station has an art deco façade.

As a result, Kingston is now on a branch line, whereas passengers from Surbiton (smaller in comparison) can reach London Waterloo in about 15 minutes on a fast direct service; as well as places further afield, including Portsmouth and Southampton.

It was once home to Surbiton Studios which were owned by Stoll Pictures, before the company shifted its main production to Cricklewood Studios.

Resident artists and writersEdit

The Pre-Raphaelite painters John Everett Millais (1829–1896) and William Holman Hunt (1827–1910) came to Surbiton in 1851, 26 years before Richard Jefferies (1848–1887). Millais used the Hogsmill River, in Six Acre Meadow, Tolworth, as the background for his painting Ophelia.[2] Holman Hunt used the fields just south of this spot as the background to The Hireling Shepherd.[3]

In the mid-1870s the novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) lived in a house called 'St. David's Villa' in Hook Road, Surbiton for a year after his marriage to Emma Gifford. H.G.Wells, in his comic novel The Wheels of Chance, describes the cycle collision of 'Mr Hoopdriver' and a 'Young Lady in Grey'; the young lady approaching 'along an affluent from the villas of Surbiton'. The writer Enid Blyton (1897–1968) was governess to a Surbiton family for four years from 1920, at a house called 'Southernhay', also on the Hook Road.[4] C. H. Middelton (1886–1945), who broadcast on gardening during the Second World War, lived in Surbiton, where he died suddenly outside his home.[5] The artist who brought Rupert the Bear to life for a whole generation, Alfred Bestall, sketched out his cartoons from his home in Cranes Park, Surbiton Hill.

In popular cultureEdit

A 1972 episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus featured a mock documentary which investigated whether the residents of Hounslow, another London area suburb, had long ago been descendants of the people of Surbiton "who had made the great trek north".[6]

Surbiton is popularly remembered as an icon of suburbia in such British television programmes as The Good Life (starring Richard Briers, Penelope Keith, Paul Eddington and Felicity Kendal), though location filming was done in Northwood, North-West London),[7] and John Sessions' comedy series Stella Street, which has on occasion led to the town being nicknamed "Suburbiton". Other names for the town include "the 'Surbs" and "the 'Tron" in reference to '80s movies The 'Burbs and Tron.[citation needed]

Surbiton station features in the 2009 film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Blood Prince, with actors Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore. Filming took place in November 2007.[8] The station also appears in Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Adventure of the Clapham Cook,[9] a TV adaptation of the short story by Agatha Christie and the first episode of the 1989 ITV series. Having been set in the 1930s[10] Art Deco period and external shots of Hercule Poirot's fictional residence Whitehaven Mansions being filmed at Florin Court,[11] the station assists in maintaining the authenticity of the programme and was built within a year of Florin Court.

Surbiton receives an offhand mention in the seventh chapter of the James Bond novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963) by Ian Fleming, whilst Sable Basilisk is discussing heraldry with Bond.[12]

The guitarist and singer-songwriter Eric Clapton purchased one of his first guitars from a shop in Surbiton called Bells; the shop has since closed.[13]

In the episode of EastEnders broadcast on 23 November 2012, Ava Hartman, daughter of Cora Cross, refers to her difficulties of being a black woman growing up in Surbiton in the late 1960s and 1970s adopted by white parents.

Transport linksEdit

 
A London bus on route 71 travelling through Surbiton

Surbiton is served by a number of regular bus services. London Buses routes 71, 281, 406, 418, 465, K1, K2, K3 and K4 and Surrey Bus Routes 514 and 515 all serve the area.

Surbiton railway station provides rail links with London (Waterloo), Surrey and Hampshire.

EducationEdit

For education in Surbiton see the main Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames article.

ReligionEdit

Until the early 19th century, Surbiton, like Norbiton, lay in the parish of All Saints, Kingston upon Thames. As a result, Surbiton's three parish churches all date back to the Victorian era.[14] The two Anglican ones, Saint Mark's and Saint Andrew's, are located in the town centre. The third is the Roman Catholic church of Saint Raphael's, which is located away from the centre towards the north, in the Kingston upon Thames postal district.

 
St Matthew's, Surbiton

In addition, there are two other Anglican parish churches in south Surbiton, Christ Church and Saint Matthew's. Both are also Victorian.

Christ Church was built in 1862-63, by Charles Lock Luck and lengthened in 1866. The chancel aisles were added in 1864, and 1871. It has no tower, and is built of red brick with stone dressings with some black brick voussoirs. The east stained glass window was done by Clayton and Bell, the central stained glass window by Burne-Jones, while the other stained glass was done by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake.[15]

Saint Matthew's was completed in 1875, having taken less than 2 years to build. The church and the original vicarage were paid for by one man, William Matthew Coulthurst, who was the senior partner of Coutts Bank. On the outside of the east end of the church there is a stone plaque recording this and the fact that it was partly built in memory of Hannah Mabella Coulthurst, the dead sister of William Matthew Coulthurst. Built into the wall behind the plaque there are a photograph of Hannah, a copy of ‘The Times’ newspaper of the day and a letter from William Coulthurst stipulating that the church should be and remain in the evangelical tradition. The church and vicarage cost £26,500. The old vicarage was pulled down in 1939 and a subsequent one built on the same plot. In 2012 work started on a new vicarage on part of the plot and this was completed in 2013.[16]

SportEdit

Surbiton Lawn Tennis Club hosted International Tennis from 1900 (Surrey Grass Court Championships - SGCC) until 1981 at the tennis Club in Berrylands. From 1998 to 2008 International Tennis returned to Surbiton with an event hosted by The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club (SRFC). The Surbiton Trophy was part of the ATP Challenger Series and in 2009 the venue was moved to Nottingham as part of a reorganisation by the LTA. The event came back to Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club in 2015 and continues to be played on the site in Berrylands.

Surbiton is the current home of both male and female football teams, Darkside FC, Surbiton Wanderers and Surbiton Town Ladies FC.

Surbiton is famous for Surbiton Hockey Club, which was established in 1874, and is regarded as one of the best hockey clubs in the country. Its men's and ladies' 1st XIs currently both playing in their respective national premier leagues, while its youth section regularly produces players of international quality.

Surbiton is also the home to Surbiton Croquet Club, which is amongst the strongest croquet clubs in the country and, with seven lawns, one of the largest.

Notable peopleEdit

GeographyEdit

Surbiton is a post town in the KT postcode area, consisting of the KT5 and KT6 postcode districts. KT5 includes Berrylands, Tolworth and part of Surbiton; and KT6 includes Tolworth, Long Ditton and part of Surbiton.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Railways South East". Retrieved 10 August 2007. A township developed on the hill near the railway. This was named New Kingston, New Town and Kingston-upon-Railway before becoming Surbiton 
  2. ^ Salkeld, Luke (1 July 2010). "Amateur sleuth discovers site where Sir John Millais painted famous Ophelia". dailymail.co.uk. Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "Collections". Manchestergalleries.org. Manchester Art Gallery. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  4. ^ The Enid Blyton Society, Chronology, retrieved 10 February 2012 
  5. ^ Daniel Smith (2011) The Spade as Mighty as the Sword
  6. ^ Monty Python's Flying Circus, Episode No. 28, first aired 28 October 1972
  7. ^ The Good Life house for sale
  8. ^ thisislocallondon.co.uk
  9. ^ "The Adventure of the Clapham Cook". Agatha Christie's Poirot. Season 1. Episode 1. 8 January 1989. 38:28 minutes in. ITV. 
  10. ^ Poirot at Amazon.co.uk
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  12. ^ On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming (Page 89)
  13. ^ christies.com
  14. ^ McCormack, Anne (1989). Kingston upon Thames: A Pictorial History. Phillimore. ISBN 9780850337167. 
  15. ^ Historic England. "Christ Church (1080070)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "St Matthew's Church - History". St Matthew's Church. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  17. ^ "Alfred Bestall blue plaque". Open Plaques. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  18. ^ Nazia Dewji (26 April 2012). "Kingston women's cycling pioneer in line for award". Surrey Comet. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "James Johnston (@JayVJohnston) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 

External linksEdit