Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Thames Tributary Mole - Burford Bridge

Thames Tributary Mole
The river Mole continues to flow north and west in a convoluted route

TQ 16959 51787

Interesting area including part of Box Hill with its defence installations and eccentricities as well as part of the village of West Humble, below

Post to the south Pixham
Post to the west West Humble

Box Hill
Box Hill. The National Trust owns the Hill and 900 acres of surrounding heath, and woodland.
Box Hill Fort. The site was purchased in 1891 and was built in the 1890's for the defence of London. General Sir Edward Hamley campaigned for the use of volunteer forces in the defence of the London capital in the event of an invasion from continental Europe using a line of lightly fortified assembly points around the metropolitan area. The Box Hill fort was not designed for artillery but consisted of concrete ramparts to protect infantry trenches which would be done bt volunteers. There were also magazines for ammunition to be in field emplacements.It is thought to be an early example of the use of reinforced concrete in construction. Never used for this purpose in 1908 it was sold back to the original owners and in 1914 was given to the National Trust. The fort itself is home to three species of bats
Fort cottages. The National Trust information centre and shop are in the caretaker's house
Swiss Cottage .John Logie Baird, the inventor of television, lived at Swiss Cottage on the top of Box Hill, from 1929-1932. Whilst there, he conducted experiments from the house towards the town with light-finding equipment intended to assist with aerial navigation in bad weather,
Grave of Peter Labilliere. He wanted to be buried upside down at his favourite spot on his beloved Box Hill. He had obtained permission from the then owner Henry Peters, and a grave was dug in the shape of a well, its site being close to a hawthorn tree to the west of Swiss Cottage. The reputed depth of his grave, 100ft is not borne of historical accounts.
National Trust Tea Garden.

London Road
The turnpike was built from 1755 as a route between Horsham and London. From Leatherhead the road followed the Mole and turned towards the Fox and Hounds. The A24 was built with a cycle track and was an early dual carriageway
Burford Bridge. There had been a Roman ford here on Stane Street of which traces were found in 1935. When the Leatherhead Dorking road became a turnpike in 1775 Burford Bridge was re-constructed. In the middle of the next century the three-arch bridge was widened and raised to avoid flooding problems. It was rebuilt again when the by-pass was constructed in 1935.
Burford Bridge Hotel said to have been called the Fox and Hounds in 1254, changed to Hare and Hounds in the 1880s. It is said to be where Nelson said goodbye to Lady Hamilton and where, in 1817, Keats wrote the last 500 lines of Endymion' in a room overlooking the gardens after a moonlight walk on Box Hill. Queen Victoria stayed here before her accession and other visitors have included Sheridan, Hazlitt, Meredith, John Evelyn and R L Stevenson. There is a swimming-pool in the grounds built in 1934. It is a long L-shaped early 19th building Faced with roughcast. Adjoining are contemporary stables and Coach-house. There is also a 17th barn used as a dining room which came from Abinger and was re-erected here in 1934
K6 telephone box. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1924. Listed, Grade II
Burford Lodge. Built 1777. Inside is a geometrical staircase. In the late 19th a collection of orchids was built up here by Sir Thomas Lawrence, In the 1930s the Burford estate was offered for building development after his death. £6,000 was raised through an and the Lodge was sold to what was then the London and Home Counties Joint Electricity Authority, and some parts were given to the National Trust.
Sports Ground. Part of the deal of the disposal of the estate was to rent a field as a sports ground for staff of the Joint Electricity Authority.

Pilgrims Way
Stepping stones.  over the Mole said to be the site of a ford where the Canterbury pilgrims are said to have crossed.  These were removed in the Second World War and reinstated after the war, being opened by Prime Minister, Attlee

West Humble Street
Pylons. By 1931 a 33kV transmission system of the Central Electricity Board in South Eastern England was completed as ring from Epsom via Leatherhead, Dorking and Reigate back to Epsom. Most of this original installation still exists comprising steel-cored aluminium conductors supported on lattice steel towers.
Burford Corner. Part timber-framed and part early 19th.  Madame de Broglie stayed here after her escape from France in 1792

Sources
Box Hill. National Trust Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Industrial Archaeology of the Mole Valley
Pastscape. Web site
Subterranea Britannica. Web site
Surrey History

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