The settlement is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The earliest reference to brickmaking is in Tudor times and this, along with agriculture, was probably the major land use for unbroken centuries before modern times.

Claygate (population 6,500) lies at the eastern end of the Borough of Elmbridge and borders Esher, Hinchley Wood, Long Ditton and the London Borough of Kingston.

In 1822 a semaphore station opened on the northern boundary of Claygate. This was part of the Admiralty chain of stations between London and Portsmouth and was in continuous operation until 1847.

An artist's impression of the semaphore station on Telegraph Hill in the process of sending a message. Image: Dudley Mallinson

An artist’s impression of the semaphore station on Telegraph Hill in the process of sending a message.
Image: Dudley Mallinson

The consecration of Holy Trinity Church in 1840 was followed a year later by the establishment of the parish of Claygate. The village then became popular as a place to build mansions, most of which have now gone. Agriculture and brickmaking continued to be the main source of employment along with domestic service.

An early 20th century postcard view of Holy Trinity Church, Claygate

An early 20th century postcard view of Holy Trinity Church, Claygate

Claygate’s entry into the modern world can be linked precisely to the coming of its railway station on the new Guildford line in 1885. A new village, built half-a-mile from the old centre, was created around the station and goods yard. Housing development followed on an organised basis, initially as a result of activity by the Hon Fitzalan Foley, whose new estate became popular in the 20th century with London commuters. In 1903 the first Claygate Flower Show was held; it remains a popular annual event.

Claygate’s attraction as a commuter village gave rise to large areas of farmland and mansion sites being used for housing development in the first half of the 20th century, while in the 1960s new sites were provided when the brickworks closed. Although Claygate is now densely developed with a wide range of housing and some office buildings, it remains largely surrounded by farmland protected by the Metropolitan Green Belt.

An early 20th century postcard view of The Parade, Claygate, looking towards the station

An early 20th century postcard view of The Parade, Claygate, looking towards the station

Further information

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13 Responses to Claygate

  1. Way says:

    I was trying to find any pictures of bottles, jugs etc., dug up from the Brickfields site. Have found an old Bovril bottle, a Stansfield Bros, Ripley & Guildford bottle etc. What kind of things were manufactured at the Brick Works in Claygate and when?

  2. Ruth Treen says:

    I’m trying to find out if the King and Queen of Romania? stayed in a large house in Claygate. Apparently my uncle Len Keeley was Butler and aunt cook. Which house and exactly when? Around 1920-30?

  3. Shirley Hawley (nee Randall) says:

    Hello, I am trying to find out about my family that lived in Claygate by the name of Randall. If anyone can tell me anything about them however small, good or bad. My Grand parents was Cecil and Phyliss Randall in Coverts Rd and Great Grand parents were George and Ada Randall in Ash Cottages. Others in Hare Lane and Sim’s Cottage. If there are any pictures I would be grateful. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Shirley Hawley (Randall)

    • terry says:

      I recall Mr and Mrs Randall who lived next to my aunt in Ash cottages.I run the above facebook page (http://Facebook,Esher,Claygate,theDittonsMemories,Localhistoryandgenealogy) which may give you some info.regards
      Terry gale

    • Catherine says:

      My great grandfather’s sister was Jessie Mackay from Tongue in Sutherland. She married Edmund Randall in about 1901 and according to the 1911 Census they lived at 2, Lettermore Cottages in Claygate with 3 children – Susan Jessie, Halla Loyal and Annie Ruth. Lettermore is the name of the place on Loch Loyal near Tongue where Jessie Mackay grew up. I’d love to know more about her life.

    • Michael Randall says:

      I am Michael Randall from Canada. My Great grand father was Arthur William Randall the brother of George. He lived in 4 Sims Cottages, Claygate

      • Michael Randall says:

        my Great great grand father was Edmund Randall (his first wife Catherine and the second Jessie.

  4. Nick says:

    I grew up in Claygate, lived on the Roundway . I’m curious to know if there are others that lived there during the sixties and seventies, especially the Roundway. My surname is Lawrence, it would be great to hear from anyone.

    • Terry Gale says:

      There is a Claygate Facebook Group which currently has 1,200 members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/449184538585830/. New Group members are very welcome. This is a closed Group which means it is necessary to have a Facebook account to log in.

    • Richard Lawrence says:

      Hi,
      My surname is also Lawrence and also lived on the Roundway in the sixties. I remember another family with the same name living near the footpath that led up to the junior school. I think their business was landscaping or tree felling.
      Was this you?

    • Jude Garner says:

      I lived in Elm Road. My sistet Jillian and I went to Elm Road School then The Firs. From the alleyway between Elm Road and The Roundway, did you live in the row on the left on tbe corner of Oaken Drive? Do you have a brother called Jimmy? I think he was in class with Jill.

  5. Brad Colley says:

    HI from Australia. I am researching a friends family tree and read that their home and hairdressing business was destroyed by a fire at 11 Station Buildings, Claygate on 21.2.1909. Paul Fritz Neumann/Newman and his wife and three young children were saved from the fire because their fox terrier dog named “Rory” alerted them with his barking. The family eventually emigrated to Queensland, Australia in 1912.
    Would anyone know of an old photo of Station Buildings ? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Brad

  6. Martin Hamilton says:

    I’m looking for information about one of the first owners of my classic 1961 Morris Oxford Estate, XLO 459. I’ve recently discovered a letter from the British Motor Corporation (BMC) regarding the purchase of some small electrical items for this car to the then owner, a A Mr P Green of “Gascoyne”, Oaken Lane, Claygate.

    I’m trying to build a history of the car and hope to contact Mr Green or any of his close relatives or even (a long shot, I will admit) anyone from the area who might remember the car. It was two tone, dark green over white.

    Thanks for reading!

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