The historic village centre of Oxted lies 3 miles east of Godstone and until 1971 was on the main east-west route of the A25. It is now by-passed to its great advantage and most traffic now uses the M25 motorway. The village sits at the north-east corner of Beechwood Hill and the surrounding land falls to the north and east with the High Street going down the steep slope to a tributary stream of the River Eden.

Oxted, the Hoskins Arms Hotel, c.1955  Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

Oxted, the Hoskins Arms Hotel, c.1955
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection

The village has been largely an agricultural one with the usual scattering of larger, private houses. The coming of the railway in the 1880s encouraged development of small houses and villas, and certainly the period around the start of the 20th century saw an increase in such development. A new centre grew up around the railway station about a half mile to the north-east. Although building has occurred around the historic centre it has taken place without detriment to its character or the setting of the many buildings of interest.

 

Plan of Barrow Green Mansion and lands, Oxted, 1809 Surrey History Centre ref. 7658/2/1

Plan of Barrow Green Mansion and lands, Oxted, 1809
Surrey History Centre ref. 7658/2/1

The Master family of Barrow Green House were one of the leading landowners in the area and in 1923 Charles Hoskins Master donated the land for the recreation ground known as Master Park.

Click here to see the catalogue of the St Mary, Oxted, Parish Records and Oxted Civil Parish Records (1603-1944) held at the Surrey History Centre.

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3 Responses to Oxted

  1. Terry Haynes says:

    Can anyone shed any light on what appears to be a disused airfield just North of Oxted, bounded by Barrow Road, Gordons Way and the M25?

    I’m compiling a history of little known Airfieds in Surrey including Hamsey Green and Kennel Farm in Warlingham and by chance just came across this whilst looking at the Woldingham WW2 decoy site. Any information gratefully received.

    Terry Haynes

    • Simon Neil says:

      To be honest this is the first I’ve heard of a reference to an airstrip at Oxted especially in that location. I have had a keen interest in the area for many years and have an even keener interest in the war years, more over south of Oxted at the site of the old munitions depot at Merle common (Staffhurst Wood). The area you speak of however would be where the old railway line ran into the Chalk-pit quarry in the early 1900’s. I have seen many old postcards of this and it would appear it was quite extensive. Unfortunately today there is no sign of it on aerial photographs; however the rail junction would have been between Barrow Green road, Chalkpit lane and Gordons way. Is it possible that the removal of these tracks could have been mistaken for an airstrip I wonder?

      The Oxted & limpsfield memorial hospital was moved from its original site in Gresham Road Oxted to Eastlands Way, off Gordons way in 1939 although the building was not complete when it opened. I believe the land was cleared from woodland prior to this. There are recorded instances of both Allied and German air-crew being taken to the hospital during the early war years in ‘The battle of Britain’. One particular ‘Dog fight’ is recounted on a BBC site ‘WW2 Peoples War’ in which it tells of the crew of a German Dornier bomber crashing in Hurst Green. I wonder if an airstrip would have been close to the hospital.

      Of course any significant remnants of an airstrip closer to the foot of the downs in that location would have been scrubbed away during the construction of the M25 in the late 1970’s.

      I do know that due to the locality of both the Oxted-London rail link and the Edenbridge (Malpit Hill) – London rail link there were a lot of barrage balloons anchored in the area. The German bombers used the railway line as a direct route into the city. The large white ‘Kensitas cigarettes’ factory at Hurst green was also painted green for the same reason; it was a marker to the railway lines.

      There is today a reconstructed spigot mortar emplacement beside the cricket pitch on Limpsfield Common next to the old air raid shelter. Behind the British legion, the first big house was the headquarters for the Canadian army based in the area. There are of course many tails connected to the Oxted area during that period but as I say I have not been aware of an airstrip at the location you speak of. It would be interesting should you find confirmation of an airstrip especially if it were in the proximity of the old memorial hospital. Good luck with your quest….

      • Terry Haynes says:

        This mystery was solved and posted on another site and sorry I overlooked clarifying it.. In fact it appears that this was Mohammed Al-Fayed’s helicopter pad for his commute to Harrod’s – his ( or what was his ) Mansion is adjacent..

        I think I have come across the Hurst Green airstrip before and I’ll have a dig round my archives. Thanks very much.

        Terry Haynes

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