Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The London/Surrey boundary - Nonsuch

SQUARE BY SQUARE LOOK AT LONDON
TQ 23 64

Nonsuch Park – part of the park; and once the site of Henry VIII’s Palace of Nonsuch

The London/Surrey/Sutton boundary goes from the railway line north up Ewell Road and into Cheam Park. It runs north west between the Park and the wood to the end of Cheam Recreation Ground

Post to the north North Cheam
Post to the west Nonsuch
Post to the east Cheam

Sites on the London Sutton side of the boundary
Cheam Park
This is in the grounds of what was early 19th Cheam Park House, in 1937 and the park was bought by the local authority. In 1939-40 it was used for assembling gas masks, but in 1944 it was bombed and later demolished. Lodge to Cheam Park House. The original drive is now tarmac which curves round in front of the house site which is still marked by a platform. The brick walls beyond the house site originally enclosed the kitchen garden which is now a parks depot. A shallow gully curving across the grass is the remains of the ha-ha which separated the garden from the park to the north.
Said to once have been a spring flowing west towards the Ewell Grove stream and the Hogsmill

Ewell Road Nonsuch High School for Girls an all-girls' school standing in 22 acres of grounds on the edge of Nonsuch Park

Sites on the Surrey Epsom side of the boundary
Cheam Road
Harefield Bridge

Cuddington. The name refers to a Saxon landowner. It is an elongated ‘finger’ parish which in 1538 had a church and houses but which Henry VII then acquired in order to build Nonsuch and then demolished it all. ‘Cotintone’ 727, ‘Cudintone’ 933 ‘Codintone’ 1086, that is 'farmstead associated with a man called Cuda',

Nonsuch
Nonsuch House. A Mansion House with turrets and battlements by Wyattville. It was built 1731-1743 by Joseph Thompson, but enlarged by Jeffrey Wyatt in 1802- 6 for Samuel Farmer. A chequer-work wall of flint and chalk on the east side is Tudor. Inside the porch wall is a stone, crudely inscribed: 1543 HENRICV OCTAVS + 35. This suggests that the house occupies the site of, and was perhaps originally converted from, one of the lodges in the Little Park. A service wing with a dairy and kitchen has been restored.
Chalk Pit. Understood to have provided material for the building of Nonsuch Palace.
The Wood
Nursery Park
Oak Plantation

Unfinished Road
This is the remains of a road begun in the 1930s which would have re-established part of the old Vicarage Lane route between the Cheam Gate of Nonsuch Park and the Ewell by-pass. It remains as an overgrown concrete path with a pedestrian subway where a pathway to Warren Farm crosses the route.

This material has been compiled over many years and from a wide variety of sources

9 comments:

MAB said...

I don't think that the concrete paths in Nonsuch Park are the foundations of an unfinished road. They don't look like foundations. They are straighter and flatter than required for a road. They are too narrow. The 'underpass' (now removed) protruded above the level of the 'road' and had large access holes in it's 'roof'.

Alan Nicol said...

I have researched a little about the two straight roads, known as the ghost roads in Nonsuch Park and would like to offer the possibility that these narrow flat concrete structures were to be part of the Atmospheric Railway of 1847 connecting Cheam to Epsom, with further extensions to the South coast.
These structures would have supported the width of a train, where the pipe would have been placed in the middle of the structure with rail tracks on either side.
The Atmospheric Railway functioned in many areas, but was hobbled by the technology of the day regarding the seals, which were leather lubricated in tallow, which rats liked and subsequently was part of the downfall of the Atmospheric Railway.
The 'underpass' would have been the pumping station where negative and positive air pressure would have been pumped up to the longitudinal pipe through the openings in the top of the underpass.
Alan Nicol

MAB said...

That's a really interesting suggestion Alan. If my memory is correct, the level of the 'underpass' would have prevented traffic along at least one of the tracks. Railway tracks do not require a solid concrete base. The trees growing close to or between the tracks are decades old, but not 150 years. Any other ideas anyone...?

Unknown said...

Mary Burstow (local cllr) states on her web page that they are the foundations for a road linking Cheam and Ewell constructed in the 30's and abandoned during the second world war.

As Marks says they don't look like foundations.

In my mispent early years I had the pleasure of visiting many military sites, bomb shelters and research stations. What was common to them all and this area is that specific type of concrete. It reeks to me of war dept. I think the origin is likely to be during the war probably to some sort of access road to a shelter, concealed by the woods and terrain, I am guessing your 'underpass'. The national archives might be able to reveal its true use.

Incidentally the area remained favorite for shelters, there was a large nuclear shelter at North Cheam crossroads adjacent and behind the circle k/sperrings and PH. Its now been filled in and there is a housing development on it.

MAB said...

Tim, I quite agree about the concrete: both in age and appearance it shouts WW2. The problem with the idea that this is an access road for a military project is the same as the 'ghost road' theory: it doesn't seem to connect to anything at either end and yet is flatter and straighter than usually required for a road. I think that whatever was stored or processed on the concrete was brought in and unloaded via the 'subway', probably from the nearby railway.

Adrian said...

The unfinished road had been a jolly good bicycle race track for us local schoolchildren, mostly boys, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. There had been a persistent rumour that it had indeed once served as an access driveway via the underpass to a Second World War air-raid shelter and bunker. My parents, who had met in the RAF at the end of the War and moved to the Sparrow Farm Road end of the park, even claimed that the road could have been designed as an emergency landing strip for light aircraft or helicopters, so feasibly without any risk of overshooting the 'runway'....

MAB said...

Great to see some more debate on this!

I remain convinced that is isn't an unfinished road. Adrian, do you remember the layout of the 'underpass'? In my memory, its top was much higher than the level of the roadways and therefore not an underpass at all. It would have prevented any through-traffic along the roadways.

I think that something could be loaded/ unloaded from the 'underpass', through a hatch on the top which I half-remember. It could be moved by a vehicle on one roadway and stored on the other. I'm thinking ammunition.

My other thought was that it was something to do with operation PLUTO.

But this is all pure speculation.

MAB said...

Great to see some more debate on this!

I remain convinced that is isn't an unfinished road. Adrian, do you remember the layout of the 'underpass'? In my memory, its top was much higher than the level of the roadways and therefore not an underpass at all. It would have prevented any through-traffic along the roadways.

I think that something could be loaded/ unloaded from the 'underpass', through a hatch on the top which I half-remember. It could be moved by a vehicle on one roadway and stored on the other. I'm thinking ammunition.

My other thought was that it was something to do with operation PLUTO.

But this is all pure speculation.

Adrian said...

Thanks for that input, MAB.

No. I don’t recall the exact layout of the underpass - rather a tunnel feed-road into the bunker itself and safe to play on for us children who, as far as I remember from 60 years ago (!) and despite energetic games, never had an accident, such as falling off the flat concrete terrace-roof on to the road(s), rather on to an elevated mound with a grassy knoll all the way round.

I definitely had been unaware of any Operation Pluto pipeline connection. The park site is possibly just too far away - from any ocean or riverbed e.g. the Mole or Thames - to serve as an underwater pipeline.

I merely accepted, or rather swallowed, my parents' idea of the ghost road(s) doubling as an aircraft runway. This theory had been further reinforced by a Nonsuch Park neighbour who had been a serving BOAC (British Overseas Aircraft Corporation) airline pilot and himself also ex-RAF.

What has stuck in my mind is that both such neighbour and my father had boasted that they could have ‘easily’ landed thereon a Spitfire or – tellingly with no hospital in the immediate vicinity - an air-ambulance helicopter. I - albeit born 5 years post-World War II - know, though, of no actual landing.....