Thursday, 25 May 2017

Belmont




Post to the south Banstead Downs
Post to the west Cheam


Avenue Road
Built on the line of an old track way
Avenue Primary Academy. This was Avenue Primary School which became an “Academy” in 2015. It is managed by the Cirrus Primary Academy Trust.  It moved to this site which had been allotments in the late 1950s. It has previously been Belmont Village School at a site which is now a private nursery.
Wildlife area.  This is behind the school and was created in1980 on the old gardens of houses which had backed onto the school fields. The school created habitats and a pond. It has chalk grassland with cowslips and other flowers and also the nationally scarce small blue butterfly. Around the pond are yellow flags and there are newts, frogs, pond skaters and water boatman.
16 Belmont Village Primary School. This was built in 1902 on part of a site designated for a church. When the school moved to its current site it became known as “Avenue School Annexe’. It fell out of use in 1970 and became a private Hopscotch nursery.
18 Sterling House.  This old factory is now flats. It was once a laundry but has been used by numerous companies many of them in specific areas of scientific innovation and expertise.
18 Nagard. This was a scientific instrument maker based here and in Brixton. They made oscilloscopes, signal converter valves and bespoke mounting. In 1962 they were taken over by Advance Components Ltd. who themselves were taken over by an American company, Gould, soon after.
St. John the Baptist. This parish church is a joint Church of England and Methodist Church. In 1908, following a public meeting, a building committee was set up to build a parish church. This site was purchased in 1910 and architects Greenaway & Newberry were appointed. A foundation stone was laid in 1914 and the church was completed in 1915. There was not enough money to build the tower as planned, and the west end remained a temporary structure until 1966 with the completion of the west wall. The wall includes the stained glass window and stonework from St Paul’s Church, St Leonards-on-Sea which was demolished. It became a joint church with the Methodists in 1983.

Balmoral Way
The South Metropolitan District Schools were on this site. They were built in 1852-3 and provided industrial education for 1500 poor children from Greenwich, Camberwell, and Woolwich. They had many facilities including playing fields and a gas works. The original schools closed in 1902. After a brief period as a hospital and asylum they became Belmont Workhouse in 1908.
Belmont Workhouse. In 1915 the buildings became a hospital for German prisoners of war and the internment for enemy aliens. In 1922 it became a workhouse for unemployed men and in 1930 was training centre for the unemployed run by the London County council.
Sutton Emergency Hospital. This was set up in the buildings of the Belmont Workhouse in the Second World War. In 1946 it became Belmont Hospital, specialising in psychiatric medicine and later Henderson Hospital both in Homeland Drive. The main blocks were demolished in the 1980s and redeveloped for housing.

Basinghall Gardens
Toll Bar Court. 12 floor block built 1965.
Carew Court. 12 floor block built 1965.

Belmont Rise
This was part of the Sutton Bypass built in 1927 and is now the A217.  It provides a through route from Wandsworth Bridge to Horley south of Reigate.
Vicarage. This was built here in 1927.

Brighton Road
B2230. This was the route of the A217 before the Sutton Bypass was built in 1927. The A217 itself runs from Wandsworth Bridge to near Gatwick in Surrey. This was a turnpike road which was created in 1745 and there was a tollgate near Sutton Lodge..
Milestone. This is on the west side of Brighton Road near Basinghall Gardens. It is a rectangular block of stone with peaked capping. On the east side is the inscription: ‘XIII Miles From The Standard In Cornhill London 1745’. It is one of a series erected in 1745 between London Bridge and
Banstead Downs.
137 Health Centre 
139 Sutton Lodge. This is home to Sutton Over 60s club. It is a brick house with a central block and matching wings.  It was built by brewer John Wells in 1762.  It is said to have been built on the site of a cottage, of 1754. It then had stables, granaries, oasthouses and other buildings. In 1838 was sold to farmer John Overton of Cheam and served as the farmhouse for Sutton Farm. Later, the farmland was sold for house building and the lodge was bought by Sutton Council, for use as a day centre.
Homeland Drive – the junction of Homeland Drive from Brighton Road marks what was the entrance drive to the South Metropolitan District Schools. A lodge stood to the south side of the junction.
Belmont Park. This is the southern part of the war time prefab site and was landscaped as part of the site redevelopment in the 1960s. It is on an undulating grassland plain bordered to the west by the railway line. Along the railway is a dense belt of trees.
The California Belmont Pub.  The pub is current called California but has sometimes also been named Belmont.  It was bombed and subsequently rebuilt in 1942. There are various stories about its origins and the origins of the name concerning gold coins, gamblers and the California gold rush.
Little Hell. A site here is marked as ‘Little Hell’ on the Roque map of 1765. This may be nothing more sinister than an old dialect form of the word ‘hill’ – ie a site on the edge of the North Downs. The name has been applied to stories about the origins of the pub.
310 R. Dance Contractors. This firm is in a cutting between 1950s the road and the railway and has been used as an industrial site since the Second World War. In the 1950s it was a coach builders and may have been Watsons. It was originally the goods yard for what was then California Station. It had two sidings and a ‘dock’. It was moved to the other side of the road when the Station Road level crossing closed.
Coal Yard and sidings. The sidings were moved to the east side of Brighton Road when the site on the west side closed. It closed for goods in 1964 but continued to handle coal until 1969. It appears to have been on the site of what is now Commonside Close.
Bus Stand. This is a long-established terminus for bus services.

California Close
This is on the site of a plant nursery run by a Mr. Belcher. In 1939 Post Office built a telephone engineering depot which fronted onto Station Road. When this became redundant in the 1970s it was let as offices. Later the site, including the nursery was redeveloped as flats.

Cotswold Road
This was previously called Banstead Road
Turf Cottage. This stood north of the junction with Banstead Road in the 19th and appears to be a single storey house with an elaborate porch, and gardens to the rear.
Sutton Hospital. In order to replace a small cottage hozpital a larger hospital was built in 1930 on the corner of Chiltern and Cotswold Roads.  It opened in 1931 as the Sutton and Cheam District Hospital. In the Second World War it had ten Emergency Medical Service beds for war casualties. In 1948 it joined the NHS. It soon began to expand taking over a private nursing home and vacant buildings belonging to the Downs Hospital. New wards were built, am outpatients and a chapel.   In 1959, the old Downs Hospital for Children became the Cotswold Wing.  Today it has a modern day surgery unit and some specialist outpatient services.  There is a Day Hospital for elderly patients and a centre for mental health care.  It is now beginning to be run down in favour of improvements to St Helier Hospital and is expected to close.
Downs Hospital for Children. In 1882 the South Metropolitan District Schools purchased this site from the Sutton Lodge estate to extend the school in Brighton Road. This opened in 1884 with a pavilion block layout, design, by the 1890s it was the Girls' School. In 1902 the School closed and the buildings were purchased by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. This then became the Downs School for children suffering from ringworm and other skin and scalp diseases. In 1913 non-tubercular children were transferred to the Goldie Leigh Children's Cottage Homes, which also specialised in ringworm cases, and the Downs School became a TB hospital for children - the Downs Sanatorium. In 1920 it was renamed the Downs Children's Infirmary and, in 1922, Cleveland Street Children's Infirmary joined them here.  In 1924 its name changed to the Downs Hospital for Children. It closed in 1948 at the beginning of the NHS. The buildings were then used by the Sutton Hospital, the Institute for Cancer Research and the Sutton branch of the Royal Marsden Hospital.
11-13 farm cottages built 1834
Malvern Centre.   This currently accommodates a Centre of Pain Education (where patients who suffer with chronic pain are helped to deal with their condition and chronic fatigue syndrome clinics.
15 The Institute of Cancer Research, This  was founded in 1909 as The Cancer Hospital Research Institute, a small laboratory in what would become The Royal Marsden in Chelsea. In the 1920s and 30s they had discovered carcinogenic compounds in coal tar and worked on the role of chemotherapy. It became independent under the NHS in 1948 but the organisations still work together. In the 1950s they moved to this site to work on nuclear medicine. In the 1960s they gathered evidence on DNA damage and cancer, leading to modern immunotherapy. In the 1970s and 80s, they helped to discover treatment drugs. They also found the cancer-causing gene. The 1990s saw the discovery gene in the familial inheritance of breast and ovarian cancer. Since 2005 they have discovered 20 preclinical drug candidates, the ICR also has a long history in training is an Associate Institution of the University of London, and was recognised as a full College of the University of London in 2003.
Letter box by Sutton Hospital entrance.  This was originally mounted in a gate post in part of gateway and gate. This model is 1882-1885.
Banstead Road Primary School. The school was built here in 1897 and was the original Belmont school. More recently it has catered for pupils with special needs, This is now housing as Baron Close
24 This was built around 1860 by farmer, John Overton, of nearby Sutton Lodge, probably to house his farm workers.

Dorset Road
This was Burdon Road before the Second World War
12 Air raid shelter extant in the garden.
Sutton Ambulance Station. This was on the edge of the Industrial School site, later the hospital

Downs Road
California Court. This stands on the site of chalk pits and limekilns.  Cottages for the workers were said have been built here later.
99-101 house which is claimed to be the oldest building in Belmont; a 19th agricultural building.
Royal Marsden Hospital. This was was the first hospital in the world dedicated to the study and treatment of cancer. It was founded in 1851 and is based in Fulham Road, Chelsea. In 1948 under the NHS the Royal Marsden became a post-graduate teaching hospital an. In response to the need to expand to treat more patients and train more doctors, a second hospital in Sutton was opened in 1962. They moved into buildings which had been the Metropolitan District School.
Baptist chapel.  This was started by a Miss Hale in the late 1880s managed to secure £30 funding for iron church building on a plot just above the chalk pits. It was at first The Belmont Mission church catering for nonconformists of various demoninations. It was however dominated by Baptist members, and by 1910 there was pressure to re-establish a non-denominational church elsewhere and this was provided in Station Road. building. T
63 Sutton Mental Health Foundation. This is a member led facility for people with experience of mental distress, and their carers. It provides facilities for recreation with the object of improving quality of life. This is in what was St. John’s Church Hall.
Christ Church and St.John’s Church Hall.  In 1880, an Anglican Mission and Parish Hall was built under the auspices of Christ Church, Sutton, and St Dunstans, Cheam. When St John’s parish church opened in 1916 it became the parish hall. It was rebuilt in 1940 as a a steel framed structure with brick infill. When the Northdown Road hall opened in 2004, this became a mental health drop-in centre

Holland Avenue
50 Downs Lawn Tennis Club.  Cheam Lawn Tennis Club is said to have started here in 1926.

Homeland Drive
This is on the route to the original drive to the South Metropolitan Schools.
1 Belmont House. This is a residential care home belonging to the NHS. This site was originally occupied by part of the South Metropolitan District Schools. They closed in 1902 and the buildings became Belmont Workhouse.  In the Second World War it became the Sutton Emergency Hospital and, because if fears of mass hysteria at the beginning of the war, it was designated as - the Sutton Neurosis Centre.  The Hospital was however used to treat trauma patients and war casualties.   1946 it was renamed the Belmont Hospital, specialising in psychiatric medicine.  In 1948 it joined the NHS as a treatment centre for general psychiatric conditions. By the 1960s it had become the leading centre for the study and treatment of neuroses. In 1975 its work was transferred to Sutton Hospital and the Belmont Postgraduate Psychiatric Centre remains in the Chiltern Wing.  The main blocks were demolished in 1980s and there is now new housing on the area.
2 The Henderson Hospital. This was on part of the Belmont Hospital site.  After the Second World War a Social Rehabilitation Unit was established on part of the Belmont Hospital site for soldiers suffering from war related post-traumatic stress disorder. The unit went on to treat adults who had experienced childhood abuse. In 1959 it was renamed the Henderson Hospital, after the Scottish psychiatrist Professor Sir David Henderson. It developed a patient-orientated approach to the treatment of psychopathic disorders.  Until 2005 it had funding from the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group but in this changed to contributions from regional health bodies and lack of money from them made the hospital unviable. It closed in 2008 despite its reputation and success. The site now has planning consent for housing.
Belmont Pastures, A conservation area of 1.18 hectares of grassland, was once part of the site.
Bridge over the Railway. In 1864-5 the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company had built the Sutton to Epsom Downs line.  The bridge, which carried Homeland Drive over the railway tracks, was rebuilt in 1984.  The plaque on the bridge mentions the Belmont Hospital.

Hulverston Close
Shanklin Village Estate. This is local authority housing sited between Brighton Road and the railway. It was built in the late 1960s to replace wartime prefabs,

Northdown Road
Church Hall. This opened in 2004
Belmont Rest Garden. This was sold to by church to the local council in 1927;

Overton Park
Overton Park is on the site of an old recreational areas and sports grounds, some of it resulting from playing fields for the Metropolitan District Schools. It is mainly open grass with trees around the perimeter. There is an emphasis on sports facilities with three football pitches and other smaller pitches. There is also a pavilion with changing rooms, as well as a playground and trim trail.

Queens Road
3 Manse for the Methodist Minister, having originally belonged to the Roman Catholics also had planned to build a church there.
War Memorial. This is at the junction with Queens Road in a small grassed area. It has a circular stone base surmounted by plinth and in-filled wheel cross. Inscriptions are on attached metal plaques and they say ‘To the Glory of God and  in memory of the Bbelmont men who fell in the Great War 1914 - 1918 and/ those men and women who gave their lives in the World War 1939 – 1945. There are 42 names

Railway Line
This is the Epsom Downs railway which was built to convey huge crowds of race goers to the race track on the Downs. Following a number of legal problems it opened in 1865.
There were sidings north of the station for the South Metropolitan District Schools

Sevenoaks Close
Belmont Pastures. This is a long narrow triangle of land which is an old meadow which formerly belonged to Belmont Hospital. It is unimproved chalk grassland with common grasses and wild flowers, along the railway line is a hawthorn hedge and on the west is a line of large trees, mainly horse chestnut

Stanley Road
Stanley Road itself is in the square to the north.
Overton Grange School. The school is accessed from Stanley Road, to the north. Overton Grange School is a mixed “academy” school. It opened in 1997 after the need for a school in the area was identified in the 1980s and was built on the site of a blood transfusion centre. It includes a sixth form college, opened in 2002. It also has a hearing support department and purpose-built facilities for pupils with disabilities. It became an ‘academy’ in 2011.
South London Transfusion Centre. These were sited in what had been the LCC Laboratories in 1952..
Belmont Laboratories, London County Council. These laboratories dated from at least 1908 and were sometimes described as ‘Serum Laboratories’.  They carried out important and ground breaking medical and environmental research as well as preparing various chemical substances for use by the County Council.
Sutton Youth Theatre

Station Road
Folly Cottage. This house is shown in the 19th as taing up an extensive site on the corner with Avenue Road. One outbuilding is said to remain to the rear.
34  London and Belcher. This florist shop was founded in 1928 and Mr. Belcher then had an extensive nursery business to the rear and east of the shop
34 Post Office Engineering building. This occupied what was the original frontage to Belcher’s nursery. The site is now redeveloped as flats.
Deacon House. These flats are on the site of what was once The Constitutional Club. The Free Church bought the site and laid a foundation stone in 1915. The church initially included Methodists, Baptists, Congregational, and Evangelical however in 1928 it affiliated to the Methodists. After the Second World War the cost of maintaining it became unsustainable and in 1986 it agreed to share St John’s church. Sale of the site paid for adaptations to St, Johns
Hall. This was built alongside what became the Methodist church. The site is now flats.
VR pillar box. 
29 this was a dairy before the Great War and sheds and outhouses remain behind it which may have been in use for the cows. This is also said to be part of an old cottage called Hare Warren.
Rail bridge. This humped bridge was built in 1888 to replace an original level crossing. The effect is that Station Road splits into two and has two parallel arms for a short distance west of the station and an even shorter parallel section to the east.  North of the station were originally sidings, one for use of the Metropolitan District School.
Belmont Station. This opened in 1865 and now lies between Sutton and Banstead on Southern Rail. The station was built by the Banstead and Epsom Downs Railway as part of a line to take race goers to Epsom Race Course.. The station was first called California but changed to Belmont following complaints of misdirected parcels. The original station was bombed and the buildings were destroyed. In 1970 the buildings were finally replaced with a CLASP system on the down side.

The Crescent
Milestone. This is said to survive in a garden here and marked 14 miles from The Standard in Cornhill.

York Road
Built on the line of an old track beside which there were once fields where Colmans of Norwich grew garlic.

Sources
Avenue Primary Academy. Web site
BSCRA. Web site
Field. London Place Names 
Historic England. Web site
Imperial War Museum. Web site
Kirkby. The Banstead and Epsom Downs Railway
London Borough of Sutton. Web site.
London Encyclopaedia
Lost Hospitals of London. Web site
Overton Grange School. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry,  Surrey
Royal Marsden Hospital. Web site
St. John the Baptist. Web site 
Sutton Hospital. Web site
Sutton Nature. Web site
University of Brighton. Web site
Welcombe Collection. Web site
Wikipedia. Web site. As appropriate

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