Eating and Drinking establishments of Felbridge part 3

Eating and Drinking establishments of Felbridge part 3

This is the third part of a series of handouts that discuss the eating and drinking establishments of Felbridge, both those that have long since disappeared and those that are currently still providing service.  Information varies from one establishment to another, generally depending upon their duration of time in existence and availability of records.  All the eating and drinking establishments are listed under their most recently known or used name.  The study of these establishments has been grouped together by location and not their chronological order of operating.  This group of eating and drinking establishments continues heading north along the main London road on the Surrey side of the county boundary in Felbridge, from Woodcock Hill to Wiremill.


The first in this series of handouts started at North End and continued to Felbridge Water on the Sussex side of the county boundary, covering Pattenden’s Beer Shop, North End Brewery and North End Workingmen’s Club, the Half Way House, the Emperor and the Felbridge Hotel & Spa.


The second in this series of handouts covered the area of Felbridge known as Felbridge Water situated on both the Sussex and Surrey side of the county boundary that runs through this area and included, the Red Lion, Harts Hall Hotel, the Star Inn, the Premier Inn, Felbridge Garage Tea Shop and the White Duchess Hotel. 


This document sets out to discuss the history and development of the following establishments along with the lives of some of the people associated with each property; Yew Lodge, Wayside Tea Rooms, Woodcock Inn, Gulliver’s Rest, Peacock Lodge, the Mess and NAAFI at Hobbs Barracks, The Yellow Tea Pot, Thai Cottage and Wiremill.


Properties associated with Yew Lodge, the Mess and NAAFI at Hobbs Barracks, Thai Cottage and Wiremill have been discussed previously therefore the histories have been condensed for this document and supplemented by information that has been discovered since publication of the previous handouts.


Yew Lodge

Yew Lodge is situated on the Surrey/ Sussex border, lying to the east of Felbridge, between East Grinstead and Lingfield.  The site of the property was once the most southerly tip of Felcourt Heath, held of the manor of Felcourt in the parish of Lingfield (for full details see Handout, Yew Lodge, SJC 03/04).  In 1616, George Turner purchased the site of Yew Lodge, together with other land in Lingfield and Crowhurst in Surrey.  This descended through the Turner family until some time between 1688 and 1700, when John Wicker, a gentleman of Horsham in Sussex, is recorded as leasing the holding to Timothy Burrell of Cuckfield, Sussex, and Peter Burrell a merchant of London.  The lease identifies ‘a messuage next to Fell Court and seventeen acres’, which compares well with that of the site of Yew Lodge.


In 1729 John Wicker sold the lands in Lingfield and Crowhurst, including the site of Yew Lodge, to John Hopkins of London.  John Hopkins died in 1774 and some time between his death in 1774 and the start of the inclosure of the Felcourt Common in 1809, John Jewell had acquired the site.  John Jewell held the site until sometime between the end of the land tax records in 1832, and 1846, when it passed to William Searle esquire.  The Lingfield tithe apportionment records Thomas (later amended to James) Skinner as the occupier of the property although in the census of 1841 and 1851 it was recorded that Thomas Chapman an agricultural labourer was the occupier, being succeeded by William Roffey by 1861.


From the land usage it would appear that the property was being run as a small farm, and from the map evidence on the 1846 tithe there were four buildings on the site of what is now Yew Lodge, two on the west side of the plot, one being the dwelling house, and two to the east, probably barns as the field adjoining was called Barn Field. 


By 1870, the property on the site of Yew Lodge was known as Little Felcourt Farm and the two buildings on the west of the plot had been extended and joined together making a fair sized house, whilst the two barns to the east had either been demolished and re-built or been joined by two other buildings.  The additional outbuildings were located outside the original plot on which the house stood suggesting that a distinction was being drawn between the house and farm buildings, and in 1871 John H Woodhams, an agricultural labourer was occupying the property. 


Sometime between 1871 and 1881 the property became known as Yew Lodge, being named after a large, ancient yew tree that grows within the grounds.  From the available evidence it would appear that the name change to Yew Lodge was the consequence of a new owner who did not reside there but installed a farm bailiff to run the farm, who in 1881 was recorded as Thomas Smeed. 


Between 1881 and 1890, Yew Lodge saw more changes, with the demolition of the original house that was replaced by one of equal size but slightly further south of the original site.  The complex of buildings to the east of the house was again extended, adding a northeast/southeast wing on the west side and a northwest/southeast wing on the east side.  A new structure also appeared to the northeast of the house straddling the boundary between the house and grounds and the outbuildings complex.  There is also evidence that a sweeping drive-way had been created which may suggest that the area immediately surrounding the house had been landscaped, especially as a distinct boundary appears between the house and outbuildings to the east, suggesting they were being distanced from the house.  Richard Rose was the most likely person to have implemented the changes that took place at Yew Lodge during this time as by 1891, he was recorded as the owner and occupier and by this date Yew Lodge had changed from being a farm to a substantial dwelling set within maintained grounds.


Sometime between 1891 and 1901, Richard Rose sold Yew Lodge to Douglas Alexander Mavor who resided at the property until 9th May 1908, when Yew Lodge was sold to Sydney Larnach of Brambletye, near Forest Row, Sussex.  At the time of purchase Yew Lodge consisted of a house and outbuildings with just over fourteen acres of land and a further sixteen and a half acres of woodland.  The initials ‘SL’ and date stone above the door of 1908 indicate that extensive enlargements and alterations to the property were carried out by Sydney Larnach creating a large country house, walled garden and associated outbuildings, stable block/garage and aviary. 


Yew Lodge became the main residence of Sydney Larnach, living next to Chartham Park the home of the Margary family into which his sister Elizabeth Walker Lanarch had married.  Sydney Larnach remained at Yew Lodge until his death around 1927 when his estate passed to the Margary family, and was eventually inherited by his nephew Ivan Donald in June 1936.  Ivan Margary and his wife Dorothy also made Yew Lodge their permanent residence and after the couple died childless, the first of several auctions took place from May 1978 that would eventually lead to the demise of the Chartham Park estate and the sale of Yew Lodge. 


In 1979 Yew Lodge was purchased by Rentokil Ltd, whose world-wide head quarters were located just slightly further north at Felcourt, formerly the site of Felcourt manor.  Rentokil purchased Yew Lodge, including its surrounding grounds, the Garage Cottage, outbuildings, the kitchen garden and associated outbuildings to use as a Residential Training Centre for their employees.  Very little was done to alter the external appearance of the building or the ground floor rooms and it remained virtually as the Margery’s left it in 1978. 


In 2006 Rentokil moved from the area and Yew Lodge was put on the market being purchased by Peter and Pauline Wells.  Today Yew Lodge is a venue specialising in tailored social and corporate events, as well as open events including monthly Sunday lunches.  Yew Lodge provides an attractive and secluded country house setting for social events such as weddings, family celebrations and parties and offers conference and residential facilities with sixteen bedrooms and private dining.  


Wayside Tea Rooms

This eating and drinking establishment appeared briefly in the Felbridge area and was identified in the electoral roll for 1929 under the proprietorship of May Whittington.  To date it has not been possible to determine the exact location of the property, however, there is a property called ‘Wayside’ at the junction of Heather Way with Woodcock Hill which may have been the establishment’s location.  Although today the property is some way off the main London road (A22) it should be remembered that the A22 was straightened and re-routed to its current position in the early 1930’s and the line of the old road passed to the east of the current route, immediately outside ‘Wayside’.


Woodcock Inn

The Woodcock Inn stands on a crescent shaped piece of land at the bottom of Woodcock Hill that was created when the main London road was straightened and re-routed.  In 1938/9 the crescent shaped piece of land was bought and developed by Edmund S Baker with the construction of a petrol station, and a restaurant, which was called the Lincoln Imp.  Later these buildings were joined by a bungalow called the Lincoln Imp Cottage that was built to the north of the restaurant.


Unfortunately it has not been possible to determine when Edmund Baker was born but he married Annie Leonie Harrison in 1947 in the Hastings area of East Sussex.  This was his second wife having previously married Emily Grace Neat in Wandsworth in 1924.  Edmund and Emily had at least one daughter called Pamela whose birth was registered in the Godstone registration district in 1932 implying that they were living locally by that date.  Annie, (known as Leonie after her second marriage), had been born in 1898 and was a divorcee who had previously married Arthur J Vier in 1923, with whom she had had at least two children, Aline born in 1924 and Richard born in 1928.  By 1945 Annie Harrison was residing at the Lincoln Imp where Edmund Baker was the proprietor and within two years they had married.  By 1949 Richard J Baker was also residing at the Lincoln Imp but it has not been possible to determine his relationship with Edmund and Leonie.  By 1950 Leonie’s daughter Aline was living in the newly built bungalow called Lincoln Imp Cottage (now known as just Lincoln Cottage).


The Lincoln Imp was built using an assortment of historic styles incorporating brickwork, timber framing and sandstone block work under a tiled roof, with diamond lattice windows and an interior of exposed beams and woodwork.  Within a few years of opening as a restaurant the Lincoln Imp was also operating as a small hotel.  By the early 1950’s the Lincoln Imp was extended by a two-storey extension added to the southern end together with an outshot with a catslide roof.  As a restaurant and hotel it was also a popular venue for functions by the late 1950’s.  A local couple remember that they were the first people to have a wedding reception at the venue in June 1956 and that the tables were very rustic being made of slices of wood with the un-even outside edge of the timber left as a feature.


By the early 1980’s the Lincoln’s Imp was operating under the name of Glover’s Country Kitchen advertising  itself as a ‘Small, fully licensed restaurant serving the best quality meats, fish and game in relaxed and informal surroundings’, also offering a ‘barbeque menu when weather permits’.  By the late 18980’s the Lincoln Imp had changed hands and became known as The Woodcock, having been taken over by Peter and Valerie Jones who had previously been running the Spotted Dog in Penshurst, Kent. 


In the spring of 1999 the Woodcock was sold and re-opened as Fresco’s, offering a ‘delightful place to dine’.  The menu featured modern British food, and in keeping with the then up and coming trend, the emphasis was put upon the flavour and freshness of the produce with the dishes being created out of seasonal local produce.  Besides the restaurant there was the Terrace Bar that served drinks and light meals and in July 1999 it was hoped that live jazz and blues could be offered.  However, Fresco’s had closed by 2003 and was eventually sold to the Matheou family.


After being virtually re-built, extended and extensively refurbishment, the Woodcock re-opened in November 2005 as a hotel, bar and restaurant called Woodcock Inn.  The Woodcock Inn currently caters for breakfast and offers good value meals every lunchtime, as well as evening meals from Monday to Saturday, serving a range of Greek and traditional English food, and is open to both residents and non-residents.  The Woodcock Inn also caters for functions and private groups of between 40 and 120 people as well as offering meeting and conference facilities.


Gulliver’s Rest

Gulliver’s Rest or Gulliver’s as it is also known, is situated at the bottom of Woodcock Hill within the Beaver’s Farm Fishery site, being accessed off the road into the Hobbs Industrial estate.  Originally the only catering facilities at the Fishery had been a vehicle that stood in the fisherman’s car-park.  The Blue Mermaid, as it was known, was run for four years by the couple who also ran Beaver’s aquatic shop on the site.  In the early 1980’s the couple moved to their own aquatic shop on West Park Road and the café, having been taken over by new proprietors, was moved to a more central position before being refitted and upgraded as a permanent structure and relocated to its current position in 1985.


In 2001 the Blue Mermaid changed its name to Gulliver’s Rest and today consists of indoor seating with an adjacent covered area that allows the benefit of outdoor under-cover seating.  As a point of interest, the old sign for the Blue Mermaid is now in Australia; it was signed by the café staff and taken there by a lady who much frequented the establishment and asked if she might have the sign as a memento of her frequent visits.


Today the family run café offers good, traditional food at reasonable prices, catering for the needs of not only the fishermen but also the staff and traders of both Beaver’s Plants and the aquatic shop (Maidenhead Aquatics), as well as passers-by from the main London road (A22).      


Peacock Lodge

Peacock Lodge was built in the 1920’s and is situated on Eastbourne Road, to the west of the main London road (A22) and in front of the Hobbs Industrial Estate in Newchapel. 


In 1929 Margaret Fisher Brown, who had been living at The Bungalow, Wire Mill in 1928, purchased what is today known as Peacock Lodge.  In the 1931 electoral roll, it is recorded that Margaret Brown was of the Lingfield Egg Farm, therefore from this entry it is assumed that she was running poultry on the premises.  However, by 1932 the property was operating as the Angora Wool Farm and living at the same address with Margaret was James and Catherine Maud McNally (relationship not yet established). 


The Angora Wool Farm accommodated five hundred rabbits and their wool was spun and made into baby clothes and other garments.  During the time that the farm was in operation, Margaret’s rabbits won over four hundred awards and she also supplied her Angoras to many farms overseas.  However, by 1938 the Angora Wool Farm had ceased operation and Margaret had established the White Rabbit Road House, the name preserving the memory of her earlier enterprise, although a few Angora rabbits were still kept along-side the property.  In the 1940’s Margaret Brown sold about six acres of land at the rear of her property to Hobbs Barracks and she had moved from the premises before 1948. 


In 1949 there is no reference to the White Rabbit Road House; however, there is a White Rabbit Cottage occupied by Florence A Leggat and a White Rabbit Farm occupied by Alexander, Bruce and Lily Moncrieff recorded in the electoral roll for the area.  It is assumed that both ‘White Rabbit’ properties were associated with the White Rabbit Road House but unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine the exact location of the White Rabbit Cottage or who Florence Leggat was.  As for the Moncrieff family, Alexander and Bruce were brothers, and Lily was their mother.


The Moncrieff family descend from John Alex Moncrieff who was born in Berlin in 1859.  He married Mary Ann E Waterman in Camberwell in 1890.  John was a British subject by parentage and a corn chandler by occupation.  John and Mary had three children, Ronald Alex born in about 1892, Stanley Victor born in 1895 and Winnie Ruby born in about 1906, all born in Camberwell, and by 1911 the family were living at 24, Philip Road, Peckham Rye.  Stanley Moncrieff married Lily G Walton in Wandsworth in the December quarter of 1920.  Lily had been previously married to Frank Sibley with whom she had a daughter called Molly born in 1916.  Frank Sibley died in the December quarter of 1920. 


Stanley and Lily Moncrieff had four children, Alexander born in 1921, Babs born in 1924, and Bruce and Donald Stanley born on 31 January 1926, the first two children were born in Wandsworth and the last two in Croydon, suggesting that they had moved to the Croydon area by 1926.  Sometime before 1948 Stanley and his family had moved to the White Rabbit in Newchapel where he died in July 1948, being buried at St John’s church, Felbridge. 


By 1950 the Moncrieffs had moved and sold the property to Albert and Nellie Arnsby but unfortunately no information has yet been established on the Arnsby couple other than they had a daughter called Pamela Ann born in 1944.  However, the White Rabbit as it was called then, was frequented by those billeted at Hobbs Barracks, as Graham Moorhouse, who was stationed at the barracks between 1956 and 1959, recalls: ‘If you turned right out of the Gate House and walked for about 100 yards, set back from the road, like in a clearing in the woods, (because then in the 50’s it wasn’t so populated with property like today), was another wooden Cafe called the White Rabbit, which had a juke box in the back room. Cliff Richard’s first No. 1 was always on it’.  The café operated from the dwelling house of mock-Tudor design that much resembled the original Felbridge Hotel (for further information see Eating and Drinking Establishments Pt. I , SHC 05/07) particularly the diamond lattice windows and beamed interior.   


In the 1960’s the White Rabbit operated as a restaurant from the Tudor-style dwelling house, also offering catering for weddings, Club dinners and Banquets.  It remained as such until the early 1970’s when it had a brief period as Runway 22, followed in the early 1980’s as Maison Meryem [My Sweet Home].  At this date the establishment specialised in Continental and French cuisine, also offering coffee, luncheons, and traditional Sunday lunch, as well as catering for wedding receptions and private functions.


By 1985 the White Rabbit had been sold and refurbished, opening as a restaurant known as the Peacock Lodge.  A year later plans were submitted to extend the establishment with the construction of a twenty-two bedroom motel at the rear of the premises, but these were not successful.  During the 1990’s and most of the 2000’s the Peacock Lodge was known for being a ‘young family’ orientated restaurant with indoor play facilities.  


Today, under new management and following a major refurbishment in early 2009, the Peacock Lodge continues to welcome children in their extended restaurant.  There is also a small bar and seating area.  Outside there are a large beer garden, patio area, and outdoor children’s play-area.  There is also a function room for up to seventy seated, with its own private bar that can be hired for any special occasion.


The Mess and NAAFI at Hobbs Barracks

Hobbs Barracks, now the site of Hobbs Industrial estate, is situated on Eastbourne Road, to the west of the main London road (A22) in Newchapel and provided its military personnel with catering facilities in the form of the Mess, primarily for officers, and the NAAFI for the private ranks.


The term ‘Mess’ comes from the Old French ‘mes’ meaning a portion of food and on British service bases there are usually three Messes, generally located near the unit’s HQ: 1) the Officer’s Mess for Commissioned Officers, 2) the Chief Petty Officer’s or Sergeant’s Mess for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs) and Warrant Officers (WOs), and 3) the Junior Rates’ Mess for Junior ranks including Junior Non-Commissioned Officers.  Officers and SNCOs usually live (if they are married and do not want to live off base) eat and socialise in their Messes, whereas Junior ranks usually just eat there, being accommodated in barrack blocks and socialising in the NAFFI. 


The Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) was established in 1921 by the British government to sell goods to British servicemen (generally the junior ranks) and their families as well as provide recreational establishments for their use.  As Commissioned officers have their own facilities at the Mess, their entry of the NAFFI, except on official business, is considered to be an intrusion into the private lives of the junior and private ranks.


In 1894 the Canteen and Mess Co-operative Society was formed that bought canteen goods in bulk and sold them on the regimental canteens as prior to this date each unit ran its own canteen, generally contracted to a private firm and prices were expensive and goods were often of inferior quality.  During World War I the Canteen and Mess Co-operative Society was absorbed into the newly formed Expeditionary Force Canteens that were created to serve overseas, and in 1917 the Army Canteen Committee was created to take over canteens at home.  Two years later the Army Canteen Committee took over the Expeditionary Force Canteens becoming known as the Navy and Army Canteen Board, which formed the nucleus of the NAAFI when it was formed in 1921, selling £8.3m of product in its first year.


In 1928 the NAAFI was extended to operate in Bermuda, Ceylon, Germany, Gibraltar, Iraq, Jamaica, Malta and the Middle East, and within ten years had been extended to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Egypt, Kenya, Palestine, Transjordan, Sudan, Singapore and Trinidad.


In the late 1930’s, with war imminent, there was a need for the expansion of the Armed Forces who in turn required barrack accommodation.  The Felbridge area became part of this expansion when the War Office acquired Stratfords and associated land in Newchapel from Mary Stratford, Lady Sanderson (for further details see Handout, Hobbs Barracks, DHW 01/03).  Building work started in 1938, taking about eighteen months to complete and the site was developed to form a large permanent camp named Hobbs Barracks.  The Officer’s Mess was located south of the parade ground with the Sergeant’s Mess to the North of the parade ground adjacent to the boundary. The cook house, that doubled as the third Mess, lay to the east amongst the barrack huts and the NAAFI stood close to the entrance on the A22.


On completion in 1940, Hobbs Barracks became the home of the 3rd Battalion of the Irish Guards, a Training Battalion, together with associated service units.  Apart from basic training, Hobbs Barracks also operated as the RASC (Royal Army Service Corps) Command Supply Depot for the South Eastern Command.  They supplied the Army, Royal Air Force and Navy with provisions, meats and bread, the bread being baked at the No.1 Static Bakery which started production in 1943 and was in operation up until the late 1950’s (for further details see Handout, No. 1 Static Bakery, BR 01/03).  Eventually the barracks covered sixty-three acres, with additional land purchased from Marjorie Thomas of Park Farm and Miss Margaret Fisher Brown of the White Rabbit Road House, now Peacock Lodge.


During the war the number of NAAFI employees rose nationally from 8,000 to peak at 11,000 and trading establishments rose from 1,350 to nearly 10,000 including 800 canteens and 900 mobile canteens to support the war effort.  The sort of catering offered by the NAFFI included snacks such as cakes, sandwiches and chocolate, as well as meals such as pies or chops with chips, peas or mashed potato, stews and anything Spam related.  As a point of interest, it is said that during the war sales of tea through the NAFFI rocketed to 3.5 million cups per day.  Another of the NAFFI functions was to provide entertainment for the services to boost morale at home and abroad and a sub-branch called the ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) was formed in 1939. 


With the end of the war national NAAFI sales began to fall and canteens began to close at a rate of 200 per day with the loss of 110,000 members of staff, dropping to 65,000 staff by 1947.  Unfortunately it has not been possible to chart the staffing of the NAAFI at Hobbs Barracks during the war but in 1947 there were at least sixteen members of staff, including, Margaret Adams, Ivy Ayriss, Janet Davis, Joyce Howell, Doris Lloyd, Jean McLean, Gladys Onions, Sidney Parrish, Jocelyn Peacock, Jean  Rice, William Rice, Frederick Roberts, Sarah Rumley, Arthur Shepherd,

Elsie Thaxter and Frank Upton.  Of these, William Rice had been at the NAFFI since at least 1945, and Gladys Onions, Sidney Parrish, William Rice and Elsie Thaxter had joined in 1946.  However by 1949 the number had fallen to seven, Molly Armstrong, Helen Ashby, Mary Ford, Bonnie Lasham, Joan McIntosh, Winifred Phillips and Mabel Tilley, the decrease in staff reflecting the national trend in the shrinking service.


After the war Hobbs Barracks became the home of the 3rd Infantry Division, Column HQ, RASC together with members of REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) and the 34th Light Aircraft Defence Regiment Artillery, with many National Service men passing through the camp.  In the early 1960’s the WRAC (Women’s Royal Army Corps, formerly the ATS) were temporarily stationed there, followed in the mid 1960’s by five companies of the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment (Queen’s Surreys), before being sent to The Gulf for a nine-month tour of duty at the beginning of 1968.  They were replaced at Hobbs Barracks by the 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment (Queen’s Own Buffs).  However, by 1970, Hobbs Barracks was surplus to military requirements, the Mess and the NAAFI closed and the barracks stood empty.


As for the NAAFI service in general, it continued to expand and now includes stores, pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants, chip shops, bowling alleys and 24-hour vending machines, as well as expanding sports sponsorship including, hockey, judo, fencing, canoeing, volleyball, rowing, martial arts, basket ball, cricket football and athletics.  It now operates around the world delivering ‘a taste of home’ to troops in theatre of war operations, adding value of military effectiveness by assisting in improving the morale and welfare of the Armed forces.


In 1980, ten years after the closure of Hobbs Barracks, planning permission was granted to turn the site into Hobbs Industrial estate and today the tradition of catering on the site has been re-established with the opening of a café to serve the needs of the workers of the estate.


The Yellow Teapot

The Yellow Teapot, a small Tea Rooms, was run by Clara Pyart from her property that lay on the east side of the Eastbourne Road in Newchapel, adjacent to south side of Golards Farm.  The establishment was one of a pair of red-brick semi-detached properties, with tiled roof, that were built around 1930 consisting of Clara’s cottage, the nearer of the two to Woodcock bridge being later called Lake View, and the one adjoining to the north that is now called Lake Cottage.  Each cottage was set in grounds of a quarter of an acre and consisted of a living room, dining room, kitchen and three bedrooms.  As the names suggest, at the time of construction there would have been a view of Wiremill Lake that is situated behind the properties, although today this is obscured by woodland.


Clara Pyart was born Clara Bullock in Gloucester in 1872, the daughter of Robert Bullock and his wife Eliza née Phillips.  By 1881 the Bullock family had moved to 23 Victoria Place, Paddington, London, Robert being recorded as a bricklayer’s labourer.  Robert and Eliza had four children, Elizabeth born about 1866, Clara, Laura born about 1874, Alfred born about 1875, all born in Gloucestershire.  By 1891 the family were still living at Victoria Place, Paddington, but Clara had left home and was working as a domestic servant at 38, Princes Square, Paddington.


On 13th January 1898 Clara Bullock married William Thomas Pyart in Paddington both recorded as living at 102 Westbourne Park Road, Paddington. By 1901 they were living in Lambeth, William employed as a police constable.  William Pyart had been born about 1874 in Cinderford in Gloucester.  Clara and William had at least four children including, Constance Gwendoline born in 1899, Gladys born in 1902, William born in 1904, all born in Lambeth, and after moving to the Croydon area, Lena/Ena D born in 1912.


In 1927 and 1928 Clara Pyart was recorded as living in Streatham but there is no mention of her husband William, and by 1933 had moved to the Felbridge area being listed in the electoral roll as the proprietor of the Yellow Tea Pot at Newchapel.  Living with Clara at Newchapel were her two daughters, Constance and Ena.  The Yellow Tea Pot operated as a tea rooms until shortly after the Second World War reverting to a private house called Lake View by 1946.


Clara Pyart continued to live at Lake View until her death in 1946, being buried at St John’s church, Felbridge, on 19th December.  The property was then occupied by Clara’s daughter Gladys who had married Charles Alexander Kirby.  After the death Alexander in October 1958, aged seventy nine, Gladys moved away from the Felbridge area and died fourteen years later in Bradford-upon-Avon on 18th November 1976, her cremated remains being buried at St John’s church in Felbridge in 1977. 


Thai Cottage

The Thai Cottage is situated on east side of Eastbourne Road in Newchapel, slightly further north of Lake Cottage and adjacent to the north side of Golards Farm.  Originally the site of Golards Farm was part of Forge Farm which, in around 1766, was split off and a new blacksmith forge and cottage was constructed on the seven acre plot by William Wren (for further details see Handout, Golards Farm, 11/07).  Although known for its blacksmith forge, the property was also run as a farm, both in the occupation of the Wren family until sometime between 1863 and 1871 when the forge shut and the farm was taken over by John Brooker.


On the death of John Brooker his son Charles took over the farm which he ran until 1911 when it was sold as part of the Felbridge Place estate to brothers Charles Rowe and Kenneth Newton Colvile. In 1911 Charles Brooker moved to The Oaks off Crawley Down Road in Felbridge from where he ran a haulage company.  It has not yet been possible to determine how long the Colvile brothers ran Golards Farm as a fruit farm but in 1922 Messrs. Neville & Barnet were operating a poultry farm from Golards and by the late 1920’s Miss Enid Allen had taken over the poultry farm.  There are few details about Enid Allen or her life, except that she sold her eggs and poultry to passers-by, as the farm was on the main London road.  It is believed that this stall was the first of its kind in the area and proved to be so successful that she soon extended the range to include cut flowers, fruit and vegetables. 


It is unclear when Enid Allen left Golards Farm but in the early 1930’s Mrs Chatty was running the farm, still specialising in poultry, as well as selling eggs, fruit and vegetables from a small kiosk.  However, she soon established a Tea Rooms that operated from the old cowshed/barn (formerly the forge building) and during the Second World War the Irish Guards stationed opposite at Hobbs Barracks would buy supplies from Golards Farm, [for further details see Handout, Stories of Hobbs Barracks, SJC 01/03].   


By the mid 1930’s, Mrs Chatty was widowed and, having a young daughter, Anne, from her first marriage who was born on 9th February 1930, she married Wilfred Reginald Botteril, who sadly died in 1944.  Mrs Botteril continued to run Golards Farm, the kiosk and Tea Rooms, which were eventually taken over by her daughter Anne.   Anne Chatty married Robert Coutts and went on to become a member of the Felbridge Conservative Association and a Parish, District and County Councillor.  Under Anne Coutts the Tea Rooms took on a new name becoming known as Golard’s Barn Cafe, being regularly frequented by members of the WRAC (Women’s Royal Army Corps, formerly the ATS) who were temporarily stationed at Hobbs Barracks opposite, in the 1960’s, whilst their Depot at Guildford in Surrey was being re-built, (for further details see Handout, Hobbs Barracks, DHW 08/01/03).


By 1980 the Coutts had sold Golard’s Barn to Ian Markey who refurbished the property to create a restaurant called Markey’s.  Ian Markey ran the restaurant until around 1990 when he moved to take over the Wheat Sheath in Marsh Green, Kent, and Markey’s was taken over by Peter Voniatis and Ugo Spano.  An abbreviated version of an advertisement from the time promotes Markey’s as:


A new experience for the discerning diner who appreciates beautifully cooked quality food.  Markey’s Restaurant at Newchapel can offer a meal that will be remembered for a long time.


For eating at Markey’s will be a completely new experience even for the gourmet.  On the menu is a choice of Oriental and European foods, a combination not only unique in this area but probably London as well.


The international cuisine now served at Markey’s is proving very popular with diners near and far.  The food is truly authentic, and only fresh, seasonal produce is used for dishes which are cooked exactly the way they would be in their country of origin.


Both the food and drink served at Markey’s are the personal favourites of Italian Uno Spano and his partner, Greek Cyrpiot Peter Voniatis, who took over the restaurant last October.


Peter is also the restaurant’s European chef, preparing delicious speciality dishes from the Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Greece, while chef Nuathip serves up delicately flavoured oriental dishes of her country.  


By the late 1990’s Markey’s went under the name of Markey’s Diner for a period of time before assuming the current name of Thai Cottage in 2006, the proprietor listed as Nuathip Voniatis.  As the name suggests, the Thai Cottage specialises in oriental food and a review of the restaurant in 2008 states, ‘We have travelled to Thailand, Bali and Indonesia and can honestly say that the food in this restaurant is as good as any sampled in these countries’.


Wiremill Tea Gardens

The Wiremill Tea Gardens appears briefly during the late 1920’s under the proprietorship of Mary Robertson.  Unfortunately it has not been possible to pinpoint the exact location of the Tea Gardens but it is believed that it operated out of a store or hut attached to Wiremill and it is also unclear when it closed (for further information see Handout, Wiremill, SJC 03/06). The ‘Tea Gardens, Wire Mill’ was also used as the address for Clara Pyart in the 1930’s telephone directories, the same time as she is in the electoral roll registered as living at the Yellow Tea Pot. It is therefore possible that the tea gardens were at the cottage now known as Lake View.


Mary Robertson was born in Dorking, Surrey, in 1899, the daughter of George and Elsie Robertson, George being a general practioner and some twelve years older than his wife Elsie.  By the late 1920’s Mary had moved to the Wiremill area and in the spring of 1929 she married Ernest H L White.



Wiremill is situated in Wiremill Lane off the Eastbourne Road, the main London road (A22) in Newchapel.  The site dates to about 1561, working as a hammer mill known as the Woodcock Forge, using water from the man-made lake to the south of it.  The site that accommodated the original hammer mill has been used for the structure nearest the pond-day running east/west, although little (if anything) survives of any original building.  Sometime between 1787 and 1800 the Woodcock Forge was converted as a wire mill.  The change of use would have been relatively simple as both a hammer mill and wire mill needed a pair of waterwheels to run the hammer and bellows, both required in the process of converting pig iron to bar iron, as in the hammer mill, or metal ingots, be it copper, brass, iron or precious metal, to wire.  The only additional requirement of a wire mill was a larger building with good light to house the drawing machinery.  This requirement necessitated the construction of the building that runs north from the original structure.


The next development of Wiremill came around 1817 when it ceased being a wire mill and was converted to a flour mill, grinding trefoil seed and corn.  As a flour mill the hammer, bellows and drawing machinery were redundant being replaced by a flour milling mechanism, and as it had two pairs of grind stones it suggests that both waterwheels were still in use.  Wiremill remained a flour mill for just short of a hundred years before it was sold off as part of the break-up of the Felbridge Place estate between in 1911 and 1914 when large sections of the Wiremill area were purchased by Major Alexander Stuart Crum, and Misses Whitfield and Ransome (for further details see Handout, Wiremill, SJC 03/06).  However, the First World War interrupted the total sale of the Wiremill area and in early 1918, there was a third and final attempt to sell the residue of what had become termed the Wire Mill Estate, it being advertised as a ‘sporting and fruit-growing estate, overlooking a lake, affording several high and charming sites for residences’.


By 1918, the lake and adjoining land amounting to just over fifty acres, including the mill, house, cottages and barns, were in the ownership of either Major Crum or Misses Whitfield and Ransome, and the remaining fifty-four and half acres of farmland and Wire Mill Wood to the east and south of the lake, down to Coopers Moors, had been purchased by Mr H F Sturdy.


By 1920, Misses Whitfield and Ransome had sold Garden Cottage, now known as Legend, to Leonard M Pink, along with the two smaller cottages and gardens.  By 1921, Major Crum had sold the mill, store and a hut to Miss Wilkins who converted the mill into a dwelling house, calling it Wire Mill, and by 1922 he had sold most of his remaining interest in the Wire Mill area to the Women’s Farm and Garden Union.  By 1922 the Women’s Farm and Garden Union had also purchased Wire Mill, the recently converted mill, the store and hut (the possible sites of the Wiremill Tea Gardens) from Miss Wilkins and by 1926 had purchased the two cottages and gardens and Garden Cottage from Leonard Pink.


By 1933 Wire Mill, the building that had once been used as the hammer mill, wire mill, flour mill and house, together with the Wire Mill Tea Gardens had become the Wire Mill Fishing Club.  By 1933 the proprietor Walter Pearce Ward lived there with his wife Florence Elizabeth née Elgood and their son Alexander.  Walter Ward had been born in 1874 and Florence in 1878, they had married in the summer of 1903 in the Camberwell registration district and Alexander had been born in 1909.  By 1935 the Wards had been succeeded at the Wire Mill Fishing Club by Arthur Hugh Simmons and his wife Esther Emily.  Little is known about the Simmons other than Arthur had married Esther Barton in Sevenoaks in 1933 and that by 1938 they had been succeeded at Wire Mill by Reginald Winchester. 


It is unclear whether Wire Mill operated as a hotel as well as a fishing club during this period and its activities during the Second World War have not been investigated, but by 1946 Wire Mill was operating as a Hotel and Fishing Club.  And in 1947 it was documented by J Hillier who wrote in his book called Old Surrey Water Mills:

I advise any one who likes fishing and good fare to make a detour to the mill and the lovely pool.  Naturally there are few traces of the old industry, except the wheel-well of the over-shot wheel, and the mill is now a hotel and the headquarters of a very fortunate angling club.


The weather-boarded walls are whiter than ever they were at work, and nowadays this little building with its jutting lucomb at one side and its tall dormer windows on the other, has a comfortable air of well-being and good living.  A note of distinction is given to the river frontage by a glass case in a green-painted frame, fixed high up on the wall, and containing a jack pike of such enormity that if tales of a Wire Mill Pond Monster had circulated before its capture, one could have forgiven the credulous.


Moored alongside the ‘jetty’ are punts and other boats, and I imagine no more halcyon day than one spent idling on the water and angling, watching the kingfishers and the graceful reed buntings, listening to the bird song, including the jerky, spasmodic outpouring of reed warblers (uncommon in Surrey), and perhaps occasionally, if my eye chanced to stray to the float, taking aboard an importunate fish.  Even I, no apt pupil of the gentle Isaac, could not fail to hook something here – in June, just after the opening of the season, the pond was as full of fish as the pools of Eden must have been – that other Eden not this.


At the time that this article appeared Jonathan Cusden was the proprietor of the Wiremill Hotel and Fishing Club, being listed from 1946 as occupying the property with Doris and Gertrude Cusden and Alice Jarvis.  There are two possible Jonathan Cusdens, the first being Jonathan senior who had married Gertrude Jarvis in West Ham in the summer of 1911.  Jonathan and Gertrude Cusden senior had had at least two children, Jonathan born in 1912 and Gertrude born in 1913, which makes it equally possible that the proprietor was Jonathan Cusden junior, and unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine the relationships between the Cusdens or Alice Jarvis.

By 1962 the property was being promoted as a ‘Lakeside Hotel, Country and Fishing Club’.  The facilities were offered to members and non-members and included weekend dances, water skiing, fishing, riding and clay pigeon shooting.  During the next decade the Wiremill Country Club grew in popularity attracting a clientele from far and wide.  Unfortunately, with its popularity came a growing reputation of raucous late night dances and after hours drinking.  Nearby residents of Wiremill Lane naturally began to complain about the noise and anti-social behaviour connected with excessive drink.  The outcome of the complaints resulted in the Health and Recreation Committee for Tandridge District Council refusing to renew the Club’s music and dancing licence.  However, the Club continued to run the weekend music and dancing, stopping at midnight instead of 1am, but without the licence they could not apply for a special hours drinking certificate to allow them to keep the bar open as before. 

Eventually the Wiremill was put up for sale and in 1986 the property was purchased by McGurran Quest Inns Ltd.  Shortly after the purchase, the building caught fire whilst undergoing alterations and renovation work.  Fortunately the structure was not severely damaged with only the loss of half the roof, although the remainder of the building suffered some water damage.  Six months later, in September 1986, the refurbished Wiremill re-opened its doors to the public once again, offering a restaurant, a function room, two bars with bar snacks, and a terrace area over-looking the lake leading from the main bar.

In 1996, the Wiremill was taken over by husband and wife team Gus and Viv O’Keefe who jointly ran it with the Old Cage in Lingfield.  After four years they decided to sell the Wiremill to concentrate on their business at the Old Cage.  In March 2000, Wiremill was sold and became part of a chain of businesses run by Massive of Twickenham.  Four years later the restaurant was re-launched as L’Auberge du Lac [The Inn on the Lake] by the then manager, Doug Isherwood.  With a new chef installed from London, Adam Van Schrvendyk, the aim was to provide more customer choice, from traditional English pub food and ale in the bar area to a more substantial meal from a French menu in the restaurant. 


The three floors of the wire mill building created a split-level pub and restaurant, the main pub area at the top, with a restaurant serving French cuisine one level down and a small seating area and washroom facilities a further level down.  The main pub area giving access to a patio beside the lake used by the Wiremill Water Ski Club.  Besides the bar and restaurant the Wiremill also catered for small functions of up to seventy people and in the summer one of the biggest attractions was the ‘Jazz on the Lake’ music evenings, which again established Wiremill as a music venue, fortunately less raucous than the days of the Wiremill Country Club of the 1970’s and 80’s.


However, in 2007 the Massive Group put Wiremill on the market and it was purchased by business partners Anthony Pender, Colin Charlesworth, Tim Foster and head chef James Rowland.  The first thing they did was completely refurbish the building putting in a new kitchen, indoor and outdoor furniture and table settings. Their aim is to be ‘a bit different’ offering fresh local produce, eventually grown in their own vegetable garden when a piece of suitable land can be located.  At present they are happy for local growers to bring in their excess vegetables in exchange for vouchers of equivalent value to be used in the restaurant.  Facilities currently include an informal drinks area on the top floor and terrace area over-looking the lake, restaurant, Icon Conference Room capable of seating ten people and in March 2009 they opened their zzz…Sleep Boutique comprising of six luxury bedrooms, each with en-suite bathroom, that fill the lower level of the mill, each being named after metals that historically could have been found in the mill.   


Today the Wiremill offers both the traditional country pub and high-class restaurant serving locally sourced, freshly cooked food from a varied menu.  The structure still retains fragments of the original hammer and wire mill buildings although now devoid of any machinery except a millstone propped up against a wall outside, a reminder of its earlier life as a flour mill, the last phase of the milling operations in the history of a property that stretches back nearly four hundred and fifty years. 




Handout, Yew Lodge, SJC 03/04

Yew Lodge, www.yewlodge.couk

Electoral Roll, CC802/46/2, SHC

Felbridge Then and Now

Electoral Roll, CC802/56a/3/1, SHC

Electoral Roll, CC802/57/3, SHC

Electoral Roll, CC802/670/9, SHC

Post Office Directories, 1941-1950, FHA


Free BMD

Census Records, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911

Documented memories of M Jones, FHA

Documented memories of J Wheeler, FHA

Handout, Hobbs Barracks, DHW 01/03, FHA

Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes,

No. 1 Static Bakery, BR 01/03, FHA

Wool from Rabbits; Woman’s Angora Farm, Sunday Pictorial article, 20.0632, FHA

Electoral Roll CC802/49/2 – 57/3, SHC

Post Office Directory 1927-28, FHA

Handout, Golards Farm, 11/07, FHA

Handout, Stories of Hobbs Barracks, SJC 01/03, FHA

Markey’s – a new experience, Article from the local paper, FHA

Thai Cottage review,

Handout, Wiremill, SJC 03/06, FHA

Inn on the lake, East Grinstead Courier article, 04.03.2004, FHA

Cooking up some fresh ideas, East Grinstead Courier article, 14.08.2008, FHA



Texts of all Handouts referred to in this document can be found on FHG website; 

SJC 09/09