A Journey Through Redhill Past
STATION ROAD
(the eastern part from Redhill Railway Station to the town centre)
For the purposes of this web page this part of the road will be described as Station Road East

Click here to see the western end of Station Road (from town centre to Linkfield Corner)

    
The Station and the Railway 
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The east side of Redhill is today approached from Redstone Hill where access is gained under the railway station to Station Road and the town.It used to look like this, with a single track low tunnel forming the access way. Because it was narrow and approached from a steep hill it was known locally as 'the death trap'.Around 1901 it was decided to widen it and work began with the left bank being moved back and new walls built.
   
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Then a new bridge was built with the old tunnel still inside it.And the old tunnel was demolishedThe new bridge as it looked from the station Road side when finished in 1902. Redhill station's entrance was on the Redstone Hill side then.
   
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A view down Station Road from the centre of the town to the new bridge in 1911

The original station entrance was off Redstone Hill and not off station Road. This picture from c1920
   
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This lovely photo of a group of men standing at the Redstone Hill entrance to the station (see above picture) was sent my Valerie Morse who says, 'In the photo taken outside Redhill Railway station, my Grandfather James Robinson is in the centre under the Lamp, with bowler hat and moustache. He was a scaffolder. I think they were working to improve the station. I don't know when this was taken'. Many thanks to Valerie.
   
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A Church Lads Brigade parade of 1912 drawn up in the original station entranceEngines at Redhill Station in the first decade of the 1900s
12A London, Brighton and South Coast steam engine in Redhill Station in 1924. The building visible in the distance between the front of the engine and the shed is the Home Cottage pub in Cavendish Road.
   
The first electric train came into Redhill station as part of the testing programme in March 1932 before the electrification work was finished, and so was not in passenger service. Very few people witnessed it, as it was not advertised. Aboard were experts testing and evaluating the new system and the new electric motors fitted to the train. It got to Redhill from Victoria in 25 minutes and was one of several such trains to pass through Redhill. The passenger carying electric service began in July 1932.13 & 14
  
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Engines often had to be turned around at Redhill. Here's the turntable in action in 1958Steam and electric trains in Redhill station in 1959 and 1961 respectfully
   
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A view down the track to Redhill Station from Ladbroke Road Bridge in 2003The station called 'Reigate' was opened on this site in April 1844. In 1849 a branch line was built to Reading and a station at Reigate was named 'Reigate Town'. In August 1858 the 'Reigate' station was enlarged and renamed 'Redhill Junction'. The photo above shows a brand new sign on Redhill Station downside platform in July 1929 when the station name was changed from 'Redhill Junction' to 'Redhill'.
  
This photo taken from platform 3, shows the curve of the line to Reigate to the right, and the mainline to Brighton to the left. At the junction of the lines, 'Redhill B' signal box can be seen. The rake of parcel vans in the sidings are standard BR build, constructed between 1956 and 1960, the example nearest being a GUV (General Utility Van). These are empty stock of a mail train which will have arrived from London Bridge into the Post Office bay platform at the north end of the same platform from where this shot was taken. Machinery adjacent to the buffers of the bay platform enabled mail bags to be deposited directly into the sorting office below. 

(Many thanks to Martin Snow who took this photo 28th Aug 1981)
  
A better view of the signal box taken from its south side. At the top right a few yards of the roof of the nightclub in can be seen. The year of the closure and demolition of this signal box is unknown (if anyone can supply the date please contact authorr. It closed when Three Bridges signal box took over.

(Many thanks to Martin Snow who took this photo 28th Aug 1981)

   
Station Approach The name Station Approach may have been applied to the old access way in picture 8 above but when the new access was made it was applied to the area of frontage that also contained some businesses.
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Although there was originally no station entrance on the town side of the bridge there was a taxi cab stand there. This young man, George Peat, poses as the main objective of the photographer in the early 1900s. In the background can be seen the shelter and a horse drawn cab waiting.In this late 1960s or early 1970s picture Station Approach is on the right.An entrance to the south side of the station was built on the town side of the railway in 1934. Horse-drawn cabs were gradually replaced by motor vehicles, with Patterson's Taxis being the main firm in the 1940s and 50s.
   
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Barrett Motors at no.1 Station Approach c1972A 1973 ad for no.5 Station Approach 
 
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The buildings opposite the station in 1982 shortly before demolition. The Surrey Mirror Building can be seen in the background. (picture courtesy Jeremy Greenwood)
   
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Another view of the 1934 station entrance with a slam-door train standing at the platform
(picture Bob Sargent)
The old station was replaced in the 1990s by the present structure.Redhill station in pictured in July 2009
   
Floods  
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The area around the railway station was liable to flooding in severe weather before the drainage was improved. The hoarding and building, pictured in 1935, are where the Odeon Cinema was built in 1938In 1965 and the road still flooded at this point. In this picture the entrance to the Odeon Cinema (set back from the road and out of view on the right) has replaced the hoardings seen in the previous pictureFloods in 1968. The station is on the left and cars are coming under the bridge and braving the deep water to come into the town.
 
The Odeon Cinema

The plans for the Odeon were passed in Council in June of 1936 and the cinema was built in on waste ground between the railway and Gurney's Brook, opening its doors for the first time in May 1938. Its roof was painted in camouflage colours during the war but still got an enemy cannon shell through it that was probably intended for the railway station. It differed from most of the other cinemas in the respect that it held a youngsters' Saturday morning film club for many years. In the early 1960s it added fairly popular bingo sessions on Sunday afternoons. It closed in October 1975, and was converted to a nightclub and opened as Busby's in 1976. It subsequently was revamped and renamed Millionaire's in the 1980s and became The British Embassy in 1996.It is now Liquid Envy.

The photo shows the Odeon Cinema under construction in 1937 behind the building (a coffee shop) shown next to the hoardings seen in picture 18 above. In the bottom right corner of the picture the railings and wall of the Redhill Brook can be seen. The photo was probably taken from the upper widow of photographer Windsor-Spice's premises opposite . . . . . 32

  
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The opening of the Odeon Cinema in May 1938. The builders were Robert McAlpine & Son.
The first film shown followed the opening ceremony and starred Edmund Lowe in 'The Squeaker'
Dignitaries at the opening ceremony included The Mayor of Reigate, Alderman H.J.Hamblen, and his wife, the assistant General Manager of Odeon Theatres, Mr Harry Yorke, and the resident manager. Mr Rogenhagen. Notice the two page boys.
   
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35dPages from the sounenir programme for the opening performance are shown above and below, with an enlargement of the theatre details from picture 35c shown below.
  
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 The Odeon Manager Mr Rogenhagen
  
35gThe manager, Mr Rogenhagen, and the theatre staff on the opening day.
  
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The Odeon in 1948, ten years after the openingThe Odeon seen from the west in the 1980s, the car park being part of the old Market Field.Children being evacuated from Redhill in the 1940s. The buses are pulled up on the Odeon forecourt
   
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An appearance of celebrities on the steps of the Odeon cinema just after WW2. The Film was ‘Frieda’; a melodramatic thriller. The cast included Mai Zetterling, David Farrar, Glynis Johns, Flora Robson, Albert Lieven, Barbara Everest and Gladys Henson. The story takes place in England with World War II hostilities just over. (Picture 40 courtesy Peter Pringle)

Cubs in 1977 in the car park
alongside the Odeon Cinema,
the picture being taken across
the Redhill Brook from the
Odeon's upper steps
People in the photo – Sir Malcolm Campbell is in the striped suit. On the back of this photo it states that the mayor is present. Two men could qualify for mayor – Mr Arthur Windsor Spice, who held office 1942-46, and who is standing at Sir Malcolm Cambell’s right shoulder, and Mr Walter Lorkin, who is centre rear in glasses and who was Mayor 1946-49. As neither is wearing mayoral insignia it is difficult to say which is being referred to. Mr Windsor Spice is the more prominent but the date of the film’s release is given as 1947 which was in Mr Lorkin’s time. However, Wendy Fraser kindly identified the lady standing in the centre with the flowers as her grandmother, Mrs Rose Windsor-Spice, wife of Arthur Windsor-Spice who is standing next to her, so it may be that at the time of the film's showing in Redhill they were still Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Reigate. Also referred to is Albert Lieven, pictured left and one of the cast of the film. Which one is he in the photo is difficult to say as there are three possibles.  He is; perhaps the bearded man on the same step as Sir Malcolm, perhaps the man in profile behind him, or the immaculate man in the light suit to the right. Walter Pringle is looking out from behind the lady with the flowers.  Note how many of the people in the picture are holding a cigarette. People top right are probably in a queue waiting to go in for the next performance and wondering what was going on.
   
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A 1938 programme for the Odeon when there were two main films during the week each with a 'B' film. 'Dead End' starred Humphrey Bogart as a hoodlum who returns to his old neighborhood and is idolized by the local youths - the Dead End Kids in their film debut.Another programme in September 1941. 'Moon Over Burma' was on for six days and the following programme started on the Friday.When the '49th Parallel' was showing in December 1941 there was a separate programme for Sunday. The news was shown three times during the day.
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In the 1950s programmes like this one listed forthcoming events and were available free from the cinema foyer. Below are the opposite side to that shown here of four such programmes. These were the days when there was a 'B' film shown with the main feature as well as Gaumont News and different films were shown on most sundays. The programmes folded into three and all are shown opened out here.
October 1956
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November 1956
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December 1956
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March 1957
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The Odeon programme of October 27th `1961Rank Leisure Services ran a competition in conjunction with one of the 'Herbie' series of films. Here the winners are receiving their prizes on the steps of the Odeon on Thursday 31st October 1974. Manager Ted Moss stands at the top of the steps.
  

After being a cinema since 1938 the Redhill Odeon closed in October 1975. There was a presentation of retirement gifts to Ted Moss (4th from right) who had been the manager for the past seven years. The lady with the flowers is Ted's wife, Irene.

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.The Odeon was converted into a nightclub called 'Busby's'. It later was renamed to 'Millionaire's' and by 1994 had a touch of red paint and its steps reduced from two rows to one but not much other extermal change. Millionaires closed in April 1996 and was relaunched some time after as 'The British Embassy', losing its tiled front, having its front steps restyled and no doubt having considerable internal change. The picture left shows it as Busbys, the picture right as Millionaires.
  
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The 1996 relaunch of Redhill's nightclub as the British Embassy
  
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The old Odeon pictured in July 2009 renamed as 'Liquid Envy'..A 430 bus passing the Odeon in the days when the service terminated at what is now considered as the rear of Redhill station on Redstone Hill. Information supplied by Nigel Henty tells us that this would have been the 1960s as the 430 changed to single deck buses (the type with with grab rails and poles for standing and a small section with normal seating) in 1968/9.
  
A front page article from the Surrey Mirror of Thursday July 21st 2011. The previouis week it had been reported that the nightclub had been sold and might be replaced with flats. In this second article the new owners are reported as intending to build up to 50 flats with retail outlets below and underground parking if planning permission is granted. This would involve demolishing much of the existing building but keeping the 1930s listed arc-deco front.

The retail space is further discussed inside the paper where a spokesman for the new owners, Buckinham based Angle Property, who are reported to have paid £1.355m, says that they are contacting supermarkets and expect them to be interested.

  
The old Odeon closed as Liquid Envy and with the front partially boarded for security as workmen remove some of the unwanted fixtures on 26th October 2011.
  
The side of the Odeon building seen across the high Street car park on 26th October 2011 with trees partially obscuring it. When the Odeon was built the car park was partly a market and partly a street of houses. There was no main road alongside the building and the brook had not been culverted. The facade is to be retained but otherwise we shall have to wait to see how conversion to fifty flats will alter this scene.
  
On Saturday 23rd October 2011 the developer staged an exhibition on the project at the Belfry, with a visual display laying out the scheme and representatives on hand to talk to the public. (above photo courtesy Surrey Mirror).

From the public consultation exercise it seemed that the pylon and the facade of the building would be retained but from reading the Surrey Mirror article (right) it is not at all clear that this is so, even though the artist's impression below that accompanied the article shows it intact.

 
  
Time of Change
These photos were taken on 8th July 2011 by John Barber after Liquid Envy closed and while work was in progress to decommission some of the equipment on site. All photos remain his property. Many thanks to John for allowing them to be displayed here. 
  
The rear of the circle, the seating removed when the building was converted to a nightclub. The construction on the left is the false ceiling of the nightclub. The gap in the partition along the rear walkway is where the central access to individual rows of seats was. (photo John Barber)A similar photo to the one on the left but taken from the opposite dirction. (photo John Barber)
  
Projector apertures taken from rear of circle. How many times must many of us have seen these shining with the lights of the projectors with a film in progress. (photo John Barber).Projection room showing control equipment and film rack. (photo John Barber).
  
The projection room showing the projector apertures from that side.(photo John Barber)The door to the rewind room where film spools would have been rewound after use. (photo John Barber)
  
  
A film rack still remaining in the rewind room. (photo John Barber)Circular window in staircase on west side of building. (photo John Barber).
  
Close-up of the circular window showing view to rear of High Street buildings. (photo John Barber)View of Redhill from window at top of the east side of the building. (photo John Barber)
  
Fire escape. (photo John Barber)Liquid and Envy entrance foyer showing bar at rear and equipment being decommissioned. (photo John Barber)
  
Bars in the nightclub. (photos John Barber)
  
Bars in the nightclub. (photos John Barber)
  
Nightclub toilet facilities. (photo John Barber)A seating area for one of the nightclub's bars. (photo John Barber)
  
The Bus Station 
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The then recently constructed bus station in 1986. The office building in the background was that of the Surrey Mirror, which was built in 1972 and demolished in 1987. In the far background St Anne's still dominates the skyline.The demolished Surrey Mirror building was replaced by Quadrant House, probably the ugliest building in the town. Although built 1987/8 it stood empty until 1993 when two floors were occupied by Scottish Mutual Insurance and Computer People. Two floors remained vacant for a while.
  
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The bus station had a covered waiting area and an information office built. (Both photos Reigate and Banstead Council)
  
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A £650,000 refurbishment of the bus shelters was unveiled on 4 July 2008. These two photos taken from the same angle show it before and after the work was carried out. New features include a safer passenger building with better lighting and CCTV coverage, a new waiting room with an electronic passenger information system and a new ticket office with double height counter to assist people in wheelchairs. The ticket office also has an iduction loop for the hard of hearing. There is a rest room for bus operator staff plus a new concourse layout that improves pedestrian safety and also accommodates the larger turning circles required for higher specification buses such as the new Fastway 100. Four separate boarding bays and platforms cater for larger dual door buses and provide step free access into low floor buses, making it easier for people with disabilities, carers with prams and those carrying shopping. Bus flagpoles marking the stops operate on solar power and the pedestrian crossing near Station Road has been remodelled to provide a safer pedestrian route between the bus and railway stations and Redhill Town Centre. (Both photos Reigate and Banstead Council)
  
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A high angle shot of the bus station after work was completed. The wating are was completely renewed. The office was kept but was rendered over. More seating was provided and cycle racks added. One of the new Fastway 100 bases can be seen on the left. (Photo Reigate and Banstead Council)
  
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In October 1994 a large sign announcing the centre of Redhill was erected; the photo left shows it going up. It wasn't until July 2009 that I noticed it wasn't there anymore. Anyone know its fate?
Email from Steve Roch, Project Engineer for Reigate and Banstead Borough Council : - The sign was removed, because a fresh review was taken by a Landscape Architect working on behalf of the Borough and it was felt that the sign wasn't really conveying the improved street scene that was desired in the Town Centre; it had reached its sell-by date really. We installed gates at the entry of Station Road at the roundabout with Princess Way to help enforce the pedestrianised area. We are trying to
deter drivers from entering the zone between 10am and 4pm, to maintain the pedestrian friendly environment. The big sign was removed in 2004. It had been styled to match the smaller signs that had been erected around the Warwick Quadrant for the Quadrant when it was built.
Thanks, Steve.
   
   
The South Side of Station Road East
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An 1886 view from Redhill Station towards the town centre at a time when the south side of Station Road East) was not shops and offices but the Market Field. The Redhill Brook runs across the foreground with what look like allotments closest to the camera. This is where the Odeon Cinema was built. The ground beyond is the Market Field before shops were built on the south side of Station Road and the north-east end of the High Street. At this time no 2 Station Road was the other side of the crossroads in the centre of the town in the western side of Station Road (the Reigate side). After the south side of Station Road East was developed the building were renumbered to begin at no.2 near to the railway station The opportunity to develop the south side of Station Road was one that was opposed by those who would rather the area was left for recreational purposes. The money to be made from the exploitation of prime land in a town centre is something that would rarely be passed by.however, and the south side of the road was built upon in the late 1800s. Above is what is today no.30 Station Road almost finished while the foundations for the remainder of the buildings along this side of Station Road seem to be in situ. In the background are the backs of the sheds that faced onto the Market Field. (Picture courtesy Stuart Wright)
   
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Two early 1900s pictures of the completed south side of Station Road East. In 1897 it was decided to develop the Station Road and High Street frontages of the Market Field.  There were two groups opposed to the change, one wanting the field preserved in its entirety and laid out as pleasure gardens to enhance the centre of the town, the other, perhaps realising that the first option was a lost cause, advocating that the shops be set back and fronted with trees. The first of these factions was one man, Viscount Oxenbridge, who, at a February meeting said that not only would the field become far less suitable for its purpose but that its openness would be lost to the town and the view spoiled.  He argued that new shops would take business away from the existing town traders and that cattle being driven to market would block the streets. Mr S.Brooks, chairman of the meeting, said that local traders would get first choice of plots. A vote was taken and the result was for the development by 170 votes to 78.  Those who wanted the buildings set back were not successful either; the shops were laid out with a service road at their rear as originally intended, purely commercial interests winning the day.  Building started in 1899 and attracted Sainsbury's and Nicol's and others to the new development.  Just behind the horse's heads in the lefthand picture is Cookes Restaurant, which, it is believed, was owned at one time by the Mrs Lambert, the wife of Harrie Lambert who owned Lambert's Bakery in the High Street.
   
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Although a relatively new building at the time a new stone facade was added to the lower front of nos.4 and 6 Station Road in 1913 as the building's appearance was not thought to have sufficient prestige. These buildings have since been demolished to make way for and are now the site of the Abbott pub. The stone facade can just be seen above the fence just in front of the red car in this picture of the end of the row of Victorian shops that were demolished in the 1980s
 
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The demolition of the buildings on the south side of Station Road early 1980s. Some have already gone, the left hand block being the last demolished. The centre block with the peaked frontis the one over the present arcade.
 
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'Gentlemen and Their Sons' was Hawes advertising slogan, as their shop at 8-10 Station Road specialised in clothes for men and boys. The Scotch Wool shop and staff. The shop was next to Hawes at no.12 Station Road from at least the 1920s until the 1950s.
  
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This Station Road furnisher of the 1950s were at no.10Part of the south side of Station Road c1906
  
  
Redhill and Reigate's First Cinema 
  
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In this 1931 photo Hawes shop can be seen with the car parked outside. The stone facade on nos.4-6 (referred to above) can also be seen. Further along (just above the 2nd car) is the Picture House with its canopy over the pavement.The site of the cinema Royal became the arcade in 1939. It had no canopy over the pavement when this picture was taken in the 1920s. The cinema changed hands and became the Picture House in 1927 at which time the canopy was added. In this photo the film advertised is 'Montmartre', starring Pola Negri. The film was released in 1924 so the photo probably dates from that year.
  
73The first cinema in the Borough of Reigate was The Cinema Royal, later known as The Picture House. It opened in October 1909 at 16-18 Station Road on the site of what later became the arcade. Its head was Mr Reg. Thompson of the Electric Picture Place Co., who had similar enterprises in Croydon and Epsom. Nicol's ladies outfitters took advantage of the considerable interest and excitement in the town at the prospect of the first picture being shown by giving away one ticket for each five shillings spent in the shop.    The Cinema Royal's main auditorium measured 60 x 29 feet and the balcony 34 x 28 feet, and in this area the premises was licensed to entertain 700 people.

The Cinema Royal became came into the ownership of Mr Arthur Reynolds in 1927. He also took over ownership of the Pavilion cinema in the High Street (later the Rio). He made extensive alterations, creating a much more luxurious cinema that was closed for the work to be done in the latter part of 1927 and due to re-open on Boxing Day renamed as the Picture House. Due to one of the worst winters on record the re-opening date was achieved but not all the work had been done because supplies could not be delivered, so it closed again. It then suffered the calamity of being flooded to a depth of two feet when the snows melted and the Redhill Brook overflowed on the evening of the first week of 1928. Its staff, assisted by the staff of the Pavilion ripped up brand new carpets in an effort to save them. The grand re-opening by Mayor Malcolmson was delayed until March 12th 1928. Two months later the cinema was once again closed, this time following a fire. It reopened shortly after.

An advert for the Cinema Royal from 1924 
  
CINEMA ROYAL, REDHILL
Monday Oct. 15th 1917
FOR THE WHOLE WEEK
D.W.GRIFFITH'S GIGANTIC SPECTACLE
BIRTH OF A NATION
As shown at Drury Lane Theatre
Orchestra under the direction of Mons. Louis Pingeu.
The Most Gorgeous and Marvellous Production Ever Seen
18,000 PEOPLE  3,000 HORSES 5,000 DISTINCT SCENES
SHOWN TWICE DAILY DURING THE WEEK
3 O'CLOCK AFTERNOONS 6.30 EVENINGS
Secure your seats by booking them - Phone 113 Redhill
74aWhat the cinema had been like before renovation is unknown but afterwards it boasted 'perfect ventilation, luxurious cosiness and courteous attention'. It had a balcony and two 'spacious family boxes'. It also had a new canopy at its front that covered the pavement. Unfortunately fire broke out at the beginning of May and it had to re-close for repairs and redecoration, not re-opening until later in the year.

The cinema continued for almost nine more years, before closing for good. The reason for the final closure is unknown but competition was fierce. The Central Hall, built in 1934 had started showing films two day each week and building work on a new cinema, the Odeon, was under way. The canopy of the Picture House still stands in the same place today but the main body of the cinema is now the arcade.

Cinema Royal advert from 1917  
   
   
The Arcade  
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The advertisement for the opening of the Arcade on Thursday June 29th 1939
   
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The Arcade in the 1970s with the fish shop on one side of the entrance and the flower shop on the other. The fish shop was originally built so that with its shutters down it was open to the pavement and its side faced the middle walkway, very cold for those working there in the winter. In the 1970s or 80s the shop was glassed in and customers went inside to buy fish. (Picture Bob Sargent)The arcade was created on the site of the old Cinema Royal, shown above. The films advertised are 'Montmatre' and 'Flame of Love'. A banner lower down proclaims 'Forbidden Love' and there is little doubt what kind of film pulled in the crowds. (More about this cinema below). Note that in this picture the cinema doesn't have the canopy over the pavement.The Arcade was left on the end of the row when buildings further east were demolished to make way for the new ring road (Picture Bob Sargent)
   
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The arcade fish shop stopped trading in July 1994. I happened to be passing, saw that the arcade card shop was going to expand into the space and went in to find the fish shop signs being taken down. No-one wanted them so I had the best one and it now hangs in my loft.In 1997/8 the arcade was renovated with new shopfronts that all looked the same. These new frontages could be viewed from the rear and all the old shop names were still visible. Whether this remains the case is not known.
 
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Inside the wool shop that was in the arcade in 1998The arcade in March 2008
  
Email received from Jane Cosford
My grandparents, Violet and Richard (Vi and Dick) owned and ran the florists in the Arcade during the 1960's. Amongst others who were there at the time were the Mannings, who ran the grocers, and Reg Winyard, who was the greengrocer.  I have many happy childhood memories from there, and wonder if anyone else remembers those days? - Jane Cosford (nee Watson)
CONTACT AUTHOR
  
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This picture shows the gap between the arcade and the Odeon. Reference to photos above shows just how much of the south side of Station Road had to be demolished to build the bypass road. The Abbott pub occupies some of that space (see below).
  
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In Redhill generally the number of office blocks was increasing amd so was the number of people working in the town. The opportunity to increase the number of pubs in the town was there to be taken. The other pubs in the town objected to the new addition as did the police but the opportunity to clean up the ugliness of the bare building end appealed to Borough Councillors who unanimously approved the plans. The pictures above show the steelwork going up in 1997.
  
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The finished pub, named the Abbott, viewed from a slightly different angle to the above pictures in 1997. The pub is owned by brewers Greene King. 
  
  
South Side Shops Beyond the Arcade
  
Picture of the International Tea Stores required88
At no.20 for some time was the International Tea Stores, later just International Stores (no picture available). In October 1994 Mawwell's Fish Restaurant occupied the spot
  
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Cooke's Restaurant was at no.22 for a number of years in the first half of the 1900s. Here we can see the 1922 front and the 1908 restaurant interior. At one time the restaurant was owned by Harrie Lambert and his wife Emma Daisy, who also owned Lamberts bakery on the corner of the High Street and Cromwell Road.
  
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Cookes 1922 advertisementYears after the above pictures were taken the shop site at no.22 was occupied by Three Cooks bakers. Picture taken October 1994
  
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Hammond and Dawson, who also had a shop in Bell Street, Reigate, were at no.24 Station Road c1920. Here we can see inside the shop and the men's and ladies departments at that time. From the mid-20s to after the mid 30s the store was that of A.Salisbury's ladies and gents costumiers. In the 1950s it was Chamberlain and Jones, ladies and gents outfitters.
  
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Hammond and Dawson's shop is on the right in this early 1900s picture 
  
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Shops existing in 2009 include Supreme Fish at no.20, Zak's Fast Food at no.22 and Andrews Estate Agents at no.24. Above Andrews two white drain pipes rise to dated hoppers showing that the building went up in 1899 (see right).One of the dated hoppers above Andrews shop
  
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Rutter Bros., at no.26, have a sale in progress in this mid-1930s picture of the town centre end of Station Road East. In the 1920s Rowland's tobacconist was here until moving onto the opposite side of Station Road. Next to Rutters is Arthur Wood & Son, the music shop with the Redhill School of Music over it. Sainsbury's is next with Nicol & Sons ladies wear and haberdashery shop on the corner of Station Road and the High Street. Lloyds Bank is on the opposite diagonal corner with the spire of St Matthew's Church visible in the distance.Marriages ironmongery shop was at no.28. There was also a shop at Bell Street, Reigate, and the firm made street lights, gates railings and other cast iron goods. Examples of their work can still be seen around the borough.
  
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At 30 was Arthur Woods music shop, seen here on the left in a photo from before 1921. .An advert for Arthur Wood & Sons from the 1920s. Arthur Wood had been a piano tuner and went into business on his own, opening a shop on the northern side of the western part of Station Road in 1868. Presumably he moved to the southern side of Station Road east when the shops were built c1899. There was also a branch at East Grinstead.
  
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As well as musical instruments Woods sold Gramophones and records. The advert on the left for the latest gramophone models is from September 1931. By 1935, the date of this advert on the right, Arthur Wood & Sons has been incorporated into Rhythm Agencies, who also had a shop at Reigate. The photo on the advert is of Mr H.Wilson, head of the firm's piano tuning section, who had been with Arthur Wood's business for 41 years and was now with Rhythms. Rhythms went on into the 1950s and possibly beyond. I bought my first record, Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent, from there in 1956.
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Arthur Wood advertisement 1928Arthur Wood advertisement 1930
  
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Sainsbury's shop was at 32 between Marriage's shop and Nicol's, Redhill's first department store. and can be seen on the left of this picture of the centre of the town. The picture dates from c1908 but the shop opened on this site in 1900. The shop had two long counters on each side with different products sold at intervals along each one, which meant queueing at each place in turn to get all the items required. Sainsbury's moved to larger premises in Station Road West in about 1965/66 where it remained until the move to its present location in London Road in about 1988.
  
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Nicol's Store, here viewed from London Road c1910, was at 34-36 Station Road and occupied a prime postion in the centre of the town. This pictures dates from c1910 and is of the store as rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 1901 (see below).The commencement of the building of Nicol's store in 1898 as seen from the Market Hall. The horse trough was later moved to Shaws Corner and the fountain in the foreground, provided in 1877 from public subscription) made way for a WW2 shelter used by ARP (Air Raid Precautions) personnel. After the war the ARP shelter was in turn replaced by a bus office and passenger shelter. (Picture courtesy Mrs Nicol)
  
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The original shop opened around 1872 by Mr Nicol in Redhill
High Stree
Nicol's new shop in 1901
  
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Robert Nicol was born at Bourne, Lincolnshire, the son of farmer parents who came from Scotland and later moved to Wales. He came to Redhill in 1872 and set up business as a draper at 13 High Street, premises later occupied by the Maypole Dairy. At those premises he put in a new
shop front and extended the rear for storage. He later took over another shop at 19 High Street and expanded into the menswear business, both shops in use at the same time. When the Market Hall Company decided to release some of the Station Road frontage of the Market Field for
building he secured the plot on the corner of the High Street and Station Road and his new premises was the first to be built on that land. Here, new departments for glass, china, hardware, carpets and furniture were included. The photo above was taken in 1913.
On 25th May 1901, this brand new Nicol’s building was destroyed in the worst fire in the history of Redhill, in which two shop assistants lost their lives. Both local brigades fought the fire and other brigades also attended but the building and its contents were a total loss. An irony of the event was that not only were the police and fire stations just across Station road but also the Captains of both the Redhill and Reigate Fire Brigades were in the town when the alarm was given. In the above picture hoses are being deployed and what must surely be Mr Fowler from Fowler's
Chemist shop is going to view the action.
Fowler's Shop is now the Belfry Café, with its floor lowered to street level.The man on the left with the pipe is more interested in the photographer (who could have been Mr Padwick from Padwick's Chemist shop).
  
Cause of the Fire
    The fire was thought to have been started by a curtain flapping in the breeze over a gas mantle at the front of the shop's ground floor. A factor that day was the strong north-east wind. The store was entirely lit by gas and each mantle had a pilot light that was kept burning at all times. The flames were first noticed inside the store by a male assistant who immediately informed Mr Nicol. Mr Nicol ordered a search of the third floor and told all staff to leave the building.
     At the turn of the century it was quite normal for staff to live on the premises. Bedrooms were provided on the third floor and a dining room on the second floor. There was a staff of around 30 with 28 of them living in. Some were on duty, some were on the third floor preparing dinner, and others had gone to their homes for lunch, making it difficult to account for everyone. Assistants Mr Turner and Miss Field were at lunch. Mr Turner, aged 21, had been with Nicol's only seven weeks and Miss Field, also 21, was scheduled to be with the second lunch group but at the time of the fire was on the second floor with the first group.
    A member of the public, George Thompson of Ladbroke Road, was the first to see the fire from outside. He alerted the police who sent an officer on a bicycle to call out the Redhill firemen from either their homes or their places of work. The fire started around 1.10 p.m. and had certainly been spotted by 1.15 p.m. but the heat was already great enough to cause the plate glass shop window fronting onto Station Road to disintegrate at 1.20 p.m.
     Another factor aiding the spread of the fire was the unguarded central staircase which, with the window gone, acted as a chimney up which the flames could roar.
     The Captain of the Redhill Brigade was by now on site and had got two hoses attached to street water outlets provided for the purpose and, with help, was directing the two jets at the fire. When he was told that someone was still in the building he ordered a hand-drawn escape appliance from the nearby station.
  
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Jets of water being directed at the building. Mr Fowler (if that is he) is in conversation with other men and one fireman wears a helmet. The pictures of the fire were taken by Mr T.P Padwick, chemist of Station Road.The fire seen from the High Street. By this time smoke and flames were issuing from all windows and the roof. The spare plot of ground opposite what is now Woolworths can be seen better here. No buildings had yet been erected immediately south of the High Street frontage of the store.
(Picture courtesy Mrs Nicol)
  
Rescue Attempts
    A man sent upstairs to clear everyone out was later reported to have gone to every third floor room. His search was hampered by smoke and flames and apparently he failed to locate two people, a man and a woman seen at upper windows. People shouted at them to get onto the roof and get across to the safety of adjoining roofs. They withdrew from the window and a few moments later smoke and flames shot out.
     Albert Johnson, foreman of the Telephone Company, was working at the High Street end of Cromwell Road when he saw the fire. He had a girlfriend working at the shop and he ran there to find her outside. Looking up at the building he saw a man, looking unconcerned, open a second floor window, and he shouted for him to come down. At this the man closed the window and disappeared. Someone else brought a builder's ladder and this was put up against the building but reached only to the second floor. Mr Johnson and another man climbed in the second floor window and managed to search some of the rooms before being forced by the flames to retreat. Their escape had to be made rapidly, and the last man slid rather than climbed back down the ladder to street level. One minute later the first floor fell in.
    The fire escape was brought to the scene but although said to be long enough to reach the upper floor was probably not deployed. This was because the heat of the inferno was such as to make it difficult to pass along the road, let alone get near the building, and flames were shooting out of the upper storeys by this time.
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 The hand drawn escape apparatus unused and far enough from the building not the catch fire itself in the fierce heat (Picture courtesy Mrs Nicol)
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A hose was deployed to prevent the fire spreading to adjacent buildings. Sainsbury's premises were saved by a stout adjoining wall and the action of the Fire Brigade. There was concern about gunpowder that was stored in Marriages shop, which was next to Sainsbury's.Here the building is a total loss and damping down operations are in progress.
  
Fire Fighting Attempts
      Head Constable Metcalfe had been at Lynwood Road when he first saw smoke that he attributed to a traction engine. He soon realised that there was too much smoke for such a vehicle and ran to the town centre and thence into the Police Station. Upon finding that both local brigades had been called he called the Croydon Brigade. He got back to the fire at 1.30 p.m. only to find that it was too late to save anything. The Reigate Captain had called his brigade but before they arrived at 1.50 p.m. the whole structure had fallen in, showing just what a hold the fire had got in such a short time and how disastrous it was.

    Other fires were started in the town by embers blown on the strong wind. A quarter of a mile away the roof of the Congregational Chapel caught fire. The flames took half an hour to subdue and the roof collapsed in two places.
     Closer by, the roof of the Wheatsheaf public house, recently rebuilt and opened only two weeks before, was damaged; water jets had to be played on this and other buildings to prevent the spread of the conflagration. Sainsbury's was saved by a stout adjoining wall and water jets, while gunpowder was hastily removed from Marriage's shop. At least a dozen other buildings were damaged and the heat cracked windows in the Market Hall opposite. A shed near Grove Road caught fire but was extinguished by the Fire Brigade before highly flammable liquids stored in it were affected. Several other fires were also started in the town. It was reported that a handkerchief on a man's jacket pocket was set alight by cinders blown in the wind.
  
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Although Nicol's building had collapsed the Wheatsheaf roof was still alight, as were several other buildings in the town. Whatever criticisms were levelled at the Fire Brigade it does seem that they were able to turn out quickly and deal with all the fires. If firemen were not present in sufficient numbers there would have been no shortage of local people in the town to provide assistance with certain tasks under a fireman's direction. The picture above right was taken on Whit Sunday, the day after the fire. The full extent of the damage can be seen. Nicol's is a total loss and all of the Wheatsheaf's facing widows have been broken by the radiated heat, those at street level being boarded up. The damage to its roof can also be seen. Quite a large number of people came to see the scene of the fire over the weekend. The corner lamppost seems to have already been repaired(Picture courtesy Mrs Nicol)
  
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Total devastation, with nothing recoverable. This was the scene at the centre of the town when everything had cooled down. (Picture courtesy Mrs Nicol).
  
122The Cost
    Apart from the Redhill and Reigate Brigades, five other Brigades came to the town's aid. Some had to travel so far that they stood no chance of arriving in time. The steam engine from Croydon was the last on site at 3.15 p.m. The steam drove an engine to pump the water but otherwise the vehicle was horse-drawn, and such was the gallop that one of the horses dropped dead on arrival.
     The building had cost £7,000 to build but was insured for £5,000. The stock was also underinsured. Afterwards the total value was put at £20,000 and Mr Nicol's uninsured loss at £12,000.
Curiosity appears to be confined to mainly men and boys in this picture of the aftermath of Nicol's fire. As was usual at the turn of the century hardly anyone went out without a hat. 
  

Enquiry and Criticism
    The inevitable recriminations regarding the fire followed at an enquiry and other meetings of various bodies. One of the problems had been that the fire had occurred immediately before a bank holiday and there had been a delay in finding out who was responsible for subsequently clearing the site and in finding and identifying the two bodies.
     At a meeting of ratepayers the Mayor reminded people that the Home Office had threatened to withhold its grant to Reigate Council because of poor facilities at Redhill. The purchase of a steamer (the type of fire engine brought to the site by the Croydon Brigade) had been considered four years earlier but had not been purchased because there had been nowhere to keep it at Redhill.

Lessons
     In view of the rapidity of the conflagration it is not certain that a steamer would have added enough extra fire fighting power, as water jets connected directly to water mains had been directed at the fire quite quickly. Nevertheless there was some disquiet at the effectiveness of the fire brigade's equipment. It was a disquiet that continued for several years until a motorised engine was finally purchased in 1914 and first used at the Athenaeum fire of 1915.
     Another criticism was of the method used and the time taken for the firemen to be called. Only the year before an experiment using grenades to alert firemen had been tried but abandoned because of public concern.
     The claim was made that the building had timber within four and a half inches of its front, something forbidden under a local bylaw for safety reasons. This was found not to be the case but did apply to the new Wheatsheaf, the bylaw having being ignored and the building passed, it was said, for its picturesqueness.

Rising from the Ashes
    Nicol's Store was rebuilt to the original outer design and the building still stands today. It suffered another fire in 1929, although with much less serious effect, the fire being contained to the ground floor. The new premises were greatly different internally, however, with electricity instead of gas for lighting and numerous other fire precautions, including better access between floors, fire doors and metal ceilings on the ground floor. The builder was the Redhill firm of Martin and Worssell. Around the year 2000 the cobbler's shop then a part of the building was enlarged. For a while one of the cast pillars that would once have been in a larger, open plan floor was visible. Also the The patterned heavy gauge metal forming the ceiling and used as a fire stop
was also visible. Today it is hidden above a new false ceiling.

More about Robert Nicol
    Robert Nicol married Miss Elizabeth Hall of Newton Abbott, Devon in 1872; they had three sons and two daughters. Sons John and Fred Nicol came into business with their father, son Robert, presumably the eldest, dying some years before 1930. The business was made a Limited Company in 1928. Mr R.S.Nicol was prominent in the movement for early Wednesday closing and was one of the few who started 4 p.m. closing before full half-day closing was introduced.
     Mr Nicol senior became a Councillor from 1901 to 1903 but did not seek re-election at the end of that term. He owned land at Shaws Corner that he kept in reserve for some time in case it should be required for the new Borough Town Hall but this was built on ground at Castlefield Road and St Paul’s United Reform Church now stands on Robert Nicol's plot.
     At the first sale of the Monson estate he bought most of the land that is now South Merstham. There he built a house for himself, converted narrow lanes into wide metalled roads and laid out a sewerage system. He started a brickyard where bricks for new houses were made, and a flint quarry for road foundation material and wall facing. A Member of South Merstham Parish Council from 1896 to 1913 he was prominent in acquiring land for the recreation ground and gave land for access to it from Albury Road.
     Robert Nicol died aged 85 in 1931. He was in daily attendance at the Redhill business until two months before his death. The service was at All Saints Church, Merstham, and the shop closed for a half day for his funeral.
..................................................................................................... A bill for linoleum from 1925

The End of Nicol's Store
      In In October 1933 Nicol's lease ran out and the shop's whole stock was disposed of. Nicol's was being run at this time by its founder's sons, John and Frederick. In January 1934 it was announced that negotiations were being carried out by Watkin and Watkin of Reigate for the lower part to be divided into three. Sainsbury’s extended their shop into the first part, Montague Burton took the part as far as the door opposite the Wheatsheaf for a men's-wear shop, and a branch of the Midland Bank was to take the High Street section. The name of Nicol might have been removed from the town centre but it was to remain in the town for a few more years to come as John Nicol opened a new store in the western side of Station Road.

 
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The proclamation of the accession of Georve V on 11th May 1910. The announcement was made by Mayor Aldernam Grogory from the balcony of the Market Hall opposite Nicol's store. It is 23 years before would expanded into part of Nicol's premises and and entrance into Nicol's can be seen just right of centre of picture (with gas lamp over).When Burton's took over most of the ground floor of Nicol's the door became their entrance, with their logo on the step. It remained after Burton's left, becoming access to upper floor offices, although the logo remained. It was eventually removed and a new office access door installed at the opposite side of the building and the space being absorbed by the adjacent shop..
  
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The Burton logo still on the step in the 1990sThis stone a stone laid in 1935 by a member of the Burton family can be seen bottom left of the above photo. There were three of these stones, each with a different name, but now there are only two.
  
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The door still in situ in the 1990s with a flowers on one side and a kitchen showroom on the other. The street market can be seen set up in the High Street.The rear of some of the buildings on the south side of Station Road in the early 1980s. (picture courtesy Jeremy Greenwood)
 
 
The North Side of Station Road East
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A 1950s view of the north side of the road with the sattion entrance in the foreground (Station Approach has been dealt with at the top of the page). The single storey building was for many years the premises of various eastate agents. .Whether Station Road, or any other part of Redhill for that matter, was ever this colourful is unlikely. This view looking west of the buildings between Station Approach and the centre of the town is from an early postcard. This view looking west and Ladbroke Road is halfway along.
  
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All of the buildings apart from the Market Hall can be seen in this picture from 1982. Ladbroke Road can also be seen.
(picture courtesy Jeremy Greenwood)
Another angle on the buildings between Station Approach and Ladbroke Road shortly before they were demolished in 1982.
(picture courtesy Jeremy Greenwood)
  
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This photo is slightly eartlier than the one above and the shops still have some of their signs in situ from the day they closed several years before. On the right with its name in red lettering is the premises of Windsor Spice (where as a boy of eight I had my photo taken). The shop with the sunshade down is still in use in this picture and is Averys newsagents, confectioner and tobaconist. In 1892 these two shops were Witmore's bakery and confectioners when it spanned both premises (see picture right). Next along in Wapling Bakers, which in the 1950s had been the Scotch Bakery. The last shop, the one with the belisha beacon outside, was Brett's Opticians.A Windsor Spice photo sleeve, probably from the 1950s
  
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Whitmores shop in 1892. In 1908 it was advertising its address as 1 and 3 Station Road. Perhaps it had once been two shops. By 1931 the shop was split into separate premises again.Whitmore's advertisement early 1900s
  
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Some of the shops on the north side of Station Road East in 1982. Demolition was about to begin but the shop fronts had been stripped, revealing the old numbers and signs. The shop far right had been Benjamin Lipman's Hairdressers and Hall & Co. Coal Merchants premises. The one with the old Sanders sign remaining from years before had later belonged the the Crusader Insurance Company for some time. Number 15 had been Rowland Tobaconists for many years. The next one along had been Bacons Corn Stores. The shop far left had been Hardwickes House Agents and Valuers. Right is a close-up of the no.15 on the centre shop. (Both pictures courtesy Jeremy Greenwood)

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A 411 bus stands by the shops on the north side of Station Road East in about 1965. On the right can be seen the South Eastern Wine stores. On the far left the shops are Hardwicke & Co., estate agents and the Surrey Trustee Savings Bank.
  
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The centre of old Redhill from a slightly different angle (and with very different transport). The date is anywhere between 1877 and 1895.  On the left is the Market Field and in the distance the building in London Road, now Lloyds Bank, which then housed Lambert's butchers’ shop. To its right is the Globe Building where Barton & Co., Wine Merchants, carried on their business. The Station Road shops on the right are also seen in the above pictures. The furthest shop is Pearce's printers; next was Harrie Stacey's premises (before he moved across the road) with solicitors Morrison and Nightingale above. John Robinson, boot maker, was next, followed by the tobacco shop of William Rowland, established around 1877.  Saddler and harness maker, J.Sanders, had his shop next door and is the last one to be seen here.  The picture was probably used by him as an advertisement, looking as if it has been coloured, the shop name enhanced, and the words 'and at Horley' added between the upper windows. (Picture courtesy Neil Ferrett)
  
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Mr Sanders' shop in 1892. The business was established in 1853.Mr J.T. Sanders aged 80 in June 1910. He was from 1881 to 1906 a local councillor and Alderman. He was an enthusiastic member of the Redhill Bowling Club and also supported Redhill's football team.
  
Additional from Sean Hawkins
John Thomas Sanders  1832-1923, Saddler & Harness Maker, 13 Station Road, Redhill

Photograph on Alan Moore’s website under Station Road (above) and he appears in two other pictures in Arthur Trower’s “Our Homestead and its Old World Garden”, where he is to be seen on p. 189, sitting to the left on a garden seat with another man  – as yet unidentified - wearing a light coloured hat and smoking a pipe; and second from the right in the back row of the Bowlers, facing p. 191. (Both photos reproduced below)

  
  
Shown in directories from 1867, following Sander’s death in 1923 the business continued to be conducted under his name at the same address, although run by his daughter Jane Matilda Day until her death on 9th August 1938. In Kelly’s Directory for 1942 the business is still included under the old name but now controlled by Jane Matilda’s daughter, Mary Emmeline Day.  However, Mary died in 1943, and there ceases to be any further mention of Sanders in subsequent directories. The 1944 Kelly’s Directory does not list No.13 Station Road, which suggests that it was untenanted.

Sanders was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where his father William was a currier.  He appears to have settled in Wendover – in the Census of 1851 he is described as a boot maker in that town, and in 1861 as a saddler and harness maker.  He married twice: {1) Mary Ward at Chelsea in January 1850, by whom he had at least five children; and (2) Harriett Foster at Reigate in 1867 (she died in 1897).

He served as a local Councillor and Alderman for some 25 years, and was a keen member of the Redhill Bowling Club & supporter of the Redhill Football Club.

 
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In this photo from 1931 the man in the foreground is passing Flynn's Dyers. The Kodak sign belongs to Windsor-Spice's shop The 'luncheon and teas' sign is over what was then Frank Diffey's pastry shop at no.3.Station Road 1950. Little has changed from the previous photo.
  
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Looking east from the crossroads in this similarly early view before the days of traffic lights - hence the policeman - we can see the horsedrawn cabs on their official stands outside the Market Hall. Advertising was clearly as important then as it is now.Something not seen in the photo on the left is the police station which was tucked away in Carlton Place, which ran between the Market Hall and the building with the J.R.Clarke advert on the side. This picture from 1879
shows the complete force with Head Constable George Rogers on the left. The story of the local police force is on pages 115-120 of 'A History of Redhill' volume 1 by Alan Moore.
(Photo courtesy Holmesdale Natural History Club)
  
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Also tucked away near the police station for a number of years from the early days of the town into the early 1900s was the Redhill fire station. Here some of the force with their manual engine display some of their trophies outside the police station. 
The Market Hall 
  
The Redhill Market Hall owed its existence, it is said, to a conversation between Mr Henry Fowle, the Redhill watchmaker and jeweller, and Mr Allsopp of Cormongers Farm, Nutfield, on the importance of a marketplace for Redhill.  Certainly its conception was brought about by the lack of two important facilities that every 19th century go-ahead town should have, a room for public meetings and an enclosed market.
     At a meeting at the Warwick Town infant school in Station Road, on 26th March, 1857, three proposals were put forward.  The first, by the Rev. Wynter, was that the growing town needed the provision of public rooms near to the railway junction.  The second by Mr. Searle went further, proposing that a market be established and to that end a Market House be built.  He added that a committee should be established to form a limited company to raise the necessary capital of £3,000 via 600 shares at £5 each.  He named a committee that included Lord Monson, who was to be the first chairman.  A proposal by the Rev. Kelk was that the Rt. Hon. Lord Somers, Lord of the Manor of Reigate, be asked to aid the project, and that the high placed persons of the area support the undertaking with a public banquet.
     Another meeting, attended by Lord Monson's steward, was held at the Warwick Hotel, and yet another when his Lordship's London solicitors came down.  How many meetings in all were held is uncertain, but once Lord Monson (later to become Viscount Oxenbridge) attended in person the Hall and market were assured.  His Lordship was president until his death.         R.Palgrave, in his 1860 'Handbook to Reigate', wrote about the Redhill Market House Company,  'The company has been established; and the Market House, erected near to the railway junction, will be open to the public shortly.  The company is formed under the Limited Liability Act; and the capital will be expended on a calculation that promises to yield a dividend of not less than £5
per cent to the shareholders.  Application for shares should be made to the secretary, Mr. A.Ross, Gatton, Reigate; or to the solicitors, Messrs Pattinson and Wigg, 10, Clement's Lane, London, EC’.
     The Hall was erected on a half-acre plot purchased from Mr. Ladbroke (presumably of Frenches) for £200.  The architects were I & H Francis of London and the builder was Mr. James Fisher of Reigate.  Two cottages had been in progress of erection on the site but the work was stopped by the High Bailiff, who considered the place too boggy to be fit for habitation.  This bogginess caused problems with the Hall's foundations and it was always said that the building stood on deep piles.  The first brick was laid in July, 1859, but the building was still not complete a year later.  The directors were authorised to borrow £1,500 to buy more land and to complete the building.  The original cost of £2,002.10s is said to have increased to £3,400, but this may have included the extra land cost.  In 1861 rumours that the brand new building was falling down resulted in the architects being called to inspect the roof but they gave it a clean bill of health.
The Market Hall in the 1880s before extensions were added. The fountain was provided in 1876 at the corner of London and Station Roads. (147)
   The clock that adorned the front of the building for all its life was presented by local tradesman, Mr. Fowle, in 1861, assisted by Lord Monson. The meeting room was alternately used with the Public Hall at Reigate for
Council meetings, so the Market Hall, apart from being a part of the history of Redhill in itself was the scene of the making of much of the history of the Borough as a whole during the last forty years of 19th century.  Council use apart, the building got off to a less than perfect start, for the building's facilities were found to be difficult to let, and the directors had to sell land in 1866 to pay for painting.
     The situation was no better by February of 1870, when Mr. William Stenning voiced the opinion that it was a disgrace that the local inhabitants had not come forward to aid the unpaid directors and to assist in the raising of necessary funds, at least part of which was needed to prevent the Hall being closed and falling into the hands of the mortgagees.
     Things seemed bad, but a solution was found.  Opposite the hall, on the south side of Station Road East, was a large piece of land which, it was thought, could be used as a livestock market while the Hall was used as a corn market.  This would resolve the livestock market concept as the company had tried holding a market at the Hall but had found it difficult.  The old Market House Company was wound up and a new one, the Market Hall Company, was formed on 29th July, 1871, twelve years and one month after the formation of the original company.  New shares were offered to the old shareholders and steps taken to attract new shareholders.  £4,000 was obtained in the form of 800 £5 shares.  The purchase of the field was negotiated with the railway company by Jeremiah Colman, Mr Waterlow and a Mr Head on behalf of the Market House Company during or shortly after 1871. The land was duly secured, not by the Market Hall Company but by Mr W.B.Waterlow of High Trees, who allowed the company to use it as a livestock market and saved them raising a mortgage.
The new company clearly did better than the old one for by 1872 alterations and additions to the building were being considered.  In 1874 the capital was increased by £2,000 and the Market Field was bought from Mr Waterlow for £1,500.
     The field was fairly boggy and money had to be spent surfacing it.  A drinking fountain was provided in 1876, apparently at the personal cost of Mr Robert Field, who later became a director, and it stood outside the hall until the beginning of WW2.  A horse trough, also provided by public subscription, was later removed to Shaws Corner and stands there still. A design for a west wing was submitted in 1878, finished around 1892 and underwritten by the Capital and Counties Bank, which substantiated its backing of the project by moving in to occupy the ground floor. 
The post office, previously alongside the Sussex Arms in Station Road West since 1856, also moved into the new wing.  On the first floor there was a reading room, library and billiard room for the Literary Institute.  Additions included a stage at the western end of the assembly hall, and a gallery to the eastern end.  At the north end of the wing was a suite of offices on the ground floor, and above it the new assembly room, which became known as
The Market Hall with its west wing completed and the fountain (out of view in this picture) moved to a central position (148)the Small Hall.  This had adjacent retiring rooms and became the Redhill County Court, which held monthly sittings.he livestock market was held on alternate Wednesdays.  Stalls were set up for a general market inside the Market Hall until 1896 when the stallholders had to move out because
a dance floor was installed.  This general market flourished for a short while on Saturday nights in the High Street but later in the year, in co-operation with the Corporation, it was moved into part of the Market Field.  The field was about 2 acres in size and oblong in shape.  Its surface was irregular and poorly maintained; it was bounded on the east by a boarded fence with a stream on the other side, on the south by a paddock and a private road and on its Station Road and High Street sides by an open paled fence.  The fences were fairly new and trees had been planted along the Station Road and High Street boundaries.  There were two entrances to the field from the High Street and one centrally positioned in Station Road.
    In 1897 it was decided to develop the Station Road and High Street frontages of the Market Field.  There were two movements opposed to the change, one wanting the field preserved in its entirety and laid out as pleasure gardens to enhance the centre of the town, the other, perhaps realising that the first option was a lost cause, advocating that the shops be set back and fronted with trees.
     The first of these factions was one man, Viscount Oxenbridge, who, at a February directors' meeting expressed his objections, saying that not only would the field become far less suitable for its purpose but that its openness would be lost to the town and the view spoiled.  There was some laughter at this but he persevered by adding that new shops would take business away from the existing town traders, and that cattle being driven to market would block the streets.
     Mr S.Brooks, chairman, retorted that the truth was that his Lordship was in a minority of one on this matter for personal reasons.  These reasons were not stated but it was revealed that his Lordship had been writing to others to try to obtain their votes against the proposal by stating that it was the scheme of one director, when in fact it was the scheme of all the directors.  As far as local traders were concerned, Mr Brooks said that they would get first choice of plots.
A vote was taken and the result was for the development by 170 votes to 78.  Those who wanted the buildings set back were not successful either, the shops were laid out with a service road at their rear as originally intended, purely commercial interests winning the day.  Building started in 1899 and attracted Sainsbury's and Nicol's and others to the new development.  Nicol's was totally destroyed by fire in its first year of 1901, with two of the assistants losing their lives, but was subsequently rebuilt.  In the same year the assembly rooms ceased to be used for Council meetings when the new Municipal Buildings, containing purpose designed Council chambers and offices, were built in Castlefield Road, Reigate.
     In Reigate the right to hold markets, or fairs, dated back to the 12th century and in the 17th century Reigate had been one of the four most important market towns in Surrey.  The right to hold a monthly market and yearly cattle fair was in addition to the old Tuesday market.  Another cattle or horse fair took place annually on 9th December on Reigate Heath.  This stock market continued until it expired in 1913, and a pleasure fair held in connection with it at the west end of the High Street expired at the same time.  The timing could well have had something to do with declining economic conditions before WW1, but they must have felt the force of the strength of the Redhill stock and corn market.  Clearly there was not room for
The 1904 east wing to the Market Hall was the last big project of the company.  It was at this time that the position of the stage and the gallery were reversed to provide for dressing rooms in the space created by the wing, and a staircase was built into it. (149)two markets, and Redhill's became the successor to Reigate's long history in that respect. How much of Reigate's market trade was simply transferred to a new venue and how much was generated from new sources is not clear.  Probably the transfer was fairly comprehensive and little, if anything, was lost to the market traders themselves.  Nevertheless, Reigate's loss must have been Redhill's gain, and the traders who were less mobile, i.e. the shop and tavern keepers, must have counted the cost in the former town, and the extra revenue in the latter.
During WW1 patriotic sales were held at the Market Hall.  These were sales of donated items which raised money to provide 'comforts' - cigarettes, gloves, balaclava helmets, socks and the like - for the men at the front.  Items on offer in April, 1915, included livestock, horse-drawn mowers, seeds and eggs, a relief map of Jerusalem, a walnut musical whatnot and other such curios.  It was a catalogue as varied as the history of the Hall itself.
     In 1920 ground still unused at the northern end of the west wing was exchanged with the Corporation for land at the east rear where the old police and fire stations were.  This resulted in a two-storey building housing toilets to replace earlier toilets lost when the east wing was built.  This building had a magnificent coat of arms of the Corporation on its front.  When eventually demolished it was requested by townspeople that this be saved but it seems that nothing was done, and the fate of the coat of arms is unknown. In 1931 the building of a kitchen, buffet room and a stairway to the balcony completed the additions to the Market Hall, which continued its role as centre of the thriving town. In 1932 improvements costing £7,250 included a new dance floor in both halls, new kitchen with a service and refreshment

The Market Hall in the 1920s. The fountain was replaced during WW2 by a warden's shelter. (150)

room over, a new electrical system by Tamplin and Makovski, fireproof exits and reconstruction and re-seating of the gallery, the whole by local architect Mr Vincent Hooper. The beginning of the demise of the market was some time before WW2, through which time it staggered on; the motor car, van and
lorry were replacing the horse, so fewer animals were bought and sold. New and improved methods of packaging, presentation and hygiene of food, especially animal products, took their toll.  People, once close to the land and used to seeing animals alive one day and their carcasses hanging in the butchers' shops the next, moved slowly away from such reality and became less used to associating what they ate with what they saw being driven to market.  Business picked up for a while shortly after the war but by 1952 it was a thing of the past, the Market Field being sold to the Reigate Corporation.  The Market Field building that had once housed animals was divided up and converted into stores and workshops.  The houses in Marketfield Road were demolished and the whole area became that bleak testimonial to progress, a car park.  After that the company sold the freeholds it owned in Station Road and High Street.
     Alfred Smith was an early secretary of the Market Hall Company who became Town Clerk on the death of Clair Grece in 1905.  Alfred Simmons was appointed Company Secretary to the Market Hall Company in 1906, dealing with matters of administration until his son, Albert, took over in 1929.  Albert's son, Gordon, took over in 1956 and was in post until the early 1980s.
     Council meetings had ceased at the Hall by 1901 and for most of the 20th century the rooms were used for other purposes.  Of course, politics and local matters were not excluded altogether, public meetings still remained on the agenda, and speeches were given there by many political figures, Mrs Barbara Castle and Sir Geoffrey Howe among them.  The Reigate and Redhill Opera Club, Surrey Opera Groups and The East Surrey Operatic Society made good use of the Market Hall, the latter having performed there ever since the turn of the century, wartime excepted. 
    Dances were held with local bands, like Charlie Pearce's seven piece, which played to audiences of up to 300.  Imported providers of dance music also played there, not forgetting the jazz groups that performed at the Jazz Club, held in the hall regularly in the 1950s.  Famous names who played with Monty Sunshine, and who have since formed their own bands, such as Kenny Ball, Chris Barber and Acker Bilk, all appeared there; Humphrey Littleton too.  In the 1950s and 60s many well known pop groups were booked, the Rolling Stones.when they were up and coming, and The Who are among names mentioned, as is that of Petula Clark.  (see www.redhill-reigate-history.co.uk/mkthallacts.htm for more information of this aspect of the Market Hall's history.
     A circus once appeared in the assembly room on the 1st floor.  Those who have memories of it say that there were Shetland ponies used, but have no idea how they were got upstairs.  There were bingo sessions and a yearly Music Festival.  In its time the Hall saw many varied events, and there must be many stories connected with both the building and the company that could be told, probably enough to fill a book on their own.
     Mr Bryan Hall remembers the Market Hall where he was where involved with Pantomime by the Merstham Drama Club annually, and I got on very well with Gordon Simmons the manager. He would always allow access whenever he needed to deliver Backcloths, which used to be hoisted up from big double doors at the back of the stage (3 stories high). The caretaker (George) lived in a flat to the right of the main entrance, and like Gordon was very helpful to all who hired the Main Hall.
     Eventually 'progress' took its toll and the Market Hall was demolished in 1982, having stood for 120 years. The busy cross-roads where the hall stood has given way to a pedestrianised town-centre, and the houses that once existed close by have been swept away by the redevelopment of the 1970s and 80s.  Although the Market Hall structure is gone its later purposes and traditions remain, with the Harlequin theatre, built on almost the same spot, having taken over as the town's entertainment centre.

The interior of the modernised Market Hall as seen from the stage (151).

152 
A street market in progress in the modernised Station Road East in 2002. Yhe site of the Market Hall is on the immediate left. Compare this picture to picture 144 above. 
  The descriptions above cover all I know about the history of the eastern end of Station Road. There is a great deal that I don't know and I would be pleased if anyone who can fill in gaps or supply additional information or pictures would CONTACT AUTHOR
 
 25th July 2011