Trower Family of Redhill

 The Trower family of Redhill
The first part of this page (items 1-11 below) are preliminary notes were written in June 2011 by Steve Bacon who is undertaking research into the Sussex and Surrey Trower families. It was Steve who contacted me regarding the family and the remainder of the page is made up of information provided by him plus information already to hand plus other research and photos. - AJM Summer 2011

1) The Trower family of Redhill had its origins in Sussex.  John Trower (1747-1817) is believed to have lived at Barkfold Manor in Kirdford near Wisborough Green in Sussex  He married Hannah Bourne (1753-1815) and they had one son James Trower (1777-1848) who was brought up at Barkfold. 

2) James married Mary Main (1778-1853) and was a Sussex farmer.  By 1841 he was farming Bowfold Farm near Billingshurst where he gave employment as an agricultural labourer to one Daniel Gumbrell who, according to his obituary published in 1912 went to work at Bowfold when he was only 8 years old. Daniel Gumbrell continued to work for the Trowers for the rest of his life, over 80 years, firstly with James’ son Richard and then with Richard’s sons Henry and Arthur at Wiggie House in Redhill.

3) James and Mary Trower had eight children: Elizabeth, James, Mary Ann, Ann, John, Richard, Thomas and Henry all of whom were born in Sussex.

4) Elizabeth Trower was born in 1802 and eventually married a Baptist minister, John Omer Squier and moved out of the area.

5) James Trower was born in 1804, married Elizabeth Elliott in 1844 and died in 1857.  They lived in Marylebone in London and had four children.

6) Mary Ann Trower was born in 1806 and married William Underwood in 1830.  They lived at Merstham in Surrey where their eight children were born.

7) Ann Trower was born in 1806 and married John Symonds in 1836.  John was a farmer in Reigate Foreign (became Redhill) where they had 8 children.  She died in 1858.

8) John Trower was born in 1810 and married Jane Ford in 1840. In 1841 they were living at Wiggey (sic) where John and his brother Richard were farmers.  They had six children, all bar one born in Reigate,  but sadly three of their daughters died in infancy.   Later he farmed near Guildford. He died in Reigate in 1887. Two of their daughters were Ellen Elizabeth (1852-1929) and Emily (1864-1912) who for 26 years ran a successful school in Woodlands Road, Redhill.  Their other surviving daughter Jane was born in 1844 and died in 1883 – she lived in Station Road, Redhill with her sisters as housekeeper.

9) Richard Trower note 1b was born in 1811 and married Ann Luck in 1846.  By 1841 he was already living with his brother John at Wiggy Farm where he lived for the rest of his life, dying there in 1880. Richard and Ann had 8 children all born at Wiggy: Mary Ann (1848-1913), Henry (1849-1924), James Main (1851-19270, Fanny Elizabeth (1852-1921), Arthur (1853-1937), Kate (1856-1938), Richard (1858-1937) and Edward (1860-1915).  Henry and Arthur lived at Wiggy all their lives and were in business together as successful corn merchants in Redhill.  It was Arthur who made Wiggy famous by creating and amazing garden and writing about it in his book “Our Homestead and its Old World Garden” published in 1910.  James Main also lived at Wiggy for a while as did Richard.  Richard married Hannah Tredgett and they had five children.  They later moved to Holmethorpe, another farm nearby, and later to Battlebridge Farm in Merstham.

10) Thomas Trower was born in 1815 and married Mary Ann Streater in 1844.  They had four children.  He farmed at Bowfold, the family farm near Billingshurst.  He died in 1862.

11) Henry Trower was born in 1817 and married Clara Golds in 1847.  He farmed in Sussex until he died in 1872.  They had eight children one of whom was Frank Harry Trower (1857-1925) who married Mary Elizabeth Woolnough (1863-1930).  Frank Harry and Mary Elizabeth were Steve Bacon's great grandparents.

 1b - There is no known photo of Richard Trower but in his book his son Arthur says, 'He used to relate with glee how complete strangers, whom he happened to meet casually in London, would, without the least hesitation, asked him how his crops were looking, or if he had started hay making yet', from which we may deduce that he looked like a typical ruddy faced country farmer. 
CENSUS RECORDS 1841-1901continue the story with John, Jane and Richard Trower mentioned in (9) above.
1841 CENSUS 
Reigate farm Note 1a1841John 30FarmerNot in Surrey
 1841Jane 25 In Surrey
 1841Richard25FarmerNot in Surrey
Note 1a - The registration district was Reigate and 'farm' was all that was shown on the census form.
1851 CENSUS      
 1851Unable to locate any family members
1861 CENSUS      
Reigate farm Note 11861RichardHead49Farmer Note 2Kirdford Sussex Note 4
 1861AnnWife42 Merrow Surrey
 1861Mary AnnDaughter13 Reigate SurreyNote3
 1861HenrySon11 Reigate Surrey
 1861JamesSon9 Reigate Surrey
 1861FannyDaughter8 Reigate Surrey
 1861ArthurSon6 Reigate Surrey
 1861RichardSon3 Reigate Surrey
 1861EdwardSon11 mth Reigate Surrey
Note 1 - The registration district was Reigate and 'farm' was all that was shown on the census form.
Note 2 - Farmer with 200 acres.

Note 3 - Reigate was the registration district. They would have been born in what was then only just becoming known as Red Hill.
Note 4 - Place of birth given as Kirdford in 1861 but Petworth in 1871

.... This map shows the built up area of Redhill in 1861 with Red Hill railway station lower centre and the London to Brighton railway line running just east of north towards London. Gatton and the parish of Nutfield form northern and eastern boundaries. The name of Wiggie does not appear, the whole being in the Foreign of Reigate and the petty borough of Linkfield.
....The fields outlined in orange are those rented and farmed by Richard Trower. Most are to the east of the line but he also has other isolated ones to the west of it. The railway was built through the area in the late 1830s and opened in 1841 so it probably split his farm in two.
....The land was rented from Lord Monson, William Curruthers, Henry Hunt, Felix Ladbrooke, Mordaunt Momro, Mr Pope and Earl Somers.
....But a small puzzle rises here as in Richard Trower's son Arthur's book, 'Our Homestead' written in 1910, there is mention of a cup awarded in 1858 by the Merstham Agricultural Association to his father for the best kept cultivated farm in the district. Arthur goes on to say' 'At that time in addition to his own land he rented some fields from the then Lord Monson', but throughout the terrier associated with the map there is no note of ownership of agricultural land by Richard Trower at all.
This is not to say that he did not own anything as the items marked in blue were owned by Richard Trower and were a house and garden in Ladbroke Road. The house is marked as unoccupied. Could it be that this is where he first lived before setting up the farm?

(The map used here is part of the Plan of the Parish of Reigate, Surrey 1860-61 by William Eve. Information comes from the terrier associated with the map)

... 1871 Census
Wiggie Farm1871RichardHead59FarmerPetworth Sx Note 4
 1871AnnWife53 Merrow Surrey
 1871KateDau14 Reigate Surrey
 1871RichardSon13 Reigate Surrey
 1871EdwardSon10 Reigate Surrey
London Rd Redhill Note 51871Henry  Corn dealerRedhill Note3
 1871Arthur  Corn dealer assntRedhill
 1871Fanny  HousekeeperRedhill
  (Mary Ann) Note 6    
  (James) Note 7    
Note 5 - H&A Trower's corn dealership shop where the three were on the census day (Perhaps they lived over the shop)
Note 6 - In 1871 Mary Ann, aged 23, was not shown on the Reigate census as she was then an apprentice to a stationer at Dartford.
Note 7 - In 1871 James, aged 19, was not shown on the Reigate census as he was then a grocers shopboy at a grocer and cheesemongers at 51 High Street Wandsworth.
Ann Trower


The buildings at Wiggy at the time of the 1871 census with the orchards and gardens. Presumably the building shown in pink close to the map centre was the main house. The other pink shaded building was probably a labourer's cottage referred to in Arthur Trower's book 'Our Homestead', and which was derelict at the time of writing in 1910.

A splendid aerial photo of Foxboro-Yoxall's premises that were built on the Wiggie estate. The photo was taken about a hundred years after the date of the above map and a much altered Wiggie House can be seen at the very bottom centre of the picture. Foxboro used it as a training centre and built a new wing onto it. Later a brand new facility was built behind the house. The two railway lines can be seen on either side of the estate. The allotments in the bottom left corner are partly where the daffodil gardens once were and stand between the railway and the public footpath through Wiggie.

(Photo courtesy Derek Flanagan)

... Other Information1880Richard Trower (snr) died at Redhill aged 68 (ref: Jul-Sep Reigate 2a 92)
... 1881 census      
Wiggy Farm1881AnnHead63Widow Note 10 
 1881James MSon29 Redhill Surrey
 1881RichardSon25 Redhill Surrey
 1881EllenDau-in-law28 Shipley Surrey
 1881MarySister66 Merrow Surrey
 1881Alice Sexton Note 9Gr/dau3 Croydon Surrey
London Rd Redhill Note 51881Henry  Corn dealer Note 8Redhill Surrey
 1881Fanny  HousekeeperRedhill Surrey
 1881Arthur  Corn dealer Note 8Redhill Surrey
Note 8 - Henry and Arthur now shown as partners
Note 9 - Alice Sexton was the daughter of Mary A. Trower who married Edward Murrey Sexton
Henry and Arthur's shop was in London Road, Redhill. It can be seen here next to the pub on the right with 'H & A Trower lettering on the wall.H&A Trower's London Road shop


This lovely old photo of London Road dates from around 1902 and shows us a view north, so this time Trower's shop can be seen on the left.As well as the shop there was a warehouse in St John's Terrace Road at Earlswood which was in the news in 1910 when it was gutted by fire.This newspaper photo shows firemen tackling the blaze
....Other information1885R. Trower (presumably Richard) Corn and seed merchant listed in the 1885 street directory at Station Road (south side) next to the post office, Earlswood.
.. 1891 Census      
Holmethorpe Note 111891AnnHead70Widow Note 10Merrow Surrey
 1891FannyDau38 Redhill Surrey
 1891ArthurSon36Corn merchantRedhill Surrey
London Rd Redhill1891Henryhead41Corn MerchantRedhill Surrey
Note 10 - No other occupation given..
Note 11 - See note below on Holmthorpe    
 18991899 Redhill Street directory lists Richard Trower as 'brickmaker, Siding Works, Redhill Siding, Holmthorpe. Henry and Arthur Trower are listed as corn merchants, seedsmen, millers, manure and forage contractors, London Road, depot and wharf adjoining L&B station, and at Earlswood railway station.
   Richard Trower
 1891-1901As Ann does not appear on the 1901 census, and as Henry is shown as head, she is assumed to have died.
... 1901 Census      
Wiggy Farm House1901HenryHead51Corn merchantRedhill Surrey
 1901FannySister48Livng on own meansRedhill Surrey
 1901ArthurBrother47Corn merchantRedhill Surrey
Henry Trower 
Football and Redhill Sports Ground

Redhill FC was formed in 1894. Henry Trower liked his sport and as a result Redhill FC played at Wiggie for a number of years.  One notable game on this ground was against the West London club of Queens Park Rangers in the 1895/6 season, which Redhill won 2-0 in the rain in front of a not unusual crowd of 200.  Players were Batten, half back (scored);  C.P.Murray, back; Rowlinson, another defender; Peskett in goal; Purkis, left half; W.P.Brown, right half; Power, outside right; Donaldson, outside left; Gilford, midfield, (scored); plus Stafford and Evans, forwards.
      The Wiggie ground was not ideal so on 23rd June, 1896, the Redhill Sports Ground and Athletics Co. Ltd was formed with Henry Trower chairman.  Its main asset was nine acres fronting London Road, with tenants’ and grazing rights either expired or bought up, although the company did not own the land outright.  Its object was to promote the ideals of football and other sporting activities.
     The nine acres comprised rough ground described as little more than a swamp.  Two streams through it had to be culverted, with trees cut and grubbed and the timber sold.  A hedge on the London Road boundary was replaced by a park pale oak fence.  The north boundary to land of Mrs Green was agreed, an entrance from Ladbroke Road was granted by Mr Trower, and a pavilion was to be erected.  Cost of all works came to 3,500 raised in shares of 1. The work was completed within a year, only the proposed pavilion containing a cricket score box, a pavilion room, two dressing rooms and a store had still to be built. While this work was in progress Redhill FC continued to play at Wiggie but with the possibility of transferring to the new ground.
     There was an official opening of the Sports Ground in 1897 as part of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations in the town, when the public was admitted to a sports meeting.  The public was also admitted to subsequent football matches played there but the ground remained officially private. 
      After WW1 there were moves made to create lasting memorial to the memory of the fallen. Among those was the creation of a memorial sports ground in the Borough of Reigate. It was to take a few years but in the early 1920s the nine acres fronting London Road, Redhill, were chosen and negotiations were in hand with the freeholder of the land, Lord Monson, and the leaseholder, Mr Henry Trower. The conveyance of the site from these two gentlemen was completed in 1923 with twenty years still to run on the lease and turned the ground from a private one into a public one, but with the provision that Redhill Football Club be allowed to continue to play there on Saturdays and Wednesdays and collect gate money. The money paid to Lord Monson was 1,200, money raised by the War Memorial Committee.
     The deeds were handed over and it became the Memorial Sports Ground, left in trust for the people of the town and for the senior football club.  Matches drew large Saturday afternoon crowds sometimes numbered in the thousands.  It was not uncommon for the entrance queue to stretch back to the centre of the town, and when the game ended the crowd would spill out onto the main street, sometimes stopping the traffic between the ground and the Market Hall.  Henry Trower did not live to see see that largest recorded attendance of 7,000 for the 1955 FA cup game against Hastings.
      Eventually Redhill FC had to leave the ground under controversial circumstances. Perhaps If Henry Trower had been around then Redhill FC would still be playing at the Memorial Sports Ground in the centre of the town.

Arthur Trower 
Arthur Trower lived at Wiggie and entertained many friends there. He also entertained many people there that he had never previously met, including East End children and children from the Foundling School in Redhill, who came to the grounds to see their beauty, especially in spring when there was a wonderful show of daffodils each year. So proud of his gardens was he that he wrote 'Our Homestead', which is about the grounds and some of those people who visited.
     Arthur Trower was a Director of Redhill Market Hall and in 1911 inaugurated the Shilling Fund for the preservation of Colley Hill, and was one of the organisers of the 1913 pageant to raise money for that cause. 25,000 shillings were collected. A member of Volunteer Training Corps during WW1 he was also a founder Governor of the Victoria Almshouses.
     His friends included Rev W.J.Perry, headmaster of St Anne's, Mr H.F.D.Porter, Mr J.A.Watson (once a schoolmaster in the Borough), and Michael Wood.
     The Lighting and Watching Committe was a body whose name had been carried on from the 19th century when its powers were to ensure that monies due for facilities provided by the borough council were duly collected. The following undated report shows that Mr Arthur Trower was one of those who was engaged in such duties in the early part of the 20th century. On Friday the annual meeting of the ratepayers was held at the Town Hall.  The chair was occupied by Mr R.Tugwell, and there were present Messrs Austen, Elgar, A.Trower. Apted, Nichols, Bonny, Joyce, Biddington, Buckland, &c.  Mr Bailey was re-elected and Mr C. Elgar and John Edmonds were also appointed inspectors.  220 was the amount authorised to be called? for, for the current year, and the accounts were passed.  The overseers were requested to at once take proceedings against all who had not paid.

Arthur Trower (Photo courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)

      In the 1990s Kathleen Bean related her memories of 1930s Redhill. She lived in Cecil Road, Redhill and left school aged 14 in 1929. Her mother wanted her to work in Jones but Kathleen saw an advertisement for a junior at Shepherds, the newsagents and toy shop across the other side of the High Street from Jones, applied for the job and was taken on.  Her starting pay was four shillings for a six-day week. She got a rise to 7/6d when she was sixteen. Each day started at 6 a.m. and worked until 7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. She worked until 1 p.m. on Wednesday half-day, 8 p.m. on Friday, and to 9 p.m. on Saturday, making a standard working week of 74 hours.
     Other than sweeping the floors and cleaning the windows Kathleen’s jobs included looking after the paper and magazine department with three other employees. She had to get up six newspaper rounds per day, four day rounds and two evening rounds that were done by boys. If one of the boys did not turn up for his round Kathleen would do it.
     As well as filling in for absent paper round boys Kathleen also had one or two special deliveries to make. She took an evening paper to Mr. Pringle in Upper Bridge Road, where she had to knock because he did not like his paper folded and put through the letter box, and a newspaper to Joe Chandler at his High Street shop. Joe could not read and she would get an apple for reading the headlines to him. His wife read the news items to him later. Most relevant to this page was another special delivery she made, taking the Morning Post to Mr. Arthur Trower at Wiggie where she remembered that there would always be a cup of hot chocolate awaiting her.

    Arthur Trower died aged 82 in September 1937 only three weeks after his 79 year-old brother, Richard.

    In the 1899 Kelly's Street Directory Arthur Trower is shown at Battlebridge House, Battle Bridge, as well as at Wiggie.

Arthur Trower and Redhill Bowls Club
    The Redhill Bowling Club opened at Gloucester Road in 1912. Its predecessor, it is said, was behind the Warwick Hotel before that. The 1912 Redhill Club was set up as a venue for county matches on ground adjacent to Gloucester Road obtained on lease from Mr Charles Edward Gatland.
    Mr Gatland was a Redhill clothier and it was in 1912 that he sold his High Street shop to Foster Brothers. He acquired a house in Clarendon Road, later the site of the telephone exchange behind the Post Office. He also owned the adjacent land up to Gloucester Road, and fronting on London Road, later occupied by the Methodist Hall. He was keen on bowls and became the landlord of the green on that land that was the home of the Redhill Bowling Club. It was on this site that its members had the advantage of being able to enjoy some of its functions in what was described as 'Mr Gatland's pretty garden'.

The picture shows Mayor Lemon (standing in the long coat) present at the opening of the Redhill Bowling Club in Gloucester Road, Redhill, in 1912 The lady bowler is probably Lady Leconsfield who was present at the opening.
(Photo courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)

    The club moved to Wiggie in May of 1931 and Club President Mr Stanton said that the reason it had left Gloucester Road was that some members were dissatisfied with the green, and as the lease had fallen anyway, it was time for a move. One and a half acres of ground comprising the southern part of a field known as the Garden Field at Wiggie was conveyed by a deed of gift to Messrs W.Bound, G.Mackriell and F.Chalmers on the 23rd October 1929. These gentlemen represented the old Redhill Bowling Club, which was to be reformed at the new site.
   The donor of the land that the Redhill Bowls Club moved to at Wiggie was Arthur Trower who had been a committee member of the old club in 1912 . It is said that there was originally a plaque to this effect in the clubhouse but it was destroyed when the clubhouse burnt down in 1981.
    The first directors of the club were Mr E.Stanton (President), W.Bound (Vice-president), F.Chalmers (also Vice-Captain), G.Mackriell (also Captain), and W.Grice. The Hon. Secretary was Mr C.Welsh and the Hon. Treasurer was Mr Arthur Emsley. The new Wiggie Bowling Club was opened by the Mayor, Alderman Temple Newell, in early May, 1931.

This photo of bowlers is an Illustration.from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', written by Arthur Trower in 1910, so pre-dates the Redhill Bowling Club days when it was situated at Gloucester Road, Redhill. From a local historian's point of view it would be wonderful to know who each of these gentlemen were. Is one Arthur Trower himself? The man second from right in the back row looks like Mr Sanders, the saddler, of Station Road Redhill.

This photo entitled 'A Group of Merry Bowlers - Old Wiggie Ramblers v. Redhill Bowling Club - Played at Wiggie August 21st 1929, clearly shows that not only was there a Wiggie Club but that there was a bowling green at Wiggie at the same time as the Redhill Bowling Club was in existence and before the new club at Wiggie was formed.

Rear l-r: Alderman H.H.Pierce (president of R.B.C.) - W.M.Grice (skip) W.R. - R.Elmsley (skip) R.B.C. - A.Donaldson W.R. - G.Linter W.R. - J.H.Marsh W.R. - W.Wells R.B.C. - E.J.Funnell R.B.C.
Middlel-r: A.A.Rose (skip) W.R. - J.H.Matthews R.B.C. - H.Potter W.R. - A.Trower W.R. - G.F.MacKriell (skip) R.B.C. - G.J.Wallis R.B.C. - E.Dawson R.B.C.
Seated in front l-r: W.J.Chard W.R. - C.Welsh R.B.C.

(Photo courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)

Details of the new club, which was to be called Redhill Bowling Club (Wiggie) Ltd., were released in April 1930. Its aims were to take over all parts of the assets and liabilities of the former club and to promote the game of bowls and other specified games. Also to lay out and maintain the ground as bowling greens, miniature golf course, croquet lawns, tennis courts and gardens and to construct and maintain a roadway leading thereto. The tennis courts and croquet lawns did not appear on the layout plan published at the time. The cluhouse was built where the tea lawn is shown on the map.

This 1930 map of the new Redhill Bowls Club at Wiggie was not quite as finally laid out. The nine hole putting greens were provided but later became a less than full sized green for the use of lady members but eventually fell into disuse. When the club lost the use of car parking facilities on the old St Anne's site it found a new use as a car park. (Map courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)

This unfortunately very poor quality picture shows Mayor Temple Newell opening the Redhill Bowling Clubs new facilities at Wiggie in 1931
Speeches during the opening ceremony. Speaking is presumably the club president Mr E.Stanton. On his right is Mayor Temple Newell wearing the mayoral chain and on his left is Lord Colman . (Photo courtesy Redbhill Bowling Club)
Members outside the old clubhouse before the 1981 fire.
(Photo courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)
The new clubhouse pictured in September 2011
Richard Trower 
Richard Trower was a brick maker at Holmethorpe It is not known if the area wa originally part of the Wiggie farm or when it was first used for the production of bricks. During WW1 production had to cease when sixty-two of the seventy-five men working there had gone into the armed services. The works were left deserted with no smoke rising from the kilns or clamps and no sounds of machinery or voices. The birds took advantage of the situation by nesting in the unused brick carts.

Right - One of the carts with a nest between the bottom two spokes of the wheel. The insert top right corner shows a close-up of the nest with five eggs in it.

Richard aged 25 is shown in the 1881 census as being at Wiggie. In the 1888 Street directory he is listed as living at 1, Glen Rook, Holmethorpe (at this time Holmethorpe was generally the turning off Frenches Road under the railway arch before it became known as Trower's Way). The brick works there is also listed with the name Trower R. against it.

An exhibition stand for Richard Trower's
Siding Brickworks.
Many of the bricks made at the Sidings Brickworks (perhaps all) had 'R.TROWER REDHILL' embossed in the frog. Such bricks were used at the Redhill General Hospital
(see for one that finished up in Michigan, USA
Holmethorpe today is an industrial estate between the London-Brighton railway lines that cross the old Wiggie estate. The original line built c1840 runs parallel with Frenches Road and the more easterly line, built to relieve congestion at Redhill c1900, at one time divided the brick and sand works in two but now divides the industrial estate from Watercolour, a housing development built in the early 2000s. (see for the history of Redhill Station and the railway lines). Brick making sites once existed on the west side of Frenches Road from Holmethorpe and it is presumed that the potential for brick making on the Holmethorpe site was recognised by the Trowers in the 19th century on land farmed by them, or at least forming part of their estate, and exploited by Richard Trower. Extensive sand workings were found there and worked until the late 1900s. The whole of the land once formed part of Richard Trower's Farm.

The later history of Holmethorpe does not form a part of the Trower history but a few images of the site are included below.

This map of Holmethorpe shows the site in the days of the Trower family before the industrial estate was built between the railway lines. The entrance to the site is from Frenches Road midway down on the left (west) side of the map. The spur from the main line that gives its name to the Siding Brickworks enters the site slightly south of that. The road and the line pass the brickworks just before passing under the second line (known as the fast line) into the sand quarries. The agreement for the siding to be provided was signed in 1867. Kilns are shown midway between the two lines and on the other side of the fast line. Perhaps some of these are the ones seen in the photos of the football teams below.
In this 1993 photo looking north the now long disused siding into the brickworks can be seen branching off to the right. Frenches Road is on the far left and the road entrance to Holmethorpe is close to where the trees start to hide the houses.Inside Holmethorpe the redundant sidings pictured in July 1993 head towards the fast line (with train passing) in the distance. The original brickworks as shown on the map above was once where the building on the left now stand..
The sign that perpetuates the Trower name stands beside the bridge carrying road traffic from Frenches Road under the slow London-Brighton line into the Holmethorpe estate.
Once through the bridge Trowers Way heads for the bridge under the fast line in the distance. Where the sign and car park on the right now are is where the siding rails used to run as seen in 1993 photo above, and where one of the sets of kilns shown on the map stood.The redundant crossing gates have never been taken away.
Behind the gates the rails of the old siding are still in place 
The bridge under the fast line in August 2011. Through it can be seen the new housing estate built where the sand works used to be and where the brickworks were later positioned.The same bridge only a few years ago when the part of the estate seen left was not yet built. There is no pavement and the siding rails still pass under it
The photos above all show Holmethorpe after the Trower family era. The two photos below show football teams well from well within their time.
Holmethorpe, which was how the brickmaking area adjacent to Wiggie became known, had its own football team, pictured here in the 1900-1901 season (postcard from Alan Moore collection)Holmethorpe also had a second team, although the date of this photo is unknown. The buildings in the background could be brick kilns although whether or not this photo was taken at Holmethorpe is also unknown. (postcard from Alan Moore collection)
St Anne's 
   The Royal Asylum of St Anne's was founded in the Parish of St. Anne's and St Agnes in Aldersgate, London, in 1702.   Its work, that of maintaining and educating the children of those who had once seen better times - or in the Society’s own words, ‘once moved in a superior station of life’ - began with twelve boys in the City. Nearly ninety years later a girls' school was added, with twelve girls received, clothed and educated. By 1820 there were 30 boys and 32 girls. A limit had to be put on the numbers for want of accommodation until a new school was built at Streatham to accommodate 100 boys and 50 girls. This was occupied by 1830 but by the middle of the second half of the 19th century it had become overcrowded, with 200 boys and 137 girls on role, and a site for a larger building had to be found.

The photo (right) shows a tree being planted close to the eastern boundary of the Wiggie estate. St Anne's can be seen in the background. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)

    Three Redhill men were on the board of governors at Streatham. They were Robert Field of Oxford Road, Redhill, who would be Mayor of the Borough of Reigate 1881-4, Walter B. Waterlow of High Trees, on the borders of Redhill and Reigate, who had been Mayor 1870-72, and Francis Wright Costar, of Woodlands, off London Road, Redhill. They obtained land north of Red Hill Junction railway station from Mr Webb of Redstone Manor and Messrs Trower at a cost of 3,500, and a tender was accepted in the sum of 335,743 for a school for about 400 children to be built complete with chapel on that land.. Mr Field performed a ceremonial turning of the first sod on the site in 1881. The Prince and Princess of Wales laid the foundation stone of the chapel in July 1884.

The 1896 map above shows the proximity of St Anne's to Wiggie. It also shows that the alterations to the house had been made by this time.


A photo of the Redhill Memorial Sports Ground showing how St Anne's, built on ground once a part of Wiggie Farm, was such a feature of the town.

Miss E.E.Trower 
Miss E.E.Trower died in August 1928 aged 77. For twenty-six years she and her sister ran a successful school in Woodlands Road. A cousin of Arthur Trower she was born the daughter of John and Jane Trower at Wiggie in 1852. Her parents came from the Sussex Trower family and until the death of her grandfather the family home had been at the Manor of Barkfold near Petworth.
     Miss Trower is reported to have made herself proficient at Pitman's Shorthand when it was in its infancy and had been a member of Sir Isaac Pitman's advisory Committee.
On the subject of Shop Hours 
Shop hours had been reduced in 1878 and shops now closed at 5pm on Wednesdays and 7pm every other day.  Shopkeepers had never been happy with these shortened hours and were considering a return to 7pm every night. This did not mean that the shop assistants got away at 7pm as there was still work to be done, but the shopkeepers claimed that assistants were away by 8pm.  A letter in the local paper, signed simply A Grocer's Assistant, claimed,  'In closing at 5 it is scramble and muddle all day, and when the shop is closed would beg to suggest that we close at 7pm all year round and at 6pm on Wednesday in summer months.  You said that if we close at 7 we get away at 8; this is not the case, unless something very special happens we can always get off by a quarter past eight at the latest.'
     This would seem to be a put up job, appearing in advance of a tradesmen's meeting on the subject, with the letter either being written under duress or not written by anyone who was ever a grocer's assistant.  Evidence of this was other letters that appeared in the local press from assistants detailing hours between 5.30am, when they had to rise to get to work, and 11pm when they sometimes finished.  These might have been the extremes but considering that they worked Saturdays and some Sundays, assistants’ lives were not ones where leisure figured high on their agendas, much as they might liked it to have done.
     The positive aspect of this was pointed out by the shopkeepers in saying that an assistant's half day off, when he got one, allowed so much time for recreation that it was highly appreciated - it's not difficult to see why.
     At the eventual 1882 meeting of the Redhill tradesmen dealing with the matter of closing times were: W.Berrett; J.T. Sanders; H.Rowland; S.Gare; M.Wood; A.Wood; H.Trower; A.Trower; T.K.Pearce; T.A.Pick; F.Cliff; G.Shaw (grocer); Mr Fowler; Mr Potter; W.Pook; A.B.Boorne (bookshop); F.Strong; Mr Ellis; Mr Wood; G.Drury; Mr Lanaway; J.Benham; F.Hardy and Mr Horne.  The outcome was that shops would continue to close at 5pm Wednesdays in summer months and 7pm the rest of the week.  A separate meeting to decide shop times during winter would be held.  A year later, in 1883, the working week for shop assistants remained at 68 hours, with four bank holidays off plus 7-10 days holiday.
Paragraphs from an article entitled 'Half-Holiday Rambles' which described the local area
    'Now we come to the mineral water depot, on the left of the Frenches Schools. Once old farm buildings and still looking much as they appeared 200 years ago, when this spot really was a farm. The projection of the buildings into the public road shows that they existed here long before frontage lines or building acts were troubled about.
 'In the old sandpit in which Frenches School now stands there was found a few years ago, almost beneath the identical spot where the foundation stone of the school is laid, the remains of a mammoth. One of the teeth has found a fitting home at Wiggie, where it forms one of the most treasured local memorials of the past in the collection Mr Trower has gathered about him*. From here the old bridle track to Wiggie still retains, after it has passed the railway arch, much of its rusticity.'

* Which Mr Trower had the collection is not revealed, perhaps it was something that had grown over the years and had been contributed to by various familymembers. A listof its contents appears in the house contents sale catalogue (see below) but a reference to finds included in the mueum can be found in in note 1 on page 19 of Wilfrid Hooper's book 'Reigate. Its Story Through the Ages' as follows: -
Described in 45 SAC 140-1. A tooth of the mammoth (elephas primgenius) and bones of ox (bos primigenius) were found at Wiggie sandpit - now disused - in 1897.
....Another reference to it is contained in this letter to the Independent Weekly newspaper from Stella Barnes of Banstead.
The barn in Frenches Road. The small barn in front of the larger one projected onto the pavement. Presumably they once belonged to the farm owned by the Trowers. (photo courtesy Mrs Lucas)
.... 'Arthur and Henry Trower were my great uncles and as a child I stayed there with my mother. We lived in an austere farmhouse in Oxfordshire and Wiggie seemed remarkably grand. There was an ernormous bath with a polished surround and taps with hot and cold water, comforts we did not enjoy at home.
.... 'The billiard room was a source of great excitement. Cupboards filled with mechanical toys that still worked and an enormous stuffed tiger. I am sure that many people will remember the museum room filled with local relics of interest to both archaeologists and nuturalists.
....''Not least we loved the garden. My brother, sister and I spent many hours exploring the old farm ruins, then covered with rock plants and ivy, and walking through the acres of daffodils.
.... 'I have two watercolour paintings of the garden by E. Bass-Smith who, I believe, was a renowned local artist. The gardens were opened to the public and I recall a charity box on the gate where visitors showed their appreciation. The contents were given to the local hospital.'
Steve Bacon writes - 'My mother also recalls Uncle Arthur's mechanical toys.  She remembers being taken by him into the Billiard Room where they were kept and him winding them up and letting them roam over the floor to her great delight.  We wonder where they are now.  Mum was born in 1918 so I guess this much have been in the mid- late-1920s.  Uncle Arthur died in 1937, but in his latter years sadly suffered from dementia.'
The 1938 Sale of House Contents (Copy of catalogue kindly supplied by Steve Bacon)
Arthur Trower died aged 82 in September 1937 only three weeks after his 79 year-old brother, Richard, and the contents of the house were to be sold by their executors. The freehold of the estate together with other properties with a rent roll of 1,252 were to be sold in the coming spring unless disposed of privately beforehand. Included were the Redhill Club, Millers Yard and shops at Earlswood plus houses, villas and cottages in Redhill and district.
..... The Redhill Club was a balconied building that had been a Conservative club that stood at the end of a short track from the bottom of Redstone Hill. It became an annex to the Redhill Technical College and School that had been built next to it. Millers Yard was possibly their warehouse at Earlswood. Why the Redhill shop was not mentioned is unknown, perhaps it had been held on leasehold only, or maybe sold earlier.

............... Wiggie House (photo courtesy Derek Flanagan)

..... The contents of the house were sold room by room and in the catalogue were listed as such, so we can get a little information on the style and layout of the house.

Upper floor(s)

Small bedroom
..... Everything appears to have been sold, even the linoleum from the floor. There was a 3ft bedstead, a feather bed, a marble top washstand, an electric fire, a four-tier rosewood whatnot, a barometer, a picnic basket, two leather hat boxes and an occasional chair. The whole lot realised 1.15s.
Small bedroom (near billiard room)
..... Similar items realised another 3.19s.
Bedroom No.3
..... A much larger room as it had a 14ft square carpet and five rugs on the floor. and much more furniture that fetched over 20.
Bedroom No.4 and Bedroom No.5
.... These were at left front and right front respectively. Contents of both realised over 10 each
Billiard Room
.... A full size billiard table and associated furniture and effects sold for over 25. Included were other sporting items - bowls, croquet mallets and balls - and a stuffed puma (was this the 'enormous stuffed tiger' referred to in Stella Barnes letter above?)
Landing and stairs
...The usual carpets and linoleum were sold along with several pieces of furniture and paintings. Some of the paintings are of particular interest. One was of Wiggie and signed G.Willis-Price 1891. Two more were water colour drawings by E.Bass Smith in gilt frames. (These must be the ones in the possession of Stella Barnes in 1984 -see letter above). There were also two oil paintings referred to as 'garden' and 'Lodge' - could they also have been of Wiggie? It would be nice to be able to see all of these. There were a number of other various paintings, none seeming to be local.

Ground Floor

.... This must have been a reasonable size as it contained a 4ft hall stand, a 3ft 6in. oak table, two oak chairs, another oak table and a grandfather clock. Two stuffed pheasants, a stuffed grouse and a stuffed eagle were in cases or stood on one of the tables and two deer's heads with antlers were on one wall.
Drawing Room
.... 4ft table, armchair and couch, settee, occasional chairs, piano, vases, jardinieres, three fire screens, clock and other items.
Dining Room
.... Three curtain poles made this another large room that contained a 4ft x 8ft table, chairs, sideboard, armchair, couch, writing desk, other tables, vases and another grandfather clock. There were also more paintings including another of Wiggie House by W.Caffin1893.
This room contained a great deal of furniture. An antique drop leaf mahogany table plus five other tables, a bureau, a coffer chest, a Queen Anne chest with two drawers, five chairs, a roll top desk, a wireless, another grandfather clock, three tea cadies and three writing cases were the main items. Other items included a brass bell, a blunderbuss, letter scales and weights and a fireproof safe. Perhaps the room could also have been called a library as there were 20 volumes of Shakespeare's works dated 1788, a @Gardener's Dictionary dated 1768, 55 volumes of 'Cooke's Novels', 6 bound volumes of the Spectator, 35 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and 'The Book of the Martyrs'. Additionally there were several lots of sundry other books.
... Finally there were 'stuffed birds and nest in glass case' and two more paintings of Wiggie, tthis time by S.Emma Cheyney.
... A 4ft drop leaf table, a 3ft deal table, a painted chest, coal box, windsor arm chair and three small chairs were among items that make the kitchen look fairly large. There was also the usual cook ware as well as 65 pieces of brown and white dinner ware. A parrot cage -no mention of an inhabitant - was among the items.
... A mangle and a hand-wringer, a 3ft 6in table, a galvanised bath and wicker basket, an old iron grate, a deck quoits board and quoits.
Misc Items
... The linen was sold separately as was the glass, silver and plate items. Among the latter were nine presentation cups, although it was not stated whether they were engraved. A cigarette box, sugar tongs, fifty different spoons, five salts, sugar basin and sifters, all in silver, were listed. Plated items included an 18 carat watch described as a Benson repeater, plus a quantity of fish, fruit and table knives and forks.
... A large collection of items befitting a large garden were for sale. Four motor mowers, two rollers, several garden seats, numerous non-garden tools, ladders, work benches, a water barrow, tip cart, garden tools and frames. One odd item was an aeroplane propellor. Slightly surprisingly there were a large number of plants for sale, including 5 dozen Cinerarias, a dozen Aram Lilies, a dozen azaleas, 10 dozen polyanthus, 10 dozen forget-me-nots, a quantity of geranium cuttings and a quantity of dahlia tubers. This suggests that with two elderly gentlemen living in the large house life was going on as normal, at least as far as the garden was concerned, right up to the end.

... First thoughts are that this was an ignominious end for what had been a fairly grand home, and to be able to read the list of items is like intruding into a private household. Clearly this was a large Victorian house that was no doubt a comfortable home to its occupants. Probably it was far too large for them but it was the family home. The paintings of the house and estate showed that they were proud of it. We cannot help but wonder where those paintings are now.
... Other thoughts concern the museum. Apart from the stuffed birds where were the items collected over the years referred to elsewhere on this page? And what about the 'enormouse bath with a polished surround and taps with hot and cold water' mentioned in Stella Barnes' letter. A bathroom is not mentioned, nor is a boiler, but perhaps these were fixtures not easily sold so were not mentioned.
.... One final item not mentioned is a telescope. Arthur Trower was interested in astronomy and used a telescope to further that interest. Perhaps it was part of his legacy to someone.

Several paintings of Wiggie are mentioned in the sale. Perhaps this illustration from the book 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910, is one of them. It is entitled 'An old familiar scene' and must have been painted when the farm was still operational in the late 1800s. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)

It was not just the house contents that were for sale in 1938, the whole 56 acre Wiggie estate went on the market. Reigate Corporation had resolved to buy it for 20,000 so a planned auction was cancelled. At the last minute the Corporation pulled out but the trustees of the late owner, Arthur Trower, received an alternative private offer for the estate plus premises in the town. (see explanation of this at end of this page).
.. Later in the year a proposal for a housing estate there was abandoned.  Whose the proposal was is uncertain but around the same time land was acquired at Colesmead for a housing estate.
.. In 1957 FoxboroYoxall bought 52 acres at Wiggie and built a 126,000 sq. ft. factory upon it for the production of industrial instruments. The new site was formally opened by the Mayor of Reigate & Redhill in 1958. The factory and office floor area was almost doubled in 1963. A new Research and Development and Flowmeter Calibration facility were added and, in 1967, the old Wiggie Manor, on the perimeter of the Foxboro-Yoxall site and with links back to the 16th century, was acquired and converted for use by the Training Centre. In 1969 work began on a new office wing and, when opened in 1970, the Training Centre moved to occupy half of its ground floor. The total building floor area ended up at 250,000 sq. ft. by 1971 with around 1,500 people employed.
. . The question that comes to mind is what was the estate and house used for from 1938 to 1957? Information is that the house was demolished in 1977.

Two more illustrations from 'Our Homestead' that were probably paintings mentioned in the sale inventory.
Daniel Gumbrell 

Daniel Gumbrell worked for the Trower family through three of its generations. It is recorded in Artur Mee's 'Enchanted Land' that he tended the extensive daffodil fields there and that one day his children and grandchildren, totalling 130*, all came to see him. The date of his death is not known but from the details in obituary would have been c1917.

* His obituary below records the number as 120, still a remarkable number.

Daniel at work in the fields and against a tree he was proud of. As a young man he had been mending a fence and a willow post he had stuck in the ground had rooted and grown into the tree seen in the picture, giving a good indication of his length of service. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
Some of Daniel's relatives as mentioned in his obituary above. (see information and photo below)
(Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
There is an interesting observation to be made about the photo above. This is that the woman at the front far right of the group is the grand daughter of Daniel Gunbrell. Her father, Daniel's son, is standing behind her. The woman's married name was Bignall and the baby she is holding was her firstborn, Herbert Bignall. As he grew up he took up athletics and reached such a high standard that he was invited to run in the marathon at the 1928 Olympics, and agaim at the first ever Commonwealth Games in Canada in 1930. In 1948 the Olympics were held in London and he carried the Olympic torch from Nutfield to Redhill.

Herbert Bignall carrying the torch through Redhill

'Our Homestead and it Old World Garden',by Arthur Trower 1910
....Arthur Trower created the gardens at Wiggie on an ancient farm which had a trackway, possibly quite old, across it, running, it is said by some, from 'the Sussex coast to some crossing of the Thames'. The spelling of the name, as shown on a 1610 map in the British museum, was Wiggy, later becoming Wiggey and then Wiggie. Arthur wrote about the gardens, the house and many friends who visited in his book 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden'. The publisher of the book was dissolved in 1995 and the ownership of copyright on the book, if it still exists, is unknown. It is not the intention of this author to breach any copyright regulations so if anyone knows of any reason why material from the book should not be reproduced, or who should be contacted on the matter, then please contact author.
...The preface is dated 1910 and in it Arthur explains that the book is going to be less about himself and more about the title matter, which is a shame in a way as we would like to know more about the family.
....One thing we do learn fairly early on is that he and his four brothers and three sisters had good parents - 'no children were ever blest with kinder or better' are his words and he looks back on his early years on the farm with great affection. It was his mother who was the gardener and his father who was the practical farmer with little time for flowers. Arthur says that it was from her that he inherited his love of things horticultural.

Photo right
Mrs Trower ready to go for a ride. Presumably the photo was taken outside Wiggie house. Whether or not that is Arthur Trower at the reigns is unknown but from the text we might assume that it is.
(Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)

....Another very pertinent fact that comes to light is that on the death of both his parents the farm had to be sold. Why this was we are not told but it is revealed that in addition to land of his own Arthur's father rented land from Lord Monson. By this time all the children had left the family home. Arthur and his elder brother Henry had prospered in their business and were able to buy the house and 'some fifty acres of land'. We know from the 1861 census that there were originally 200 acres but do not know the division of owned and rented land.
...Ten years before the brothers acquired the property it been in great need of repair at their father's death and in order to make it more comfortable for their widowed mother it was decided to make alterations to the front. After their mother's death
and once in their hands Arthur and Henry went about further altering, developing and improving the property. They removed the more unsightly farm buildings but left undisturbed old walls and one old building that had been a farm labourer's cottage. They also turned the manure yard into a flower garden. Two photos of the house are provided in the book in a way that would seem to be 'before and after' photos. The difference between the two is so great, however, as to make it difficult to see exactly what was done.

Above are the two photos of the house from the book. The one on the left is entitled 'Our Old Homestead' and is clearly before alterations were made. The one on the right is entitled 'Home'. Such is the difference they give the appearance of two completely different properties. Arthur writes, 'Most of the old house remains intact, and it is by no means without its qaint nooks and corners, the great charm of all old relics of bygone days'. The 1913 map on the left shows the house after the alterations and it seems that the additions were made at its rear (on the side away from the public footpath) in the 1890s and it is the rear that is seen in the right hand photo. The alerations/additions more than doubled the house's size.

(Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)

The photo on the left is of part of the orchard with the house in the background. Arthur writes about the sorrow with which he viewed old and gnarled trees past their prime with more youthful and vigorous trees bearing leaf and fruit around them. Right is a photo of apple picking in progress. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
A chapter deals with the servants (including farm labourers) at Wiggie, some of whom worked for the family for more than fifty years and lived into their eighties. These were people who had been born in the 1820/30s and knew a whole different world from anything that exists today, a time when to be servile was something that was accepted without question. It is noted in the chapter that 'the servant question is not what it appears to be today', intimating that by 1910 things were changing.

........................................................... 'Old Tom', one of the farm labourers in question
...................................................... (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)

...It is difficult for us to fully understand how things were. If the servant accepted the situation unquestioningly then so did the master, probably with considerable satisfaction. The labourers in some cases would work a year, sometimes several, without any holidays. Daniel Gumbrell, as mentioned above, took but half a day off to get married. The family wages book reveals that in 1860 he was paid 12.6d per week and in 1910 was paid exactly the same; apparently being neither offered nor asking for more. One Michael Weller was a natural leader and regarded as such by master and other labourers and although he took on greater responsibilities as a result did so without extra pay. The tone of the chapter is that the master and his family regarded their servants and labourers with affection and were regarded in the same way by them. If this is how it really was we cannot know.

The Garden and its visitors..... All illustrations are from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910
....It is clear that the garden became quite famous for visitors came from all over the world according to Arthur. Perhaps they came for other reasons but while here a visit to the garden at Wiggie was on their agenda. It seems that visitors, whether known or unknown, were encouraged. Certainly the children from St Anne's came each year to see the daffodils. And not all announced their presence, for there was a public path by the front of the house and it was a simple mater to walk into the garden. Arthur relates how many times he was mistaken not for the owner but for the hired help. Mistaking him for the gardener, which he was by right but not by employ, he was even offered gratuities on occasion.

Arthur and a robin that would feed from his hand.
(Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)

....Generally Arthur would say something to the effect that as he was one of the proprietors he could not accept, upon which people would apologise profusely for their error, but he confesses that on one instance he did accept a tip. This was when a rather pompous lady he had never seen before asked him lots of questions about the garden, which he tried his best to answer, and then proceeded to tell him lots of stories about her own garden. Following this she gave him a whole text book of instructions on how best to tend his garden plus a threepenny tip. To hide his ire he touched his cap and accepted with meekness and humility and further calmed himself by spending the money on cigarettes and enjoying a smoke.
That the garden should be so open to passers by and unnamed visitors does seem rather casual - no worries about any visitors of the unwelcome kind it seems. In fact Arthur mentions that on Sunday evenings he would sometimes mingle with the crowd (that's the word he uses) and remain unrecognised. He remarks how nice it is to go indoors when they are gone to have a cup of tea in the knowledge that he has given so much pleasure to so many.

.............................................Arthur and an unnamed person deep in conversation.
....................................... (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910),

.....There were a few visitors who fell into two sightly different categories, both minorities. There were those who rather than giving a gratuity were looking to extract a subscription for a charity. Recognising these became an art as they would usually start off with praise either for the garden or the gardener before coming to the point. When donations were given they were usually small - 'more sympathetic than metallic' Arthur writes.
......The second group were those to whom the concept of gardening for pleasure was an alien one. Athur is pleased to say in the book that these were a rapidly diminishing group.
......One visitor, an amateur achaeologist, afterwards wrote that the garden was undoubtedly made on ancient ground as he had found a Norman arch and a ruin that could have been a chapel. Whether Arthur ever corrected him in person is not revealed but he corrects him in the book by explaining that what he had seen where old Victorian walls that he himself had got a jobbing bricklayer to make doorways and windows infor convenience and had the roofless tops rounded to appear better on the eye.
.... Having already mentioned that children from St Anne's would visit the garden, crocodiling their way from their large Victorian institution to do so, it should also be mentioned that 1,500 children from London came annually.

Daffodils in the orchard Roses in the old orchard Once the farmyard
Mixed Border Summer A favourite corner
The daffodil meadow from an early 1900s.newspaper articleA painting of part of the old world garden
In the garden at Wiggie are Aileen Butler, Phyllis Duffield and Miss Lucas - 4th person unknown - pupils and teacher(s) from St Anne's. This photo gives some idea of the magnificence of the daffodil field at Wiggie in the 1920s/30s. (Photo courtesy Joanna Parkinson)
Visitors...... (Illustrations.from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
Left - This old gentleman visited Wiggie until he was 93 years of age. he was a man who seeing his friends pass away one by one felt himself becoming a relic af a bygone age. There are a number of photos in the book of visitors to Wiggie and as much as we would dearly love to know their names we are unfortunately not told them, which is a singular loss to history.

Right - There is one visitor who we can identify, however. In the book he is referred to as 'My friend the Doctor'. He is The Rev. Dr Perry, St Anne's Boys' School Head 1896-1919. More can be read about him in the 'St Anne's' web page, also on this website.

Ladies from the local almshouseLady in the garden
Lifelong friends of Arthur Trower.The caption says 'Girl athletes in the Home Meadow'. Perhaps they were from St Anne's

There is a great deal of information about the Trower family on this page but by comparison with their lives and influence on the local area it is but little. If you have further information or would like to comment upn anything on this page please contact author.
 Steve Bacon, a Trower descendent who supplied information and pictures. 
 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden' by Arthur Trower; published by Sampson, Low, Marston & Co.Ltd. 1910
Addituional research and other material Alan Moore


Wiggie House 1939 - 1947
Above the sale of Wiggie House was discussed and it was said that after the whole 56 acre Wiggie estate went on the market. Reigate Corporation had resolved to buy it for 20,000 so a planned auction was cancelled. At the last minute the Corporation pulled out but the trustees of the late owner, Arthur Trower, received an alternative private offer for the estate plus premises in the town.
... Until now it has not been known by this author who the alternative private offer was made by. It is still not known specifically by whom the offer was made but Wiggie House became a 'kibbutz' style home to Jewish aliens who were released from detention in various parts of the British Isles.
... This information comes from Dan Jacoby whose mother, Ilse, and father, Georg, met while staying at Wiggie House. His mother left him an account of her life, part of which is reproduced below. In those notes we learn a considerable amount about life at Wiggie.
Memories of Ilse Jacoby, nee Bloch, as written to her son, Dan Jacoby.
Before going to Wiggie

. . . . . . . . In Feb 1941, after 10 months of internment it was my turn to go to a second tribunal in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man. It was done by coach loads. They stamped my registration book. I was to be released to return to St. Albans where there was a 'Hashomer Hatzair' (Young Guard) hostel. I had obtained their address through Bloomsbury House and contacted them, as soon as the second tribunals started. My youth movement and Hashomer Hatzair had amalgamated and they had agreed to accept me. On 18th February, 1941, I arrived already when it was dark at St. Albans bus station and had to make my own way (no reception committee!) while the sirens sounded loudly an 'All Clear' with only a torch to find my way to 55 London Road.
..... Well, I managed. It was a completely different way of life I started from then on. The place was sparsely furnished, just essentials, but the girls had tried to make things homely with pictures, vases, rugs etc. There were about twenty of us, mostly girls, as some of the boys were still interned in Canada and Australia. Some worked on farms but more in factories where they made uniforms. They had to work hard doing piece work, meaning they only got paid for the amount they produced.
.... Two people worked in the house. I was supposed to cook for them all. Luckily a third girl who had previously worked in a kitchen was on sick leave and she showed me the ropes. Especially I had not had anything to do with ration books before. It came quite easily to me, the shopping and cooking. The food was quite filling and nourishing, stews with the meat mostly to make it go further. The thorn in my eye was six puppies and the mother who belonged to Rita. They dirtied the plain wooden kitchen floor and I had to scrub it every second day. It took her quite some time to sell the dogs but I put my foot down and quite a few of the others were on my side to get rid of them quickly as they slept in a big cardboard box in the kitchen. There was a garden, just lawn; at least one could hang the washing out there. My other partner to clean the house and share doing the laundry was a boy, Ulli. He was Ruth's husband. She worked in a factory. They were a bit older and were supposed to be in charge of us. They looked after the finances, as all earnings were pooled and each received only pocket money, as all expenses for goods, cosmetics etc, were paid from the budget. It was run on the lines of a kibbutz, after all that was the idea to get us accustomed to that way of life.
.... Our movements were restricted like all other alien's. We were not allowed to travel further than five miles without reporting to the police, who stamped our book with the destination. Any change of address or work had to be reported. You always had to have the book with you, as well as the identity card with which every citizen was issued at the outbreak of war. St. Albans was lucky we did not have many alerts, though one could hear the droning of bombers going over to Germany and bombs falling in the distance. One actually fell on the farm, where Shoscha worked, but luckily she was not there at the time.
... I had two nice girls in my room, one from Breslau, who had only lived round the corner from me then, Alhm and Hannnah, who I met again when I visited Kibbutz Harnaupil with Rosi and Anshi for the day as it was their old Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz where they had lived many years. Our social life consisted mostly of having political discussions. Hashomer Hatzair was very left wing at the time, supporting Russia until the pact with Hitler. We used to hitch-hike everywhere (in those days it was quite safe) as we had no money for fares, mainly to week-end seminars at other Hachsharah centres. I especially remember Tring. I hitchhiked with Hannah, there was a terrible thunderstorm and downpour, we saw a tree being struck by lightning so the driver stopped the car and we made for the nearest house. The lady there saw us drenched to the skin, we had no jackets and brought towels and hot cocoa and we waited till the rain stopped. Later on we had to change cars, thumb another lift to Tring; by the time we arrived there we were bone dry.
..... Another trip was to Moorhouse farm, Shropshire. There I saw Dad for the first time making a speech in connection with working arrangements. He struck me as a rebel then, dissatisfied with the way things were run. We learned there that his group was to go down South. Our hostel was going to be dissolved and we all eventually ended up together at Wiggie House, Wiggie Lane, Redhill, Surrey. That was October 1941.

At Wiggie

At Wiggie House everything was run as on a kibbutz. There was total communal organisation. We worked for the Surrey War Agricultural Committee (SWAC). This was set up as soon as the war started to supply mobile labour, as all the regular farm workers were in the army. At the same time the land army girls were founded with whom we worked together on occasions. Every Friday we found two sets of clothes on our bed - one for work, one for leisure. One big room was the 'Machsan' (storeroom) where all the clothes were put onto shelves. We did not often get our own clothes we brought from home but there was a big variety.
.... One girl was in charge of two to four others who did all the laundry and mending. Imagine washing 70-100 pairs of dirty socks by hand on a washing board. We had a gas boiler for the work clothes and a rinsing machine and mangle. I worked later on in the 'Machsan' so I know first hand what hard work it was - and all the darning of socks, un-known today. Two worked in the house cleaning, all wooden floorboards with various rugs and linoleum in the very big dining room, which also served all other activities. Two worked in the kitchen, one girl, Dita, was Austrian and a very good inventive cook, able to provide a variety of meals with the rationed food. Washing up was done by rota by all members, as were the Shabat (Saturday) and Sunday duties, even preparing the supper. Heating was by coke stoves and wood as well. We never saw our wages. They were paid weekly by an officer of the War Agricultural Committee (W.A.C) to our treasurer who was in charge of the various budgets. We had no need to buy barely a thing, as everything was provided, all cosmetics, as everything was bought wholesale through the Houndsditch warehouse in London where we had a trade card. All we received was the princely sum of 1 shilling 7 pence pocket money. The boys earned between 3 and 5, the girls 25-30 shillings in old money plus overtime. The money was 12 pence to 1 shilling (20 shillings to the pound). The pictures (cinema) cost 1 shilling.
.... The SWAC supplied us with bicycles and we had to cycle to the farms, some were quite a distance away (five miles), sometimes we had to get off and push them as Surrey is a hilly county. We worked mostly in groups of two to five for the general field work, sometimes together with some old farm hands who were too old for the army. We met some characters. Some of the boys worked with the animals. We used to get up at 6 am and be home by about 5.30 - 6pm. Most of us had never done any physical work and it came quite hard to us at first.
.... Then at week-ends we had to work on our own 1.5 acre vegetable garden, which was behind the house. The thankless task to organise this fell to Dad. At that time he was just one of the many boys from Moorhouse Farm who amalgamated with us from St. Albans. Every Friday he put up a sheet of paper on the information board in the hall with the names of who had to do what on our plot and make sure on Saturday, nobody dodged and overlooked the work, which was done Saturday morning. He had quite a battle sometimes to round everybody up.
.... How did I get into closer contact with him? Though a splinter, which I managed to get under one of my fingernails in the course of some work I did (can't remember what, probably stacking logs). After unsuccessful attempts by others to remove it, he finally did. that's how we got talking, and so it went on from there. He was known as one of the best workers of the group and was soon noticed by the framers he worked for, so they applied to the SWAC to be allowed to keep him for special jobs. That way he first worked with cows, as he had had experience at Moorhouse. He learned to drive a tractor and use all the implements and he stayed with farmer Smith in Godstone for the rest of the time.
.... All this was in 1942. Redhill was in the flight path of the bombers that came over from Germany to London and went out there. There was this forever droning noise, which one got used to. Though there were no important targets in the vicinity we seemed to get the bombs being unloaded on the way home. We all had to do a rota of fire fighting duty; were shown how to use a stirrup pump to put out incendiary bombs. We were very lucky, as in spite of being right next to the railway line we never had any bombing near us, though we could hear plenty coming down, overlooking the miles of open fields behind the house. We had dug out a big shelter in the grounds, but not big enough for everybody. Most of us, except during very bad air-raids, stayed in their beds, or one could take shelter in the workshop, which used to be a garage.
.... In spite of the disturbed nights and very hard work, life went on fairly smoothly and we had many laughs in the course of the work and at socials. To go to the pictures (cinema) was the weekly treat and to queue for an hour and a half was pretty usual. Once every two months one could go up to London to the theatre. We saw some excellent plays and films, the latter of a kind not made any more today. Though we were nearly all born townies we loved the countryside and for a courting couple it could be very romantic - long beautiful walks, lying in the hay etc. One of my dearest memories is when Dad and I missed the last bus one Saturday and we had to walk home five miles in the dark on a lovely, balmy evening. He often used to work overtime all Saturday. I used to go out to him in the afternoon. I used to ride round with him on the side of the tractor, not strictly permitted but farmer Smith turned a blind eye. Those were the days!
.... Being a 'Hashomer Hatzair' (Young Guard) kibbutz it was very left wing orientated. We had many political discussions in the evening mostly on current topics. We had lecturers, who were sent from the British Council, which was an organisation looking after the educational needs of immigrants. Another big event was the open day. We had stalls of every kind in the extensive grounds, all home-made goods to sell. Dad made his special metal objects, bowls, ashtrays, brooches and candlesticks out of brass or copper (can't recall where the metal sheets came from). Before his immigration he had attended a training course in wood and metal work and electrical repairs, so his work looked nearly professional and sold well. He took great pride in it.
... The kibbutz always looked for ways of making extra money, as our budgets were very tight. In our grounds grew masses of daffodils. We were kept busy during the season making up bunches and sold them from the house. This became known to the population of Redhill and we had abundant customers. In 1942 there were several couples by then and as we had no proper accommodation for them as usually 3-5 slept in a room. It was decided to buy sturdy big chicken houses, which Leew, our born handyman, mounted on a cement foundation, which he laid with some other boys. We were the first couple after we married in 1943 to move into one of these. We were married at Reigate Register Office on Saturday morning March 20th 1943. Thea, one of Dad's stepsisters, with whom I corresponded, came from Birmingham, she was one of the witnesses, and one girl, Ruth, from the kibbutz. After the ceremony we all went to lunch at a lovely old time cafe' and restaurant and afterwards to the pictures (cinema) to see Random Harvest with Ronald Colman who was a popular star at the time. There was no celebration or wedding cake in the kibbutz. Their and our philosophy at the time, did not attach any importance to these bourgeois rites.

Ilse's husband, Georg Jacoby, at the wheel of a Surrey War Agricultural lorry. One of the jobs he had to do was to drive German prisoners about, and he found it hard not to reveal that he too was German, by laughing at their jokes!

.. We stayed in Redhill till 1947. In the meantime 20 certificates for emigration to the then still Palestine arrived and there began a big selection. They went to the most active and committed members. We knew we stood no chance. That was the first batch that left. Thereafter most of them left by illegal Alijah emigration. For this you were examined by an Alijah doctor. I had some serious kidney trouble at the time. As it was expected that some boats would be intercepted and the immigrants placed into internment camps, people were expected to be fit. That was the reason we were left behind in England, as I did not pass the examination. And true enough most of our group spent months and years in such a camp till they finally reached Palestine. A new group from 'Habonim', another youth group, moved into Wiggie House . We moved into an adjacent cottage above the workshop, which consisted of a bedroom, living room and a toilet near the entrance. We made it very cosy there, though it was very primitive. We had a coal range to cook on and bake but later acquired an electric boiling ring. Our tin bath was put in front of the fire and filled with hot water from a big urn, which heated on the coal range. But believe me they were our happiest days. Life was so simple, one had no big demands and never looked over one's shoulder to see what others had. Nobody had much anyway.
... The war had ended, that was the great satisfaction, no more blackout and fewer restrictions. All during the war were wondering what had happened to our parents. There was no way of direct communication. Occasionally I heard from the relations in Buenos Aires. They had been sent to Terezin and were working in the camp. Terezin was supposed to be the best one. It was used by the Nazis (National Socialist Party) to demonstrate to the outside world their good will towards the inmates. It was an example of a 'Labour Camp'. My mother had a cousin in Berlin, who was married to a gentile lady - Gretl and Willy - and after the end of the war they sent me a pack of Camp postcards. My parents had sent them to acknowledge their food parcels and report about themselves. They are in my possession. Naturally they are written in German. In the meantime we learnt the truths about the horrific events in the camps as they were gradually liberated by the Allied Forces. They were shown finally in the picture houses (cinema) in the news reels. Though I could barely bring myself to look at them, one hoped to maybe recognise someone. I like most others, made inquiries through the Arolsen Search Service. Eventually I received the Red Cross form giving the details of my father's deportation to Auschwitz in October 1944; As they were together I don't doubt that my mother met the same fate. To think that only seven months later the war ended it was hard to bear. After Anni's death (Note 1) I suffered for quite some time with terrible nightmares. We also received the same notification about Dad's mother. It took a very long time to come to terms with their destiny and one never really has accepted it subconsciously. I still dream about my parents even now.
... Came the time that the Habonim group left; the house was empty but we were still there. One day we received a letter from the landlord that we had a month to leave as he wanted the building and site. We finally left in November 1948. Wiggie House became an AGFA photographic laboratory and factory later on, as we found out when we visited old English neighbours with whom we had become friendly. Their cottage was at the end of Wiggie Lane next to the steps to mount to get across the bridge over the railway line. Now we made up our mind to move to London as it was impossible to find accommodation in Redhill. Also we felt completely isolated from our friends. Two of these friends I had made while I was in a Jewish convalescent home in Epsom to which I had been sent at separate occasions, while in the kibbutz.

Note 1 - Anni was Ilse's sister, left behind in Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland). She was a couple of years younger than Ilse who had organised permits via organisations in London for her to be able to escape to London . Unfortunately, just before Anni was due to leave, she was treated for a 'cold', but it turned out to be meningitis and she died. Ilse did not know what had happened to her sister until after the war and never got over it. Ilse's son, Dan, has been to the Old Jewish cemetery in Wroclaw and found Anni's gravestone. She was buried with her grandparents.
This is the end of Ilse's notes that lay out her personal life during the years 1941-1948 and that of Wiggie House during an important part of its history. It would appear that the person or organisation that bought Wiggie House was a Jewish benefactor of some kind. Grateful thanks to Dan Jacoby for allowing these notes to appear here. If you have any knowledge or information about this period that might throw more light on the matter please contact author.