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Last updated: 9 Dec 2022

The Asylum
On Banstead Downs, East of Sutton Lane, Banstead.

Between 1873 and 1877,what was described as a Lunatic Asylum was built on downland known as 'Freedown' or 'Hundered Acres' about half a mile North East of Banstead. It was to house 1000 mentally ill people from London, but this soon rose to 2,000 and later 2,500.

In modern times, the inmates were treated as patients and the institution became a psychiatric hospital known as Banstead Hospital. This was closed in October 1986.

After much consultation, the property was eventually sold to the Home Office for the creation of two prisons, the Downview Prison and the Highdown Prison.

Banstead Asylum. Postcard from Lewis Wood collection.

The Bank
London and Provincial Bank. Photograph from the BHRG archives. Barclays Banstead branch history stretches back over a century.

The branch was opened in 1905 by the London and Provincial Bank next to The Woolpack, and was at first housed in a wooden hut shown in the centre of the photograph on the right.

At the time, the London and Provincial primarily provided banking services to small tradesmen and private customers. The Banstead branch, which was operated as a sub-branch to Sutton, was run by one cashier, Frank Wilton, who came up with cash from Sutton on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in a horse drawn vehicle, to open for business.

In 1911, the branch moved to its present site in the High Street on the corner of Avenue Road. In January 1918, the London and Provincial amalgamated with the London and South Western Bank Ltd and within the same year, Barclays Bank Ltd.

Barclays Spread Eagle
The Barclays partnership can be traced back to 1690, and by 1728, John Freame and his partners had moved to a building which was known as the Black Spread Eagle. At a time when few could read, distinctive signs were used to identify buildings, and the sign remained even when buildings changed hands. The spread eagle soon became firmly identified with the company and was eventually adopted as its crest in 1937, about a year after the name Barclay was first recorded.

By 1925 opening hours at the Banstead Branch had been extended to 9am -3pm Monday to Friday and 9am-12 noon on Saturday.

The manager lived in the house adjoining the back of the branch, and Colin Mead tells us that his father, who was the bank manager, used to sit by the window in his dressing gown and go through the morning's post.

Barclays Bank circa 1966 - Photograph courtesy of Barclays Group Archives. Barclays Bank Manager's house. Photograph courtesy of Colin Mead

The Banstead Branch was rebuilt on the same corner in 1969 and the image below shows the interior in 1970.

Banstead Branch Coutesy of Barclays Group Archives

The exterior is a familiar landmark in Banstead, and as can be seen from the photographs below, it has not changed
at all since 1970, however the four small trees planted in the brick built beds have put on a little growth!

Barclays Bank in 1970 - Photograph courtesy of Barclays Group Archives. Barclays Bank May 2007 - Photograph courtesy of Lewis Wood.

Barclays closed this branch in 2022

If you have any photographs of the bank during rebuilding, or have any stories you can tell us,
please email us at Banstead History .

Banstead Commons

The Banstead area has four distinct areas of Commons which were the subject of a long legal battle in the late 1800s. These are:

Banstead Downs 430 acres
Burgh Heath 87 acres
Banstead Heath 760 acres
Park Downs 74 acres

The Banstead Common Conservators have published a leaflet on the subject and this is freely available from the Help Shop in the Horseshoe at the western end of Banstead High Street.

The map on the right is printed on their leaflet.
Banstead Commons Conservators web site
Banstead Commons map from leaflet by the BANSTEAD COMMONS CONSERVATORS

Banstead Woods
In the Middle Ages the woods belonged to the Lord of the Manor of Banstead. Villagers had no rights there, though some of them were under obligation to cut and carry timber for repairing cottages, firewood, etc. They might be allowed to graze pigs there on payment. From the 13th century much of the woods was fenced in as a Deer Park and a Hunting Lodge was built on the edge of the woods for the Kings who were the Lords of the Manor.
Banstead Wood. Postcard from Lewis Wood collection.
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The woods in 1881 were offered for sale either as a housing estate or for a large mansion with extensive grounds. They were bought by the merchant banker, Francis Baring, who built his mansion in the middle of the woods.

In 1893 C H Garton bought the estate and occupied it until his death in 1934.

In 1939 the Mansion and its grounds became an Emergency Military Hospital and the remainder of the woods were requisitioned by the War Department as a military camp and later for a Prisoner of War camp.

In 1946 the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children was opened in the mansion, whilst the rest of the woods became vested in the Local Authority as Open Space for the public.
The Hospital closed in 1998.

The Dairy and the Slaughter House
Eastern end of the High Street, Banstead.

From 1871 to 1907, John Songhurst, the bootmaker, occupied the house on the left of this picture,and this later became Hodges Dairy.

There was a butcher's shop on the corner of Sutton Lane in 1839, with a slaughterhouse behind. Henry Haydon worked there from 1862 and Henry Parker, whose name appears over the shop doorway, from 1918 until he moved to premises further down the High Street. Hodges then also took over the corner plot.
Hodges Dairy, High Street Banstead. Postcard from Lewis Wood collection.

The Fire Station
Brighton Road opp Garrats Lane, Banstead.

Banstead Fire Station in Brighton Road was officially closed on the 31st July 1960.

More photos and memories of the men and women stationed there can be found here.

Volunteer appeal Banstead quarterly Jan 1939

The Forge
Eastern end of the High Street, Banstead.

The last blacksmith at the Forge was Jack Shaw, and before him the Palmers had been Blacksmiths for over 60 years. The warmth of the fire and the activities of the smith attracted many onlookers.

Mr and Mrs Shaw were standing at the door of the Forge just opposite the Woolpack, talking to the sweep, when it was hit by a flying bomb. They survived the event but the Forge was lost forever.

The old forge. Postcard from Lewis Wood collection.

Banstead Police Station
High Street, Banstead

In 1839, the Metropolitan Police had their operational area extended south of the River Thames, and a Police Station was built in Epsom. Banstead was within the new area and in 1852, the Police bought a building on the northern side of the High Street towards the eastern end. This lay between the road and Buff house(residence of some of the Lambert family). They fitted it out as a Police Station and took possession in 1853.

In 1906, these premises were sold to Mr.Lambert and a new station was built on the southern side of the High Street almost opposite the previous station.

Public contribution to BHRG Doug Lynn,a local bobby, says "I arrived there in 1953 or 54. At that time there was a flat above the Station where an Inspector from Sutton Station lived. He was a misreable old ....... and was constantly banging on his floor at night if he thought we were making too much noise. Later, it was turned into offices for the C.I.D. Behind the Station were four flats where Police Officers lived. They usually worked at Epsom or Sutton. One old character who lived there was Ted Pratt who later became the Groundsman at the Cricket Club & had two sons who both played Cricket for Surrey".

The Police Station. Postcard from Lewis Wood collection.
The Police Station is shown from an old undated postcard and looks the same as it does today! The big difference is the opposite side of the road where the High Street was very narrow and no buildings can be seen along the north side.

This building remained the Metropolitan Police Station till the year 2000, when the area was reallotted to the Surrey Police.

Banstead Railway Station
Banstead Road, Nork

The railway station opened on the 22nd May 1865 mainly to serve the racing fraterity. The line was electrified in 1928 and the building modernised and extended in 1935.
Walter Henry Iles was Station Master for 33 years.
This picture was taken in the 1940's. Note the name of the station shown on the roof to help pilots check their course into Croydon Airpoprt.
Banstead railway
 station around 1940 from the Banstead Library collection

Banstead Vicarage
High Street, Banstead (Opposite Wilmot Way).

The Vicarage, situated along the south side of the High street, immediately opposite Wilmot Way, was the only building between All Saints church and Bolter's Lane.
It was considerably enlarged in 1824 just after the first of the three members of the Buckle family took over as vicar.
It was sold in 1937 and replaced by one in Garratts Lane and subsequently by the current one in Court Road.
The picture comes from a postcard sent in 1905.
Banstead Vicarage.  Postcard from  Lewis Wood collection.

The War Memorial
Eastern end of the High Street, Banstead.

The major war memorial in Banstead is at the eastern end of the High Street. It was moved a short distance from its original position for traffic reasons, when the mini roundabout was installed.

The creation of the Memorial seems to have been on the initiative of the Banstead Parish Council, on whose behalf, Mr. Ralph Neville of Banstead Place, wrote to the Epsom Rural District Council in March 1919. He stated that it was desired to erect a Celtic Cross as a memorial to the villagers who had fallen in the 1914/18 War.

It took some considerable time to make the necessary arrangements, including the raising of a fund by public subscription, but the memorial was completed and unveiled by General C.C Munro in 1921 as shown in the picture on the right.

Mr. Neville died in 1923 and left the sum of £250 to the vicar and churchwardens upon trusts which included a condition that they keep the memorial in repair "with the names clearly legible".

After the 1939/45 War, the names of the Villagers who fell in that War were also inscribed on the memorial.

Banstead War Memorial
This photo shows the Banstead War Memorial in its original position.
Banstead War Memorial - Unveiling in July 1921 by General G.C. Munro.  From a  postcard held by the Banstead Library


Several members of the old Banstead History Research Group have researched all 119 men listed on the memorial.  You can see all their findings  here.

Banstead History has published two commemorative books about thememorial and local men who lost their lives during the two World Wars.
Banstead War Memorial books by Lewis N WoodBoth books were written by Lewis Wood.

The first, These Men of Banstead- Stories from the War Memorial published in 2010, is a detailed account of the lives of 34 men whose names are inscribed on the memorial.

And the second, Banstead War Memorial –: 100 Years, published in 2021, recounts the whole history of the monument from its conception right through to the covid pandemic.

These two publications are beautifully written, fully illustrated titles which have become an important and lasting contribution to Banstead's long and proud history.

The Old Well
Junction of Park Road and Woodmansterne Lane, Banstead.
The Well which is almost 300 feet deep and was last used around 1895 was an important part of village life until the arrival of piped water. The 18th century wellhead cover which still houses the elaborate winding gear is a listed building.

Over the last few years the structure started to develop a severe lean and after some temporary repairs, a full restoration was commissioned in August 2003. The full restoration was completed by mid November 2003
Postcard of the Old Well, Banstead, circa 1904. Postcard from Lewis Wood collection.

The old photograph was taken in about 1904 and the building on the right was the original Well House
The Village Well after the completion of restoration work
This photograph was taken on the 15th Of November after completion of the restoration work.

Check out the Special feature on the restoration of the Village Well which includes many more photographs and close ups.....

Special feature

Well Farm
Woodmansterne Lane, Banstead.

Well Farm Banstead. Postcard from Lewis Wood collection. Originally the building was a 15th century farmhouse with about 100 acres of land.

Upstairs, at the rear is a room known as "The Bishop's bedroom" in memory of a remarkable cleric who was one of the farm's earliest owners. His name was Robert Sherborne. Despite some dubious activities, he was appointed Bishop of Chichester and held that office for some thirty years.

Sherborne sold the farm to a couple of yeoman-farmers but in 1516 they sold it to John Lambert of Woodmansterne, in whose family the property remained for the next four hundred years.

The 'Wardens' as it was known then, was largely rebuilt in the 18th century and the 18th century facade is still there today (2007).

In 1905, workmen uncovered some wooden panelling on a wall in the front room of Well Farm on which was a large crudely painted Stuart Coat of Arms.Over it is written FEAR GOD AND HONOUR THE KING. It has been suggested that this was the Royal Coat of Arms removed from All Saints Church at the time of the Civil War, but this has never been proved. Lord Tedder

The house and grounds were sold in 1919 and passed through several hands.

Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Arthur William Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder, was the owner from 1954 until his death in 1967.

Public contribution to BHRG January 2007 John Eason recalls his many visits to Well farm.

When I was a kid (pre-teen), I spent more time in Well Farm (opposite the Congregational Church in Woodmanterne Lane) than I did at home because my best friend Richard Tedder lived there. I met one or two quite famous people there because his parents were Lord and Lady Tedder. Lord Tedder was Marshal of the RAF and had been in charge of the RAF operations in the Mediterranean during WWII.

Walt Disney autograph to John Eason of Banstead SurreyDid you know that Walt Disney visited Banstead? - It was a private visit, so wasn't publicised, but I was invited to tea at Well Farm with him and his retinue and still have his autograph here to prove it.

In the '50s the BBC did a series of outside broadcast interviews with famous people in their own homes. One of them was Lord Tedder and I met Richard Dimbleby (who was doing the interview) there. The Outside broadcast van with large aerial was parked in the Congregational car park with all the TV cables draped above Woodmansterne Lane across to Well Farm. It was strange watching the (live) program in the evening knowing that it was actually taking place a hundred yards or so away from where we were sitting.

Another regular visitor was Lady Tedder's brother, Bruce Seton who was an actor and had played the part of the sergeant in the film Whisky Galore. I went to Lord and Lady Tedder's holiday home in the Outer Hebrides one year, met several of the locals who Compton Mackenzie based the characters on in the book, and saw the wreck of the ship that prompted him to write the story in the first place.

Banstead Windmill

Barbara Rough/ BHRG 2/12/03*

The mill mentioned in Domesday is too early to be a windmill and was probably a watermill on the River Wandle at Beddington.
A picture of the windmill exists prior to demolition in c1877.

BHRG 'Banstead A History'
p15 Sketch map of Banstead showing Hundred Acres
p 27 The London County Lunatic Asylum was situated on the downlands which, up till then, had been the site of a windmill, miller's houses and farmlands known as The Hundred Acres.
Banstead Windmill
Lambert 'History of Banstead' Vol 1 p196 And also one windmill in Banstead Common, and one tenement and one pightle of land lying near the said mill in the occupation of John Newman, rent per annum £5 (in 1680).
p 288 Hundred Acres previously called frithdonus (Frith means free & donus Down) in 1325 and the Freedown later (by 1540). It was between the Common Downs to the West and Woodmansterne Downs on the East.
p 290 There was a windmill on the Hundred Acres
A detailed map in Volume 1 of Lambert shows the Hundred Acres.

The Village London Atlas 1822-1903
P166,168 &170 shows maps including the Hundred Acres in 1819, 1868 & 1903.

1841 Census
Hundred Acres Miller - Mr Sayer aged 37

1851 Census
Hundred Acres Miller/Farmer/Baker- Mr Kenward aged 32 born Hailsham Sussex Apprentice Miller & Baker - Master Migell aged 16 b Chillington Sussex Baker - Master Vine aged 13 b Hailsham Journeyman miller - Mr Sinnock aged 33 b Arlington Sussex

*If you wish to use this information in a publication please acknowledge the source.