Traveller incursion in Lightwater, ongoing effects

The recent traveller incursion onto the Lightwater Recreation Ground behind All Saints’ Church, though now over, continues to have an effect.

That effect is that both the small public car park by the Lightwater Recreation Ground, and that in front of the Briars Community Centre in Lightwater have both now been closed with barriers. A large tree log for the Briars Centre and heavy concrete structures for the recreation Ground.

Closing both car parks protects them from traveller incursions onto the playing fields. In doing this the local councils, parish and borough, are inconveniencing local residents.

An alternative solution is required, one that protects the playing fields from traveller incursion, yet allows both car parks to be used. I guess I’ll have to follow up and find out what the councils are planning about re-opening the car parks.

The Jolly Farmer name lives on courtesy of Network Rail

Our Heritage Open Day visit on Saturday was to the Woking Electrical Control Room.

As Southern Railway moved from steam to the electric third-rail system in the 1930’s its expanding electrification needed additional electricity sub stations. The electric power supply from these sub-stations was managed from control rooms, which could reconfigure the electric power in the event of a fault. Of the original five control room Woking is the only one retained in its original condition.

Southern Railway adopted an Art Deco styling to their electrification and station building. Woking has three railway building in the art deco style. It’s station, signal box, and the lesser known Electrical Control Room. Built in 1936, and opened in 1937, the control room continued in operation till 1997, when it was superceded by computer control.

The control room is Grade II listed for the building, control room panels, switches, and lighting. The concrete building has a flat roof with metal-framed casement windows.

Entering the building, past offices still in use, you enter a narrow corridor running around the edge of the building past panel of electro-mechanical switch gear. From the corridor you enter the impressive control room, just as it was when its use ceased in 1997, even the chairs remain.

Operated 24 hours a day, the three attractive copper and iron uplighters were designed to give a soft diffused light. We learned that the original light bulbs have been replaced with LED lights, close to the original lighting effect, though giving off a whiter light than that that I saw when first visiting the control room in 2007.

The inner walls of the control room are a representation, and name of each of the electric sub stations, with coloured lights to indicate the state of operation. The switches allow a controller to divert electric supply to in the event of a fault.

I expect you’ll be wanting to know about how the Jolly Farmer name lives on. Well, the name Jolly Farmer appears on the control panels for the sub station close to what was the Jolly Farmer pub, now American Golf shop. To prove that the Jolly Farmer name is still in use, I hacked through undergrowth to get near the railway line and take a photo of the sub station, which is still named Jolly Farmer.

Here are the photos [click to expand] of our visit, and the Jolly Farmer sub station.



Photos of The Great Fall landslide uncovered

Here’s a wonderful piece of history uncovered by Derek Butcher, a route asset manager at Network Rail [@NetworkRailSE], who found historic images of The Great Fall in a filing cabinet while moving offices.

The Great Fall was an immense coastal landslide that occurred at Folkestone Warren in December 1915. Such was the seriousness of the landslide that the railway line that ran through the Warren, used to convey troops in WW1, was not reopened until well after the end of the war.

I learned about this historic event from a tweet on Mark Smith’s twitter feed The Man in Seat 61, and its associated conversations.

Here are photos [click to enlarge], and the maps that were found. It is thought that the train drivers and passengers were evacuated back along the line to Folkestone, while the landslip continued, resulting in crazy angles of the train and carriages.


Former Collingwood student to play title role in Camberley Theatre’s pantomime

Surrey Heath Borough Council and Camberley Theatre announce that,

This year Camberley Theatre will present a brand new adaptation of the classic fairy-tale, Sleeping Beauty.  Following 2017’s Peter Pan which received glowing reviews and became the theatre’s most successful pantomime ever; it hopes to make this year’s pantomime even bigger and better than ever!

The theatre is very pleased to announce that Louise Young will play Princess Aurora.  Louise grew up in Lightwater and went to Collingwood College secondary school and sixth form. She was inspired to become an actress by her drama teacher Mrs Roberts and went on to train at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Louise said “Having grown up in Lightwater, Camberley has always held a special place in my heart. After four years of working in London, I’m so excited to bring the Christmas spirit home.”

Letitia Hector, Chanai Ankrah and Monique Ashe-Palmer will play the super soulful fairies Here, There and Everywhere. They’ve got attitude, sass and incredible vocals!

Every pantomime needs a dame! Nick Wymer will make his debut at Camberley Theatre as the warm, witty and wonderful Nanny Nee Naw. Nanny Nee Naw carries a torch for the majestic King Cedric who will be played by Alan Mitchell.

Melanie Stevens will take on the role of Carabosse, the most evil fairy of them all. Carabosse has cursed Princess Aurora meaning on her eighteenth birthday she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and be lost forever in a deep sleep.

The lovable palace jester Muddles will be played by Ewan Goddard. He is truly, madly deeply in love with Princess Aurora but will he tell her? Steve Banks will play the dashing and handsome Prince Florizel who will do everything he can to try and save Princess Aurora.

Producer and Theatre Manager Andy Edmeads said “Following the success of Peter Pan, we are hugely excited to bring this magical and enchanting pantomime to life this Christmas. Expect energetic choreography, singalong songs, laugh out loud jokes and a plenty of audience interaction!”

Will Prince Florizel find his way through the enchanted forest? Will Princess Aurora ever wake up? You’ll have to come along to find out!

Join all the cast on a magical adventure full of fun, laughs and audience interaction.  This brand new pantomime is not to be missed.  Sleeping Beauty runs from 10-31 December 2018 and tickets can be purchased in person, online at or by calling the Box Office on 01276 707600.

Surrey Heath Council attend Revo Manchester, plus Be Inspired video

Surrey Heath Borough Council [SHBC] announce their attendance at Revo Manchester on 18-20th September that offers opportunities to connect and do business with experts from the diverse retail property and placemaking community. See SHBC’s Be Inspired video at end of press release.

The regeneration of Camberley is bringing a revitalised place to one of the most affluent catchments in the South East of England.

Led by a forward-thinking management team and elected members, Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) has invested £140 million into Camberley to drive regeneration and economic growth.

SHBC will be attending Revo Manchester, 18 – 20 September 2018, Manchester Central.  Visit us on stand number 84.

Karen Whelan, Chief Executive, Surrey Heath Borough Council said:  “SHBC’s significant regeneration projects in Camberley are driving prosperity in the town and creating a vibrant place for our local communities to enjoy.   The regeneration work is also creating exceptional new commercial opportunities. Come and see us at Revo to find out more.”

Cllr Richard Brooks, Deputy Leader, Surrey Heath Borough Council said: “We are looking forward to attending the Revo exhibition next week to provide an update on the substantial progress that has been made on Camberley’s regeneration projects.  These projects are transforming the town and creating a great place for our local communities and businesses.”

SHBC’s investments have already seen the unique acquisition of The Square shopping centre, commencing its refurbishment programme within the first year of ownership.  Followed by an ambitious set of projects to improve the roads, pavements and street scene.  A redundant office building has also been purchased to create 116 high quality town centre apartments with proposals to re-deliver new business space.

SHBC is also currently in the process of sourcing an innovative developer partner for the London Road site.  Situated fronting the London Road, opposite the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the 5.5-acre site has the potential to create a mixed-use development.

The regeneration work is supported by a comprehensive events programme, grant schemes for independent businesses and cultural and enrichment projects to ensure Camberley is a key destination and experience.

Be involved

  • 19 September 11:30am – 12:30pm, Cinema: Karen Whelan, CEO, SHBC will be participating in the panel discussion ‘Are shops killing the High Street?’
  • 19 September 4pm – 5pm, Stand 84.  Camberley drinks reception. Join us for a glass of Stovells’ Wild-crafted Gin, an artisan gin produced within Surrey Heath in Chobham.  Talk to Officers and Members from SHBC about Camberley and the opportunities available.

Find out more

Watch our ‘Camberley Be Inspired’ short film

Discovering cheeses: So many more British cheeses to taste

In writing about Boy Laity cheese, in my previous article, I obviously looked at the cheesemakers website, and more widely discovered the British cheese awards.

What a surprise in reading about the British Cheese Awards that there were almost 1,000 cheeses entered for the 2018 annual awards, held at the Royal Bath and West Show.

I’ll let you discover the winners in each of the categories. Good to see that Boy Laity was awarded Bronze in category 8: Soft White Cow [up to 500gm]. Oh, and that Marks & Spencer was the Champion Retailer.

Discovering cheeses: Boy Laity Cornish Camembert

Everyone has favourite foods. Among mine is cheese, and it always has been.

I like almost all cheeses, although very sharp cheddar isn’t high up on my list of favourite cheese. I’m happy to try a cheese I’ve not tried before, and with the increasing availability and sophistication of British cheeses that’s now a possibility.

I still like French cheese, the pungent, runny, and blue varieties.  But, as I say there are plenty of British cheeses I’ve not tasted, and this article is simply because I ate most of a Cornish Camembert, called Boy Laity. Often with Cornish foods there’s an unusual brand name, and this is no different.

About Boy Laity: Described by it’s makers as a “Cornish Camembert with a bold and rustic with a rich and buttery centre”. The cheesemakers – Curds & Croust – [more odd Cornish words again] say they use only Cornish milk from within a 30 mile radius.

Taste of Boy Laity: It’s a Camembert, and so has a pungent aroma, though milder than French Camembert, and so doesn’t overpower the home. It has a tasty firm mould-ripened rind covering a smooth and richly creamy cheese.

Packaging: I mention the packaging because I think it’s part of the cheese experience. So much nicer to open the cheese as the maker intended. Boy Laity comes in a small 165g package, just a touch to large for one person to scoff at one go, and so it’s wax paper cover keeps it fresh in the fridge. We put our cheeses in a sealed plastic box, which stops strong cheese aromas from penetrating the fridge. I can’t show a photo of the cheese, because we ate it. Here’s the paper packaging.