Maultway sarsen stone examined by County archaeological team

The future location of the sarsen stone in the roadside verge on the Maultway has been a concern for many people, as the viewing figures on this blog have attested.

I’m delighted that Archaeologist commented on this blog, with,

A response from Surrey County Council has informed me that there is an archaeological team at the site, who will examine the stone prior to and during being moved and, as already noted, given that it is of interest and importance to the local community it will be retained nearby.

It seems that expert advice is that the stone will be retained nearby. Hopefully again in a new position by the roadside verge. All this got me wondering about how the stone got to be here, and similar ones in our borough. I’ve located some sources of information that might be of interest to readers, some quite detailed too.

It’s widely accepted that the moraines of ice sheets and glaciers in the last ice-age – between 11,000 to 115,000 years ago – are a probable source. A moraine is the debris, consisting of large boulders to small particles, pushed to the front and sides of glaciers.

The extent of the ice sheet over the UK in the last ice age appears to be open to academic debate. So, it may be that as the ice sheet melted, melt water carried the stones to us.

Here’s more information about the subject

Surrey Heath announce arrangements for Remembrance Sunday

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce the following arrangements for Remembrance Sunday.

Surrey Heath will pay their respects to those involved in the First and Second World War, as well as more recent conflicts, during Remembrance Sunday services across the Borough on 11 November.

This year’s services have a special significance, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War. The Mayor of Surrey Heath Cllr Dan Adams will join the morning service at St John the Baptist Church, Windlesham, before attending St Michael’s Church, Camberley, together with Chief Executive Karen Whelan, for the 2.0 pm service.

A parade including The Mayor, Lt Col Chris Boryer MBE of The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove, and Karen Whelan will then travel along the A30 London Road following the service. Many local military and community groups will also take part in the parade, after which wreaths will be laid at the War Memorial outside the RMA entrance in Camberley.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Robin Perry will attend The Square Shopping Centre in Camberley in the morning to mark the two minutes’ silence, and join the service at St Lawrence’s Church, Chobham in the afternoon. Honorary Alderman Alan Whittart will attend the morning service at All Saints Church, Lightwater, followed by an Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial.

The Remembrance Sunday services are organised by the Royal British Legion, with Surrey Heath Borough Council and the military working together to support the event.

Following the Camberley service, the Mayor and Mayoress of Surrey Heath will travel to Northern France, to lay a wreath on the grave of a Surrey Heath soldier. To mark the centenary since the end of WWI, Cllr Dan Adams will lay a wreath at the grave of Herbert Benjamin Daborn from Chobham, who is buried at Lapugnoy Military Cemetery near Bethune. Private Daborn, 23, died from wounds sustained in battle on 25 September 1915.

A list of Surrey Heath residents who lost their lives during the First World War was provided by Surrey Heath Museum, and Pte Daborn’s name chosen at random to represent all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Mayor met with some of Pte Daborn’s surviving relatives in Chobham ahead of his trip. The family expressed their gratitude that the Mayor was to mark their ancestor’s sacrifice, and that of all Surrey Heath’s fallen soldiers, through this poignant visit.

To mark this year’s Remembrance, two ‘There But Not There’ soldier silhouettes have also been installed either side of the entrance to St Michael’s Church, Camberley.  Following Remembrance Day, the silhouettes will be relocated permanently to the clear glass panels inside the church’s front door entrance, adjacent to the St George’s Memorial stones.

These SHBC-funded silhouettes are in addition to those the Council installed over the summer outside the entrance to the RMAS on the A30.

A beautiful display of poppies has also been installed at The Square Shopping Centre in Camberley to mark Remembrance Day this year.

Brentmoor Heath bowl barrow information board returns

In the summer this year I wrote about ‘Is decay the natural order of things’.  The article was about the missing information boards in Brentmoor Heath, notably the one by the four bronze-age bowl barrows.

Visiting the heath yesterday I noticed that the information board had returned.

There was no change to the description of the nearby sarsen stone’s presumed tool marks when it was dug out of the heathland. Eminent commenter, Speedicus Triplicatum HERE, is circumspect on the markings, considering them likely to be from the JCB’s bucket that moved the stone to this location.

Here are two photos of the stone. One on the left is from 2009, and on the right from yesterday. Click on images to expand

Learning about the builder of the SS Great Eastern, and it’s not I K Brunel

Prof. Andrew Lambert, Dept of War Studies, Kings College London gave a lecture on Brunel, Scott Russell and the Great Eastern  on Monday this week, to the Surrey Industrial History Group’s first lecture of its 2018/19 Industrial Archaeology Lectures.

Prof Lambert’s lecture focussed on the competing ego’s of the SS Great Eastern designer, IK Brunel, and its ship builder John Scott Russell. I have to admit knowing nothing of John Scott Russell, thinking only of Brunel in relation to the SS Great Eastern.

I am glad we listened to Prof Lambert give credit to the shipbuilding expertise of Scott Russell, and am pleased we learned about a Victorian pioneer of whom we knew little.

In the photo below, (From left to right) John Scott Russell, Henry Wakefield, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, at the launch of the SS ‘Great Eastern’.

Our talk on renovating the milestones in Camberley

I know I’ve probably bored you, dear readers, with my work with Reg Davis on renovating the milestones in Camberley.

If you happen to be in The Heritage Gallery today, upstairs in Surrey Heath Museum, from midday till 1.0 pm, Reg and I will be giving a talk on our work. I’ll provide a bit of the history of milestones, and Reg will detail what we did.

Sadly the list of lunchtime talks in the Heritage Gallery doesn’t include our talk. Never mind. Reg Davis is on the left in the photo, and I’m next to him. You’ll have to come along to our presentation to find out why the mayor was there with us.

Blackbushe – London’s Lost Airport 1942-1960

The book entitled Blackbushe – London’s Lost Airport 1942-1960 by Robert Belcher records the history of RAF Hartford Bridge and thence Blackbushe Airport. It was the subject of a fascinating lunchtime talk at a Camberley and District Probus Club monthly lunch club meeting, recounting the eventful history of the airport. [Click on images to expand].

The A30 running from Bagshot to Hartley Witney goes through Hartford Bridge Flats, a somewhat desolate area of unimproved and barren heathland. The Flats were requisitioned by the Government in October 1941 as the base for a military airfield.

RAF Hartford Bridge opened in November 1942 and soon after became a base for a photo reconnaissance squadron. The airfield became increasingly busy during the war years, requiring closure of the A30 road, often for days. Looking at the map of the airfield, – below – it shows that runway 01/19 crossed the A30.

At the end of the war the government, looking at the future of civil aviation in the country, decided to invest in Heathrow as the main London airport, moving away from Croydon. In the years up to the late 1950’s Blackbushe was used as a diversion airport for Heathrow, and was also used by BEA [now part of BA] for pilot training. It was also a major base for the US Navy who carried out clandestine spy flights from this civil airport.

The airport’s heyday was between 1955-59, when it was the base for a number of civil airlines, such as Eagle Airways and Dan-Air Services, Silver City, and others.

In discussions, again at government level, as to where the second London Airport should be sited, Blackbushe lost out to Gatwick. Blackbushe was considered to be hampered by its closeness to Farnborough and Odiham, and that it also required significant investment in infrastructure, the airfield having only been considered to be a temporary wartime airfield.

Having lost out to Gatwick the airport was cited for closure in 1959, and much of the infrastructure was quickly demolished in 1960, and some of the runways were removed, with the land being handed back to its original owners.

In 1961 Blackbushe was reborn to be the small airport it is today.