The name Oxshott is thought to be derived from Occa’s Sceat which is recorded in 1179 as a strip of land tended by Occa.
The four figures in silhouette represent The Oxshott Village Sports Club (Tennis, Cricket and Bowls) all of which have well over a hundred year history. The Snooker (or Billiards) player represents The Oxshott Club (previously The Oxshott Mens Club) which also has well over 100 year history.
There are many people, places, clubs and organisations that perhaps deserve to be represented on The Sign but for these and for an in depth history of Oxshott’s past you will do no better than to read ‘Oxshott, A Surrey Village’ by Dr B.S. Gidvani first published in 1996. You will find further information, articles and links to Oxshott’s past by visiting FEDORA Magazine. Articles by local historians Stephen Spark, Ernest Crossland, Alan Simmons and Mike Crute are also worth seeking out.
A list of 165 donors to the project printed on to archive quality paper and inserted into a tube is buried near the sign for posterity.
Principal supporters of the project were as follows:-
Centre for Sight
John and Christine Clarke
Clay Hair Salon
Danes Hill School
Stuart and Judith Mellstrom
Munch and Wiggles
The Oxshott Club
The Oxshott Village Trust
The Shannon Family
Oscar and Leigh Strugstad
Bill and Lesley Wells
Mike and Lindy Wheeler
Elmbridge Borough Council
Surrey County Council
Custodians of The Sign are The Oxshott Village Trust.
THE OXSHOTT VILLAGE SIGN STORY
The idea for an Oxshott Village Sign was born in 2017 and the project was undertaken by Felicity Bond and Graham Tillotson who established The Oxshott Village Sign Society. Following an exhibition of short listed designs in the Spring of 2018 and fund raising from the local community The Sign was unveiled at the junction of Holtwood Road and Steels Lane on 10th May 2019 by The Worshipful the Mayor of The Borough of Elmbridge Councillor Mrs Shweta Kapadia.
The winning design came from Robert Jones, Oxshott resident from 1939 to 1966 and was turned into reality by Black Forge Art of Wittersham Kent.
Brief descriptions of all the elements incorporated in the sign are as follows;-
On top is the emblem of The Royal Kent School which was first opened in 1820, the ‘Royal’ connection is that it was opened by The Duchess of Kent accompanied by her brother Prince Leopold who lived at Claremont. The original school was located at the top of the village where Steels Lane meets the High Street.
The Railway came to Oxshott in 1885.
At the centre of the sign is the reinforced concrete foot bridge (or ‘Stone Bridge’ as it is known locally) over the railway linking Sheath Lane to Oxshott Heath. It was built in 1910 and is reputed to be the first of its type in the country, the last of its type in existence or the only one spanning a three track railway - perhaps all three. If you walk over the bridge you will note that there is space for an additional track, the third track was specifically used for delivering coal trucks (and waste from London) to fire the kilns in The Brickfield. The trucks would be shunted individually from the coal yard at the station and gravity would send them rolling all the way into the Brickyard, there would be a ‘brakeman’ hanging from the back of each truck! ' The third track was removed in the mid 1960’s.
The Chimney as seen from Ayling's Corner c1952.
Cow sheds and farm yard on the right, now Oxdowne Close
The Brickfield, represented by the OBC brick and smoking chimney occupied the area of land between the railway line and Little Heath Lane (now Somerville Road), was opened in c1860 by John Early Cook a local entrepreneur and philanthropist. The Brickfield Chimney dominated the skyline until it was demolished in January 1966.
The Foot (or 'Stone') Bridge c 1912
St Andrew’s Church in Oakshade Road which was consecrated in 1912 is represented by its distinctive bell housing.
Oxshott Heath, represented on The Sign by Scots Pines and Oak trees, is known for its tranquillity and wildlife and exists today largely thanks to the Oxshott Heath Conservators. An atmospheric Tea Hut converted from an old WW1 army hut on the Heath near the station deserves a mention here as it existed for many years until it was destroyed by fire in 1980. The Hut was preceded by a Marquee catering for hundreds of visitors arriving by train from London enjoying 'a day out in the country'.
The War Memorial on the top of the ridge is represented and remembers those from Oxshott who died in battle during two World Wars. The Memorial was built in 1918 by Sir Robert McAlpine (or Concrete Bob) who was a local resident living at Knott Park House.
Walls Ice Cream vendors, dozens of them
were regular visitors to The Heath.
Large Bricks 1/6
Small Bricks 9d
Royal Kent School c 1917
(Reg Jones stood to attention in the middle)
The world famous Oxshott Pottery was started in 1920 by Denise and Henry Wren followed by their daughter Rosemary. Their home and studio at Potters Croft in Oakshade Road, opposite the new Royal Kent School, was active until 1978 when they moved to Devon. Their ‘Potters Mark’ was a Wren, ‘The Oxshott Jug’ is represented.
The following story has been extracted from 'War Experiences' by Alan Simmons aged 9 in 1944. Alan lived in Crown Cottages Steels Lane, right opposite Little Heath Farm Cottages. Little Heath Farm Cottages (marked with a star) was home to two unrelated families named Jones. Reg and Mabel Jones with their 5 year old son Robert and Ted and Gladys Jones with their two sons Norman aged 9 and David (Tich) aged 7. It was 4am on the morning of April 1st 1944.
One night I awoke suddenly to the noise of a German aircraft. They could be identified by sound and that had penetrated my sleep. The noise came nearer and nearer and then a whistle came from the night sky - the bombs were on their way. I gripped the sides of the mattress and my jaw shut tight; I knew I was in the hands of the Almighty.
My bed slid across the stained floor boards and little pieces of linoleum and plaster fell from the ceiling. I heard the clay tiles on the roof clatter back down on the bathrooms. It felt like being in a cement mixer. Then all went still and I heard a rumble which I realized was masonry falling. I thought the walls would come in on me.
When the noise stopped I called out to my mother in the next room, and told her not to open the bedroom door because I thought the front of our terraced house had gone.
I opened my bedroom door and crawled out on the floor; everything was as it should be. On looking out of the hall window I could see that the rumble had been the two farm cottages opposite with seven people inside, which were completely flat.
In the morning it turned out they had all escaped, the bomb going under the cottages, the blast going through floors and ceilings and roof, catapulting the occupants still in their beds out into the night sky - a miracle!
The Oxshott Village Sign Story
written by Robert Jones
Original Design by Bob Jones.
Bob's Great Grandfather John Jones and Grandfather Jack Jones both worked as Brickmakers at The Oxshott Brickfield from c 1890. Bob and his Father Reg Jones attended The Royal Kent School but not at the same time!