Sources of information for Weybridge history
On this page there are a number of sections:
– a simple timeline of significant events
– online sources of Weybridge history
– books about Weybridge
– interesting old videos
– various historical documents
Iron age – Hill fort relics in south Weybridge atop St Georges Hill. Iron smelting site close to River Wey.
675ce – Referred to in a document at ‘Waigebrugge’ – or Bridge over the River Wey. Land owned by Benedictine Order in 666. Chertsey Abbey.
900s – Weybridge situated in the Elmbridge Hundred, one of 13 Anglo-Saxon administrative districts.
1086 – Domesday Survey mentioned as ‘Webruge’.
1200s – In document of 1284 it is shown as ‘Waybrugg’. A simple wooden bridge over the Wey was used by monks and pilgrims to Chertsey Abbey, and Weybridge ‘hamlet’ would have comprised a few wooden huts and shelters situated along the present day High Street and Church Street. All local people would have had a smallholding on which to grow vegetables, graze stock, with water from River Wey.
1450 – St Nicholas, a small medieval church, survived until 1849 to be replaced by St James. First Rector of Weybridge appointed, and there has been a rector ever since.
1537 – Henry VIII starts the building of Oatlands Palace. Read a more detailed history.
1649 – The Diggers, followers of Gerard Winstanley, occupied south Weybridge wilderness making the case that land ownership should be based on the tillage of land itself.
1653 – The River Wey Navigation opened. It was one of the earliest canals in the country.
1670s – Portmore House purchased by Duke of Norfolk. Later became Dorchester House, after Countess of Dorchester, mistress of James II. House demolished in 1822, and the current Portmore House was in 1930s home of Dr Eric Gardner GP and first Honorary Curator of Weybridge, and later to be Elmbridge Museum.
1790 – Duke of York purchased Oatlands House, built in the grounds of Henry VIII’s 1537 Oatlands Palace.
1822 – The Duchess of York is commemorated by the monument on Monument Green, and the Dial Stone from this column is situated next to Weybridge Library adjacent to footpath to car park. Read more history about the Monument Green area.
1831 – Population has reached 930.
1838 – Weybridge Railway station opened on 21 May.
1848 – As the village’s population increase St James’ Church replaces the smaller St Nicholas, as it had become far too small for the hugely increased population of Weybridge. In the churchyard are the chest tombs of the Duchess of York (Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia), Benjamin Bosomworth and J. Welland. Church designed by JL Pearson who later designed Truro Cathedral. Relics from St Nicholas church survive in St James’.
1851 – Population has reached 1,200.
1856 – St James Church spire completed.
1865 – Victorian Brick and Iron bridge built over River Wey to replace medieval wooden bridge.
1876 – The St James graveyard was full up so a new cemetery was created in Brooklands Lane.
1888 – St James’ chancel extended.
1890 – 1st February – Weybridge town became the first in England to be wholly lit by electricity – the old generating station was in Church Walk. It was built in 1890 by the Weybridge Electric Supply Company for lighting the streets but closed after six years because overhead lines were not popular, and the local authority decided to go over to gas.
1891 – Weybridge’s population has reached 3,944.
1890s – Portmore Park Estate and The Quadrant developed by Arthur Cobbett, who died in 1906.
1894 – The funeral of the Duke of Paris who was buried in Weybridge at the old Catholic church. There were many mourners from European royalty in attendance. He was the end of the line of the French royal family who tried to claim back the throne. To read the remarkable newspaper article click here .
1895 – Weybridge became a town with the creation of the Weybridge Urban District Council. Gas street lighting becomes operative in September.
1900 – Population now 5,300. Weybridge Methodist Church begun, designed by Mr. Gunton, architect, and built by Mr. W. Greenfield.
1907 – Brooklands racetrack opened. Built by local land owner Hugh Locke King.
1908 – At Brooklands, A.V. Roe flew himself into the record books as the first Briton to fly a heavier than air machine of his own design, the Roe 1 Biplane. Later a ‘Flying Village’ opened inside the racetrack.
1933 – Weybridge and Walton’s governments merged by Act of Parliament against the wishes of the people.
1937 – Hayfield Hall was built on land adjoining the Methodist church, and used as Sunday school and for social functions.
1939 – Brooklands racetrack closed due to war and later Vickers Aircraft took over the whole site.
1946 – Brooklands House, former home of the Locke Kings bought by Surrey County Council and opened in 1948 as a technical college.
1974 – Walton and Weybridge local government merged with Esher’s to form Elmbridge Borough Council.
1991 – Brooklands Museum opened on part of the old Brooklands racetrack.
2006 – Brooklands racetrack becomes site of Mercedes Benz World and a local community park.
2012 – London Olympics cycle race comes through Weybridge.
Websites with Weybridge history
- The history of Weybridge boundaries– our page with the changes to Weybridge’s boundaries over the years
- Wikipedia – a good general overview
- Everything Explained – Weybridge – a very comprehensive history of Weybridge
- British History Online – Weybridge
- The Wey Valley – Weybridge history
- The Wey Valley – Brooklands history
- The Wey Valley – Weybridge and the River Wey
- Allaboutweybridge – Monument Green area
- Ship Hotel
- Elmbridge Museum – covering all the local borough
- Brooklands Museum – Brooklands race track history
- Oatlands Heritage Group – specifically about the Oatlands area
- Elmbridge Hundred – includes biographies of many local people
- Shepperton – Weybridge Pedestrian Ferry
- History of Weybridge Hospital
Books about the history of Weybridge
- Weybridge Past, written by Neil White, one-time Manager of the Elmbridge Museum. Note: there are a few errors in the book, see Weybridge Past – Corrections
- A Short History of Weybridge by Blackman and Pulford
- Weybridge by Jean Smith published by Frith Collections and based on lots of photos
- A Window on Weybridge by Barker also with lots of pictures.
Most of the books are in Weybridge Library. Copies can often be bought from online booksellers and also eBay.
History of Weybridge – a YouTube video of a set of slides with narration
Big event in Weybridge in the 1930s – an amateur film made by Harry Clifford Edmed who had Menswear and School Uniform Shops in Weybridge
Parade through Weybridge for War Weapons Week 1941 – an amateur film
A Town Like Weybridge – in 1975 Thames TV made a short film about Weybridge
Brooklands track – a 1976 Thames TV film
Weybridge Town Centre Conservation Area Character Appraisal – a document produced for Elmbridge Council in 2006 which contains a lot of history of the town centre around St James Church.
Weybridge Monument Green Conservation Area Character Appraisal – a document produced for Elmbridge Council in 2006 which contains a lot of history of the Monument Green area.
Pocket Guide to Weybridge – A Pocket Guide from 1912 full of local information and history
Weybridge and District Guide c1950 – Ewbank’s Guide from the early 1950s
Kelly’s Directory, Weybridge – a wealth of information about Weybridge in 1913 covering an overview of the town, together with public bodies and local institutions, lists of local businesses, together with names and addresses of residents.
Weybridge Health & Sanitary Conditions 1912 – The Weybridge Urban Council’s Annual Report from 1912 (an extract from the full report below)
Health & Sanitary Conditions – The full report from 1912 covering Chertsey, Windlesham, Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames
Brooklands achievements – a list of both motoring and aviation achievements made at Brooklands