A Journey Through Reigate Past

Bell Street

Bell Street is one of the oldest streets in Reigate, a town in Surrey, England. The name Bell Street may have originated from a bell that was hung on a post at the junction of High Street and Bell Street in the 16th century, to warn the inhabitants of fire or other danger. Alternatively, the name may have derived from an earlier name, Bell Lane, which is recorded in 1823.

Bell Lane itself may have been named after a bell that was rung at the nearby Reigate Priory, or after a family of bell-makers who lived in the area.

1: Parishes: Reigate | British History Online 2: Reigate - Wikipedia 


This is Reigate in the early 1920s. Bell Street can be seen beyond the trees at the picture's centre with the Priory, ornamental gardens before it, slightly to the left and the open space of the Castle Grounds above


Bell street starts close to the top of Cockshot Hill so provides quite a steeop drop drop down to its junction with Lesbourne Road, which will eventually have its own page. The East Surrey Traction Company had its garage on the corner for many years and here a bus has just turned outof it on the beginning of its journey in the 1920s. The sign in front of the garage states that it is open day and night.


A better view of the EST Co garage in the 1920s or 30s shows a bus inside. Another bus is the only vehicle parked in Bell Street. A notice saying 'Filling Station' would appear to indicate that the petrol pumps could be used by the public, and both Shell and BP brands are on offer. The garage was demolished in 1987. Note the Gospel Mission building next to the garage.

(Picture courtesy John Eede)

This drawing of the Bell Street Gospel Mission dates from 1912 and shows that both it and the EST garage were standing at that date, although the Mission, previously called the Temperance Hall, predated the garage.


Burtenshaw's Bell Street carriage works was a successor of Burtenshaw and Son and as George Burtenshaw had a similar establishment in West Street it seems that Burtenshaw Senior's sons might have gone their separate ways after his death. This advert dates from 1898


A 1921 advert for Frank Burtenshaw's car and carriage business at 71 Bell Street. The 10hp Wolseley shown above cost £390 in chassis only version. With a Burtenshaw open coupe body (as above) the price was £650 with a fixed head - more with a folding head. This car was at the lower end of the range, the Wolseley 29 de Luxe costing £1,500


Four photos of George Burtenshaw's motor showroom taken in the 1930s, possibly the same premises where Frank Burtenshaw once carried on his coachmaking business (see advert above)?

(All four photos courtesy Patrick Nash)

Unusually the left hand two photos above were taken at night. In the right hand one the date is 1931


Not far down Bell Street from the Gospel Mission stood the Castle Inn (its sign is just visible in the above picture by the far group of people opposite the parked bus walking past the building with 'Service Station' painted on the roof). It is shown here as it was in the early 1900s.

(Picture courtesy John Eede)

Opposite the Castle Inn was the main entrance to the Priory, the home of Lady Henry Somerset. She was the head of the British Temperance movement in the early 1900s and so disliked the idea of a public house being opposite her main entrance that she had it moved to the Park Lane side of the Priory. (Picture courtesy John Eede) . . . . . .


. . . . . . . In 2004 a competition was run to choose a new name for the old Castle pub. 'The Priory Gates' seemed most appropriate but 'The Priory' was the name chosen. Either way Lady Somerset would not have been amused.

T(here is a separate page about Lady Somerset on this website)


On the far right of the above picture can be seen a gate in the wall known as the ogee gate because of its shape. It exists today, as pictured right, and can be used to mark the spot where the old entrance into the Priory was.


Popularly known as Battswing Cottage, this building stands on the east side of Bell Street close to the Priory public house. and almost opposite where the above gates were. Its name comes from the plaque high on its front wall but might be a slight misnomer, for the wings could be not batt's wings but severed dragon’s wings, imagery referring to the beating of Napoleon by Wellington and Blucher in 1815, the year the cottage was built. Who JT was is not known


Showing the position of the cottage in Bell Street. No longer a cottage the sign advertises offices for let.
Mike Todd emailed to say that the building was converted from a shop into offices in the mid-1960s by Debonair Homes.


Battswing Cottage in the 1920s when it was A.King's fruiterer's shop.

Info from G.Gent - It is possible that the last people to live in the cottage were Charles and Gertrude Atfield; carpenter and builder Charles running his business from the yard at the side of the cottage


The original windows still in Battswing Cottage


The next subject is the premises of Tamplin and Makovski at 57 Bell Street but its connection with the East Surrey Traction Company is one that needs to be told. The following information is from a newsletter published by the Friends of the London Transport Museum and was provided to them and very kindly allowed to be reproduced here by its contributor, Mr Damon Cross.

The original East Surrey operation was run from the premises of Tamplin & Makovski Electrical Engineers, who were the employers of East Surrey’s founder Arthur Henry Hawkins.  Two vehicles were kept at the premises at 57 Bell Street (now 75 Bell Street due to renumbering).   Operations started from this site in May of 1911 and five vehicles were eventually kept here by the time East Surrey moved out in September 1912.   This building survives in fairly original form* today (2005) in use as a Wellness Clinic .

In September 1912, East Surrey moved to their own garage, newly built at 75 Bell Street on the corner of Lesbourne Road (see two photos of it under the aerial photo at the top of this page).  At opening, this was large enough to house six vehicles, later being enlarged for twelve by June of 1914.  In March 1920, another extension was added to increase capacity to 36 vehicles.  East Surrey also purchased two adjacent houses, which were later put to use as a head office, although the offices initially remained at the Tamplin & Makovski premises nearby.  In January 1932, the garage was replaced by new premises on an adjacent site in Lesbourne Road.  The Bell Street garage was then used as a bus store. It later saw wartime use by the NAAFI and later still the vehicles of the King’s Messenger.  It then reverted to use as a bus store into the 1950s until it was subsequently vacated by London Transport. The building  was eventually demolished in 1987 and flats constructed on the site.

Expanding on the original Tamplin and Makovski link, in the book “East Surrey” by Bell Street it is recorded that Albert Waterlow Makovski was an investor in the company.  I gather that East Surrey later bought out Tamplin & Makovski's interest in the company and presumably took over the motor engineering side of their business, as the second garage at Bell Street was also a commercial garage servicing cars and suchlike.

* See picture further down of a possible older version of this building

Many thanks to Damon Cross and to the editor of the newsletter of the Friends of London's Transport Museum, Mr Barry Le Jeune, for the above information. Unfortunately no pictorial information is to hand of those days in the early 1900s but a picture of the building in the 1930s appears here as do more pictures below.


Tamplin and Makovski's front showroom


Tamplin and Makovski's rear showroom



The workshop


This picture of Tamplin and Makovski staff was not taken at Reigate but at the Redhill branch in 1900. The names of the men, where known, are: -
From l-r
Back: - Botting, Post, Pettigrew, F.Longley, T.Pike, Newcombe, Scott, Tippin, Unknown, G.Stemp
In Front Standing Left: - R.Partridge, Aldridge,
In front standing right: - Unknown
Seated: - A.H.Hawkins, E.A.Wagner, A.W.Makovski, Gorham, A.Hadman, J.Shaw.


The Old Tamplin and Makovski building pictured 14 February 2007


The date mark on the building


This picture of a family residence c1880s is labelled 'Old Tamplin and Makovski Building', putting into doubt the 1907 date referred to above. The building could have been demolished and the present one rebuilt on the same spot however


Tamplin and Makovski adverts from 1929 and 1933


Advertisement from October 1924


This Tamplin & Makovski advert appeared in November 1926. It tells us that the supply of electrical installations in private houses was seen to not only be big business but about to get bigger. It also tells us a little about house prices at the time, as £2,000 then would have been a considerable sum.

With the passing of the Electricity (Supply) Act of 1927 the wiring of houses could be done on hire purchase. T.S.Marriage & Co of Station Road, Redhill, and Bell Street, Reigate, won the tender for Council-owned properties at fifteen shillings per electrical socket outlet. The term'wiring' included lighting points, each with a plain pendant and opal shade, 2-way switching in the hall and supply of the service up to 30 feet from the road. A flat rate charge for lighting was made and 2d per unit consumed, measured via a pre-payment meter was added to pay for the work

On this picture of the north (town centre) end of Bell Street the shop on the far left has 'Tamplin and Makovski ' over its window and door. Whether the firm had more than one presence in the road is uncertain but as this card was postally used in 1908 they may have been here before moving further south along the street. (More pictures of coaches at the White Hart Hotel appear further down this page)


A part of Bell Street in the early 1900s where passer-by would not have reached the town proper, whereas shops are now continuous from before this point. The building on the right has a 'To be Sold' notice on it. The white building further down has 'H.Guy, Builder and Decorator' on its side


If only Bell Street were as traffic free today as it was around 1900. This picture, taken from a little nearer the town, shows a large dwelling behind the railings, and mostly screened ny trees, that before 1898 was known as Netherfield House


A c1930 picture that look back to where we have been so far. On the left is Deans Tea Rooms; beyond is Tamplin and Makovski's premises with the Castle Inn sign over the pavement further up. Whether the drivers of the two lorries and the horse and cart are in the tea rooms or the pub is up for debate


A longer c1930 view of the picture on the left. After a motorist complained about falling branches from the trees on the right they were kept cut back.

(Picture courtesy John Eede)

NOTE: The Priory gates have already been mentioned and it will be noticed that many of these pictures of Bell Street show one side of it wooded. This is because the Priory Grounds and the Priory Park, often also called Reigate Park, border the west side of the upper part of Bell Street. The Priory itself, once a family home and now a school, has a long history.


A hidden corner of Bell Street past that is still there for all to see today, but how many walk past without noticing?


The Tudor Bell restaurant was at no.73 Bell Street in the 1970s


Stoneman's shop at 43 Bell Street from a 1934 advertisement


And the same shop 61 years on


Moving down Bell Street we arrive at the main part of the town. The wall in front of the large house is visible in this early 1900s picture, as is the building that has had numerous occupants but is now the home of the Ancient House Bookshop. The wing of the building closest to the camera was demolished many years past


Here is a picture of that wing taken before it vanished forever


Numerous variations of this view exist. In this picture the building, with its south wing still intact, was a furniture warehouse for James Knight


In this 1908 picture the building was occupied by Northovers

(picture courtesy Roger Packham)

Demolition of part of what became the Ancient Bookshop gave access to the Reigate Garage's works. This picture from immediately after WW2 shows that the lower part of the building was the Ancient House Library run by Arthur Cole, the upper part being the Ancient House cafe


Bell Street and the Ancient House Bookshop inthe mid-1930s


The Ancient House Bookshop in 1998 looking much as it is today


A 1931 advert for the Ancient House Bookshop that says it all


Sadly the Ancient House Bookshop closed in January 2007 with the retirement of its owner


The forge at 40 Bell Street in the 1920s. The forge closed in 1928. The buildings stood next to what is now the exit from the Bell Street car park


The forge interior


Mr Edwards and Mr Booker at work in the forge


The forge has been demolish and replaced by the building on the left.The building that stood next it still exists but is now painted cream. The buildings in this picture stand on the west side of Bell Street between the exit from the Bell Street car park on the left and the entrance to Safeways just out of view on the right


Just beyond the Ancient House Bell Street curves gently into its final run to the centre of the town. On the left in this early 1900s picture is the Reigate Garage showrooms, and beyond, the tall buildng is the old Post Office (more about that later). On the right are two gabled buildings that here are private houses

(picture courtesy Roger Packham)

A view of Bell Street c1970 to contrast with the picture left


A 1920s advert for the Reigate Garage. Note the lorry's solid tyres


A 1928 bill for the Reigate Garage. An Oldham battery is sold for 18/9d. With a trade discount of 33% and carriage of 1/1d the total is 13/7d.

(Image courtesy Roger Thorne)

This newspaper picture shows a taxi (reg H4541) burnt out on Reigate Hill in the 1920s, possibly from heat generated by the brakes. In attendance are two AA patrolmen and and two men in a car from Reigate Garage (far right). The latter were probably concerned with recovery of the vehicle from which, despite the damage, the front wheels, engine and chassis were reported as fit for re-use.


The Reigate Garage in later years. The Post Office was next to it.


Another older picture of Reigate Garage. Compare this picture with the similar one above the Reigate Garage Bill and it will be seen that in this slightly later scene the houses opposite the garage have become the Gables Restaurant. They were later combined into the Gables Hotel. The Post Office can also be seen on the left beyond the Reigate Garage


This 1924 advertisement shows the Gables Hotel and restaurant with access to the side before the adjoing premises was extended. It also shows the rear gardens and the dining room.


Bell Street c1936, by which time the Gables Hotel had become the premises of Finch & Sons and Bancroft Road had been made


Today the Gables Hotel is the premises of Surf and Ski. This frontal view allows a better appreciation of the decorative brickwork


The Gables hotel is prominent in this picture of the east side of Bell St in the early 1920s. The road seems to be undergoing major works but the date is a litte early for metalling, although there does seem to be a separate top surface.


The History of the Bell Street Post Office

The building shown on the left was erected in 1895 and prior to this the PO was situated in the High Street in much smaller premises. The then postmaster, Mr Bull, wrote to the Council suggesting money be borrowed under the Post Office Act of 1874 to provide a better building. Mayor Samuel Brooks, Mr J.Seex (an ex-Mayor) Mr H.Ongley and Mr J.Lees went to see Sir James Ferguson, the Post-Master General, only to be told that no money was available. So Reigate traders T.S.Marriage, H.Ongley, J and G.Hammond, J.Keasley, and R.Elphick, supplied the money and work begun. A building for many years used as a school by the then late Mr J.Payne was pulled down and the foundation stone of the new Bell Street PO laid by the daughter of Mr T.S.Marriage on October 22nd 1894. The opening ceremony was performed by Lady Henry Somerset on June 25th 1895. Above the PO office was the old Reigate manual telephone exchange that was there until a new automatic exchange opened in Church Street in 1937. The PO did not reach its centenary on this site as the building was demolished in 1993, its counter services being moved to Safeways (now Morrisons). It was announced on 17th February 2005 in local papers that it is to be relocated in a shop called 'More' in the High Street.

Reigate Bell street Post Office, partly visible two pictures above, was demolished in January 1993

A brief history of the Reigate Post Office is given right.
(Picture John Ede)


These two pictures date from the 1920s and show operators at the telephone exchange switchboard and in what is presumably a part of the exterior area at the rear of the Post Office building. In the right hand picture the girls are standing in front of what was probably the main distribution pole for the exchange in the days when most of the local 'phone lines were served by open wires run overhead. On the right, however, a linesman seems to be running a cable from a wooden drum. Who was manning the switchboard when this picture was being taken is uncertain as five operators was the full compliment for the exchange. In many of the adverts on these pages telephone numbers are three of fewer digits, although later the numbers exceeded 1000. All numbers were standardised at four digits beginning with 2 when the present exchange was built in Church Street in 1937.


These two drawings show the same double-fronted premises which on the left is known as Bromley Hall, which according to the sign over the front window is a firm of millers and corn merchants, and on the right belongs to Mr Elphick, a miller and corn merchant. Little is known about Bromley Hall but Mr Elphick carried on his business at Reigate and Flanchford Mill and featured in an 1891 business guide published locally. The building was on the east side of Bell Street next to what became cinema. There is a puzzle here because reference to both drawings show access to the rear of the premises next to the shop whereas reference to the photo below shows that there was another building between Bromley Hall and the double-doored entrance for horsedrawn vehicles . (left-hand drawing above courtesy HNHM)


This invoice in the sum of from Edward Elphick to Mr Lanaway of Reigate dates from 1890. It states 'To a/c rendered' and is probably prompting payment of a total of £26-13-6 before the year end. Apart from hay, straw and chaff scotch oatmeal, groats, split peas, linseed meal, German dried yeast and bird seed are also sold. In 1890 Flanchford Mill would have been a busy working watermill. When I paid a visit there a few years ago the water wheel had obviously been derelict for quite a few decades

(Invoice courtesy L.Robertson)

The building featured in the previous drawings can be recognised easily in this early 1930s picture (detail left - overall picture right) by its distinctive set of three gables. Here it is occupied by R.Saunders. Close inspection, however, shows that the nearer building, the one with two gables, is actually the one with the wagon entrance next to it. Both of these were demolished when Bancroft Road was built. The Hippodrome Cinema is the white building. We must assume that the building and its access were shown together for advertising purposes. Incidentally, in the right-hand picture the car on the left is a Standard, the one on the right an Angus Sanderson


Antiquarian booksellers Reigate Galleries at 45 Bell Street in 1970


The shop with the two gables, number 31 Bell Street and the building that actually had the wagon entrance adjacent to it, was occupied for many years by Keasley & Sons, a sweet, jam and cake business started by the father of James Keasley around 1819. One of the oldest buildings in the town it was once the Ship Inn. In 1916 the business was bought by Mr G.A.R.Ince, a man who had been Reigate's Mayor 1913-1916. At the time of purchase it was repoerted in the press that one and a half tons of jam and 5,000 cakes were being sold each week. In November 1913 Mr Ince was fined £2 on two counts of selling jam overprice by charging a refundable 6d for large jars. During the case he objected to the then current Mayor adjudicating on the grounds od predjudice. The objection was refused but it seems remarkable that the Mayor for 1913-1916 should be judging his immediate predescessor. Mr James Keasley died at 'Hawthorns' Meadvale, in 1924.


A poor picture, unfortunately, but it shows jars of jam and other items stacked high in Keasley's shop in 1919


A James Keasley advert from 1905


Martin Graham's shop at 47 Bell Street in 1968


Two more inmages of Bell Street, both earlier than preceding pictures. Like those previous images, they show the sloping roof of the Hippodrome cinema and the buildings to the south of it that were demolished to make way for the new Bancroft Road


A nice wide-angle image of the upper part of Bell Street c1900. It shows buildings on the left that must have been demolished to make way for the Rt Garage showrooms in the picture below, the Post Office, and on the opposite side of the road many of the other buildings discussed on this page


This picture views the site of the 1895 Post Office from the position of the horse and cart in the above picture and shows the buildings that existed before the Post Office and the Reigate Garage buildings were erected. Comparison with the trees in this picture and the one above shows relative old and new building postions

Picture very kindly donated to this web page by Paul Walters from his own collection


On the south-east corner of Bell Street and Bancroft Road is 'The Old Georgian House', built in the 1930s in the Georgian style to replace the demolished buildings in previous pictures. It is pictured on the left in 1969, when the ground floor offices were occupied by estate agents Skinner and Rose, and on the right in 2005


ProprietorAlfred Wright - - - Manager L. Oswald Hillier CONTINUOUS  CINEMATOGRAPH ENTERTAINMENT

Daily 6 to 10.30pm Wednesday and Saturday 3 to 10.30pm
Dramas, Comedies, Scenics, Historical and Coloured Films - all of the very latest.
throughout the week commencing MONDAY JULY 8TH, 1912, including the following Magnificent Feature Films:
THE BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS AND THE MERCHANT - Grand Coloured Drama (by Pathe); a most elaborate and stirring production of oriental character.
MR BOULTER'S INFATUATION - Side splitting Vitograph comedy.
THE DIAMOND BROOCH - A cleverly enacted drama dealing with stage life
THE LESSER EVIL - Powerful nautical drama, with Miss Daphne Wayne in the leading role, the abduction of a pretty girl by smugglers and subsequent rescue by her lover. One of the latest and most successful pictures.
Also various other Interesting and Entertaining Subjects.
Admission …… 3s 6d and 1s (Balcony)
Balcony seats (high-class tip-ups) may be booked at no extra charge


The above b&w picture from the late 30s/early 40s shows not just that Bancroft Road was made and formed a new junction with Bell Street but also that the Hippodrome Cinema was either rebuilt or remodelled and a shop with a flat over added alongside it. The flat was at one time occupied by the proprietor of the Hippodrome and Majestic Cinema's sister, who was the landlord of Jimmy Bridger when he ran the shop as a newsagents and confectioners. The Hippodrome was originally named The Palace Picturedrome and was Reigate's first cinema in 1911. Above right is an advert for films showing in 1912. It was built by wealthy, retired company director Mr Alfred Wright and had its first public performance on December 18th 1911. Prices ranged from 3d to 1s 6d and 5,000 people attended in the first week. Its name was changed to The Hippodrome either in 1915, or the following year when it was acquired by Mr H.Bancroft. In the 1920s it was often advertised as the New Hippodrome, probably because of being rebuilt around that time. It held 700 people. In the 1950s Mr Bancroft, still its owner, was often to be seen there in evening dress with his wife greeting patrons as they arrived. Mr Wright, its first owner, died in London in 1949 aged 77. The colour picture here shows almost exactly the same scene as above it. Not only has Bancroft Road been made and the corner shop and the Hippodrome been replaced but with the demolition of the Post Office and the Reigate Garage a new road has been made into the old Brewery site and a supermarket and car park built there. (The brewery is dealt with below)


An 1891 advertisement for Hammond & Sons, who were drapers, tailors, outfitters and general furnishers. The building on the right, also part of Hammond & Sons, later became the Hippodrome Cinema. By 1903 the firm was known as Hammond and Dawson


The building once occupied by Hammond & Sons as pictured in 2004. The single shop is now two separate businesses in the main building with additional businesses either side

  A wonderful Hammond and & Sons bill from 1890 kindly sent in by Mr L Robertson. The bill is made out to Mr Peat, also of Bell Street, and is dated xmas 1890. Items listed are: -
To a/c rendered midsummer 1890 8 18 3

Tweed Knickers








White Hose




Black Morning Coat




Black trousers cleaned and repaired




Boys black tailor suit




Silk hat




Hat band


Tick 1/ ½



Black bands on coat











Gaiters alta for shop



Black Melton trousers









1903 advert for Hammond and Dawson


The buildings either sdie of the central shop premises have gone and the remaing shop has been divided into two


The right hand half of what remains of Hammonds' old premises is a lighting shop and contains the original central staircase


Some of the shelves and shirt drawers are still in situ from the last time the premises was a gents outfitters


The Majestic Cinema

The Majestic Cinema was built in the newly made Bancroft Road in 1934 and opened in 1935. On a grander scale than previous cinemas it had a large, free car park, room for an upstairs public cafe, a lounge area and an electric organ that rose from beneath the stage to be played before each performance. The organ lay dormant for a number of the cinema's latter years and was finally sold in 1973 to an organ enthusiast in Norfolk. Its tones were heard again when it was featured in a BBC radio programme in 1998. The Majestic Cinema formed part of the Shipman and King Empire. Access to it was created from Church Street at one end and Bell Street at the other by the building of Bancroft Road. In the way of the new development, which also included a swimming pool, was Baron's Cottage, said to have been over 500 years old and in its early days the priest’s house attached to the catholic monastery which extended to Bell Street, with caves running to its cellars from the White Hart Hotel. It should be stressed that other than the report in the local paper of the time on which the above is based, evidence for the existence of such a monastery seems lacking (other than the choice of the name for Monks Walk). As far as the Barons Cottage is concerned, when speaking about the building of the Majestic cinema in 1933 Mr Bancroft, manager of the Reigate Hippodrome and instigator of the new development, answered local concerns by saying that if it could be saved then it would be. It would seem that it could not, so is lost to us for ever and I have, unfortunately, no picture of it.


Left: - The 1935 advertisement for the opening week of films for 'Reigate's New Luxury Theatre'.
Top right: - The souvenir programme for the opening of the Majestic Cinema on October 14th 1935
Bottom right: - Cards like this cost 1d from the kiosk inside the theatre and opened to show coming attractions for the month. This one is from February 1953 when films included Esther Williams in The One-Piece Bathing Suit, Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate, and Stewart Granger in The Prisoner of Zenda. On the card's back were listed films for Sundays. The front shows that seats were priced from 1/6d (less than 8p) to 3/11d (less than 20p). These comparisons with today's money give a false impression however; what needs to be borne in mind is that £5 per week was a reasonable wage at the time


The official party at the opening ceremony for the Majestic Cinema. 3rd and 5th from the right are Sir Malcolm and Lady Campbell. 3rd and 5th from the left are The Reigate Mayoress and Mayor, Mrs and Colonel F.J.Spranger. The gentleman far left is Mr Bancroft.


Part of the audience on the opening night.


How the screen and Christie organ looked on opening night


The corridor leading to the upper balcony and the restaurant beyond


The Majestic seen looking east along Bancroft Road

(Picture Brian Burrows)

The Majestic seen looking west along Bancroft Road, the Reigate Garage can be seen across Bell Street.

(Picture Brian Burrows)

The demolition of the Majestic cinema

(Pictures Brian Burrows)

Now we resume our journey along Bell Street


A marching band in Bell Street in 1903. The buildings are decorated for the coronation on King Edward VII on August 9th. Note that the procession is passing the buildings demolished to make Bancroft Road.

(picture courtesy of a Reigate resident)

The two sides of a medal struck for and issued by the Borough of Reigate Corporation to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII. The delay in the coronation was due to the King's illness


A view up Bell Street from the corner of Bancroft Road towards the centre of the town in the 1970s when Northovers premises, left of picture and next door to the Post Office, had recently been vacated


Northovers were involved in several lines of business, one of which features in this 1940s advertisement . . .


. . . and others that included ladies bicycles in addition to the furnishing and upholstery shown on this 1924 bill


No 19 Bell Street was was once the premises of George Lampard, Butcher, but by 1938 was home to the Adelphi Library. The buildings where the Adelphi library and other shops were has since been demolished and rebuilt

(Adelphi picture courtesy HNHC)

In this picture from the late 1800s the building behind the cart is the Grapes Hotel. The picture was taken from the northern extemity of Bell Street which terminates at the centre of the town. The building on the right is on the corner of Bell Street and the Market Place end of High Street. The butcher's shop is that of J.Chandler. The 1898 directoy lists no butchers at that site and the bill for three pounds and tenpence ha'penny shown right is from the butcher to Mr James Peat who lived in one of these buildings on the same side ofBell Street. He ran an estate agency / property maintenance business from offices in the High Street. The bill advertises pickled tongue and corned beef and states its position as opposite the White Hart Hotel.

(Photo courtesy John Eede - Invoice courtesy L.Robertson)



This is a 1970s picture of the west side of the north end of Bell Street in which the coner position of the building on the right can be better appreciated. It will also be noticed that the buildings centre of picture have been rebuilt and the one on the right substantially altered. Far left of picture what was the Grapes Hotel is now part of Knight's shop


This engraving shows Bell Street decorated for the arrival of Queen Victoria when she passed through on her way to Brighton in 1837. It shows us what the building on the corner of Bell Street and the Market Place in the centre of the town looked like then. When it was altered c1900 some of the architectral features were re-used elsewhere. The curved window over the door, for example, still exists in a house in Redhill. Further alterations follwed in later years to reduce the building to two storeys


Here the Grapes Hotel can be seen as it once was. At the time of this picture Knights had only the premises next to the Inn

(Picture courtesy John Eede)

A 1937 Knights' advert


This bill from August 1914 shows the two buildings in use by Knights


An even earlier Knight's bill for a length of blind cord and gloves came to three shillings and tuppence ha'penny

(Invoice courtesy L.Robertson)

Left: - Knights' shop decorated and lit up at Christmas 2003 Right: - An early East Surrey Traction Company 406 route with a Knights' advertisement


A James Knight advert from 1905


The Bell public house is opposite Knights' shop. The pubs of Reigate are to be dealt with in more detail on a separate page that is currently under development

Mellersh and Neale's Brewery - Not far from the Bell Street premises of James Knight and Sons, previously pictured, was the entrance into the brewery of Mellersh and Neale. Thomas Neale founded the brewery in 1801 when King George III was still on the throne, and its original name was Thomas Neale and Sons. It later became Neale and Mellersh, then Neale, Mellersh and Neale, and finally Mellersh and Neale. A brewery needs a good water supply and for the first 100 years this came from wells at the base of Reigate Hill. The quantity was good but the quality slightly less so. In 1901 a 242 feet deep artesian well was sunk on the premises and excellent water found. An 8hp engine pumped 4,000 gallons per hour.


Brewery Cottages once stood in a small backwater on the west side of Bell Street

(Picture left courtesy John Eede).

They were named after the brewery, the site of which not only occupied ground behind the shops in Bell Street but also had offices and an access way in the High Street - see the High Street page (when produced at a later date) for pictures of it there. The right-hand picture of the main building above as viewed from Bell Street dates from 1891. Within a few years of this date that building would be replaced


Its successor was built in 1903, probably in front of the old building which would have been demolished when the new one was fully operational. The site had always been leased but in 1921, when by the death of Lady Henry Somerset the whole town was up for auction, the firm purchased the freehold. Expansion of the brewery firm came with the purchasing of the famous Swan Bewery of Leatherhead in 1922 and in 1930 that of R&F Pagden of Epsom. Some of the internal operation areas of the building pictures here are shown below.


The malt store. Malt is originally barley from which the starch is changed to sugar


The hop store, receiver of hops dried in the oast houses of Kent. The sacks they were packed in were called pockets


The mash tuns, where crushed malt was mixed with water and a liquor known as sweet wort drawn off


The 2,300 gallon Copper, where the wort was boiled and the hops added


The 5,600 gallon fermenting tanks, where the wort, after being cooled, had the yeast added.


After a week of fermentation the yeast crust was removed and the beer descended to be piped into casks. A handful of hops was also added to each cask


Cask washing. Water at 212 degrees F was injected at 200lbs pressure for 30 seconds to cleanse the insides


Bottled beer was dealt with by the bottle washing and filling machinery


Part of the bottled beer store. From 1900 beer was also stored in the caves off of tunnel Road


The mineral water plant was originally the maltings and was converted to produce aerated water when the new building was put up in 1903


A pair of Mellersh and Neale adverts


The operation areas shown immediately above this picture was that of the mineral water plant in 1933. Originally housed with the rest of the complex this facility was rebuilt as a separate plant in 1935. This is an artist's impression of how the new plant would look. Below is a photo of it from the same angle when completed


A Mellersh & Neale invoice dating from 1890


A Mellersh and Neale of Reigate retail price list from 1936.

>A comprehensive list of beers from the Reigate Brewery at a variety of prices in the mid-30s. A barrel of the x mild ale works out at 3¼d per pint to the publican, sold perhaps for 3-3½d in the public bar and slightly more in the saloon bar. The strong ale is three times this price.

Bottled beers range from 6d to 10d a bottle to the publican or off licence. (2½p - 4p in today's money)

Two pictures of a Mellersh and Neale beer bottle inscribed 'Mellersh and Neale Brewers Reigate', and on the bottom the date of manufacture 1911. It seems that Mellersh & Neale were the only brewery which actually used the date on the bottom of their bottles - they also used it on their screw-caps as well. The majority of other breweries and mineral water firms either had plain bases or batch-marks. (Pictures kindly supplied by Kate Ganley)


More about Mellersh and Neale's Brewery

Thomas Neale, came from an old Reigate family, the members of which were mostly involved in the brewing industry. As a boy he was apprenticed to his father and studied malting. Another apprentice was William Lee who became his lifelong friend and, later, partner. When Thomas inherited the property in 1801 he concentrated on brewing. He went into partnership with William Lee from 1806 to 1828 when Lee retired. At this point a brewery that Lee had also been running in Church Street was sold to Edward Larmer who converted it to a malting house, later to become the Old Wheel Tea House. Other breweries in Reigate had by then been acquired as had interests in various pubs in the locality. Thomas Neale also carried on business as a coal merchant and banker. By now the firm was known as Thomas Neale and Sons. He sold the brewery to his sons, Thomas and William, in 1843, and the pubs in 1849. The bank failed in 1850, an event said to have contributed to Thomas's death. The two sons invited a family friemd, Frederick Mellersh, into the business, which then became Mellersh and Neale. Son Thomas Neale died in 1854 and had made arrangements for his son, Sisson, to be made a partner in the business. When this happened in 1865 the firm became Neale, Mellersh and Neale. William Neale retired in 1883 when the firm was restyed as Mellersh and Neale. Sisson's three sons joined the business in 1888 and in the following year the firm became Mellersh and Neale Ltd. Sisson Neale retired in 1919. The business was acquired by Meux in 1938.

(The subject of brewing in Reigate, including that by Mellersh and Neale, is covered in depth by Richard Symonds in his book 'A Brewing Heritage'. )

Above - The brewery building of Mellersh and Neale just before it was demolished in December 1989/January 1990. The building was built to a design approved by Lady Henry Somerset, leaseholder and Lord of the Manor but the roof line was altered in 1935 after a large piece of masonery fell just missing an employee

(Picture John Ede)

The brewery occupied a large site with access not just to Bell Street but also to the High Street where its offices were.

This 1981 aerial view of the brewery site shows Bell Street bottom left and the Market Place and High street bottom right. The site is now occupied by Safeways (now Morrison's) and its carpark.

(picture courtesy HNHM)


A flyer for sales at the brewery site c1970s (reproduced courtesy of Gary Brown)


1905 advertisement


A vendor of poultry game and fish by trade, Mr Ongley, whose shop is featured in the advert left, was Mayor 1895-87. His Bell street shop was the next property south from Knights. Lived at 56 Deerings Road, Reigate.

(Picture all rights reserved Mrs Abrahams)

Marriages had businesses in Reigate and Redhill. The access way for horse and wagon in their Reigate premises on the east side of Bell Street existed in 1891 but was later filled in and used as a shop. The building as it is today is pictured right. It is a shame that such outstandingly good features as its wonderful gables should not be complimented by the shop fronts below or the buildings either side


Earthenware bottles from Marriages

(courtesy HNHC)

An advertisement from 1860


The charge of three shillings and ninepence was invoiced to Mr Lanaway by Marriages for Making of new iron bar and brass loop and fixing to side of Gladstone Bag'

The invoice form dates from the 1880s but the date has not been filled in and it may well have been used in the 1890s.

(Invoice courtesy L.Robertson)

A 1932 letter from Marriages accepting Tom Burrows as a trainee sheet metal worker, tin and copper smith for a one year period. Although the header states T.S.Marriage the firm had by now been taken over by JTP Aylward, builders merchants

(Letter courtesy Brian Burrows)

In 1977 Marriages premises was occupied by the Exquisine restaurant. Today one would not get two dinners, wine and coffee for £12.59


A view back down Bell Street c1915. It would seem that the postmen were aware of the photographer's presence as they have turned out in force.


Bell Street looking south from the Market Place in the centre of the town, with the White Hart Hotel on the left. The crossing on the right was probably one of those introduced in the times of unmetaled roads to keep pedestrians feet dry when the roads were muddy. They were made of wooden blocks and had the disadvantage that horses slipped on them in the wet.This view is around the same time as the one on the left but is taken from further north so shows the White Hart Hotel on the left


This time the view is from a few years later, c1919, and again the White Hart Hotel can be seen on the left. This picture also appears in Audrey Ward's book 'Discovering Reigate Priory' where the caption draws attention to the pre-1914 tourer in the foreground, pointing out that it has a Leeds number plate


And yet another view back, this one in the 1930s after the demolition of the White Hart and its replacement by shops.


This picture shows the northeast end of Bell Street and its junction with Church Street. It was taken around 1934-5 just after traffic lights had been installed in both Redhill and Reigate

The ones at Reigate were controlled partly by pads in the road and partly by time signals


This picture taken at about the same time as the one on the left

(picture courtesy John Eede)

The White Hart Hotel

As one of the most notable old buildings in Reigate. Its livery stables supplied fresh horses for coaches on the London to Brighton run as well as extra pairs, to make six horses in all, to assist coaches to the top of the steep Reigate Hill, from where they returned to the hotel to await the next London bound coach. Horses were also supplied to pull the Reigate fire engine when required.

The White Hart Hotel was built c1775 on site of two shops and a corn store and demolished in 1933, its contents sold by at auction. In that year the Reigate Amateur Film Society, then in its first stage of formation, made a film called ‘Come to Reigate' in which the White Hart Hotel featured as one of the older parts of the town.

George III, it is said, was known to keep a bedroom reserved there, and Queen Victoria stopped there briefly on her way to Brighton soon after her accession. On another occasion she stopped there for lunch with the Prince Consort and the baby Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.

The historical novelist William Harrison Ainsworth lived there before he moved to Glovers Field, where he died in 1882. He wrote 'Old Court' at the Hotel.

The building's history includes an incident in which an army officer ran through one of the hotel's landlords with a sword after an argument about a bad coin. The officer was tried, condemned and hanged.

On Sept 18th 1838 a meeting of the inhabitants was held at the Hotel to discuss the provision of gas for the town, following which a company was later formed.

Above - a depiction of the White Hart in 1775.

Above - a coach ready to leave with additional pair added


Below - the White Hart, an open carriage and two coaches,1891


Opposite the White Hart in 1903 was the saddler's business of William Lanaway


The White Hart Hotel and the Revival of the Coaching Era

In 1907 a young American millionaire Mr A.G.Vanderbilt came to England with 27 horses and won the International Horse Show at his very first attempt. In 1908 he brought up to 80 more horses to this country from the USA and put his coaches back the road to re-create the atmosphere of the old coaching days before the advent of the railways in the 1840s. In 1908 there was the first trial run of one of his a stagecoaches from London to Brighton. A stop was made at the White Hart at Reigate for lunch and a great many people turned out to see it.. Fresh horses were attached to ‘Meteor’, the name of the coach used by Mr Vanderbilt to recreate ‘the glory and the glamour’ of this mode of transport through the Surrey and Sussex countryside. Mr Vanderbilt himself was the driver and ‘Meteor’ was being used only on this initial run, the coach to be used on subsequent regular runs being ‘Venture’. He gave up coaching in 1914 when war was declared and returned to the USA but decided to come back to England to take up Red Cross work. He booked a ticket on the Lusitania, a British liner known to be a target for German submarines, and in spite of warnings refused to cancel. The ship was indeed torpedoed and sunk and Vanderbilt, along with many others, including a significant number of fellow Americans, lost his life, an incident that served to hasten the entry of America into the war on the side of the Allies.


Vanderbilt's stagecoach Venture arriving at the White Hart Hotel in Reigate in 1908


The Venture leaving Reigate for London. Again, note the two additional horses as extra pulling power for the ascent of Reigate Hill


Another coach either ready to leave Reigate for London or newly arrived from Brighton


Coaches readying to depart


Coach departing


Coaches at the White Hart certainly provided good photo opportunities but other subjects were not so readily taken. Fortunately for us the garden at the rear of the White Hart Hotel above left was one that was and we can see that it must have provided a tranquil area so close to the busy centre of the town.The back of the hotel can be seen and the buildings on the right were presumably either additional guest rooms or livery stables and stable lads' and coachmens' accomodation.

(Garden picture courtesy John Eede)

The room pictured above right doubled as the reading lounge and ballroom


Above left is an advert for the White Hart Hotel from 1932. By this time the livery stables had given way to motoring facilities. The reference to remakable caves is presumably a general one to several caves in and under the town which will receive mention on other pages. As far as this author is aware there was no access to the caves directly from the hotel. It would seem that the charming grounds referred to could only be the hotel garden but they did not extend to three acres, so perhaps the Castle Grounds not far from the hotel's front door were included. This must have been one of the last advertisements for the hotel as it was demolished the following year. Above right is an 1890s invoice from the Hotel

(invoice courtesy L.Robertson)

This drawing (above left) by Morris Hooper was made at the time of the demolition of the White Hart from measurements he took shortly before its demolition and was intended to show its dimensions in 1785. In three parts, Mr Hooper speculated that the left part of the building dated from 1700 and that the centre part was the old White Hart proper, having been built around 1775 on the site of three old shops. The southern portion had been already been demolished, perhaps the 1830s. Above right - The White Hart in process of demolition in 1933


Bell Street and the town centre, an early 1930s sketch by William Tatton Winter that looks back to an earlier time. On the right is the White Hart Hotel. Beside it, and dwarfed by it, is a building in which are the remains of St Lawrence's Chapel.


The building with the remains of St Lawrence's Chapel is the one with the distinctive roof shape and awning above the 1st floor window on the left hand side of the street in this 1930s/40s picture


A view back down Bell Street in the 1940s


A view back down Bell Street late on a wet afternoon in February 2005


And a view from the very early 1950s


The buildings that replaced the White Hart Hotel pictured in February 2005


Detail from the right hand part of the building pictured left shows a 1937 date plaque


The buiding just visible in the picture immediately above was once a 14th century chapel known as the chapel of St Lawrence. No doubt it doesn't look much as it did 600 years ago but some of the medieval beams are visible inside and are shown below,


The same building pictures in 1936 when it was Holdsworth and Knight, the estate agency


Some of the old beams inside the building that were exposed during renovations in 1998

(Grateful thanks to the then owner who allowed me inside to take these pictures)

In 1896 there was the 'Emancipation Run', the driving of a number of vehicles from London to Brighton to mark the rleaxation of the law stating that all motorised vehicles must be preceded by a man with a red flag. It was the first of many such runs that are now known as the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, or sometimes 'the Old Crocks Race'. Here one of the cars, probably returning from Brighton the day after the run, is stopped outside the White Hart Hotel


The day before the picture on the left was taken there were chaotic scenes in Reigate when the first cars arrived on the occasion of the first london to Brighton motor car run in 1896


A car in the 1896 run comes down Church Street towards Reigate town centre before turning into Bell Street, barely having room between thee crowds of onlookers. This car had taken a route via the A23 through Redhill, whereas others came down the A217 to approach Reigate town centre via Tunnel Road


A car on the 1896 run turning from Church Street into Bell Street


The Emancipation Run of 1896 vwas repeated for a few subsequent years by the Motor Car Club but to different destinations than Brighton and eventually ceased. The Veteran Car run as we know it today was reveived on the 13th November 1927 by the Daily Sketch and Sunday Graphic newspapers, which promoted it as 'the Old Crock’s Race

The Royal Automobile Club took over organisation of the event in 1930 and do so to this day. In 1952 the date was fixed for the 1st Sunday in November. This was the year that the film Genevieve' was made.

In the picture above vehicles taking part in the 1927 run pass the White Hart Hotel having come down Reigate Hill and through the tunnel


The original 1896 route was via Reigate or via Redhill and then on to Reigate. From 1927 the route was via Reigate for many years.until it was changed to Redhill (late 1950s/early 1960s?). Here vehicles are shown passing through Redhill in 2006



Doris Peat collecting money for the Hospital Saturday Fund outside the White Hart in 1913. Doris was a teacher at the infants' school in Somerset Road Meadvale.

(Picture all rights reserved Mrs Abrahams)

Bell Street ends at the centre of the town at the Market Place, which was the old name for the junction of Bell Street with Church Street on the right, Tunnel Road straight ahead and the High Street to the left. These highways and others will eventually be pictured and described on their own pages



This page has been created by the Redhill and Reigate History Society and is hosted courtesy of the Reigate and Redhill Society

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