DAVID and Nicky Prior have lived in their attractive house at Hamm Court, Weybridge since 1965 and have a real fascination for the history of the estate which is bounded by the rivers Bourne, Wey and Thames.
So when a former neighbour asked them whether they’d be interested in having a couple of old photo albums depicting some early scenes at Hamm Court they jumped at the chance – only to discover that the albums raised more questions than they answered.
Nicky explained: “We know the general history of the estate – the farmer allowed people to use part of his land to camp beside the river during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th.
“They subsequently got together – more than 80 of them – and bought the land from the farmer and began putting up permanent residences on the estate. It was clearly a very close-knit community and some of the photos in these albums suggest they enjoyed quite a good social life.
“We’re particularly interested in one picture which shows a group of a few dozen people sitting beside the river – perhaps during some kind of regatta,” she added.
“We can’t recognise anyone in the photo but we think it must have been something to do with the former residents at Hamm Court and we’d be delighted if any of your readers can help us identify who these people were and what they were doing.”
Another picture, which I’ve also included here, shows a view of Hamm Court before any of the current properties were put up.
To put the matter in context, an excellent history of Hamm Court written by Jim Warburg in 1994 reveals that the limited company formed by the campers, called Hamm Court Estates Ltd, purchased the freehold of the estate, including the farm, for the sum of £17,000 at an auction in June 1924. Not a bad investment for 196 acres of prime riverside property with the benefit of hindsight…
If you can help solve this mystery, please contact me at the Herald.