DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript

T H E   D E R E L I C T   M I S C E L L A N Y

R e f l e c t i o n s   o n   f o r g o t t e n   a n d   a b a n d o n e d   s p a c e s
{autojumble} {miscellany}

Box Hill Quarries Remembered

In July 2013, I was contacted by a Mr. Philip Ross who visited Betchworth Works on his way to and from school in the late '50s, just before the last of the works locomotives were retired. These are his recollections:

Betchworth in the '50s

Fifty years ago a lot of time was spent exploring the quarries at Betchworth and Brockham. There does seem to be very little on similar places in Dorking, after all I lived for many years with my folk just off of Chalkpit Lane (there is a clue there methinks).

One day in '58 on the way to school a fellow pupil pointed out smoke coming from Baxter and Coffee Pot's shed and he said (as best as my memory serves) "A little steam loco is in that shed". Up 'till this time I watched steam rollers working but took little interest in railways as the Guildford to Redhill line ran along the bottom of the garden. Ah but steam that was accessible sounded good. To think that at 13 years old I was measuring railway gauges , photographing steam and diesel locos, finding part of the winding gear near the incline and I also explored the hearthstone mine workings. There was a little stationary engine shed, an incline down to the quarry face and the narrow gauge line was still intact.

Along the Pilgrims way I found in a field a shaft which on reading one of your articles must have been another hearthstone mine.

It was a grown up play ground for me in the late '50s. I would spend hours of holiday time and Saturday mornings exploring the works. No one bothered me, I wasn't damaging property and I didn't feel I was trespassing. I think I was the last person to ride on Baxter and indeed Mr Smith let me drive her pulling then pushing one truck down to the siding west of Betchworth Station. This was my first taste of industrial archaeology. If I had been a year younger or didn't go to school in Redhill via Betchworth a great chunk would my life [would have] passed by. The works would have been closed and I would never have driven Baxter.

A few years later when I was 15/16 years old and worked for British Industrial Sand [at Holmethorpe near Redhill] (they had a narrow guage railway system) I spent one Sunday walking between Betchworth and Colley Hill and I found an Incendary bomb on the path [...] I carried a bayonet around at the time for digging things up ...so I did. At work the following Monday I related the story to my boss and then spent the morning re-tracing my steps to show Mr Policeman where I had chucked it.

I am indebted to Mr. Ross for sharing his reminiscences and the photographs which can be seen on the preceding page. If you have memories of Brockham or Betchworth Works or another featured location, why not get in touch?

Home - Back - Top
The Derelict Miscellany: website and all content © D. A. Gregory unless stated to be otherwise.