Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

From the Iron Age to the Cold War

At a recent meeting of the Oxted & District History Society, Bob Evans, former Tandridge District Council Director of Planning, gave an illustrated lecture on ‘Defensive Installations in Tandridge from the Iron Age to the Cold War’.

Tandridge’s topography has influenced the siting of defensive installations.  Both the Dry Hill Iron Age Fort in Dormansland and War Coppice in Caterham are on high, defensive sites.  The Norman Godstone Castle was built on the strategic crossroads at Godstone.  Bletchingley Castle and Starborough Castle, near Lingfield were destroyed respectively by troops loyal to Henry III and by Cromwell’s troops when the owners backed the losing sides.

Woldingham Fort and Pilgrim Fort in Caterham were Victorian defensive installations, built when the main external threat was thought to be France.  Caterham Barracks dated from the 1870s and the recently demolished Drill Hall in Caterham was a recruiting centre in World War I.  Woldingham Garden Village was used as a base for Canadian soldiers in World War I and for Czech Intelligence in World War II. Among many other sites were Kenley Aerodrome, used throughout World War II and later but there were also airfields at Horne, Newchapel and Lingfield.


Defensive Installations in Tandridge District by Bob Evans