It was not until 1833 that the Rate Book shows
that there were several families listed as having
some sort of tenure on the “large waste
called Blackheath consisting of heath, useful
only for turf cut therefrom or fir or larch trees”.
By 1867 the number of inhabitants had increased
from 12 to 26 and by 1873, it was recorded that
there were 39 cottages, one pub and one beer shop.
In the latter part of the 19th century, the owners
of Chilworth gunpowder factory built the terrace
known as Mitchell’s Cottages for their employees.
In the explosion of 1913, leaves from the trees
surrounding the gunpowder works were carried by
the wind and fell on Blackheath.
From the 1880’s a number of developments
took place in the village. Sir William Chandler
Roberts-Austen had settled in the village and,
in conjunction with his colleague Henry Prescott,
paid for a number of houses to be built or converted,
several of them by the architect Charles Harrison
Townsend (whose work included the Whitechapel
Art Gallery, Bishopgate
Institute and Horniman
Museum). In 1889 Roberts-Austen paid for the
construction of the “Village Pump”
by the crossroads as the village had no water
supply at that time. In 1892 he also commissioned
Townsend to design a church for the village and
St Martin’s was dedicated in July 1893.
Prescott paid for the building of the Village
Hall in 1897 on land given by Mr Cowley-Lambert
from part of the Little Tangley estate and also
paid for the construction of The Vicarage to house
the first curate of St Martin’s in 1901.
Further developments took place over the years
with the last new houses being built in the 1970’s.
There were originally two shops in the village.
Both were grocers and one also contained a Post
Office. This latter survived the longest but closed
in the 1980’s. (This is a much abbreviated
account taken from the Introduction to ‘History
of Blackheath’ with the kind permission
of Brigadier Dick Hume)
In the 2002 Waverley Borough Plan, Blackheath
was designated as “a settlement without
boundaries”. This sets very strict restrictions
on further development of the village and only
in exceptional circumstances will any new build
The Village from
Derrys Hill looking North
The Well by the
Petrol pumps outside
Pear Tree Cottage looking West (c1960)
Historical photographs kindly supplied
by Mrs B Hockley