Starts Hill is a road of about two thirds of a mile in length that runs between Farnborough and Locksbottom. The northern end passes between the rear of the Princess Royal University Hospital, formerly the Farnborough Workhouse, and Tugmutton Common which has a long association with Gypsy or Traveller families. This was the scene for a mass eviction of travellers from the common carried out in 1887 at the behest of local gentry, in order to enclose it.

The southern end remained mostly undeveloped until just before the second world war, apart from the village school, established in 1870s to replace the earlier school in Farnborough Village, and Bassetts House built for a member of the Lubbock family in 1911,

House building started with what is now Starts Hill Avenue in the 1920s., but the more extensive housing developments on the western side commenced just before the second world war. This proved to a precursor to large scale development that took place after the war between Farnborough and Orpington.

Mowbray Investments Prospectus

A publication entitled Starts Hill Estate was published in 1939 by an organisation called  Mowbray Investments, to promote the development. A company of this name is still active in investments today, although as it was incorporated only in 2010 it is unlikely to have any direct relationship with the earlier one.  

This map is taken from their prospectus and shows the general location of the proposed development; however the map is not particularly accurate. 

The full prospectus can be Read Here

The development was to comprise housing on the western side of Starts Hill itself, plus a new road to be called Bassetts Way, with a small close Bassetts Close added at the southern end.  The name Bassetts reflects the house of the same name already present on the other side of Starts Hill.

Four house types were offered, all semi-detatched, but of varying sizes. Prices ranged from £585 to £750,with terms also available from £15s 8d to £20s 2d. per week.

The depictions of what were presumably judged to be contemporary furniture differ markedly from what we might expect today!

The above is the interior of a Type B house, see also further photos in the panel to the right. click to enlarge

Features common to all house  types included a garden with a frontage of 25-27ft, and a depth of at least 100ft, which was claimed to be 'exceptional' for a house of this price; well drained soil being a mixture of sand and gravel; and walls of solid bricks, which is assumed to mean without cavities.  Garages were not included, although there was claimed to be space to add one if required. The prospectus attached gives details of fitments to be included in kitchens, and bathrooms.  All gardens were to be fenced.

The prospectus stresses the local shops available in Farnborough, no doubt more comprehensive than those remaining today, as well as in Orpington, one and a half miles away. Places of worship available in Farnborough are listed, together with transport facilities which included direct links to London via bus route 47 (then going to Shoreditch) and Green Line coach route C to Victoria and Kingston.

Above is an ordnance survey map of the development dated 1938, showing the estate partly mapped out.  Click on the image for a google map view of the same location. 

This aerial photo shows the estate looking from the west.  The A21 is in the foreground with Bassetts Way running left to right through the newly built houses. The engineering works is in the background.

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