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Surbiton is a rather recent addition to Greater London, having been given the name in 1869 to separate it from Kingston. Before this, it was known as Kingston-upon-railway and was first developed in the 1840s. In the 1840s, Surbiton was a part of the historic county of Surrey, but in 1965, like many other places, it became part of Greater London.
Now, as Surbiton was only created in 1840, you may not think there is much history in the area. However, being close to London, it was almost impossible that the area of Surbiton didn’t see some form of action over the 2,000 years that London has been the heartbeat of the British Empire.
Surbiton is actually home to the very last battle of the English Civil Wars. During these wars (there were three wars altogether), King Charles I and Parliament had somewhat of a disagreement as to who should run the country.
There were many main players during the civil wars. Some of the key players wanted power over the country to fall to Parliament, while others defended the king’s right to rule the country. As the wars developed, players from each side turned on each other and started to support the opposite side. This was to ensure that they were on the winning side and weren’t punished at the end of the wars.
One of the very last battles of the English Civil Wars was fought in Surbiton in 1648. The son of the duke of Buckingham, Lord Francis Villiers, attempted to rally support for Charles I, who was imprisoned at the time. The Lord’s attempt failed, sadly and in 1651, Parliament scored a victory over the king, putting the wars to bed.
There are a wealth of famous people in Surbiton, and you may even see some of them while you’re shopping. Children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson and Enid Blyton both lived in the area. As does Debbie McGee, the magical assistant to her husband, Paul Daniels.
Stomzy and Tom Holland are likely the most famous people to live in Surbiton currently. Stomzy is a British rapper and songwriter, and Tom Holland is a major movie megastar and is currently playing Spidermen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Surbiton featured in the 2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film, in which Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) take on Harry’s biggest foe, Voldermort. The station has also featured in various Agatha Christie adaptions. And, of course, Surbiton featured quite heavily in the fantastic Monty Python’s Flying Circus film. Thanks to the station’s 1930s art-deco style, many films and TV series use it as a location when filming period films and TV series.
Well, Surbiton has certainly been busy during its short life. From civil wars to famous folk at the train station, Surbiton certainly has a storied past. Even Eric Clapton has made an appearance or two in Surbiton. He even purchased one of his earliest guitars from a music shop called Bells in the town.