|Coombe Wood Golf Course||Kingston|
The golf course was part of the estate of Coombe House, which the 1st Duke of Cambridge purchased in 1837, enlarging his estate for a shooting park by the purchase of commonland on Coombe Hill. Coombe Wood Golf Course was laid out in 1904 by the 2nd Duke of Cambridge and his sons, the Fitzgeorges. Originally a 9-hole course, but extended in 1922, it continues to straddle George Road. The Coombe estate was broken up after the death in 1933 of Sir Augustus Fitzgeorge, partly for housing development, but partly remaining open land. The golf course was saved as a result of Malden and Coombe UDC purchasing the land in 1934.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
Coombe was possibly a Roman site and at the Domesday Survey consisted of 3 manors. Various springs on Coombe Hill provided water from the early C16th for Cardinal Wolsey's new Hampton Court Palace (q.v.) both for drinking and to supply the water features and fountains. Three conduit houses were built on Coombe Hill from where the water was transported by pipe to Kingston and then under the Thames to Hampton Court, which continued to be supplied from this source until 1876, even though the Longford River had been built in the 1630s to augment the supply. The Coombe Hill system was abandoned in 1900 although the conduit houses remain, situated outside the boundary of the southern part of Coombe Wood Golf Course. One of the conduit houses was restored by English Heritage in 1989. In the late C18th the Milne map shows the forested bottom of the valley marked as Coombe Wood, and the top shown as commonland, which was called Coombe Warren and rabbits were kept there. By the mid C19th areas of Coombe Hill were used for agriculture and field boundaries remain in parts of the landscape.
By the later C19th the area was becoming popular among the wealthy, and numerous fine houses were built with substantial grounds. John Galsworthy (1867-1933), who was born in Kingston and whose family had lived at a number of properties in Coombe, used it as the inspiration for Soames' house at Robin Hill in 'The Man of Property' (1906), his first novel of 'The Forsyte Saga'. In the novel he described Coombe Warren: 'the warren was as lonely as a prairie, its silence only broken by the rustle of rabbits bolting to their holes and the song of the larks'. Coombe House was another fine property whose owners included Lord Liverpool, who was Prime Minister during the Regency and then under George IV. In 1837 the estate was purchased by the 1st Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of George III, who enlarged it when he acquired commonland on Coombe Hill, which he made into a shooting estate of some 1300 acres. In 1850 it passed to his son George, the 2nd Duke of Cambridge, who was Commander in Chief of the British Army from 1856-95. He and his sons converted a gravel pit into a golf course, now Coombe Wood Golf Course. After the Duke's death in 1904, the estate passed to his two younger sons Colonel Sir Augustus and Admiral Sir Aldolphus Fitzgeorge. The 9 hole course opened in 1904 with 7 holes above George Road and 2 holes below it. The southern part was formerly Coombe Farm and the northern part was Coombe Warren, which remains the most extensive heathland in London. Arthur Balfour, then Prime Minister, was the Captain of the club. The club's Cambridge Cup, named after the Duke of Cambridge, was first played for in 1911. The local Council had purchased part of the estate lands from Sir Augustus Fitzgeorge and a second golf course had been laid out in 1910, Coombe Hill Golf Course (q.v.).
After WWI, land was released when local hockey and cricket clubs on the site disbanded, enabling an 18 hole golf course to be laid out, with 10 holes above George Road and 8 below, which was opened in 1922 by its then Captain, Field Marshall Earl Haig. In 1925 there was a separate Ladies section with its own Captain. In 1933 Colonel Fitzgeorge died and the remaining 700 acres of the estate were then sold off, partly for housing development, but partly remaining open land due to its purchase in 1934 by Malden and Coombe UDC who leased it back to the Club. Coombe Wood Golf Club continues to lease the golf course; with a new 125-year lease negotiated in 1994, the Clubhouse was redeveloped in 2002/3 in time for its centenary.
Sue Swales, Ian Yarham, Bob Britton, 'Nature Conservation in Kingston upon Thames', Ecology Handbook 18 (London Ecology Unit) 1992; A McCormack, Kingston Upon Thames, London, 1989; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Shaan Butters 'The Book of Kingston', Baron, 1995. See History section on Coombe Wood Golf Club website