A place for tea and roast meat?

Surrey Heath Borough Council has described this row of houses in The Terrace on the RMA site as ” probably the single most important group of listed buildings in the Borough. ”

The nickname is supposed to have come from coach drivers on the busy London Road nearby who thought their design lacked something and was a little too much like a box with a lid.

They were built between 1811 and 1817 and the 13 double houses cost £42,258 which seems rather a lot of money (taking inflation into account) but the architect, Wyatt sent in a total bill for the whole site, of £370,000!  Further fencing and another gatehouse were added along the London Road when an outbreak of cholera threatened to spread to the cadets.  Since then more secure fencing has been added recently and the public is no long allowed any free access to the site.

The RMA has had to shut away from the town that grew up to serve it and it be easy to forget just how important it was nationally, from the beginning.  In 1814, at the end of the Napoleonic War, and just two years after opening, the college was inspected by the Prince Regent who was accompanied by the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia.  This is like a visit from the Queen, President Putin and a Angela Merkel in present day terms.

Just in front of Tea Caddy Row was the London Road toll booth with a gate across the road.  It was not until the 1870s that it was removed and Surrey County council eventually took over responsibility for the maintenance of the road.  Apparently, locals celebrated its removal with an ox roast, which gives you some idea of how popular road tolls were at the time.


3 thoughts on “A place for tea and roast meat?

  1. I am one of the lucky few allowed unsupervised access to the site, and there is something I was always curious about these houses. If you look at google maps, you will see there is a gap part way along, where there is a plot with no house on. If you walk along The Terrace you will find there is not a number 10, just a large empty gap. That makes it just 12 houses remaining. I was wondering if it was damaged during the war?

    • I am so sorry to have taken so long to reply. I have at last found something in Anthony Greenstreet’s book ‘Browsings in Surrey Heath History’.
      According to this there were ‘two serious instances of night bombing’ over the RMC in WW2. In September 1940 there was little damage. In 1941 5 cadets were killed and a dozen or more injured, when the end of the C Block of the New Building was hit. Unfortunately there is no mention of a direct hit on one of the houses – frustratingly I know I have come across a casual reference to it somewhere, but I just can’t find it! I think the building was empty at the time…

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