Mark Horton has been doing a good deal of research about the Doman family, so I am hoping we will be able to do an ‘in depth’ article about him soon and do the whole story justice!
In the meantime, here is a taster…..
The Doman brothers came from Basingstoke in about 1890. George set himself up as a dairyman in a shop on the corner of London Road and Victoria Avenue – I should imagine where Roosters is now. Soon after he opened a livery stables, where, according to Gordon Wellard, Winston Churchill kept his horses when at the RMC.
George set up a horse-drawn bus service between Yorktown and Camberley and then started buying land around Victoria Avenue and building houses. As a member, and then chairman of the council he was very interested in providing recreational facilities – in 1914 he opened the Academy Cinema, on the site of the block of flats, just opposite his original business. He had bought the land in 1906 when the The Kings Arms, on the other side (now an empty plot) was sold.
Behind the cinema was the Peat Moor, where peat was harvested to act as fuel. It was about 25 acres which stretched to the Blackwater River. Originally this had been given to a church trust but as people started to use coal for household fuel, they sold it to George Doman in 1928. He sold it to the Camberley Sand and Gravel Co in 1942. It 1949 it was bought by the F&CUDC to provide land for a second industrial estate.
The block of flats – Victoria Court – were built on the corner where the cinema had been in 1959. At the time they were described as a ‘prosperity landmark’ because the town was coming out of a difficult period.
More information on this interesting topic hopefully coming soon…….