These photographs are the earliest in this collection, dating from 1985. They were taken using a camera that took Kodak 126 film, the negatives of which were 28mm square.

A view from the town centre, looking south down Bell Street. The shops on the left were built in 1935 and replaced The White Hart, a long established coaching inn which was patronised by George IV. Next to this relatively modern block lies a building which despite its 19th century facade conceals the shell of the medieval St Lawrence's Chapel. In the distance, the trees mark the edge of Priory Park.

The majority of scenes depicted on these pages are little changed some 20 years on, but this is one which has changed considerably. Seen here in 1985, this view of Bell Street at the junction with Bancroft Road is dominated by the Post Office. To its left, just in sight, is the Reigate Garage, from where you could buy the latest products from British Leyland, while on its right is the Fads DIY store. The Post Office and the car showroom were demolished in the early 1990s to make way for a road leading to the Safeways car park, while the former Fads building was restored to its original state.

Looking east along Church Street. Most of the development in this part of the street took place in the 1930s and 1950s, particularly along the south side, which had previously been the gardens of the White Hart in Bell Street. A public house was built along here which took its name from the long-established coaching inn. Until 1970 the Old Wheel restaurant stood on the north side of the street, while Church Street was also home to the much-missed retailer of stationery and art supplies, Andrew Glass, which ceased trading in the 1990s.

Another view of the tunnel, constructed in 1823, and described as a 'wasteful' by the outspoken journalist William Cobbett. Networks of man-made caves, created by sand mining in the 19th century, extend from each side of the tunnel. They have had a variety of uses, notably as wartime air raid shelters. The northern end of Tunnel Road connects to London Road and Castlefield Road, an area now dominated by modern office buildings. A little further north is Reigate railway station, which sits on the branch line from Redhill to Reading.

The Old Town Hall in the summer of 1985. It was often used to display banners promoting forthcoming events, in this case a fete being held for Netherne Hospital.

Another view of Reigate Priory. Founded in 1235 by William de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, the Priory was converted into a mansion following the dissolution of the monastries in 1535. The Priory has gone through many owners and undergone much modification; the present day Georgian facade dates from around 1770. The building is now used as a middle school, with a small museum.

Immediately north of the High Street are the Castle Grounds. However the Castle Gateway shown here is in fact nothing more than a folly. The last remaining traces of Reigate Castle itself disappeared some 200 years ago; the existing gateway was constructed in 1777 by Richard Barnes from material taken from the ruined castle. To the right, a path leads to the upper part of the gateway and through there to the castle mound; there is another path further round the dry moat.

This is the mound on which Reigate Castle once stood. The castle had fallen into disrepair by the 17th century, and the last traces of the ruin had gone by the early 19th century. Today, the castle mound is an attractive garden, a haven of peace and quiet despite being situated just north of the noisy, busy shopping streets. The mound is surrounded by a dry moat; the 'wet' moat to the north is now a duck pond. The Castle Grounds continue through the top part of the gateway seen in this photograph, where an unusual sunken garden can be found, which was created by the collapse of one of the caves underneath.

Underneath the castle mound are the Barons Caves, which are reputed to have been where the Magna Carta was signed (unfortunately this is only a myth). Like the Tunnel Road caves, the Barons Caves are man-made, and were probably used as storage vaults for the castle. Nowadays these caves can be accessed from steps which lead down from this unusual stone pyramid sited in the centre of the castle mound. The steps are closed off to the public, however they are able to visit the caves on guided tours.

In the distance in this photograph can be seen the North Downs - upon which is located...

...the Inglis Memorial on Colley Hill. Not long after this photograph was taken, the disused water fountain was removed and replaced with a direction indicator. Colley Hill is just to the west of Reigate Hill, upon which is located...

...the Reigate Hill transmitter. Yes, a little more anoraky than the rest, I know. Today this mast transmits analogue and digital television, FM and DAB radio, to viewers and listeners right across East Surrey and the north of West Sussex.


Old Reigate
The Reigate Society

Images copyright © Robert Williams 1985