SWISS COTTAGES


Many people in the village will recall this 1920s photograph of the village with the Cosy Nook tearoom between the village pond and the neighbouring Swiss Cottages. Today the two houses remain, but the pond and the Cosy Nook have both gone


However, the Cosy Nook tearoom was not originally the single storey building shown in this photograph.  Instead the tearoom was situated in number 2 Swiss Cotteges, with the adjoining building used as a work shop, and before that an oubuilding. It is thought that the Swiss Cottages were built around 1848, but they are not officially recorded until 1861.

Neville Lubbock married Harriet Charlotte Wood from North Cray Place and received, to celebrate their wedding, a parcel of land of approximately 32 acres, including all buildings within it. This parcel of land stretched from the Mission Hall around the Change of Horses (then the New Inn) to the corner of what is now Gladstone Road, continuing across the future Farnborough By Pass into what is now the Broadwater Estate.

Although it is difficult to identify the houses of the village in the 19th century census, in 1871 Robert Session lived at number 1 Swiss Cottage, a farmer of 40 acres and next door at number 2, Isaac Laslett. Isaac was a builder, brickmaker and even a bank clerk, which suggests that he not only built houses with his own bricks, but then lent the money for the people to buy them. I have noted that a widow, Ann Laslett, was resident in Orpington High Street in 1881 living off rents from cottages. Had Isaac built them?

Four years after the marriage, Neville’s father died and in the rearrangement of the estate this parcel of land and buildings was sold to Edward Plumbridge, a fruit merchant in Fleet Street, London, for the sum of £2600 in 1874. Edward Plumbridge continued to live in Fleet Street, London until he moved to Fleetwood, Farnborough prior to the 1891 census, now the site of Fleetwood Court near Wellbrook Road. Edward Plumbridge continued to live at Fleetwood until he died in 1917 Read More.

In the 1901 census it is recorded that William Owen and family lived at number 1 Swiss Cottage. William was an undertaker and builder, his son a bricklayer. He was also registered in the 1896 Bromley Directory as an undertaker in Farnborough Village . At number 2 lived Mr & Mrs Gurr, a retired couple along with three boarders, all gardeners, so they may have worked on Edward Plumbridge’s estate, which surrounded the houses.


The Cosy Nook received its first official record. In 1918. George Miles is recorded as living at number 1, Swiss Cottage, whilst number 2 Swiss Cottage and Cosy Nook tearoom, was home to Walter Wells, a carpenter, and the outbuilding became his workshop.
By 1922 Arthur Plumbridge had sold all three buildings to Walter’s wife, Mrs Beatrice Wells (her family ran Eades Café in Green Street Green), for £1700.  To acquire the two houses and outbuilding Beatrice took out a mortgage, which took seven years to repay. As a consequence, number 1 became their home, number 2 became The Cosy Nook tearoom and eventually the outbuilding also became part of the tearooms. probably as a necessity to pay off the mortgage. However, the tearoom became very popular as many photographs of the time reflect.

In 1932, Beatrice Wells sold the business and property to Anthony Razzetti. Anthony Razzetti, a caterer, was living in New Cross Road when he purchased the two houses and tearoom for £1350. Upon completion of the sale he moved into number 1, and Beatrice and Walter Wells moved to the Larches, Green Street Green; this still stands behind the Ford dealership and caravan sale site across the roundabout from the Rose and Crown.

At the outbreak of the 2nd World War, Walter and Beatrice moved to Westerham Heights. Whereas, Anthony and Bessie Razzetti with their children with three guests were living at Swiss Cottage and Cosy Nook tearoom. Among the guest was John Hebditch, ARP stretcherbearer.

In 1961 Anthony Razzetti died and the following year, 1962, his wife Bessie also passed away. This is when the tearoom and the two houses were separated into three plots and sold off independently. In 1965 the former tearoom, now number 81 was sold to Ward’s Flexible Rod Company, followed in 1966 by the sale of number 1 Swiss Cottage as number 85 High Street. Number 2 Swiss Cottage was sold in 1969 as number 83.

As for the previous owners of the houses, outbuilding and land, Neville Lubbock, Edward Plumbridge, Beatrice Wells, also Anthony and Bessie Razzetti can all be found in St Giles churchyard with other villagers from the past.

Further Details.

Bob Donovan

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