Category Archives: Culture

Christmas Decorations

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Prior to leaving the UK for Malaysia, I had many meetings to attend, one especially with the Buzan Training organisation to confirm and discuss my status as a BLI (Buzan Licensed Instructor).

Whilst at this meeting Tony Buzan joined the discussions, the inventor of MindMaps, organizer of the World Memory Championships, writer, speaker and presenter.

Tony Buzan

It was after our meeting that Tony asked me to go with him to his home, a wonderful located home over-looking the River Thames.

It was here that Tony gave me a Christmas Wreath.

Christmas Wreath

A Christmas Wreath is traditionally hung on the entrance door of a home. But where did the tradition come from, and what was the meaning of such a thing?

As with many beliefs, traditions, ceremonies, even religions, they can be traced back way before they were supposed to have started, being taken from other beliefs and adapted into a new structure, and so it seems it is with the Christmas Wreath, or as it is sometimes called the Advant Wreath.

It is thought that the Christmas Wreath along with the Yule Log and the use of mistletoe and holly come from pre-christian times, from pagan rites.

The holly leaves were used by pagans as an offering in winter to the fairies, the Romans offered branches of holly as a symbol of friendship, and they often used the leaves as decorations durring the Christmas season. Being an evergreen plant, the leaves would remain green for longer periods.

Wreaths can be traced back to other religions, and to the ancient Persian Empire times, possibly originaly used as a headband or diadem, and later used by the Greeks when they awarded the victors of the Olympic Games a crown of laurel leaves. Possibly the victors hung the crown on their walls to show their endeavours, thus passing into what we know today.

It is thought that pre-Christian Germanic people used wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future, for the coming of the warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring.

In Sweden on St. Lucia’s Day, girls will wear a Crown of Lights, which is as that worn by the victors of the Olympics, but now bearing candles.

There are many lines that are possible meanings to the origin of the Christmas Wreath. All I know is that it was a lovely thought of Tony Buzan.

Gong Xi Fa Cai

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                                                                                Gong Xi Fa Cai   Gong Xi Fa Cai

Gong Xi Fa Cai, which is Chinese for Happy New Lunar Year, a very important time in the Chinese year. This year 2008 is the Year of the Rat.

                                                            Year of the Rat

The Chinese New Year celebration lasts for 15 days, and can fall anytime between 21st January and 20th February depending upon the full moon. 

The first day is the Chinese New Year, and is called the Spring Festival. Often little red packets (called an-pao in Malaysia) are given out to the unmarried members of the family by the married members, and contain money. Often houses are visited by the Lion Dancers bringing good luck.

                                                                            chinese new year card

The colour red is important to the Chinese at this time, with houses, buildings decorated in red, with Chinese auspicious phrases on banners and red lanterns, and people will often dress-up in red clothes.
Various special days are celebrated during this period, where the God of Fortune is greeted on the fifth day and fire crackers are let off, the loudest bringing the greatest fortune, but many fire crackers are let off on the first day.

The fifteenth day is the Lantern Festival (which is again celebrated in September), and where a special cake or dumpling made out of glutinous rice and is very sticky called the neen koh, is eaten, symbolising that the lips will be sealed together, thus not allowing the wrong doings of the family to be reported to the departed or spirits.

                                                                      Gong Xi Fa Cai

Wait and See. All good things come to those that wait.

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When I was a small boy, living with my mother and father in the English town of Chasetown, we would sit at the dining table for the long gone traditional family meal.

The best part of the meal for me would be the pudding, sweat or dessert, and I would ask my mother, “what’s for pudding Mom?” and she would inevitably reply “Wait and See”.

All sorts of images, pictures of exotic puddings would be conjured up in my mind, I had no idea what it could be. It was not apple pie, Bakewell tart, rhubarb and custard, I knew those. But “Wait and See”?

Today, is a day of rest. I have done my Income, Self Assessment, Tax, reasonably caught-up with my emails and post, I have nothing to do. I had a quiet breakfast, looking out into a clear blue sky, which at this time of the year means a cold crispy day.

What is going to happen today, what am I going to do?

My mind went back, reliving those days sitting at the dinning table, eagerly awaiting the pudding. Was it going to be a pudding that the lady two doors away, Mrs Grice, was promising to cook for my friend Brian Bradbury and myself, Spotted Dick? I had visions in my head of a pudding shaped like a Dalmatian dog, white with black spots on it, and what it tasted of I had no idea.

Again and again I would ask, “what’s for pudding” and I would get the same reply “Wait and See”, or another saying, “All good things come to those that wait“.

Strange how we put our vivid hallucinations onto what people tell us. My mothers “Wait and See” created a pudding in my mind, so I conjured up a make believe exotic pudding to fit the context of the conversation, as Mrs Grice’s Spotted Dick painted another picture.

When the puddings came, they were nothing more than I had eaten before, the apple tarts, etc. What I had created in my head for “Wait and See”, was not a new pudding, but just wait a while, you will see what will be served to you. The Spotted Dick was nothing more than a traditional British suet pastry, rolled into a sausage shape, representing a dog, with dried fruits, mostly being currents, making the spots, served with custard.

spotted dick pudding with custard
 Spotted Dick pudding

Today I will “Wait and See” what happens, because as I have waited over the years, I have had the exotic puddings, the baklava from the Turkish cuisine, the Ice Kacang from South East Asia and China.

Baklava Turkish cuisine  
Baklava Turkish cuisine

Ice Kacang
 Ice Kacang S.E. Asia

The good things will come if you can just wait.

RETURN to NEW BASIL DINER article click here

Hawkers – Eating out Malaysian style

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It seems that most people in Malaysia eat out rather than prepare food at home. That is the way I perceive the eating situation, as unless there is a lot of people for a big family meal, we go out, or food is brought in.

There are the standard restaurants with table clothes and menus, being mostly very cheap, say 60 – 100 Ringit (Malaysian Dollars) or £10 – £15 for six people, but the best way to eat is to go to the hawker stands.

Hawkers are people who will specialise in one specific type of food or cooking style, and they will set-up a stand, mostly at night, and there they will prepare and cook on demand their single offering.

Here is a family that specialisms in pancakes. They have a small open sided van, parked on the side of the road, and they cook a variety of pancakes with fillings such as corn, crushed peanuts, coconut, black sugar. 

Malaysian hawker selling pancakes Malaysian hawker selling pancakes

Other hawkers will set-up their stands in groups, in open sided restaurants, with each stand advertising what they are cooking. Some hawker restaurants specialise in say fish, or duck and that is all you get, but there will be such a variety within that specialty.

Malaysian open-sided hawker restaurant    Malaysian hawker stand selling duck
                        open-sided hawker restaurant                                                 hawker stand selling duck

Above, an open fronted hawker restaurant with two portable hawker stands made from stainless steel and glass, with diners sitting on the obligatory plastic chairs, plus a hawker stand preparing a wide variety of duck meals.

Other hawker restaurants will be on a grander scale with vast variety of food being offered. Individuals from the dining group will go up to the hawker of choice, order the meal, and then go and sit at the usual round table and plastic chair with their fellow diners and wait. A few minutes later the meal will arrive. So cheap, 1 or 2 Ringit (Malaysian Dollar), say 50 pence (UK).

;Hawker restuarant, Penang    Hawker restuarant, Downing Street Penang
It is usual that the hawkers pay a rent for their stand to the restaurant/facility owner, and it is the restaurant/facility owner that sell drinks, my favourite being Milo Peng, iced Milo.

Cultural Family Ties can be Strong

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It has been a time of celebration on this trip to Malaysia, Christmas 2007, the New Year of 2008, and a birthday.

My sister-in-law Janet, (her Chinese name Ng Mee Chin), who now lives, with her husband Bing, on the same housing estate as we do, having her 70th birthday on the 1st January 2008.

Janet and Bing have three boys, Kin, Keong and Hun, the first two living in Kuala Lumpa, a 4 – 5 hour drive away, and Hun living in Singapore some 10 hour drive, and it seemed that her family would not be back to celebrate her birthday.

The boys had other ideas, and each traveled back to be with her over this period, Hun with his wife Anna and daughter Anjelica, made it over the Xmas period, and we had a birthday party for Janet. Then Keong turned-up two days ago to spend a few days with her. Driving over night, celebrating the midnight change of year in the car, the oldest son, Kin with his wife Li Hoon and children Ching, Shen and Jyun, arrived to spend a few hours of celebration. We had another party.
Janet Ng's Birthday Janet’s family with birthday cake. 

 Anna and Anjelica minus Hun with another birthday cake   Anna and Anjelica minus Hun with another birthday cake

The Chinese culture holds the family ties very strong, gatherings to be as one group, to be together, which in times gone by was workable, but as the family members begin to spread their wings, moving away from the nest to many far and distant places, for all to be together all at the same time has become a near impossibility, and can lead to disappointments, tension and fallouts.

I remember Christmas’s gone by when I was a small boy.

My mother’s family were very close, her brother and sister, Frank and Dylis lived next door to each other, and their mother lived with them. The family would get together with my two cousins, Avryl and Glynis, plus for the family meal, my cousin’s other Grand Father.

Yet, my father’s family were very close too, and they would also gather for Christmas, the four siblings each with their offspring.

Which family should my father and mother spend Christmas with? Problem.

This was solved by my parents by spending alternative Christmas’s with each family.

Even as a small boy, I sensed and saw when we spent time with my father’s family, my mother would be yearning to be with her family, and when we were with her family, my father being a little out of place with my mother’s family. 

Then, one brother or brother-in-law, sister or sister-in-law, had fallen out with another that year, and did not want to be in the same room as each other.

Who should be with whom?

Oh Poo Poo. (click to understand)

It was good to observe Janet’s family as a whole family, and to be included into the family celebrations, to have over the festive period other family members, David (Ng Ying Loong), John (Ng Ying Loon)Amy (Ng Mee Ghor) and Thiang (Ng Ying Thiang) popping in and out.

The last time the whole (nearly) of the NG family got together was for Xmas 1999 and the Millenium (2000) in the Palace of the Golden Horses, Kuala Lumpa.

                                                            Ng family Xmas 1999 Ng family Xmas 1999

Culture is changing fast in the UK.

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I have been writing a little about culture, especially when I heard a participant say on a recent course,  “this is *?&$£: culture, and it will not change.”

After taking some of my relatives on a small walk after our meal in London’s China Town into Piccadilly Circus, then up Regent Street to Oxford Circus and Oxford Street, I was wondering what is happening to the British traditional Christmas celebrations, our cultural heritage, it is changing.

For a start the traditional street lights put up for Christmas lacked the festive message. They had nothing to do with what Christmas stands for, the tradition, OK the religious meaning, not even a Santa Clause and his reindeer.

In London’s Regent Street, the lights were just clusters of balls hung in the middle of the street changing colour. Perhaps they are one company’s identity or logo. Pathetic.

Xmas London Regent Street lights
Regent Street Xmas lights
In Oxford Street the street lights were not much better. Sorry about the blurred picture, I was shaking with cold.

Xmas London Oxford Street lights
Oxford Street Xmas lightsAt least the traditional Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square was there with some Carol-Singers, singing to the onlookers. The Christmas tree is a tradition, where the people of Oslo, Norway, send a tree to be placed in Trafalgar Square every year as a thank you for the effort of the British people in the Second World War to their country.

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

Trafalgar Square Xmas Tree

In Kingston upon Thames (20/12/2007) the lights were more festive, and this town is very multicultural, being a major shopping center for the area. If they can do it, why not Central London?

Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

Britain is becoming too PC, too politically correct, as the UK is being settled by peoples from many nations of the world, for fear of upsetting these people, with other traditions, other cultures, other religions.

The tradition of holding the nativity play in the UK primary schools, where the young children would act the birth of Christ, has in some schools been dropped, withdrawn, as it may upset some of the minority of other faiths that have settled in the UK.

There was the case of a large worldwide media company having to cancel the traditional Christmas Party, usually held by organisations at this time of year, because two (2) people object to the word “Christmas” being used, even though there were I believe nearly 3,000 other staff who had no objection to the word.

The Christmas cards we send to our friends, some years ago would have said “Happy Christmas”. Now we read “Seasons Greetings”.

The culture and traditions of the British people is changing as is should do as more and more people settle in the UK, bringing their culture and traditions into the melting pot of life.

But I do think that these new people, incomers, should be more tolerant to others beliefs and culture of the countries they settle into, and those people who are trying to be politically correct go and visit certain countries in the Middle East, etc and witness their holidays.

But such is life, we have to just accept change or we will get upset, beat ourselves up, and complain.


Culture. It can change.

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I recently wrote about Culture. It changes (click to read), in which I talked about my views and experiences of visiting many cultures, especially after hearing such comments as “this is *?&$£: culture, and it will not change.”

There have been many instances in our world where culture has changed over night, as against the gradual change we normally experience. Both are changes made to the culture of a group, be it the world population, countries, communities or families, and often it is done with intention.

At the moment the world governments (or most off them) are meeting in the Indonesian island of Bali, attempting to change the habits or culture of the world population in waste and energy consumption, resulting in climate change. Gradually people are becoming aware of the effects of humans, industrial activity and waste is having on our climate. We are seeing extremes of weather, due scientists say on human activity. The culture of the world has to change.

Religion has played a major role in the culture of nations, the way people dress, eat and drink, their behaviours and beliefs. Each of the major religions has sub divisions within them that has developed over time into different cultures and beliefs, Buddhists for example has Taoist Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism, Judaism has Reform, Conservative and Orthodox divisions, Christianity has Roman Catholic, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Islam has Shiites and Sunnis. Even these have sub divisions in the cultures. (I apologise if I have missed any divisions).

Fashion also plays a role in the culture of nations, often as a result of having to live and exist in the environment the people live in.

The Arabic thobe is very cooling for the hot dessert conditions and the headdress keeps the sun off the head. (see Culture. It changes entry).

wooden shoes white

The clogs of the Dutch, makes it easy in days gone bye, to work in the wet muddy fields, as the mud does not stick to the wooden shoes.


It took generations for these styles of dress to be accepted and to enter into the culture of the population, but then it became the standard dress and culture. When populations moved to different countries to live, for example the Indians and Pakistani people moving to the UK, they took their style of dress, the Indian sari with them. It is their culture, along with their cultural eating and living.

It will take a few generations for this culture to change, as the first generation of immigrants stick rigidly to their cultural roots. As each subsequent generation, second and third, is exposed to the new country’s’ beliefs and culture, they are influenced by them, and integrate them into their own, and culture changes.

In some countries, it is the culture for parents, or elder family members, to arrange marriages, the joining of man and woman, to become husband and wife. As families have emigrated to other countries, their offspring, their children have integrated into the new local communities, going to school, playing with and mixing with other cultures, beliefs and religions. The children meet others, create friendships, fall in love and want to marry outside their own culture and community, which would be normal for the indigenous population. This often causes big problems, as it would be against the cultural beliefs.

Generation by generation it is becoming more acceptable to have mixed marriages in countries where cultures are mixing.

The above takes time.

There are instances were culture changes much more rapidly, and it needs a strong leader. They will change the culture of a nation overnight.

Great or infamous leaders such as Alexander the Great, Hitler, Ghandi, Lincoln, Ataturk (click to read about Ataturk), all changed their nation’s culture very quickly. Hitler changed the relatively integrated and peaceful nations of Germany and Austria into a culture of hatred during the Second World War. Whereas Ghandi used peaceful means to change India. Ataturk changed nearly overnight the culture of Turkey from the days of the Ottoman Empire to modern day Turkey.

It only takes one strong determined person, a leader, a business man/woman to change culture.

Consider a business. If the owner, the CEO, the chairman decides a new policy, to introduce new ways of practice, he will first train and change the management structure. In turn the management will train their supervisors and they will likewise train and implement the changes to the staff. Thus, the culture of the company changes. When the company’s culture changes, it changes how its’ customers use the company and its’ products and facilities.

The world population is becoming overweight, obese, as our eating habits, working and leisure activity change. We are moving away from our cultural behaviours. We need strong, determined leaders to change the culture of the world, to be more active, be fit, less wasteful, more peaceful and tolerant.

I wonder who that could be?

Culture. It changes.

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On occasions in my training courses I am told, “this is *?&$£: culture, and it will not change”.

What is culture? I think it is beliefs, the way we are raised as children, and the influences of our parents, peers, the media, religion and the governments, but on a grand scale, that is as a country, a city, a town, a street, a family, where those beliefs and way of life are shared and lived.

I was born into a proud family, both on my father’s and mother’s side, not a rich family, but one that worked and saved hard for the future. We had high morals, respecting our elders and those less off than us. My family wanted the best they could afford, without begging, borrowing, or taking credit from banks.

Travel was a major adventure, even to go 15 miles would be planned for days. We stayed in our local community, it was the culture of our family and locality.

It was after I started college education and my computing career that I started to travel further and further from the nest, and experienced different communities, working practices and ways of living and working. My cultural behaviours and beliefs were changing.

Phillip Holt wearing thobebiggest difference in beliefs and culture happened when I went to work in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia, where a woman had no rights, could not drive, could not be with man unless they were married or family. There were no clubs, pubs, theaters or cinemas, no entertainment. Religion was restricted to Islam and no other. Their dress was completely different than that of the British, with their headdress and white thobe. It was their culture that I had to fit into, and I did for nearly six years, although I did not wear their dress style.

My travel for work and holidays to different countries continued to the far corners of the world, China to Peru. Cultures and beliefs being completely different, country to country, and region to region within those countries. My biggest cultural exposure was marrying Mee Len, a Chinese Malaysian.

The more I travel the more I see cultures beginning to change and to merge, where beliefs are beginning to become similar, but not the same.

Simple things like food. Every country or region has its’ specialties. But food is food, it is the way we prepare it, cook it, the ingredients combined to make it, the presentation and the way we eat it. Lamb is lamb, chicken is chicken, beef is beef and rice is rice.

The emergence of outlets such as Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, MacDonnell’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, kebabs, Indian and Chinese restaurants, in virtually every town in the world is changing the way we eat, for good or bad. These food outlets would not exist if the local people did not want them or eat in them.

The culture of preparing and eating at home, going for convenience food, is changing the culture of communities.

Television, radio, newsprint and the internet is introducing culture and beliefs of one community to another, and the young of the community want what they see, they want the food, they want the fashion.

Retail outlets like Zara, M&S, Carafour, Tesco, Walmart, sell the same products in their shops in London, Singapore, Ankara New York or Madrid, and the purchasing public buy it, changing the dress culture.

We are becoming one in the affluent and younger people, it is the older of us that hold on to the old dress, styles or culture.

The culture of travel is changing as we become more affluent, we buy more cars, we use public transport rather than walking, we tend to travel further from our homes to work, and take convenience food for lunch and snacks.

As we travel further to work and to study, the family structure changes. The family culture is breaking down. This is happening not only in 1st world counties but in 3rd world too, as people seeks work to support their family and changing life styles.

We are loosing cultural differences, and it is happening more quickly day by day. I am sorry to say nothing will stop it, culture has never been static, like language, it is always modifying to the influences of the environment, the community, and our knowledge as they change.

For those who do not like this change or loosing their culture, they can become entrenched in their beliefs of the old ways, and can become very aggressive in their views, often going to extremes to display the culture they believe in, with their dress and behaviour.

We should celebrate our cultural differences and keep them, but we should respect other peoples and communities beliefs and cultures.

We will never stop cultural change.

Click to read next blog about culture.


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This index is an ongoing project that will last me a life-time.

Alexander, Graham                  1
Alma, Desa Palma               1

Ambiguity                            1,2

Bandler, Richard                       1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18
Britain, Great                            1
British                                       1                     
Bukit Mertajam                         1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13
Buzan, Tony                             1

Cause and Effect        
CBT see HCBT                    1 ,
Chinese New Year               1
Coaching                                  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16
Comparative Deletions             1,
Complex Equivalence               1,
Content Reframe                     1
Context Reframe                      1
Cognitive Behavioral
           Therapy                        1


Deep Structure                        1,2,3
Demirel, Zümrüt                       1
Dualphone 3088                      1,2,3,4,5,6                         


Erikson, Milton                         1,2
England                                   1
English                                    1
Eye Accessing Cues            1  

Feedback                          1

Generalised Nouns                   1,
Glossary of NLP                        1
Golfera, Gianni                          1,2,3,4,5,6
Gong Xi Fa Cai                          1,
Grinder, John                            1,2,3,4,5,6,7
GROW Model                             1


Hawkers, Food                           1
HCBT see CBT                      1
Hoarding                             1
Holt, Phillip                          1
Hurricane Fighter Aircraft       1
   Behavioral Therapy®          1,

Hypnosis                                  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,
Ibanoglu, Halil                 1,2
Iceland, a holiday
Isabella Plantation


Kek Lok Si                         1
Kingston upon Thames        

La Cantine                               1,2,3,4,5
Lack of Referential Index         1,
Lost performative                    1,

Memory Techniques
Merdizan, Deniz                  1,2
Merlin Engine                     1
Meta Model                       1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19
Metaphor                          1 
Migraine                            1,2,3    
Miller, George                     1
Mind Maps                         1,2,3,4
Mind Reading                     1,
Modal Operators                 1,

Nominalisation                    1,
Norbiton Hall                      1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11

O’Brian, Doug                   1

Ozen, Arzu                      1

Predicates                        1,
Predicates, Unspecified       1,

Presuppositions                 1



Reframing                        1
   Six-Step Reframe           1
   Content Reframe           1
   Context Reframe            1
Richmond Park                  1,2
Rolls-Royce                     1 

Sensory                            1
Six-Step Reframe                     1

SpitfireFighter Aircraft         1,2
Stage Hypnosis                        1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,
Statue on Waterloo Bridge
Strategy Elicitation
Surface Structure

Translators                          Arzu, Asu, AylinDeniz, Elena, Halil, Zümrüt
Transderivational Search         

UFO over London                  1
Universal Quantifier              1,
Unspecified Predicates          1,


Wetlands Center                  1,2,3,


Yildirim, Asuman                 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11


7 +/-1                                  1,2,3,4,5,6,7

This site has no connection withPegasus NLP, they have embeded NLPNOW in their web site to capture and hijack any search engines

Norbiton Hall, Kingston upon Thames

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Ten years ago, we gave up living on a boat, our Dicken’s Class 50′ ocean going vessel named Mr Toots, (click to see), and swapped her, with a friend Richard Morris, for our flat. Where are you now Richard?

I have often wondered where the name of the estate with 192 flats, Norbiton Hall came from. Here is what I have found out.Norbiton Hall aerial viewNorbiton Hall aerial view

The first clue obviously is that the estate is in the village or district of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, (Click to view film), called Norbiton, south west of London, and within the M25 motorway.

Another clue is a blue plaque on the outer wall of the flats which says:-

Plaque of Norbiton Hall

Plaque of Norbiton Hall


I decided to research in the library and museum. What was here before these flats?

The first records I found for Norbiton was for 1174 when Henry II bestowed the Manor of North Barton to the Knights of Anjou. The word Barton I suspect being derived from the Saxon word “beartun”, meaning to store grain.

Lovekyn  plaque

Lovekyn Chapel

In 1309 Edward Lovekyn founded Lovekyn Chapel, still standing and in use opposite the end of Old London Road, and standing in the grounds of Tiffins Grammar School, at the start of London Road. It is said that most of the lands in the area belonged to Lovekyn at that time.

The plaque on the wall of the chapel says :-


Lovekyn Chapel plaque

“The Lovekyn Chapel founded 1309 by Edward Lovekyn bailiff and member of the butchers’ company of Kingston: rebuilt and re-endowed 1352 by John Lovekyn stock-fishmonger and Alderman and four times Lord Mayor of London: confiscated to the Crown 1535 granted to the Kingston Grammar School 1561 by Queen Elizabeth.”

There is mentioned that in 1532 a certain Mr Erasmus Ford who owned the land, complained bitterly to King Henry VIII, as some of King’s men had cut down 35 prime elms, it is presupposed to help built Hampton Court, which is not far away from Norbiton and Kingston, up the River Thames.

The Evelyn family in 1588 used the property to store and make gunpowder.

What building existed then could not be found, but there is reference of a building in 1631 as being newly built in brick and had 13 hearths. There is mention of the Jenkinson family owning Norbiton Hall in 1681 when major renovation and alteration was undertaken, saying that 43 persons could be comfortable sat for diner.

There were two large estates in the area, the one I researched Norbiton Hall, and the other which should not be confused with the Hall, which was Norbiton House or Place, the two estates divided by the London Road. Both areas prior to the 19th century being primarily agricultural land.

Norbiton Hall‘s grounds were to the north of London Road, the road was said prior to adoption by the local authority a difficult place to negotiate, as carts would become stuck for hours from the resultant mud and ruts after rain.

Norbiton House or Place was to the south of London Road, bordered by Cambridge Road and Coombe Road. The house and grounds were palatial, with the owner a rich merchant, a Mr Pallmer, trading in the West Indies, spending most of his money on the estate, eventually becoming bankrupt. He would open the grounds for the public to enjoy at weekends. The house was of more grandeur than the buildings at Norbiton Hall, having 23 hearths.

Old Norbiton Hall

Old Norbiton Hall

Old Norbiton Hall

Old Norbiton Hall

Opposite Norbiton Hall is St Peters Church, which was built in 1842 by Gilbert Scott in the Norman Style.

It was at this time that big changes started to occur in the area. By 1838 the Enclosure Commissioners alloted land from Norbiton Hall for development, and with the introduction of the railway line to Kingston and Maldon, the Norbiton Hall estate was split into two and got smaller. By 1873 there was only 12 acres left, and in 1882-4 the then owner drove a road though the estate calling it Birkenhead Avenue, named after the families favourite town. Land was sold in small plots to build houses adjoining the new Avenue.

In 1829 the estate was purchased by Mary, Countess of Liverpool, and her cousin Robert Jenkinson who was Lieutenant of Dover Castle, a well to do man, and was known as the squire. He died in the mid 1850s. The Countess died 1846. Lord Liverpool who died a year before the purchase was Prime Minister for 15 years, and was responsible for the erection of Kingston Bridge, the first stone being laid 1825 and opened 1828, replacing an earlier bridge which was documented crossing the Thames since 1219.

Norbiton Hall was acquired from John Guy 1864 by William Hardman, for 8000 guineas, he was to become Mayor of Kingston, magistrate and recorder, and was knighted in 1885. As a justice he had rooms in the hall which he used to hear cases against local villains on a daily basis.

In 1884 Norbiton Hall was advertised for sale with 4 servants bedrooms, 5 best bedrooms, dressing and bathroom, drawing dining morning and billiard room, library breakfast room. But the grounds were only 2 acres left and sold in lots.

A Mr E J Cave lived in the house for an annual rent of £200, and in 1884 brought the house for £3500, but it went into a long decline.

In 1933 a planning application was submitted for the land to be to become a dog racing track but was rejected by council, and subsequently by the government on appeal. Soon after the hall was demolished to make way for the 192 to flats as we see them today.

Old Norbiton Hall

The back of Norbiton Hall, in Birkenhead Avenue.

Front of Norbiton Hall

Front of Norbiton Hall


Same position about 1925 with post box and tram lines

Norbiton Hall c. 1930 Norbiton Hall c. 1930

Old Photographs Copyright R.H.Byran
Reproduced with permission and fee from
Kingston Museum April 2007

See a film of Kingston upon Thames taken on a sunny day in April 2007, click here.

See Pictures of the London Road flooded in July 2007, click here.

See aerial view of Norbiton Hall, click

See Cycling Improvements in London Road, Kingston