Bridge Road, East Molesey
 Molesey shown within Surrey
Area  5.87 km2 (2.27 sq mi)
Population 19,088 (2011 census)[1]
    density  3,252/km2 (8,420/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ145675
    Charing Cross 12 mi (19 km)  NE
Civil parishn/a
Shire countySurrey
RegionSouth East
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode district KT8
Dialling code 020
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK ParliamentEsher and Walton
List of places

Coordinates: 51°23′42″N 0°21′11″W / 51.395°N 0.353°W / 51.395; -0.353

Molesey /ˈml.z/ is a suburban district comprising two large villages, East Molesey and West Molesey, on the edge of Greater London. Molesey is located on the southern bank of the River Thames in the northeast of the borough of Elmbridge in Surrey, England, with the post town of East Molesey extending north across the Thames into the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Molesey lies between 11.7 and 13.5 miles from Charing Cross and forms part of the capital's contiguous suburbs within the Greater London Urban Area. It has the London dialling code (020), and was from 1839 until 2000 under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police.

East and West Molesey share a high street, and there is a second retail and restaurant-lined street (Bridge Road) close to Hampton Court Palace in the eastern part of the district, which is also home to Hampton Court railway station in Transport for London's Zone 6. Molesey Hurst or Hurst Park is a large park by the River Thames in the north of the area, and is home to East Molesey Cricket Club. The Hampton Ferry (London) runs from here to Hampton on the Middlesex bank, from where it is a short walk to the central area of Hampton.

West Molesey has some of the most deprived wards in Surrey. For some months in 2015–16 a herd of around 30 unclaimed horses was on land in West Molesey prompting concerns from local residents. Two horses were killed by a van. Trotting carts are a novel and not uncommon sight in Molesey and traveller-style funerals sometimes take place – one was seen in Molesham Way in 2015.

Molesey is divided into three wards of the United Kingdom: Molesey South, East and North. The majority of Molesey's detached properties are in the east, which also contains the highest proportion of apartments of the three wards.


The earliest documentary evidence of a settlement in Molesey appears in a 7th-century charter, shortly after Erkenwald founded Chertsey Abbey in AD 666. He secured from Frithwald, sub-king of Surrey, a charter endowing the abbey with much of the surrounding land, including Muleseg. Etymologists suggest that the town's name is derived from the personal name Mul (pronounced Mule) compounded with the Old English word eg, meaning an island or river meadow – thus Mul's Island. Therefore, Molesey is not, as commonly believed, named after the River Mole that runs through it. The prefixes East and West did not appear until about the year 1200, before which there was only one parish centred around what is now known as East Molesey.[2] Molesey lay within the Saxon administrative district of Elmbridge hundred.

East Molesey appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Molesham. It was held partly by John from Richard Fitz Gilbert and partly by Roger d'Abernon. Its Domesday assets were: 2 hides and 3 virgates. It had 7 ploughs, 2 oxen, and 32 acres (13 ha) of meadow and woodland worth 10 hogs. It rendered £6 15s 0d. West Molesey was held by Odard Balistarius. Its Domesday assets were: 1 hide, 1 church, and 5 ploughs. It rendered £4.[3]

Along with neighbouring Thames Ditton, East Molesey formed a part of the ancient parish of Kingston upon Thames. From 1933, the Urban District of East and West Molesey became part of the Esher Urban District, which was originally recommended by the Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London (the Herbert Commission) for inclusion within the new ceremonial county of Greater London. In 1974, the district eventually merged with its neighbour to the west, Walton and Weybridge Urban District, to form the new borough of Elmbridge within Surrey.[4]

Molesey was one of the many villages and towns along the Thames valley affected by flooding in 1968; specifically here the flooding of the River Mole. Some barriers and overflow fields have been created since then by the Environment Agency and its precursors.[5]

East and West Molesey uses a roughly due north-south compass axis, based on a point of division by the Molesey Stone on the grass outside Molesey Library on Walton Road.


West Molesey, East Molesey and Hampton Court

Molesey is directly south of the River Thames, with several large reservoirs bordering the town to the west and south that provide water within the London Basin. Some of these are now disused and are being converted into nature reserves. To the west lie Bessborough Reservoir and Knight Reservoir, to the north-west Molesey Reservoirs, to the south Island Barn Reservoir, and to the south-west Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir. There are walks beside Metropolitan green belt fields to the south along the river Mole to Esher, and to the west along the Thames Path to Walton-on-Thames.

Hampton Court Palace is immediately north-east of East Molesey across Hampton Court Bridge.

Hampton Court Bridge and East Molesey Riverbank

The Palace, together with the southern part of Bushy Park and most of Hampton Court Park are in the post town East Molesey.

Molesey Lock is just above Hampton Court Bridge, downstream of Sunbury Lock and upstream of Teddington Lock. Cigarette Island Park is just below the bridge, occupying the eastern extremity of the town.

Hurst Park is on the south bank of the Thames, from where there is a daily ferry service to Hampton on the Middlesex bank. It once had a horse racing course but no longer does.

The residential streets of East Molesey run directly into Weston Green and the northernmost stretches of residential Esher to the south, and Thames Ditton to the south-east. Together with the reservoirs, Green Belt land to the west and south-west divides West Molesey from Walton on Thames.

The central shopping area of Kingston upon Thames lies 1.7 miles east of Bridge Road in East Molesey, while central Walton on Thames lies 2.3 miles to the west-southwest of West Molesey High Street.


Molesey itself has some interesting landmarks, including three listed Church of England churches and The Bell, a public house, formerly known as "The Crooked House", built in the mid-15th century. Other Landmarks include The Jubilee Fountain in Bridge Road. There are three designated Conservation Areas in East Molesey.

Other historic buildings include the Grade II-listed Matham Manor, an altered 15th-century house with timber frames and red brick; and a 16th-century house, Quillets Royal, with an 18th-century extension (The Manor House). Both buildings lie near The Bell in Bell Road/Matham Road.[6]

Bars, public houses and restaurants

Molesey has many traditional pubs and restaurants, though several public houses have closed in recent years to become apartment buildings. They have largely consolidated on a few with successful niche products or music offerings such as The Poyntz Arms with live music on Friday evenings.

Molesey's modern bars are composed of Staff's Bar, the Square Olive and the Prince of Wales in East Molesey.

Molesey East & West Conservative Club and the Royal British Legion Club are the only members' clubs (both in East Molesey). In West Molesey is The Europa, The Lord Hotham, The Cannon and The Royal Oak. As of 2015, there are Chinese, Indian, French, Italian, Greek, Nepalese and Lebanese restaurants in the area, as well as branches of Pizza Express and Zizzi.

Scout groups

Molesey has three Scout groups which all belong to Esher District. 1st Molesey is a Royal Navy-recognised Sea Scout group whilst 2nd and 3rd Molesey are both Land Scout Groups. All groups have sections from Beavers right through to Explorers. The groups take part in a wide variety of activities and events throughout the year at various locations.

River channels and flooding

Molesey's conservation area is to the south by a corollary channel of the River Mole, known as the River Ember, where successive environment authorities have implemented capacity-adding flood defences following a widespread and costly flood in 1968.

Before that time the whole area including expensive areas such as East Molesey flooded badly on a regular basis as they are in part located on the former flood plains of the Thames and the Mole. Even today localised flooding is quite common in times of heavy rain as the water table is almost certainly very high across the whole area. This can even affect commercial areas such as Walton High Street.

Molesey can be the subject of flood warnings and there has been extensive flooding of nearby areas in recent wet winters. Some recent development has been very controversial for this and other reasons, including a long-running planning row lasting many years over the empty "Jolly Boatman" site opposite Hampton Court Palace which then began to be used by fly-tippers. Molesey Lock is the second lock (and weir) on the River Thames, and marks the furthest point upstream that the influence of the tides on the Thames (regulated by the Thames Barrier at Woolwich) may be registered. The lock is located within 100 metres of Hampton Court Bridge, designed by Edwardian Arts and Crafts architect Edwin Lutyens, styles reflected by contemporary properties in the town. Other styles which are prevalent are 1960s red-brick semi-detached homes and Art Deco/Bauhaus.

Traveller sites

There is believed to be a significant settled traveller population in West Molesey and adjacent Hersham, which featured in the TV series "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding". Elmbridge as a whole has also had the equal largest number of illegal traveller sites in Surrey in recent years and the former leader of Elmbridge Council referred to this being a particular problem in Molesey in extensive press coverage of the issue which has become contentious in recent times. In 2013 nearly 80 people signed a petition to Elmbridge Council concerning a traveller camp on land adjacent to Molesham Way while in 2015 the Traveller Movement, a traveller charity, complained about Elmbridge Council to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


Molesey was once the bare-knuckle boxing centre of England,[7] and had a famous horse-racing track stretching the length of the River Thames from where Hurst Park School now stands, down to Molesey Lock. Much of the course was built on in the 1960s: the Hurst Park Estate has a mixture of three and two-storey homes and a block of flats overlooking the river. Part of the open space that was part of the racetrack is now an riverside park. There is a wide grass expanse, a playground and open access to the Thames, features here include the popular Hampton Ferry and Molesey Regatta, a major event in the sport of rowing with catering and evening outdoor music.

There are some large iron gates in the access road to Hurst Park called Graburn Way which were built so that races then started just east of the road and enabled the course to have a 'straight mile'.


'Moulsey Hurst' is a very early site of cricket (from 1731) and that tradition is continued to this day by East Molesey Cricket Club, which is located alongside the South bank of the Thames, half a mile from Hampton Court Palace. Founded in 1871, it is a thriving local sports club with a long and glorious history. The Club's first XI play in Surrey Championship Premier Division and there are three other senior Saturday league sides and one senior Sunday league side, regularly competing against other Surrey clubs. The club continues to place special emphasis on generating a love of cricket amongst Molesey's junior residents.


Molesey Boat Club (established 1866) is one of the UK's leading rowing clubs, home to some current Olympic and World Championship medallists and domestic success at all ages, particularly in its adult crews. The rowing club also competes in the Amateur Molesey Regatta held annually in Hurst Park[8]


Molesey F.C. is a football team based in West Molesey, the club is currently a member of the Combined Counties League Premier Division and plays at the Walton Road Stadium.

Metropolitan Police F.C. is a Non-League football team based in East Molesey and are based at the Imber Court Sports Ground.

AFC Molesey is a football team also based in West Molesey, the club is currently a member of the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western) Division One and plays at the West Molesey Recreation Ground, Walton Road, West Molesey. The club's popularity has grown significantly in recent years following its winning several honours including the Lower Junior County Cup in the 2007/08 season and successful league promotions. The team was previously known as Claygate Swans F.C.


Just beyond the gates of Hurst Park used to be the home of the open air Upper Deck swimming pool, the nearest open air pool now being across the ferry up Hampton High Street in Hampton. An indoor pool was built by the council nearby as a replacement. Upmarket flats are now built on the site of the outdoor pool. The entire riverside recreational area was previously referred to as Moulsey Hurst. Hurst swimming pool is in Dunstall Way in the north of Molesey.


The Poyntz Arms Public House and Molesey East & West Conservative Club host matches in the Tolworth and District Pool League.


The Molesey Football Club and the Royal British Legion (Molesey Branch) both have darts teams, made up of club members, that play in the Molesey and District Darts League.


In 2012 Bradley Wiggins won the Olympic Time Trial event. A lot of the course passed East and West Molesey and Hurst Park and the event finish was at Hampton Court Palace which has an East Molesey postcode: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU.

The Surrey Classic Cycle race passes East and West Molesey and Hurst Park yearly.


Rail service

The railway station in East Molesey is Hampton Court railway station in Transport for London's Zone 6, operated by South West Trains. This is the terminus of a stopping commuter service to Waterloo that takes around thirty-five minutes. Principal stops are Surbiton, Wimbledon and Clapham Junction. During the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show extra trains run to and from London.

Bus services

Four bus routes serve the town.

To the east

Molesey's red bus service, the 411 (previously the 131 from West Molesey to Wimbledon), is operated by Quality Line on behalf of Transport for London. The short route begins at Central Avenue in West Molesey and runs through East Molesey, past Hampton Court Station and on to Kingston town centre.

To the north-east

East Molesey's northern point by its station, shopping parade and small riverside park is the terminus of a second Transport for London bus service, the R68, operated by Abellio. The route begins at Hampton Court station, and runs through Hampton, Hampton Hill, Teddington, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham and Richmond before ending at Kew retail park.

To the west

Route 461, operated by Abellio on behalf of Surrey County Council, runs from Kingston, through Molesey and on to Walton, terminating at St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey.

To the south-west and south-east

Route 514, also operated by Abellio on behalf of Surrey County Council, runs from Hersham to Kingston via Molesey, Thames Ditton, Long Ditton and Surbiton.

Notable residents

Demography and housing

2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detachedTerracedFlats and apartmentsCaravans/temporary/mobile homesShared between households[1]
East (ward)909 677 334 753 1 11
North (ward)454 879 818 358 0 0
South (ward)247 1,113 867 595 0 2

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loanhectares[1]
East (ward)6,337 2,685 38 40 298
North (ward)6,008 2,509 37 41 164
South (ward)6,743 2,824 27 41 125

The proportion of households in the settlement who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).

There is a locally moored boat, the West Molesey houseboat, which is moored on the river Thames.


  1. 1 2 3 Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. The Book of Molesey by Rowland G M Baker
  3. Surrey Domesday Book
  5. Flood Prevention Scheme Map. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  6. The Heritage List for England online. Retrieved 10 April 2012
  7. Baker, Rowland (1989). Thameside Molesey. U.K. ISBN 978086023 414 2. extracts available here
  8. Molesey Boat Club website medal results 2011–2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012
  9. in Balmoral Crescent
  10. CWGC Casualty record.
  11. "Shaw Savouring Chelsea Contest". Southampton F.C. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
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