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More residents line up for blue plaque – and some rejects

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ORGANISERS of the Reigate & Redhill 150 celebrations have put forward a list of 20 famous residents of either town who may be eligible for a blue plaque on their former homes.

Yesteryear has already published 17 "famous faces" and this week we carry the final three candidates.

We asked readers if there were any other people they would like to see included in the "hall of fame" list.

One borough resident, Rod Lane, writes: "In my opinion Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son, Donald, should have a blue plaque bearing their name on the houses where they lived.

"I know they moved around a bit in our area, but Sir Malcolm lived at Povey Cross House, on the Reigate Road, when he was breaking records. More or less opposite the house was a massive 'garage' where Bluebird was housed and worked on by Leo Villa [of Reigate] and the team. This was demolished years ago and has been replaced by a warehouse-type structure known as Bluebird House."

No doubt, the organisers of the 150 celebrations of Reigate and Redhill fusing together as a municipal borough in 1863 will argue that the Povey Cross area of Hookwood falls outside the Reigate and Redhill area, but it is certainly true that the Campbells were inextricably linked with Reigate and Redhill.

John Capon, one of the main organisers, has also furnished Yesteryear with some details of two notorious former residents of the area, not, it should be added, eligible for a blue plaque.

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was born in Leamington Spa but came to live in The Grange, Redhill, with his family in 1881. It is believed The Grange was off Frenches Road.

"Founder of the controversial religious philosophy of Thelema, and a leading occultist, he was dubbed 'the wickedest man in the world' because of his hedonistic lifestyle."

Mr Capon referred also to the Great Train Robber, Ronald Biggs, who, at the time of the crime in August 1963, lived in Alpine Road, Redhill.

Biggs, born in 1929, settled in Redhill in 1959 and worked as a carpenter and handyman.

"Already a convicted criminal, he took part in the Great Train Robbery of 1963 but was arrested in Redhill, tried and jailed.

"He escaped and settled in Brazil, returning to Britain in 2001 a sick man to complete his sentence. He was released in 2009."

More residents  line  up for blue plaque – and some rejects


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