Earlier this year, The Sunday Times voted Hersham one of the nicest places in the UK to live. Situated in the district of Elmbridge, the town was immortalised by punk rockers Sham 69 in their hit single ‘Hersham Boys’
1. The earliest surviving record of Hersham, on the banks of the River Mole, is from 1174 when it was known as ‘Hauerichesham’ meaning river meadow of a man called Haeferic. It is not listed in the Domesday Survey a century earlier because, back then, it formed part of neighbouring Walton-on-Thames.
2. Hersham’s famous sons include the disgraced PR guru Max Clifford and Jimmy Pursey, founder of the punk rock band Sham 69. The group’s biggest hit was ‘Hersham Boys’. In it they sang: “Council estates or tower blocks, wherever you live you get the knocks. But the people round here they are so nice. Stop being naughty take our advice.” Another musical connection comes in the form of actress and singer, Julie Andrews who, although born in Walton-on-Thames, speaks about her formative years in Hersham in her book ‘Home’.
3. Hersham Village Market takes place on Friday mornings 10.30 – 12pm in Hersham Village Hall. There’s only one rule for stallholders: everything they sell must be either home grown, home made or hand crafted.
4. There are several good places to sup and quaff in the village, including historic pub The Watermans Arms (thewatermansarmssurrey.co.uk), where you can also get bed and breakfast, and The Royal George (theroyalgeorge-hersham.co.uk) which offers a finger-licking Thai menu from Monday to Saturday, and a traditional roast on Sunday until 3pm.
5. Its proximity to London and Shepperton Studios, has made Hersham a regular on the silver screen. ‘The Mummy’ was filmed here as were the movies Monty Python, The Glass, and the TV shows Nighty Night and Ashes to Ashes.
6. You may assume parakeets need a more tropical climate than Surrey has to offer, but Hersham is home to the UK’s largest colony of the Himalayan bird. At last count, there were some 7,000!
7. Hersham was a site of firsts for bygone monarchs. King George III set eyes on his first ever drill plough here, and Queen Victoria ogled her first steam train in the village.
8. This is a smart place to invest in bricks and mortar. In the past year, house prices were up 11% on the year before and 24% up on 2012. The average overall asking price is now £699, 985, with detached properties in Hersham going for an average, and staggering, £1, 275, 337.
9. Despite measuring up at just 10.29 km sq., Hersham boasts no fewer than four technology and trading estates.
10. Some of the biggest electrical transformers ever made were built in Hersham, after the Hackbridge Electric Construction Company moved here in 1923. From the early to mid 20th century, the village was also the manufacturing base for aircraft, cars, motorcycles and aero engines.