Many items in Elmbridge Museum’s collection reveal the prevalence of rail travel in the Victorian era, before the widespread use of cars. This mass form of travel was efficient, relatively safe and not harmful to the environment. The main questions Hinchley Wood’s students addressed in this section were:

How does climate change relate to transport, and how have our local transport habits changed over time?

Postcard of an aerial view of Thames Ditton entitled 'Portsmouth Road and Giggs Hill Green.' Portsmouth Road is running along the bottom of the image.Postcard of an aerial view of Thames Ditton entitled 'Portsmouth Road and Giggs Hill Green.' Portsmouth Road is running along the bottom of the image. When we compare this image to today, we can see there are now far more cars on the road, and fewer green spaces.

Changing Landscapes

Hinchley Wood station opened in 1930, and consequently the area became more densely populated. This has, in turn, led to many more cars on surrounding roads.

Aerial view of Hinchley Wood, showing the railway station and construction of housing estates around the Kingston by-pass, c.1934.

Aerial view of Hinchley Wood, showing the railway station and construction of housing estates around the Kingston by-pass, c.1934.

Henry 'Help climate change. In 2050 our world will be destroyed. Stop climate change. If we all have electric cars then it will be much better for the environment. Having a petrol car is bad for the environment.'

Sebastian 'Climate change! Everyone needs to take part and stop polluting the environment. You could use a unicycle, bicycle, or walk, or run, or use an electric car, or even go horse-riding. Climate change is causing death to plants because of the amount of pollution.'

Aydin 'Stop climate change NOW.'


Henry 'We must stop polluting the environment before it's too late. We are destroying our planet.'

Stella 'You should walk places instead of drive.'

Denis 'How to stop climate change: Stop using diesel cars. Stay green. Try going to shops by walking. Buy a Tesla. Go by bike.'

Sihaan 'Driving a lot pollutes the world and causes climate change. Try to drive electric cars.'

Lorenzo 'Protect the world! Drive less, walk instead. Hydrogen cars are good for the environment.'

Sylvia 'Climate change'

Seth 'Climate change: pollution is not good for climate change!'


Kenzo 'Fuel = bad. COP26.'

Nicholas 'Pollution - person suffering.'

Charlie 'Pollution - We need the environment. #SaveTheEnvironment.'

Mr Nugus driving a horse-drawn cab from Weybridge station, 1918. He worked for Eli Boxall, who was a fly-proprietor.Mr Nugus driving a horse-drawn cab from Weybridge station, 1918. He worked for Eli Boxall, who was a fly-proprietor.

Environmentally-friendly Travel

Transport has changed significantly since the Victorian era, largely due to huge increases in the population and advancements in technology and engineering. By studying photographs from the beginning of the 20th century, a number of differences between transport then and now can be seen.

This image, taken in 1918, shows Mr Nugus driving a horse-drawn taxi. Before cars were widespread, fly proprietors owned fleets of carriages that could transport people across relatively short distances. These were much slower, but more environmentally-friendly than the cars of today.

Below are a series of historic images showing how our roads and transport methods have changed, along with key questions that students considered.


Postcard of Mr. Nugus as a young man driving an old Weybridge barouche - an open carriage, landau-type - in the road alongside the Cricket Common.

Early 1900s

Postcard entitled 'Oatlands Village'. It shows a muddy unmade road, cyclists, people on pavements, and a horse and cart in the distance.
What do you notice about the road in this picture? How are roads different today?


Gardner's Butcher's shop, on the corner of Esher
High Street and Park Road. A delivery cart pulled by
one horse with a boy holding the reins is to the right.
What can this tell us about how goods and products
were delivered in the Victorian era versus today?


Monument Hill in winter. There is a man with
a dog walking up hill on left hand side and a
horse and cart going downhill on the right.
How might former transport methods have
been affected by extreme weather? Has
modern transport made this easier or harder?


Photograph of Weybridge High Street taken outside Tappin Bros., fruiterers and greengrocers, with their delivery horse and cart outside.


Pastel drawing of a wooden bridge over the Wey Canal Lock, 1908. St. James' Church is in the background, with a small horse and cart in the centre of the road.


Postcard of Weybridge, showing the
junction of Baker Street with Church
Street with a policeman standing on
a small island by a lamp, and a horse
and cart going up Baker Street.
How can we tell from this photo that
there was not as much traffic a
century ago?


Postcard of the High Street, Esher, showing the
street leading to the junction at the 'Bear' pub.
What different modes of transport can you see
in this picture? How is the road different from


Photograph of Mrs Phillips' parents (Mr & Mrs Heides) in their motor car, taken at 16 Station Road, Thames Ditton.
How have cars changed since the early 1900s?


Walton High Street during road widening, looking towards the junction with Church Street.
How many different modes of transport can you see in this photo? Which ones are better for the environment?

April 1962

Photograph of the High Street in West Molesey. On the left are cars, on the right are 2 bicycles, a motorbike and 3 cars.

October 1965

The Monument on the left, The
Ship on the right looking towards
the High Street from Thames Street.
Van parked on the right. More traffic
parked to left and right in High Street.
How does the traffic and road in this
photograph differ to ones taken 50
years before?


Photograph of Weybridge High Street, looking towards
The Ship and Monument Green. Several cars and
pedestrians are visible.

Summer 1980

Photograph of Bob French on his Penny Farthing
bicycle near Weybridge Station.
What are the benefits of cycling for the environment?
How many modes of transport can you see
referenced in this picture?

  • Henry
  • Jonty
  • Jared
  • Finn
  • Aariv
  • Daniella
  • Maryam
  • Tiffany
  • Lilly




‘There will be nothing if we don’t change now. In the 1800s, it was better because we used houses and carriages so it wasn’t as polluted. In the 1900s, it was different because cars, plastic and a lot of other things were invented. Deforestation had just begun and it was a lot different in the late 1900s. 2000s was and is a lot different, deforestation has become a big problem and climate change is now a threat.’


‘Super cars are bad for the planet because smoke is bad. This car is bad for the planet because it needs a ridiculous amount of fuel. As you can see, the carriage motored by the horse is much better than a car because it doesn’t need fuel.’


‘If we use fuels and gas more our planet will die and we have no place to go.’


‘So we can keep our planet, shop sustainable. Hydrogen cars are good. Start walking. Protect the birds. Fuel = bad, Tesla = good.’


‘Try to walk more. Try to drive less.’


‘People walking to stop pollution from killing plants and wildlife. People driving in cars and polluting our earth and killing plants. Save our planet.’


‘Pollution does not help the environment. But… if we don’t use cars and trains when we can our world can be a better place!’


‘Drive less and stop buying fast fashion. Walk more and shop re-usable.’

The Rise of Railways

The items below demonstrate the growth of rail travel from the Victorian era to modern-day diesel and electric and rail lines. Although steam trains were powered by burning coal, there were far fewer of them than cars and they transported many people at a time, which was made this method of transport more eco-friendly.

This image shows the last even steam train to call at Esher station on 8th June 1967, well over 100 years after the the first railway had opened in Britain.

Red Flag from a set of three British Railway Flags.

Primary Sources

Railway Flags

In the Victorian era, before the age of electric lines, these flags were used by ‘policemen’ to signal to trains to wait if another train had departed 5 minutes previously (red), proceed with caution if another train had left 5-10 minutes before (yellow), and go at full speed if 10 minutes or more had elapsed since another train had departed (green).

One day capital card issued at Weybridge station for all zones of British rail, valid on Thursday 30th October 1986.

Day Ticket

This one day capital card issued at Weybridge station for all zones of British rail in London was valid on Thursday 30th October 1986. It demonstrates how someone could visit more places by train using one ticket, making train travel cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Why might travelling on train be better than going by car in London?

Watercolour of Hinchley Wood Station seen from halfway up the steps leading to the footbridge across the line, dated 1985.

Watercolour Painting

This watercolour by Pamela Starling is dated 1985, and depicts Hinchley Wood Station. The scene is viewed from halfway up the steps leading to the footbridge across the line, and there is a diesel passenger train arriving at the station from the left.

What is different about the station in this picture compared to the older station pictured above?


Fraser 'In the eighteen hundreds the world was different. People relied on steam trains. No cars were available. Now human beings use cars and planes which raises carbon emissions. The fuels are burning petrol. This heats up the earth. Stop global warming and save the earth.'



Jacob 'Change. It's everywhere, but the most important change is climate change!'


Climate Change Year 6 at Hinchley Wood Primary School have used items in Elmbridge Museum’s collection to learn about how our historic local environment differs from today. The result is 83 fantastic posters, which answer the key question: “Why does climate change matter?”

read more
Extreme Weather How can extreme weather affect people’s lives locally, and what can we do to prevent this in future?

read more
Green Spaces How have nature and green spaces in our local area changed over time, and what can we do to conserve them?

read more

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