Many people in the village will recall this 1920s photograph of the village with the Cosy Nook tearoom beside the village pond and the neighbouring Swiss Cottages. Today the two houses remain and the Cosy Nook tearoom is currently a building site awaiting the construction of a house with offices below.

However, the Cosy Nook tearoom was not originally the single storey building which eventually became offices.

It actually was a work shop with number 2 Swiss Cottage as the tearoom and before that an oubuilding. It is suspected that the Swiss Cottages were buit around 1848, but it is in 1861 that records indicate their existence.

Neville Lubbock married Harriet Charlotte Wood from North Cray Place and received, to celebrate their wedding, a parcel of land of approximately 32 acres, including all buildings within it. This parcel of land stretched from the Mission Hall around the Change of Horses (then the New Inn) to the corner of what is now Gladstone Road, across the Farnborough By Pass into what is now the Broadwater Estate.

Although it is difficult to identify the houses of the village in the 19th century census, in 1871 Robert Session lived at number 1 Swiss Cottage, a farmer of 40 acres and next door at number 2, Isaac Laslett. Isaac was a builder, brickmaker and even a bank clerk, which suggests that he not only built houses with his own bricks, but then lent the money for the people to buy the houses. I have noted that a widow, Ann Laslett, was living in Orpington High Street in 1881 living off rents from cottages. Had Isaac built them?

Four years after the marriage, Neville’s father died and in the rearrangement of the estate this parcel of land and buildings was sold to Edward Plumbridge, a fruit merchant in Fleet Street, London, for the sum of £2600 in 1874. Edward Plumbridge continued to live in Fleet Street, London until he moved to Fleetwood, Farnborough prior to the 1891 census, now the site of Fleetwood Court near Wellbrook Road. Edward Plumbridge continued to live at Fleetwood until he died in 1917. In 1901 census it is recorded that William Owen and family lived at number 1 Swiss Cottage. William was an undertaker and builder, his son a bricklayer. He was also registered in the 1896 Bromley Directory as an undertaker in Farnborough Village . At number 2 lived Mr & Mrs Gurr, a retired couple along with three boarders, all gardeners, so they may have worked on Edward Plumbridge’s estate, which surrounded the houses.

After Edward’s death his estate in Farnborough continued to be managed by his two sons, Arthur, who lived in Anita House, Farnborough and Herbert who lived in Surbiton, whilst they settled his death duties.

Cosy Nook received its first official record. In 1918 George Miles is recorded as living at number 1, Swiss Cottage, whilst number 2 Swiss Cottage and Cosy Nook tearoom, was home to Walter Wells, a carpenter, and the outbuilding became his workshop. By 1922 Arthur Plumbridge had sold all three buildings to Walter’s wife, Mrs Beatrice Wells (her family ran Eades Café in Green Street Green), for £1700. To acquire the two houses and outbuilding Beatrice took out a mortgage, which took seven years to repay. As a consequence, number 1 became their home, number 2 became The Cosy Nook tearoom and eventually the outbuilding also became part of the tearooms. probably as a necessity to pay off the mortgage.However, the tearoom became very popular as many photographs of the time reflect.

In 1932, Beatrice Wells sold the business and property to Anthony Razzetti. Anthony Razzetti, a caterer, was living in New Cross Road when he purchased the two houses and tearoom for £1350. Upon completion of the sale he moved into number 1, and Beatrice and Walter Wells moved to the Larches, Green Street Green; this still stands behind the Ford dealership and caravan sale site across the roundabout from the Rose and Crown. At the outbreak of the 2nd World War, Walter and Beatrice moved to Westerham Heights. Whereas, Anthony and Bessie Razzetti with their children with three guests were living at Swiss Cottage and Cosy Nook tearoom. Among the guest was John Hebditch, ARP stretcherbearer.

In 1961 Anthony Razzetti died and the following year, 1962, his wife Bessie also passed away. This is when the tearoom and the two houses were seperated into three plots and sold off independently.

In 1965 the former tearoom, now number 81 was sold to Ward’s Flexible Rod Company, followed in 1966 by the sale of number 1 Swiss Cottage as number 85 High Street and number 2 Swiss Cottage was sold in 1969 as number 83.

At various times over the next fifty years the former tearoom became a dental practice, an Insurance Agents office, a surveyors office and finally offices for Brouard’s Architects.

During 2016 Brouard's had the offices demolished, and replaced by a new structure containing Architects offices on the ground floor, with a house for Mr and Mrs Brouard above


As for the previous owners of the houses, outbuilding and land, Neville Lubbock, Edward Plumbridge, Beatrice Wells, Anthony and Bessie Razzetti can be found in St Giles churchyard with other villagers from the past.

Bob Donovan

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