East & West Molesey
A Dictionary of Local History
Rowland G. M. Baker, 1972
One of the men chiefly responsible for the development of East Molesey was Francis Jackson Kent, a solicitor from Hampton. He early realised the enormous business potential offered by the opening of the railway and started to buy up land. During 1849-50 he purchased nearly the whole area encompassed by Walton Road, Bridge Road, Hurst Lane, and the river Thames, except for the Arnison and Feltham estates. In all some 300 acres, for which he paid between £60 and £80 an acre. After laying out roads, building plots were sold which realised nearly £5,000 an acre. In 1856 he built St. Paul's church and "Kent Town" was erected into a separate ecclesiastical district. As a private estate it originally had entrance gates across the roads and a porter's lodge which still stands (No. 1 Palace Road). Kent sold about 50 acres of the land in December 1850 to a company called the Westminster Freehold Land Syndicate. The members of the company included Henry Vine, William Pemberton, and George Edgar Dennes. They laid out the roads which bear their names. The last remaining portions of the Kent estate were sold by auction on 4 December 1946, and were mainly bought by the leaseholders.
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