The 20th Century

At the opening of the 20th century Chipstead would still be recognised as an isolated rural farming area, dotted with a few new houses and large 19th century mansions. The 40 year period between the opening of Chipstead railway station in 1899 and the beginning of World War II in 1939 fundamentally transformed Chipstead into the residential area we see today.

The Jolliffe and Walpole families who owned the majority of the land sold for development stipulated that construction costs should not be less than £500, or roughly 2 years' salary for the class of resident desired. This resulted in the development of houses of a substantial character with relatively large gardens for the standards of the time. Chipstead's population rose from 688 in 1891 to over 2000 by 1939.

The 1920's and 1930's saw an unprecedented residential building boom in outer London. Costain, the property developers, bought land along the Chipstead valley from the viaduct at the bottom of How Lane all the way to Kingswood for a large ribbon development of high density housing.

By the 1930's various public figures began to warn the nation of the threat posed by unfettered building development, and the idea was being propagated that a Green Belt should be established around each urban area in which no new building ought to be permitted except for purposes of agriculture. In 1933 the London County Council initiated the Green Belt Scheme and in 1938 the Green Belt Act became law. The LCC was actively supported by the Surrey and other County Councils who subscribed large sums of public money for the purchase of suitable properties to create Green Belt land. This policy was of great benefit to Chipstead when the SCC bought the Shabden estate for this purpose.