The large field was known as Pikethorne and had been owned by the Lord of the Manor since the 14th century. It was bounded by Sunderland Road, Stanstead Road, Westbourne Road and South Road. Lord Dartmouth leased the rest of the field to a local developer who began building prestigious houses. The estate was called Dartmouth Park.
Christ Church, at the peak of the hill which must at one time have been covered with thorns, and the Railway Telegraph, at the bottom of the hill, were among the first buildings to be erected. The Vincent brothers employed John Hunter as the first landlord of the Railway Telegraph. He was granted a licence on 29th September 1853.
Courtesy of Steve Grindlay, local historian