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Camberley is a town in Surreymarker, Englandmarker, situated 31 miles (50 km) south west of central London, in the corridor between the M3 and M4 motorways. The town lies close to the borders of both Hampshire and Berkshire; the boundaries intersect on the western edge of the town where all three counties converge.

Camberley's suburbs include Crawley Hill, Heatherside, Yorktown, Old Deanmarker and Frimley Road district.

The town has a population of 30,155, whilst the Aldershot Urban Areamarker (which also includes other towns, such as Aldershotmarker, Farnboroughmarker, and Farnhammarker) has a population of 243,344, making it the thirtieth-largest urban area in the UK.

History

A settlement which became known as Yorktown grew up around the gates of the Royal Military College at Sandhurstmarker in the 19th century. The college was renamed in 1947 the Royal Military Academy Sandhurstmarker.

During the 19th century, Camberley grew in size. This was given added impetus with the arrival of the branch-line railway (the main-line passes through nearby Deepcutmarker but there is no stop).

Later, the Staff College was established to the east of the Academy, and a property speculator built the nearby Cambridge Hotel. The surrounding area became known as Cambridge Town, but was renamed "Camberley" in 1877 to avoid confusion with Cambridgemarker in Cambridgeshire.

Camberley was mentioned in the black-and-white film Lord of the Flies, loosely based on the William Golding novel. In this, the character Piggy correctly states that Camberley was formerly known as Cambridgetown, but changed its name following confusion with the town of Cambridgemarker. He claims that the new name consisted of three parts; "Cam" taken from the original name of Cambridgetown, "ber" taken from the name of a nearby river (in fact there is no river with this name), and "ley" because it is a common ending for English town names (as in neighbouring Frimleymarker). One would imagine this reference came from the child actor who played Piggy himself, Hugh Edwards, who left Camberley Primary School - long since demolished to make way for a town centre redevelopment - to star in the film.

Camberley grew to become the largest town in the area, and Yorktown is now almost regarded as part of Camberley.

Geography

The smaller town of Frimleymarker, being so close to Camberley, is often thought to be a part of the town by many visitors to the area, although the two are, for the most part, clearly separated by the M3 motorway. Frimley has its own town centre, a major regional hospital (Frimley Parkmarker) and extensive suburban areas. In the 19th century, Yorktown and Camberley were in the Ecclesiastical Parish of Frimley. The neighbouring town of Blackwatermarker, 3 km (2 miles) to the west is also considered by some to be a suburb of Camberley, however, it is actually situated in the Hart District of Hampshire. Same could be said for Sandhurstmarker which is home of "The Meadows" retail park and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurstmarker, all of which are in the Bracknell Forestmarker borough of Berkshire.

Economy

Most of Camberley's town centre is host to The Mall shopping centre, built around the Main Squaremarker. This is a late 1980s development anchored by stores such as House of Fraser. The most memorable feature of the Main Square in Camberley is the large clock found in the centre of the complex which also houses a lift up to a café which is opposite a Primark store. The High Street has a number of shops as well as bars and clubs, many of the latter being more recent additions. There are a number of secondary shopping streets including Park Street, Princess Way and parts of London Road.

After much debate and delay (plans having been discussed for over half a decade), construction started in May 2006 on a new mixed-use development west of Park Street. Named 'The Atrium', the new development includes residential, leisure and retail facilities, as well as a 900 space car park. There are 217 'design-led' apartments divided into three areas within the complex (named Centro, Aspect and Courtyard). Fourteen new retail units face directly onto Park Street, opposite the Main Square shopping centre. Park Street has been pedestrianised and landscaped as part of the development. Leisure facilities include a nine-screen cinema, bowling alley, a health and fitness club, cafés and restaurants. Various elements of The Atrium was opened during 2008, with the final elements, the main cinema and bowling Alley, opening in October and November 2008 respectively.

Major employers include Siemens, which moved its UK headquarters to the area in 2007 and Sun Microsystems, whose UK headquarters is located just across the Hampshire border in Minley next to the M3 motorway at junction 4a. Krispy Kreme UK are based in the town centre

Present day

The Old Deanmarker is a housing estate on the outskirts of Camberley, most of which was built in the 1950s on the "Old Dean Common" for residents of heavily bombed Surrey-area's homeless after World War II. Many of the roads on that half of the Old Dean are named after those areas (the others are named after places on the common). There is a recent development which has expanded the Old Dean and provides more affordable housing. The Old Dean is home to Camberley's largest educational institute - Collingwood College.

Camberley and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurstmarker are featured in a Doctor Who comic story entitled "The Warkeeper's Crown".

Camberley has a theatre and a football club.

The town has its own public library, theatre (Camberley Theatre) and is home to the Surrey Heath Borough Councilmarker offices. The town's only cinema, owned by Robin's Cinemas, and situated on London Road some distance from the town centre, closed in 2003 and was recently burnt down in 2007. A new Vue cinema has opened in the Atrium development. The Arena, a sports/leisure centre and pool facility, is located nearby.

Transport

Camberley railway stationmarker is situated south of the town centre on the Ascot to Guildford line. It is connected to London Waterloomarker, Guildfordmarker and Ascotmarker by South West Trains. Nearby Blackwater stationmarker (situated perpendicular to the A30 on the border of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire) on the North Downs Line has direct services to Readingmarker, Gatwick Airport and, again, Guildford.

The town is served by the following main bus routes:

Camberley lies on the A30 and lies between Junction 3 and Junction 4 of the M3 motorway.

There are two small airports nearby Farnborough Airfieldmarker at Farnboroughmarker and Blackbushe Airportmarker near Yateleymarker. Farnborough Airfield is well-known for its International Air Show. Heathrowmarker is 30 km (19 miles) away.

The A30 leaving Camberley to the north for Bagshotmarker has a large junction named the "Jolly Farmer Roundabout" named after the Public House that stood on it. The Pub is now an American golf discount store.

Education

There are a number of schools in Camberley. Collingwood College is famous for being one of the largest in Surrey with over 2000 pupils. Kings International Collegemarker (formerly France Hill School) is also situated in Camberley. Other schools include Tomlinscote Schoolmarker and Sixth Form College, Lyndhurst School founded in 1895 and one of only a few day preparatory schools with an unbroken history of over one hundred years, Lyndhurst School Day Nursery, Lakeside Primary School, Watchetts Junior School, Camberley Infant School, Crawley Ridge Junior School, Bristow First Infants School, Lorraine Infant School and Nursery, Cordwalles Junior School.The nearest universities are Royal Holloway, University of Londonmarker which is situated 18 km (11 miles) east of Camberley in Eghammarker, with the University of Surreymarker (at Guildfordmarker) and the University of Reading both being 25 km (16 miles) to the southeast and northwest respectively.

Sport

Camberley and Farnborough Hockey Club play men and women's field hockey at Kings International College and draw many players from the region.

Camberley Town football club currently play in the Premier division of the Combined Counties League. They play at Krooner Park, Wilton Road.

Camberley rugby football club play in the Powergen London League division 4 South West. They play at the Watchetts recreation ground, Park Road.

Camberley cricket club play in the Surrey Championship division 2. Their ground is in Upper Verran Road.

Camberley Lawn Tennis Club has five courts at Southcote Park on Portsmouth Road. There is an active junior section and regular coaching sessions.

Frimley Lawn Tennis Club offer social and competitive tennis. They play at the Watchetts recreation ground in Camberley. Mens, ladies and mixed teams play all year in the Aldershot and District LTA League.

Camberley Chess Club plays at the Camberley Baptist Church Hall, Frimley Road, Camberley, GU15 3EN. The club meets every Tuesday evening from 7.30 pm. They are 2007 - 8 Berkshire League champions. They also compete in several divisions of the Surrey Border League.

Notable people

See List of people linked with Camberley


Trivia

  • The town falls under the siren test area of Broadmoor Hospitalmarker (secure mental hospital) with a siren test every Monday at 10 AM that sounds similar to an air raid siren.
  • The town's households were named and shamed by Experian as having the highest CO2 footprint in the UK, estimated at 28.05 tonnes per household per year (compared to 18.36 tonnes for the lowest, South Shields).


References




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