Ace of Spades history

12 years ago...

I know it's in Hook rather than Surbiton, but I was wondering if anyone had any photos or memories/knowledge etc of the Ace of Spades back in the hay day i.e. the roadhouse that was there etc etc and any knowledge of the significance it had if any for bikers. Thanks.


Can anybody remember the name of an old fashioned ladies dress shop in the 1970's - 80's. It was situated roughly where the Chinese restaurant is now, in the Ace Parade Hook. I used to take my Mum there, now it's annoying me so much because I can't remember the name!

Yes, the ladies dress shop was called Lanselles! It was rather a posh dress shop I recall, with just a couple of stylish maniquins in the window. The ace wool shop was the shop on the end of the parade.

Just picked up the thread, l remember the ladies dress shop, it was owned by a lady we knew called Blanche Bond, l believe in the early sixties to seventies. Sainsburys, Barclays Bank Goodridges the hardware store. The car showroom also in that parade. Great memories.

Not sure but I think it was called the Ace Wool Shop. It was next door to I believe the Ace Tea Room on one side and Sainsbury's on the other.

Can anyone please enlighten me on the shops that were at the Ace of Spades roundabout in the 70s. I am missing gaps between Burrows the bakers and Gerrards the greengrocer and between Ace Autos and the Newsagents. It is driving me potty! Thank you all.

Yup! I can tell you about the Ace of Spades, in fact I did something on Francis Frith about it.

The dual carriageway from New Malden ended at Hook on a roundabout and became a single carriageway down through Hinchley Wood and so on where it met the Portsmouth Road at The Marquis of Granby. There was a small posh out of town two level hotel on the north west side of the Hook roundabout called The Ace of Spades and it had an open air swimming pool with a high diving board where I used to try and learn to swim with my flippers and inflatable ring.

One summer day in the ealy 1950s I met Diana Dors as she was trying to teach Dennis Hamilton how to swim. That was the kind of place it was. People would sunbath on the lawn to the east side which was separated from an orchard by a hedge and where a tall secondary school was built.

I cannot be sure but around 1955-56 at about the time the underpass was being built the hotel went into decline followed by a fire which caused it to cease operation. It was never a biker's hangout. That took place down at what used to be the "Tip Top Cafe" in Ace Parade which was frequented most evenings by around a dozen very enthusiastic fast motorcyclists who would sit and drink tea and coffee with sausage sandwiches until a bet was made, followed by a high speed flat on the tank dash from Tolworth Roundabout to see who would beat who under the Hook underpass.

Between 1962 and 1965 I was one of those guys. We would often shoot off to another cafe in central Dorking and to Box Hill on Sundays. Late at night we would eat hot dogs on the rounabout outside Sainsburys sold out of a small caravan parked there. In cooperation with four traffic cops we formed a motorcycle club called "Riverhill Riders" at the Riverhill sports club in Tolworth and ended up with three hundred members which included th "Battersea Bridge Boys" and those from "The Harlequin" coffee bar in Worcester Park/Cheam? We even ended up on Granada television with Murray Walker, promoting road safety. The truth was that we were a load of "Mad Hatters" on two wheels.

If we had some of the Japanese gear around now we would all almost definitely be six feet under. You see in those days a white disc with a black diagonal bar meant deresticted or as fast as you liked and it was nothing to average a mile a minute from Hook all the way to the south coast.
We eventually all drifted apart and bought cars to pursue careers and buy houses and get married.

I stress that we at the "Tip Top"were not "Rockers". One of our crowd won the Manx Grand Prix and another the sidecar TT. The crowd were once featured in Classic Motorcycle in the late 1970s and I do believe Gerry Cottle the circus man was a club member.

Wonderful mad days never to be repeated. After all what else were we to do? They had stopped national service. I actually only gave up my love of fast bikes in 2006 when I decided that my 150mph Honda was too fast for my old brain. I believe the "Tip Top" is now an Indian restaurant.

If there are any old pals out there then please get in touch.

Good morning - I lived at Sanger Avenue, Chessington from 1960 to 1969, when I married and moved to Molesey. I cannot remember the building in a poor or demolished condition after the fire you mention, but I can assure you that the building, or some of it, was very much in use later, as I worked there from 1970 to 1972ish. I worked as secretary to the sales manager at a camping sales outlet, called Easden which was owned and run by a Mr Hocking who, if I remember correctly, lived at Leatherhead. Although I am sure there was access to at least some of the old Ace of Spades building, Easden was also arranged over 2 floors in a modern extension. The company specialised in sales of camping trailers, not the most exciting product in the world, but at least it was sales. Always hated working in penny-pinching buying departments! Don't know what happened after I left; whether the company stopped operations or whether the buildings fell into other uses.

Hi, My Dad would have been working there at that time, Ted Rosier, selling the chateaux mobile trailer tent, went to an exhibition with him once & we also took it on holiday. I was about 14 - we bought a shop in 72 so would have left then.

Wow cheers Anthony! I kind of got onto the subject having got my bike licence this year and thus conversations with my dad about bikers. We used to live down Tolworth Road, I did various paper rounds in the area as a kid. The newsagent I worked from was up from where the Tip Top would have been, the one on the end of the slip road. My dad who was born in 1950 said as a kid he used to go and stand above the underpass and watch the bikes going past.

So where did the name 'Riverhill' derive from for the riding club?

Couple of Riverhill Riders photos here...

I have submitted more information on Riverhill Riders and identified the people in the two photgraphs but the information is not getting through to you for some reason.

WOW Mr. Anonymous! You can say that again. I never knew these photgraphs existed. The club evolved early in 1962 from Police Constable Ted Cook (giving the instruction) asking myself, Pete Kenney, Malcolm Robertson, a Sandra and Jaqueline Dunford (on David Baker's BSA Rocket Gold Star lookalike) to come to his Chessington police house for road craft training. Sandra and Jaqueline were both into horses and rode around on a Dot 197cc and came from Chessington, as did Dave, so somebody may know of them. Ted and three other police constables got permission to use the Riverhill Sports Club facilities for social gatherings and training purposes.

I believe that the photgraph of Jaqueline on the BSA was taken the same night we were all interviewed by Murray Walker. Malcolm Robertson eventually joined the police force himself on motorcycle traffic patrol duty.

The club existed about a mile to the south east of Tolworth off the Ewell Road and attracted over three hundred members from all the local gatherings of motorcyclists to promote road safety.
I became occupied with other more important things but believe that after the initial interest the club eventually faded out due to the strong police involvement.

Yes, the bridge over the Hook underpass was often crowded with motocyclists and onlookers during the evenings of that period in time and I have many stories to tell. I did write a very big piece on this but it either timed out or I clicked the wrong button and lost the lot.

The Hook Underpass features in the above novel:

Once they got onto the faster roads they started to get split up. Megga, Chris and the other big bikes had long passed out of sight when the four Arrows of Gra, Cyril, Doug, and Big Ray reached The Ace of Spades underpass. They screamed down the underpass, the high pitched whine from their un-silenced expansion boxes echoing and re-echoing off the walls. They emerged the other end four abreast streaming thick smoke. The cars following closed their windows and turned on their headlights. L.T.2 and the slower bikes turned off before the underpass and took the less popular, but shorter route. The roads on this route were too tortuous for high speed, but these vehicles hadn’t got that anyway.

Hi Anthony,

I think you are going to like these clips!

The entertainment is not quite to my taste, but it looks like it was the place to party in its time.

Here are the videos:

I can see why the bikers liked it so much! The inspiration for Lemmy and Motörhead? :)

Please ,please, find more.
Guess what was on Freeview Movies4Men this morning? "The Ace of Spades" 1935! Nothing whatsoever to do with this discussion but almost as funny.

I well recalll the ace of spades area. The pub when I lived in surbiton was called the southbourgh arms. Across the road in the parade of shops was a small Sainsburys used do do the shopping with my mum there.!! and coming from the direction of hinchley wood you could pull into the pub car park, but for many years the A3 layout has changed.havent any photos sorry.

Oh awesome haha. So bizarre seeing it before the underpass was put in! Even a bus stop outside :P

No worries. From what I've heard I've created/revived a page on wikipedia for it.

Check out this page for an old photo too...

The first Air House!

Lol, what were they thinking??

Her pic on that BSA motorcycle was shown to me her resemblenceo is uncanny. I know should be in her 70s now. Can someone update a new pic or wgere

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