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Kingfisher Court is a residential development of 64 flats in East Molesey, Surrey and was built in the early 1930’s.

Considered by many to be of art deco style, the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner actually commented that the building was “Quite interesting as an early essay in the modern style, i.e. early as England goes.”

Designed by Guy Morgan, the building takes its design cues from the ocean liners of its day, the main layout, and especially the rooftop canopies, resembling the deck of a large cruise ship.

This is in contrast, however, to Pevsner’s view who goes on in his book, to comment: “Two small blocks of flats, three-storeyed, with, on the roofs, sunroofs of concrete designed like station platforms.”


It is a recent popular myth that the flats were originally built to house actors and actresses of the nearby film studios of the day. The spectacular communal grounds and facilities, including a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, bowling green and squash court, not to mention a sunken garden and pond, certainly gave the air of sophistication befitting the fame and celebrity of the film world.

Kingfisher Court was built on the grounds of the old Annandale House, which later became Princess Frederica’s House, a home for convalescing women set up by the daughter of the king of Hanover, and niece of Queen Victoria (more information can be found on the Molesey History website). It is thought that the sunken garden’s stone and brick pillars could be made from some of the demolished remains of this building.

All of the flats were originally rented out, only relatively recently (1970’s) being sold to private individuals. A few remain on long term rental. The lodge dwelling above the garages at the entrance to Kingfisher Court was originally used as the accommodation for a caretaker in early years, although the caretaker later lived at number 19 and the lodge was rented out. There is no longer a caretaker at Kingfisher Court and the lodge is now privately owned.

A copy of original marketing material
was obtained, describing the facilities and rental prices for a very young Kingfisher Court:

The flats furthest away from the main road (and overlooking the river Mole) used to house a social club and café for residents and guests. These were later converted and split into separate flats (in the 1950’s) and explains why these flats have A/B/C suffixes to the flat numbers. This is also why these blocks have an additional external doorway in the hallways, as this used to be the main door into the single unit.

The grounds of Kingfisher Court stretch all the way back to the bank of the river Mole and provide residents with riverside access. However, during the floods of 1968 the whole area flooded, causing extensive damage to the ground floor flats. This ruined the original parquet flooring that is present only in the ground floor flats (because of their solid floors) but fortunately this was replaced to its original specification. Subsequent enhancements to flood defences further upriver have prevented any recurrence.