Chertsey or Chelsea.
My mother was always very proud of Chertsey, she said it had so much more history than places like Addlestone or Staines, and even Weybridge with their piddly little bridge. Even Oatlands Palace in Weybridge, she said, was largely built from the ruins of Chertsey Abbey. after Henry 8th knocked it about a bit in 1536.
I never thought much about this until a few years ago when I visited Chertsey museum, a gold mine of information There are not many local towns that once had an Abbey or a legendary young woman, Blanche Heriot, who it is said had an American hit song based on her story: ‘Hang on the bell Nellie’. And what about our football club, Chertsey Town, playing and winning at Wembley! It’s just as well that the name of our town was changed from Cerotesege to Chertsey all those years ago, can you imagine shouting come on Cerotesege?
Talking about Chertsey Town football club, I was told by my very good friend Alex Lees, that in the 1950’s the team was invited to play a game in Spain. They had a lovely time the Spaniards were very welcoming. But the football match was a different kettle of fish. It seems that Chertsey had been confused with Chelsea, and the Spanish players were on a par with Real Madrid. Needless to say, Chertsey suffered a rare defeat, although Alex said only because of home advantage—he would say that, wouldn’t he?
The confusion with our famous town and Chelsea even carried on when I joined the RAF, all the new recruits were saying where they came from and I said Chertsey. A boy from Wales said “Ooh, there’s posh”. I let him believe it. Even my blog benefits from this confusion, madeinchertsey has a worldwide following, China, Russia, Italy, Turkey and many more. I wonder what they all think when they read about the antics of a load scruffy kids from Chertsey rather than the posh people from Chelsea.