|Thanks to Paul who sent this photograph of this row of trees in September 2020.
He wrote: "I grew up with a row of these trees on Leazes Avenue in the village of Chaldon, near Caterham, Surrey.
I understand they were planted in the 1870s, and were intended to line a drive to a mansion, which was never built."
Paul also sent some interesting information about the history of these trees:
|"Once upon a time there was a man with a vision. His name was James Banks Taylor. He had been born in Tranent and made a lot of money in Hong Kong, by having a fast ship, called the Samuel Russell, to get the new tea crop to New York before anyone else did. It was said that he could let the others set off earlier, buy his tea later, at a cheaper price, and still get it first on the market in the USA. When he left Hong Kong in 1870 he could have chosen to live anywhere in the world, but settled on Chaldon, in the gently rolling countryside of the North Downs. He bought a house called ‘Daisy Farm’ (later known as Chaldon Mead) and later the Fryerne estate, which comprised a dilapidated mansion and a lot of land between his home and the church. He planned to build a new mansion here and as a first step he ordered the planting of a single row of Wellingtonia Gigantea, a Californian redwood introduced into England around 1850 . They are said to be the tallest living things on the earth, as they can grow to 100m. These trees would have lined the driveway approaching his mansion.|
In 1883 he decided to resume his business career and went to San Francisco. There he became ill and set off to return home, but died en route in New York, in 1884, at the age of 50. He is buried in his native Scotland, in Prestonpans, and the people of Chaldon sent bluebells, violets and forget-me-nots from his woods to surround his grave, for he was a much loved man, who gave a lot of money to the poor and to prisoners. More than one person said, on his death, that he was the only man they had ever met without a flaw. He loved Chaldon Church, walking there ‘by the woods he loved so well’, and listening to ‘the simple cottage children singing in the choir’. They tolled the bell in the Church on the day of his funeral. And he left us his gift of the magnificent trees, which have grown way up high in the blue suburban skies. They are the most distinctive and beautiful feature of what is now Leazes Avenue."