Major Kingsley Osbern Foster lived at a house called Shenley on the corner of Brighton Road and Hooley Lane, a location later to become the site of the Ark Royal Training Ship.

He was at various times president of Redhill Constitutional Club, Redhill Football Club, the Redhill Society of Instrumentalists, Redhill Amateur Dramatic Club and Redhill Ratepayers' Union.

He was also a trustee and chairman for 18 years of the old East Surrey Hospital, a board member of Earlswood Asylum and a warden at St John's Church.

As a county magistrate he was involved in the poison letter' case in which an Earlswood woman got a neighbour sent to prison for writing scurrilous and threatening letters, later proven to have been written by herself.

The major had been among the magistrates at one of the quarter session trials and later received a letter from the woman threatening to blow up his house and demanding £50 from him.

Astronomy was a hobby of the major. He had a 40-500 magnification telescope on a seven-ton concrete base in his grounds and in May 1900 was a member of the British Government's expedition to Algiers to view an eclipse of the sun.

Major Kingsley Foster died in 1922. His widow lived at Shenley until her death just before World War Two, when the house was used as a hostel for European refugees.

After the war it became the sea cadets training ship Ark Royal. The house has since been demolished and the present Ark Royal training ship headquarters built on the site.

- Article and picture courtesy of Alan Moore, author of A History of Redhill volumes 1 and 2,