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The Cox Lane Industrial Estate

When we think of Mary Quant and the sixties cultural revolution, the Formula 1 world championships of Bernie Ecclestone and Nelson Piquet, or Donald Campbell’s successful attempts to smash the water speed record, we are hardly inclined to think of suburban industrial estates. Yet the Cox Lane industrial estate in Chessington, located in the south of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, has over the years played a very real role in facilitating these incredible stories.

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Nestled between Tolworth, Chessington and Hook, the industrial estate opened for business around 90-years ago. Since then it’s been home to more than 100 different businesses, covering a broad range of industries.


Alongside some of the fascinating stories detailed in these pages, many other significant design, engineering and technological developments can be traced to the many hours of labour clocked up by Cox Lane workers. With work at similar sites happening throughout Britain, industrial estates became central to projecting the country’s status as a technological and cultural leader. 

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With support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Community Brain has been exploring the heritage of Cox Lane. Primarily our research is based on interviews with a variety of players with first hand experience of the estate, or those with expert knowledge in its relevant stories. Backed up by archival research, we have used this research to deliver exhibitions and artistic interpretations. These pages offer a summary of some of our activity and findings.

In parallel to our heritage research, The Community Brain has partnered with Kingston University’s Business School, South London Partnerships, and BIG South London on the ‘Hot House Project’, a network for collaborative activities for businesses on the present day estate.

Explore the project

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Gala Cosmetics

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Social heritage

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Deep Sea Defence


Present day



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Public programme

The Book: Exploring Cox Lane

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In 2023 The Community Brain teamed up with Kingston University Press to publish Exploring Cox Lane: The Story of Chessington’s Industrial Estate.


The book connects the dots between Cox Lane’s rich heritage and its exciting present, where it remains a centre of innovation and local employment. It features a photo essay from local photographer Stuart Tree, chapters exploring the role of Cox Lane and industrial estates more widely today, and a more detailed overview of the history of the site. 


Additional colour is provided by a series of dazzling presentations created by Kingston University BA Illustration Animation students, whose creative interpretations of the industrial estate were produced in response to a brief from The Community Brain. 

Exploring Cox Lane is available to purchase on Blackwells and a large number of other online retailers.

The Cox Lane Heritage Walk

Download our free walking trail
& explore the industrial estate


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