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The ancient settlement of Cobham has its roots in the Iron Age. It has grown up over the centuries out of two adjoining villages, Church Cobham and Street Cobham. For a long time it was a typical rural English village, with farming and milling the main industries. However, following the arrival of the railway in the 1880s it became increasingly suburban, and a busy central shopping area developed from the 1960s. Cobham has had strong ties with the aviation and motor industries since the early twentieth century; the major manufacturers Railton, Airspeed and Vickers were all based here at one time or another. Yet despite the encroachment of the modern era, Cobham retains its village feel, with the Church Cobham conservation area home to a host of beautiful listed buildings, and the iconic red-brick mill standing proud on the River Mole nearby.