In 1812 the Royal Military College was founded by Frederick, Duke of York, at Sandhurst in Berkshire just over the Surrey border. A small town began to develop on the Surrey side of the Blackwater River and it was named Yorktown after the founder of the college. The area became popular with retired army officers, who had a tendency to name their houses after battles they had fought in such as 'Sebastopol', 'Balaclava' and 'Omdurman'.

In 1862, when the Duke of Cambridge was royal commander-in-chief of the army, the Staff College was established nearby, just within the Surrey border. The place was unlikely to have been popular with Queen Victoria because it is said that her consort, Prince Albert, caught his fatal chill as he inspected the building work.

The settlement which grew up adjacent to the Staff College was originally named Cambridge Town, but this name proved unfortunate for officials of the Royal Mail. They were concerned that much of the Cambridge Town's post might end up in an ancient university city on the edge of the Fens in eastern England! Thus, the name of the new Victorian upstart was quickly changed to Camberley.

The Camberley area once formed part of the parish of Frimley, which in turn was originally attached to Ash. A church was built at Yorktown, dedicated to St Michael, and completed in 1851. It was designed by the well-known Surrey church architect, Henry Woodyer. St Paul's Church, Camberley, was built in 1902.

The railway opened to Camberley in 1878, the station being originally named 'Camberley and York Town'. Quickly Camberley developed as the more important of the two settlements, a fact confirmed when the station became simply 'Camberley' in 1923.

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