The once small settlement of Hersham, on the banks of the River Mole, is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086, probably because it formed part of Walton-on-Thames. The earliest surviving record of it as 'Hauerichesham', meaning 'Haeferic's Ham', is dated 1174. A chapel was built at Hersham in 1839 and the village became a separate parish in 1851. The present church of St Peter was built in 1887.
A considerably manufacturing base was established at Hersham in the early 20th century. Aircraft, cars, motorcycles and aero engines were manufactured here by the ABC Motor Company from 1914 until the early 1950s. In 1923 the Hackbridge Electric Construction Company moved its transformer factory to Hersham and a year later the Hewettic Company, makers of rectifiers also moved here. The two companies amalgamated in 1947. At Hersham were built some of the largest electrical transformers ever made and, when they were being transported from the factory, they dwarfed the usual 'abnormal load'!
The railway was built near Hersham in 1838 but the nearest station was at Walton-on-Thames. A station was not provided at Hersham until 1936 to serve its rapidly growing population, many of whom worked in the nearby factories.