The Leroy brothers, Charles Felix and Alfred, were born in
Spa Belgium in 1867 and 1870 respectively and were living
at The Jolly Farmer Public House at 32, Quarry Street,
Guildford in 1901. Both gave their occupation as Public
House & Boat Proprietor.
Alfred was already resident in the area in 1894-5 as he
was listed as the goalkeeper for Guildford F.C. that season.
Neither brother appears in the 1891 census, so they presumably
arrived between then and 1894.
Ten years later Charles Felix was still
running The Jolly Farmer, then given as 31 Quarry
Street, with his wife and son. He said he was a "Lisense
[sic] Victualler And Boat Builder" in the census for
that year. His younger brother, Alfred, had moved to The
Boat House at Catteshall Hatch where he lived with his wife
and their two young sons who were both born in Farncombe.
Alfred was a "Pleasure
Francis Frith took a large number of photographs of
Godalming and published two similar views of the boathouse
in 1908, before the house itself was built. The sign over
the door read: "A Leroy, Boats Bought, Let or Sold".
This card was probably published about 1910, though not by
Frith, as the house and surrounding garden look as if they
are relatively new. Alfred Leroy would be the gentleman wearing
a Panama hat who is sitting on a wooden bench looking at
the punt tied up against the jetty. The other five boats
on the water are rowing skiffs.
The message covers the whole of the
back of the card and was written by a young soldier on 15
July 1917. "This
is the boat-house where we get our boats when we have the
time to go out. The house shown, also has a very nice little
tea room". The picture shows a maid on the verandah
outside the house, where two tables are covered with white
cloths. Another table, laid for tea, can be glimpsed through
the open door. On the house wall near the maid are three
signs. One is for "Refreshments", the second reads "Minerals"
and the third appears to be a menu. It seems very probable
that this neatly posed photograph was commissioned by the
owner to advertise his business.
Earth Street View, showing the Leroy's former home and the
Boat House. It is now called Farncombe Boat House.
 1901 census of England and Wales,
 His name appears in, for example,
the "Surrey Mirror" of 7 Dec 1894 and 5 April
1895 when A. Leroy played football for Guildford (goalkeeper).
 1911 census, TNA.
 Francis Frith collection.