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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Leroy's Boat House, Catteshall Road

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[1]. Alfred was already resident in the area in 1894-5 as he was listed as the goalkeeper for Guildford F.C. that season[2]. 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 Boat Proprietor"[3].

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"[4]. 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.

Google Earth Street View, showing the Leroy's former home and the Boat House. It is now called Farncombe Boat House.

"Leroy's Boathouse, Godalming". No publisher, British Manufacture. Not posted. A message from a soldier to a friend / relative is on the back.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] 1901 census of England and Wales, TNA.

[2] 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).

[3] 1911 census, TNA.

[4] Francis Frith collection.

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