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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
 
Charterhouse School, Godalming, 1900-07
Charterhouse School


When it was decided to move Charterhouse School from its original home, close to Smithfield Market in the City of London[1], six potential sites were identified from which the Governors could make their choice. However, Godalming was the outright winner because the then newly appointed Headmaster, Dr. William Haig Brown, had relatives in the area[2]. It turned out to be an inspired decision and the school re-located in 1872.

The new school was built on 68½ acres of land on a plateau overlooking the River Wey that had belonged to the Deanery Farm estate[3] and was bought from the British Land Company who had acquired it from the Chapter of Salisbury[4]. It was described as being "on the side of Frith Hill, about seventy acres in extent, amid one of the choicest landscapes of Surrey, above Godalming and the valley through which the Wey slowly meanders in a framework of hills clothed with oak and hazel and other goodly trees"[5]. The impressive main building, shown here with the chapel on the left and Verites on the right, is Victorian Gothic. It was designed by Philip Hardwick and constructed of Bargate stone, with Bath stone dressings. The stone used was extracted from within the school grounds[6]. Hardwick was the architect who designed the imposing entrance to Euston station which was demolished in 1961 (and has not yet been rebuilt).

Alexander Tod, who wrote a history of the school, stated that when the school moved into its new home on Waterloo Day, 1872 "the completed buildings were the three central or block houses, big school (later the library) with six classrooms round it, and the laundry; the chapel was planned, but not yet begun. ... Extensions and improvements came soon. A new block of eight classrooms was completed by 1874, and called "New School". The eight "out houses" were built or purchased by various masters"[4].

By 1891 the school had acquired more land in Godalming and covered 92 acres; it had expanded even further, to 120 acres, by 1913[7]. Initially the school had no road frontages until the Under Green, which is next to Hurtmore Road, was purchased in 1887 and was to be used for cricket and later athletics. Lessington House, also bordering Hurtmore Road and farmed by the Strudwick family, was added in 1897[8]. Yet the 1868 Charterhouse Act contained a clause stating that the Governors could not buy any more land than the initial 100 acres[9]. As a result the Headmaster and five Housemasters were extremely creative in getting round the problem. For example, when Broom and Lees was purchased in 1906 the buyers were the "Pavilion Committee" who do not seem to have left any records[9].


A similar view to the top image, though dates from 1900. A garden bench was later replaced by the statue of Haig-Brown.
Saunderites and Founder's Court are on the left and Verites boarding house on the right.
The card's sender living at 11 Great George Street, Godalming in 1915.
She wrote "This is a school for boys on this P.C. It is a lovely place."


In 1903 a new stone built cloister in the Gothic style was inaugurated on Old Carthusians Day as a memorial to former pupils who had died in the Boer War and other campaigns. A new transept was added to the chapel and dedicated at the same time. The architect for these additions was W. E. Caroe[10].

The third postcard below shows, from the left, Saunderites, Founder's Court and the Chapel. Saunderites was then both a boarding house and the headmaster's house. Its name came from Dr. Saunders who had been the school's headmaster between 1832 and 1853[4]. The headmaster's residence moved to the early nineteenth century Northbrook House following its purchase in 1924[8]. We can see a goal post for football on the "Big Ground". Both football and cricket have long been important competitive sports for Charterhouse pupils. Indeed, Charterhouse and Westminster schools played a major role in the development of the game[4] [8]. The soil here is sandy and porous, and drains so well that few games needed cancelling in poor weather[8].


The school buildings, 1907. Taken at the same time as the top image.
The drive behind the goal post is a section of the original main approach from
Peperharow Road via Racket Court Hill.
Prince's Avenue was initially just a narrow secondary approach[8].


1. "Charterhouse School, Godalming", published by Valentine's No. 60113. Card first registered in 1907. This one posted Guildford 12 Apr 1913 to an address in Warren Road, Guildford. Message not relevant to picture.
2. "Godalming, Charterhouse". Published by F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate, No.56155. First published in 1900. The card posted 3 Jul 1915. This image has been repaired (2018), replacing an earlier version.
3. "Charterhouse, Godalming". Valentine's Series, No.60112, first published in 1907. Printed in Great Britain. British Manufacture. Postcard not used.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] The school was part of what now is Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse (this extenal link will open in a new tab or window) . When the school moved to Godalming the building it had occupied in London was sold to Merchant Taylors' School and the site later became the Medical College of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

[2] Haig Brown's father in law was the incumbent at Hascombe.

[3] All that remains of Deanery Farm today is the farm building and a former barn, now the SS. Peter & Paul Scout Hut, on Charterhouse Road.

[4] Tod, A. H., M.A. (2nd Ed., Revised) (1919) "Charterhouse". Handbook to the Great Public Schools. London : George Bell and Sons Portugal St. Lincoln's Inn W.C. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell & Co New York : The MacMillan Co Bombay : A. H. Wheeler & Co. With grateful thanks to Clive Carter, a former Charterhouse headmaster, for the loan of this book and Jameson's book below.

[5] Brown, H. E. H. (1908) "William Haig Brown of Charterhouse. A short biographical memoir". Written by some of his pupils and edited by his son H. E. H. Brown, Macmillan & Co.: London.

[6] Tod notes that the stone came from the site of the fives and lawn tennis courts.

[7] Figures from Kelly's Surrey Directory for those years.

[8] Jameson, E. M. (1937) "Charterhouse". Blackie & Son Limited, London and Glasgow. Mrs. Harriet Strudwick, a widow, was at Lessington House in the1881 census; she passed away in 1889. In 1891 two of her daughters, Ellen and Fanny, were there with Mr. Robert Gillman, a former merchant, who passed away the following year.

[9] "The Archive of Charterhouse at Godalming", 1995. Charterhouse Archives, The National Archives. The Charterhouse Act followed on from the Public Schools Act of 1868. This is also mentioned by A. H. Tod.

[10] "London Daily News", 4 July 1903.




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Statue of the first headmaster of the Godalming School



Verites



Founder's Court



The Charterhouse,
City of London