|Old Town Hall, High Street, Godalming, 1905
The Pepperpot or Pepperbox,
at the junction of the High Street and Church Street, used to
be Godalming's Town Hall. It was built in 1814, funded by
public subscription, and enlarged in 1892.
In its role as Town Hall the building was the venue for a
wide cross section of events.
It was here, for example, that a case was heard in 1863 following
a supposed an attempt to burn the parish church. The church
sexton had found some large pieces of burnt paper in the south
aisle of the church, which seemed to have been torn from a
wall, and a window in the church was also broken. Arthur Hackman,
who lived in Church Street, was accused after his home was
searched and both the fragments found at the crime scene and
the tiny pieces of attached plaster matched small holes in
the walls of Hackman's home. He was refused bail and committed
for trial. In
December the Jury at his trial returned a verdict of Not Guilty!
A portrait of Admiral Balchin hung in the Council Chamber
on the first floor.
In October 1898 the Town Council decided to celebrate Trafalgar
Day. "In accordance with instructions from the Mayor,
Alderman T. Rea, the Borough flag was yesterday displayed from
the Town Hall, Godalming. In addition to this a number of tradesmen
exhibited flags and bunting, Godalming being the birthplace
of Admiral Balchin, whose connection with the Naval Hospital
at Greenwich and other matters in the early part of the present
century are well known".
The journalist was more than a little inaccurate, unfortunately,
with his report about Balchin's involvement with Greenwich
Naval Hospital. According to the Oxford DNB,
Balchin became Governor of the Hospital in 1744, close to the
end of his life and illustrious naval career, and his involvement
was very brief.
The second postcard was published only a few years after the
Trafalgar Day celebrations by Surrey Education Committee
and was, presumably, given to school pupils as a reward for
good attendance as it is printed with the slogan "Never
Absent, Never Late". It is interesting to note how many
of the Pepperpot's arches were blocked up and also to see
the iron gates under the central arch. It must have been
During the twentieth century the building housed Godalming's
Museum, though this has now moved to larger premises, and the
upstairs room was used for countless functions. The
twenty-first century promises more changes as the roof has
been replaced during 2010, when rotten timber was found, and
the outside repainted. Further restoration work of the interior
is planned for this Grade II listed building in readiness for
the 200th anniversary. The pump is also listed.
Just to the left of the Pepperpot in the top picture is a
shop front that is painted green. This was the Post Office,
which was to move to the building known as the Old Post Office
further along the High Street.
1. "Godalming, Market House". No publisher, but No.22518.
2. "Godalming Old Town Hall", published by E.S.A. London.
Copyright. Unused. The card was one of a series published by
Surrey Education Committee. This one is date stamped on the front
Feb 24 1905 and signed E. Guy.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 "Kelly's Directory of
Surrey, 1913". By 1913 the Old Town Hall was disused
as the police court and Council Chamber had moved to the
Borough Hall in 1908.
 "Jackson's Oxford Journal",
Saturday, August 29, 1863. Several newspapers reported the
 "The Morning Post",
Saturday, October 22, 1898.
 "The Standard",
Saturday, October 22, 1898, Trafalgar-Day Celebration. The
T. Rea mentioned was Thomas Rae (see Godalming
Bridge & Congregational Church and The
Mint and Mill Lane).
 Daniel A. Baugh, "Balchen,
Sir John (1670-1744)", Oxford Dictionary
of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept
2004; online edn, Jan 2008. Balchin is also mentioned elsewhere
on this site. See: Godalming,
 Also see Balchin
Family Society > Family History > Sir John Balchin