|The Mint and Mill Lane, Godalming
The cottage on the right is on the corner of Mint Street and
Mill Lane and the short section on the left, between the road
junction with Mint Street and the bridge over the River Ock,
is The Mint. This view looks down the slope towards where
the River Ock, a narrow but relatively fast flowing river,
crosses underneath a narrow bridge; the river runs just
behind where the car is parked.
These days people use the lane to access the small businesses
and offices on Mill Lane as well as Godalming station but
years ago tanners, hosiery workers and flour millers would
have walked down here to get to work.
seventeenth century flour mill, Hatch Mill, is out of view
on the left hand side, just beyond the bridge. Part of the
mill building, which has not been a working mill for some sixty
years, is shown in the photograph below. The water is the river,
which flows partly underneath the building, and joins the Wey
a few hundred yards downstream.
the trees are, opposite Hatch Mill on the far side of
Mill Lane, is the site of Rae and Fisher's Oak Bark Tannery.
It was on an extensive plot of about 1½ acres that
is also bordered by Station Approach, so opposite Godalming
Station and approximately where a modern office block
is today. The small cottage in the photo to the right
of the trees, mostly obscured in the photo by the mill
building, was badly damaged by the disastrous 1905 fire
at the Oak Bark Tannery as some of the tannery building
collapsed onto it.
Hatch Mill, at that time run by Alldens,
was also damaged by the fire.
On the right is the turbine made for the
mill by Gilbert, Gilkes and Gordon Limited of Kendall.
It replaced the original water wheel and was installed
|As for the hosiery workers mentioned,
Solly's Mill can just be glimpsed through the trees further
along Mill Lane on the black and white postcard above.
Allen and Solly's hosiery business[1,
5] came to Godalming in 1860, and in 1873 moved
to a purpose built factory in Mill Lane (photographed,
right). They remained in Mill Lane until 1883. Some of
the workers moved to Nottingham; this explains why Godalming
born people can be found in Nottingham in late nineteenth
and early twentieth century census returns.
[Mill Lane] "A Pretty Corner, Godalming". Published
by Valentine & Sons, Ltd., Dundee and London. No. 221352 J.V.
This is a Real Photograph. Posted on 7 May 1946 at Guildford.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Photographs and research © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only
Directory of Surrey",1878."There are several
mills worked by this stream [actually referring to the
River Wey rather than the Ock], which is of great power.
The trade of this town consists principally in timber, power,
paper and hosiery ... "
 "The Standard",
14 July, 1896. Announcement that the
Oak Bark Tannery was to become a public company and join forces
with Messrs. P. E. Fisher and Co of Bermondsey. The freehold
property in Godalming included
"a modern freehold factory adjoining the factory and six
cottages" as part
of the shares sale. There is more information about Thomas
Rae on Godalming
Bridge and Congregational Church
 There were two disastrous fires
at the tannery, referred to in John Janaway's "The
Story of Godalming". The first was on 7 Mar 1905 and
a second fire on 20 Feb 1911.
Fire Station web site has a section of early photographs
and includes several of the tannery.
 Alldens advertised in "Kelly's
Directory of Surrey",
 Although no special references
have been found of their factory in Godalming, there are some
interesting references to the firm. For example:
Morning Chronicle", 13 May,
An article about the Great Exhibition said that "Messrs.
Allen and Solly afford us an illustrated history of stockings,
with examples of the advance made in style and quality ; stockings
made of the finest lace thread (230), and embroidered by hand,
Guardian", 22 October, 1886 - announcement that
said Allen & Solly (who had been in Nottingham for a
long time) were building a factory at Arnold.