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Town End Street, 1910


In 1890 a newspaper advertisement announced a forthcoming sale of freehold building plots in Town End Field. It was to be held at the King's Arms and had been placed by Messrs. Mellersh, who were auctioneers and land agents with premises on Church Street[1]. The plots followed the line of a former trackway which extended up the hill from Butt's Lane (part of which is now Croft Road) and joined Brighton Terrace, or Brighton Road today[2]. A few properties in Butt's Lane can be seen at the bottom of the street.

In 1866 Town End Field had been used for a general celebration. The Court of Modern Foresters, (Guildford Unity) had assembled at the Richmond Arms for their annual dinner and in the evening the lodge members, accompanied by the Godalming Brass Band, went to the field to enjoy dancing and other amusements until it became dark. A large crowd gathered to watch the proceedings[3]. Whilst this is the only example found of an event taking place on the field it is not unreasonable to suppose that the field was used for similar things on other occasions.

Nothing has been found to show who bought the land in 1890 but later that year a drainage problem concerning Town End Field was discussed by Surrey County Council's Highways Committee. Colonel Tredcroft, its chairman, stated that, amongst other matters, the Godalming District Highway Board had forwarded a copy a report of a special sub-committee respecting the overflow at Town End Field. The report stated that the only suggestion they (Godalming DHB) could make to prevent the flooding of the field after heavy storms was to carry the water down to the catch-pit in the borough and to refer the matter to the Council. A right of drainage onto the field had been acquired by a long user and the Council were not prepared to intervene in the matter[4]. Hopefully, the matter was resolved before building work began!

Work on the houses seems to have progressed in several stages. The 1897 Ordnance Survey map[2] shows a few houses on the western side of the road and one pair of semis on the east. By 1916 all but the bottom of the eastern side of the road had been developed. By 1901[5] there were already 41 dwellings and in 1911[5] this number had risen to 66. The number of dwellings may not be the same as the number of semi-detached houses, of course. The 1916 map[2] shows that by then all but the bottom of the eastern side of the road had been developed.

In 1901 the majority of the street's working population were employees, but their place of employment was not in their home. The table below shows just two people (males) who employed people to work for them. The four dressmakers would have taken in work to do in their home whilst the waiter, who was working in an inn, would not have worked at home as his premises were not shown as an inn[5]. Britain was supposed to be a nation of shopkeepers and, in its own small way, the working population of Town End Street reflected that as the largest number of employees worked in shops of one kind or another.

Some of these occupations are no longer available in Godalming as the gas works and leather factory have gone from the town.




Table of occupations, extracted from the 1901 census[5]
Note: there may be more than one person in a particular household stating that they were employed.


Key:
OA = Own account
OA/AH = Own account / At Home

Occupation in the 1901 census Number if
more the one
Type if not
Worker
apprentice - ironmonger - -
assistant - architect surveyor - -
assistant - hairdresser's - -
bank clerk, post office clerk, assurance superintendent4 -
bricklayer - Employer
bricklayer - -
carpenter, joiner 4 -
coach painter - -
domestic/general servant/parlour maid 6 -
dress maker 4 OA/AH
factory worker/ leather factory/ colour mixer at - -
gardener 3 -
gas fitter / gas fitter & bill hanger 3 -
house decorator & paper hanger 2 -
house decorator/painter 3 -
labourer - general, road 2 -
leather worker - boot or shoe maker, currier, harness, military accoutrement, saddler, factory 8 -
living on own means 2 -
manager - railway bookstall, corn merchant, grocery 3 -
office boy - auctioneer's, builder's 2 -
pianoforte tuner - -
postman, post errand boy 3 -
printer - compositor - -
purveyor of milk - Employer
retired foundry man - -
schoolteacher - -
secretary - Co-operative Society - -
shop work - baker, butcher, drapery, grocery, bookseller, hosier, ironmonger 12 -
sign writer - -
smith - white, wheelwright's 3 -
stitcher at accoutrement factory 2 -
waiter - OA (inn)


"Town End Street, Godalming". No publisher but posted on 17 Sep 1910 in Godalming. The message was from a disappointed girlfriend whose friends had seen the addressee with someone else in Hyde Park ...!
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] "Sussex Agricultural Express", 11 February 1890.

[2] Ordnance Survey County Series Map of Surrey, 1871, 1:2,500, 1896 and 1916.

[3] "Surrey Advertiser", 21 July 1866.

[4] "Sussex Agricultural Express", 14 November 1890. Highways Committee, Surrey County Council.

[5] The 1901 and 1911 census returns for Godalming are available on FindMyPast.




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