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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
The Bridge, Godalming, 1907
Town Bridge and Bridge Road

An attractive Edwardian postcard of Godalming's Town Bridge and Bridge Road, looking towards the junction with Chalk Road and Meadrow. The former Railway Hotel, later the Wey Inn, was on the corner.

A journal of 1888 recounted an interesting story. "The present bridge across the Wey was opened to the public in 1783, to replace a former bridge which was the property of the owner of the manor, who closed it against every kind of carriage except during floods. It required an Act of Parliament to remedy this great inconvenience and to cause other private bridges in the county to be rebuilt and maintained for the benefit of the public"[1].

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, with seating for 500 people, and the Baptist School Chapel, seating 200, are visible behind the trees to the right of the road. Both establishments were built in 1903; they were built of Bargate stone in the Gothic style and the school chapel cost £962. The two buildings are now Godalming United Church (Methodist and United Reformed). Just before the first war, Rev. J. Arundel Chapman, M.A., B,D., who lived in Oakdene Road, was the minister.

Next to the church buildings, but not seen here, was the Police Station, erected in 1892, where the superintendent and one constable lived in 1913[2]. Harry John Jennings, aged 41, was the superintendent in residence In 1911. Next door were two police constables; Frederick Sanders was the head of the house and he and his wife had a boarder, P.C. Richard George Miller[3].

sepia version
The sender of this sepia version was living at 11 Great George Street, Godalming.
She wrote that "This is the corner of our church on the card its a little way from Town".
The road surface consisted of broken stone (broken with a hammer), embedded in clay or
sand and then rolled. The wheels of the drays and carriages created deep ruts.

The only vehicle we can see is horse drawn but motor cars had been using the roads for some years before the cards' publication date, although they still did not generally travel very fast. Walter Giddeon Pingle, of Basing House, Banstead, was summoned at the Godalming Police Court in 1909 for riding a motor bicycle along the road at a speed of nearly twenty miles per hour. A fine of £1 and costs was imposed, and the defendant was ordered to pay costs for not having a licence[4]. In 1912 two schoolboys were injured in Bridge Road, one fatally, after they were knocked down by a car. The driver took the boys to a doctor's surgery before he was arrested. At that time the road was within a ten miles speed limit area, and there had already been some protests about the limit as well as requests for the removal of police traps[5].

With the advent of motor vehicles and the subsequent increase in traffic the narrow bridge became a major bottleneck. In late December 1926 an 82 year old gentleman called John Gorringe, who lived on Lower Manor Road in Farncombe, was crossing the bridge when a timber truck crushed him against the parapet[6].

The Town Bridge was was not widened and a pavement was added to the eastern side until 1931, when a one way system was introduced to control the traffic whilst the work was underway[7]. Surrey County Council had advertised for tender bids to strengthen the bridge in 1930[87].

1. "The Bridge, Godalming", Valentine's Series, no. 60108. Card registered in 1907. Posted in Guildford on 6 Jul 1912 and sent to an address in Cobham. Message not relevant to picture.
2. Also Valentine's Series, no. 6010. Posted 23 Aug 1915.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News", 14 April 1888. Godalming, Surrey.

[2] "Kelly's Directory of Surrey", 1913.

[3] The 1911 census is available on Find My Past.

[4] "Surrey Mirror", 27 August 1909. Report of an incident on July 13th.

[5] "Hull Daily Mail", 21 June 1912. The driver was charged, and went to court but he was found not guilty.

[6] Harold Pitt mentions the accident in "Memories of Farncombe and Godalming" (1981), The Godalming Trust.
Mr. Gorringe had been born in East Grinstead in 1844 to William (d.1874) and Eliza Gorringe and he and his family moved to Godalming before 1871. He was a carpenter/builder by trade and John Gorringe and Son can be found in trade directories with premises on Hare Lane. He and his brother lived on Church Road, later Kings Road, one selling china and glass and the other running a beerhouse (The Star). John Gorringe also founded the firm of undertakers. He died from the injuries he sustained on 28th December 1926.

[7] "Surrey Advertiser", 23 May 1931.

[8] "ibid.", 25 January 1930.

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