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

Three early postcards of Godalming's Town Bridge, all showing an eighteenth century property on the river bank and the Congregational Church on the opposite side of Bridge Road, then Bridge Street. The image above is late nineteenth century, the second picture was taken in 1907 and the third postcard was printed before 1909.

Harold Pitt mentioned who used to live in the house, commenting that having come over the bridge from Bridge Road: "on the left was a house by the water front, one could look out of the windows and see the river flowing by. This house was occupied by Miss Octavia Marshall, a member of a very prominent Godalming family"[1]. The Marshalls were timber merchants, a product that was indispensable for the local tanning industry, and their business address was at the Wharf. Old maps show their garden and part of the Wharf connecting to each other.

In 1867 a Godalming trades directory recorded "WATER CONVEYANCE. Murray Marshall's to Pangent's Wharf, Rotherhithe, London."[2]. The River Wey, that flowed past their house, was how their goods travelled to London.

River Wey and The Bridge

Their large old house on the left bank of the river was called "The Bridge", and was home to several generations of the Marshall family for well over a hundred years[3]. This would have been where George and Sarah Marshall brought up their children before building Broadwater and was, in turn, where their eldest surviving son Murray and his wife Eliza brought up theirs. Octavia was Murray and Eliza's youngest daughter, although not their youngest child.

Murray died at Broadwater House, his mother's home, in 1870; this left his wife owning the business and their son George as its manager.

The 1911 census shows The Bridge having eighteen rooms[4]. Melicent was head of the household and Walter Douglas, still unmarried, worked at the London Stock Exchange. Their mother, Eliza, had passed away at The Bridge on 20 Aug 1910[5]. She had taken an active interest in church work and was buried at Busbridge. Her husband Murray and son Bryant had also been buried at Busbridge. Four sons and four daughters survived her[6].

In 1939 several members of the family were living here with four servants: Oswald Percival was a retired Trinity House Captain and died in December that year, aged 82; Walter Douglas was also retired and passed away in 1945; Jack A (Alexander J) was a sculptor; Nora Wynne (nee Macnamara) and Octavia ran the household. Oswald's wife Nora died in 1940 and Octavia died in November 1951. Although Oswald was interred at Brookwood, Octavia and Oswald were buried at Busbridge.

Confusingly, there was also a property called "Bridge House" in Bridge Street; Richard Balchin was there in 1867[2] and afterwards it became the home of Alderman Rea, a Magistrate, Tanner and Town Mayor, who lived at "Bridge House" with his family for a number of years[7]. There was and still is also property called "Bridge Cottage". All three houses were a few doors from each other.

Taken before 1909
Between The Bridge and the Congregational Church we can see another building or buildings.
At some stage they were demolished but when this picture was taken they faced onto a footpath
or track that passed by the side of the Congregational Church and went towards the Bury Fields.
They would have been demolished before The Burys was constructed, to make way for a road that
was considerably wider than the track.

The Bridge was demolished in August 1959 and the church spire was also removed around the same time[8]. The Bridge was replaced by an office block (today named Bridge House, now on Flambard Way).

A picture of the front of the Mashall family's house can be found on Bridge Street, 1950s

1. "Godalming Bridge and Congregational Church" published by F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate No.26148. Not posted. Original photograph dates from before 1895.
2. "The River Wey, Godalming". Valentine's Series. No. 60100 Published in 1907. Not posted.
3. "The Bridge, Godalming". Published by Elité Pictorial Postcard Machine. This card was unused, but another was posted in 1909.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Harold Pitt mentions Miss Marshall in "Memories of Farncombe and Godalming" (1981), The Godalming Trust.

[2] "Post Office Directory of Surrey", 1867.

[3] The Bridge was recorded as the name of this house in some census returns (apart from 1901 when the Enumerator called it Bridge House), the 1939 Register, a number of probate records of the Marshall family and nineteenth and twentieth century trade directories.

[4] 1911 census, available on Find My Past. Octavia was away from home, staying with the McNamaras in Steyning.

[5] Probate records for England and Wales from GOV.UK (1858 to present).

[6] "Surrey Advertiser", 24 August 1910.

[7] There is more about Thomas Rea and his tannery on Mill Lane, Fire at Rea and Fisher's Oak Bark Tannery, 7 March 1905 and View from Holloway Hill, Godalming, 1895. There is a photo of his gravestone on Nightingale Cemetery, Deanery Road.

[8] Janaway, John "The Story of Godalming" (1983) Local Heritage Books, Newbury ISBN 1 86368005 4. The Surrey History Centre gives the date for demolition as August 1959.

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Broadwater House

Bridge Street, 1907

Bridge Street, 1950s