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

When the foundation stone was laid here on 4 June 1902 Godalming's Mayor, Mr. C. Burgess, drew attention to John Wesley's connection with the borough. Wesley was a former pupil when Charterhouse School was still based in London (see The Charterhouse, City of London). General Oglethorpe, who had lived at Westbrook House, was said to have supported him when he set out on his mission[1].

About two years before, at the second London Synod of the Wesleyans (date not found), it was resolved to extend Wesleyan Methodism in Surrey and North Hampshire. A scheme was proposed to erect eleven churches in the area, the first of which was to be built in Godalming, where Methodism was said to be poorly represented[2]. The build was expected to cost £6,000, of which £500 had already been raised. It was hoped to accommodate 430 in the nave and the transept, and provision was to be made for a gallery to hold a further 90 people. The trowel used to lay the foundation stone was inscribed: "Presented to his Worship the Mayor of Godalming, Alderman C. Burgess, J.P., on the occasion of laying a memorial stone of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Godalming, June 4th, 1902. " A second stone was laid on behalf of the trustees. Other stones were also laid and copies of three newspapers (the "Methodist Recorder", "Methodist Times" and a London daily paper) were laid in a nearby cavity alongside two bottles containing other items. Tea was served afterwards in the Congregational School Hall[3].

Mr Josiah Gunton was the architect and Messrs. Mitchell Brothers of Shalford and Godalming were contracted to build the church. At the public meeeting following the tea, The Rev. W. E. Sellers presented a financial statement. The land had cost £950 and the building had become costly because 3 feet of concrete had been needed to cover the entire site[3].

In April 1903 Mrs. Price Hughes, whose late husband had been a preacher, organiser, orator, and writer in the movement, attended the opening services for the newly built church. She opened the door with a silver key. It was then announced that it would in future be known as the Hugh Price Hughes Memorial Church as her husband had taken a deep interest in the project[4].

A talented thirteen old year boy, Bertie Fullbrook, was appointed as the church organist in 1905[5]. Bertie gave organ recitals; one such was reported in 1907 when he was staying with his uncle Mr. W. F. Balding, in Hastings[6]. Bertie (Albert Henry) and his family lived in Milford[7].

One of the people who would have heard him play was 2nd class Air Mechanic Herbert Elliott Tribe of the Royal Flying Corps whose parents resided in Wolseley Road, Farncombe. Herbert was connected with the Wesleyan Methodist Church for 11 years, starting as a member of the Sunday School and eventually becoming a teacher. He also worked on behalf of the Band of Hope and other branches of church life. He was said to have been a clever cabinet maker, initially apprenticed to J. Down of Godalming but then employed as a salesman by the Guildford firm of Messrs. Pimm and Sons. His father was the local sanitary inspector for Godalming. Herbert died in 1915[8].

This was one of a series of cards sent by one individual to her relatives during the First War.
The card was not posted but there was a message on the reverse which reads: "Here is the
picture of our church. This is only just the choir and few pews. There's yjr Pulpud [sic] and
the little boy sits under the Pulpud ... I am sitting next where the cross
This isn't half the church its a very big church

One Sunday evening in March 1913 there was what was described as a mishap to the electric light cable in Bridge Road. Unfortunately, it meant that no illumination was available for services which were about to begin at both this church and the Congregational Church over the bridge. Neighbours came to the rescue and candles were used to light the church, with one being placed on either side of the pulpit. Unfortunately, the newspaper report did not clarify whether these were the only candles available, though it seems unlikely[9].

The 202 Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (the C.E.F.), were stationed in Godalming from 1914 and placed its colours in the Church. When Colonel P. E. Bowen sailed for Canada in 1917 he took the colours with him for permanent keeping in the City Mall at Edmonton. A replica of them was to be sent to hang in the Church[10].

This church is now the Godalming United Church.

1. "Wesleyan Church, Godalming". Published by S. G. Eaton, Stationer, Godalming. The Milton Post Card. Printed at our works in Germany. Not posted, but the use of works in Germany indicates it was printed before the 1914-18 war.
2. "Wesleyan Church, Godalming" [interior]. Published by W. H. A. [WH Applebee of Ashford MDX], No. 2778. Not posted.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Westminster Gazette", 9 June 1902. John Wesley as a Carthusian. The article went on to speculate that Wesley had visited his former school in Godalming as a result, but that would not have been possible, of course.

[2] "Surrey Advertiser", 12 February 1902. Proposed New Wesleyan Church at Godalming (with image of the design)

[3] "ibid.", 11 June 1902. Wesleyan Methodism at Godalming. The New Wesleyan Church. Laying of Memorial Stones.

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Monday 4 May 1903. Ecclesiastical Table-talk. Hugh Price Hughes had edited the "Methodist Times" since 1885.

[5] "Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser", Saturday 27 May 1905.

[6] "Hastings and St Leonards Observer". Saturday 13 July 1907. Park Road Wesleyans. Re-opening Services. Brilliant Recital by Young Organist.

[7] Bertie, who was born in Walton-on-Thames in December 1891, was living with his parents in Hambledon in both the 1901 and 1911 census. His father was a master baker and the family lived at 4 Milford Terrace, Church Road; in 1911 this was given as a Milford address but in 1901 it was shown as Witley. In 1911 his occupation was Musician. He died in Plymouth in 1970.

[8] "Surrey Advertiser", 12 July 1915. Death at the Aldershot Isolation Hospital of 2nd class Air Mechanic Herbert Elliott Tribe of the Royal Flying Corps.

[9] "West Surrey Times", 22 March 1913. Candles in Nonconformist Churches.

[10] "Surrey Advertiser", 14 July 1917.

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