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

On the immediate left are the town's municipal buildings, now known as the Borough Hall. We can just see two high arches of part of the building.

Godalming Council had spent a long time discussing new municipal buildings and had examined a number of sites. By October 1899 they had reached the stage of putting a scheme out to tender. At the Council's meeting that month the Municipal Buildings Committee reported that twelve tenders had been received although another had been turned down as it did not comply with the terms of the competition. They had opted for the Bridge Road site, especially as there was already an independent Public Hall on Bridge Street that had opened in 1861 and its Company was to be paid £2,000[1].

Godalming Town Council met again in December 1899 to reconsider what had become the much debated question of providing municipal buildings, particularly in their relation to the Public Hall site. By this point the Council had decided to abandon the scheme but the Municipal Buildings Committee had met once more and was now recommending that the rejected scheme for purchase should be re-adopted. It was now planned to buy both the Public Hall and the Stone House properties. The latter had been kept unoccupied for a long time. In another complete U-turn the Council now wanted the decision they had reached on the 9th of November to be rescinded, and wished to purchase the two properties. Lascelles, Tinkler & Co., Ltd. was also to be approached with a view to acquiring a right of way into the Bury's Footpath[2]. It had become really controversial and four Councillors resigned over the issue[3].

The Town Council held its first meeting in the Municipal Buildings Council Chamber in August 1901[4]. The town was in celebratory mood and when Baden Powell opened a new cloister at Charterhouse School "Bridge-street was also gay, and at the Municipal Building the windows were draped with red, white and blue hangings"[5].The Council did not vacate the Pepperpot and move in completely until 1907/8[6]. Also in the first decade of the twentieth century W G Fudger of Peperharow Road gave the first kinematograph exhibitions in the municipal buildings[7].

Further away, but on the same side, was Rutherford's "Motor Cycle Depot. Accessories, Pits, Garage" at No.33[8].

On the far right was Hector Buckland Mallard's tailoring business; he described himself as a "traditional tailor" and was still occupying no 13 in 1911, having taken over from James Street, but later moved to 15 Bridge Street and then to No. 33 by 1916. Next door, at no.14, was the home of the local newspaper The Surrey Advertiser & County Times. This was the paper's printing office and they would also print stationery and "advertising" - presumably posters and leaflets. Their shop windows were full of post cards and there was a lending library here too. For a time there was a dairy at 15 Bridge Street, the third shop in this building. Beyond that was "The Surrey", a restaurant that provided hot dinners and teas in 1907 according to the painted signs on the front and side of the building. This was "West Surrey House" at 17 Bridge Street where Arthur Woods was the licensee in 1891[9]. Robert Brown was the publican in 1911. This group of buildings became the Co-op site but were demolished in the 1980s when Waitrose redeveloped the site.

It is hard to know who was living at 18 Bridge Street at this time, but the property was not demolished and stands next to the entrance of the Waitrose car park today. At the end of the row that we can see is a lovely building with classic canted bay windows, then no.19. In 1907 the ground floor bays had less glazing bars than they do today, so the property was almost certainly used as a shop by the High family at this time[10]. The parapet above the first floor windows is pierced by three sets of balustrades, although they aren't easy to see here. The whole building has been beautifully restored in recent times. There is another, slightly lower, property next to it that is screened from view by the bay windows (20 Bridge Street)[11]. However, the sharp eyed may be able to see its fence which is close to the lamp post.

At the end of Bridge Street was an enormous tree, a London Plane. It almost totally eclipsed a large property known as The Bridge. In 1911 this was the home of Miss Melicent Marshall, a lady of private means, and her brother Walter Douglas Marshall who worked at the London Stock exchange[12].

"Godalming, Bridge Street with the Boro Hall". Published in 1907 by F. Frith & Co., Ltd., Reigate, No.57651. Posted on 10 Aug 1908 in Duckinfield. Message unrelated to image.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] "West Surrey Times", 28 October 1899. New Municipal Buildings. Tenders and Modifications.

[2] "ibid.", 9 December 1899. Municipal Buildings Question. Rejected Scheme Reinstated. A Remarkable Discussion. Several councillors had sold their own shares in the Public Hall Company to enable them to vote for the latest proposals. For example, Alderman Rea told fellow Councillors that he had had a very small interest in the Public Hall, but had sold that interest. By selling his shares he was no longer a director of the Public Hall Company so he was able to vote.

[3] "ibid.", 23 December 1899. Town Council Resignations. A Unique Crisis.

[4] "ibid.", 10 August 1900.

[5] "Surrey Advertiser", 30 September 1901.

[6] A number of reputable sources have been checked, but the Museum's Timeline on their website gives the date it was opened as 1907.

[7] "Kinematograph Weekly", 5 March 1953.

[8] Charles W Rutherford had married Edith Pincott on 28 Mar 1891 at parish church. By 1911 Edith was widowed but the cycle shop remained. They also had a shop at 15a High Street (Kelly's Directory, 1913).

[9] Arthur Woods was there in the 1891 census. He can also be found in Kelly's Directory of 1891. By 1901 he had moved to South Street and become a Professor of Music.

[10] By the 1911 census and then in Kelly's Directory of 1913 an F. High had an upholstery business at the property, then numbered 19 Bridge Street; he was Francis Albert High. Photographic evidence shows F. High also had a jewellers in the half that is today closest to the roundabout. The family continued in business here as the 1939 Register shows the house divided into two, with Charles High in one half and Arthur High in the other.

[11] The hidden property, 20 Bridge Street, was the home of Leopold John Manners de Michele in 1911 but by 1913 he had moved to Nightingale Road. This property is currently called Riverside Chambers.

[12] 1911 census.

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