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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Busbridge Hall, Godalming, 1908 and later

The Edwardian mansion on Home Farm Road was built in 1906, replacing an earlier property. Frith's postcard, above, shows the Hall not long after it was erected, sitting above the lake and with the building almost mirrored in the reflection on the water surface.

A sale notice of 1815 referred to the original Busbridge Hall as "a modern property"[1] and the house was owned by Francis Boyd Shannon Wilder, esq. in the 1840s[2]. By 1855 Bennett Gosling, a London banker, had become its owner[3] and through his Will the estate passed down to first Ellis Gosling (son of Bennett's brother Robert) and following the death of Ellis in 1861 to his infant son Ellis Duncombe Gosling[4].

We then find John Charles Francis Ramsden, J.P., living at the Hall[5]; he had married the widowed Emma Gosling and brought up her son and daughter by her first marriage alongside the couple's own children[6]. It was John Ramsden who built Busbridge Church in 1867[7]. By 1891 Ellis Duncombe Gosling, by then a Captain In Yeomanry, was Head of House and a trade directory of the same year described his property as situated in a finely wooded park of about 200 acres[8]. After his death on 29 October 1897 the personalty alone of his considerable estate was valued at over £500,000[9]. Some of his bequests were to his staff; he left £50 to every labourer on the estate who had more than ten years service, for example[9]. He devised all his real estate to his sister's daughter, the Hon. Violet Monkton, whose father was Lord Galway.

The Hall seems to have been let out for a time and in 1906, following the departure of Baroness Eckardstein, the contents and house were sold at auction[10]. The buyer was Percy North Graham, who lived at Northanger (Munstead)[11]. He intended to pull down the house and erect another in a higher position[10]. His new home was situated in a park of by then about 270 acres[12]. It was built looking out over the Middle Pond, later the Middle Lake.

Frith's scalloped edged card shows the Hall from a slightly different angle.
The picture must have been taken on the same day as the top image - the numbers
are very similar - but the building looks unfinished here.

In 1920 Mr. Graham offered the Busbridge Hall estate for sale through Knight, Frank and Rutley, who mentioned "the picturesque Pleasure Grounds include tennis and croquet lawns, terraced gardens and a chain of three lakes" in their advertisements[13]. Following the death of Reginald Earle on 18 April 1951, his estate faced crippling death duties which meant the Hall had to be sold. It was bought by a Tuesley farmer, Mr. Mason. However, he did not want all the estate and 454 acres were divided up into 24 lots, only two of which failed to find a purchaser[14]. Shorlty afterwards Mrs. Earle gave a cricket pavilion, that stood in Busbridge Park, to the people of Busbridge as a village hall was badly needed. It was to be dismantled and re-erected[15].

After it was sold by Mrs. Earle, the hall became a holiday centre for the Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance. The Fellowship had been set up to support Post Office workers affected by both Wars. It was opened by the Queen Mother in May 1957.

The second Busbridge Hall had been designed by the architects Ernest George and Yeates
in 1906. One of the buildings' external features are the Dutch style gables.

1. "Godalming, Busbridge Hall". F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate, No.59587. [1908] Posted in 1916 at Godalming, probably sent by a soldier as he mentions a "big sham fight" on the following day.
2. "Busbridge Hall, Godalming." Frith's Series, Reigate, No.59584. Published in 1908. Copyright. Unused. This is a later printing of the original, possibly done in the 1930s.
3. "Busbridge Hall, Godalming, Surrey. Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance Holiday Centre". D. Constance Ltd (Copyright). 22 Christchurch Road, Streatham Hill, London S.W.2. Printed in England. This is a real photograph. Unused.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "The Morning Post", Tuesday, May 23, 1815.

[2] "Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian", Saturday, September 14, 1844 and death notice in "The Standard", Wednesday,14 Feb, 1849. Mr. Wilder had died on 9 Feb.

[3] "Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Kent ..." (1855), Part 1: Counties & Localities, pub. Kelly & Co., Old Boswell Court, Temple Bar, London.

[4] "Daily News", Saturday, November 8, 1862. Law Intelligence. Appeal to Master of the Rolls. Also "The London Gazette", 19 and 27 December 1861. Pursuant to a Decree of the High Court of Chancery.

[5] "Post Office Directory of Surrey" (1878) Kelly & Co. Ltd, London.

[6] 1871 census.

[7] "The Morning Post", Thursday 7 March 1867. Munificence towards the Church

[8] 1891 census and "Kelly's Directory", 1891.

[9] "Lichfield Mercury", Wednesday 6 April 1898 and "The Morning Post", November 20, 1897 (Wills and Bequests)

[10] "Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser", 6 Feb1906 and "Surrey Mirror", 9 Feb 1906. Contents of Busbridge Hall were sold by Messrs. Mellersh.

[11] 1901 census.

[12] "Kelly's Directory of Surrey" (1913) Kelly & Co. Ltd, London.

[13] "Western Gazette", Friday 11 June 1920; "The Times", Thursday, Nov 18, 1920 - The Busbridge Hall Estate was to be sold at the Angel Hotel, Godalming; "The Times", Jul 07, 1921, the Mansion and other parts of the estate had been sold, though more of the estate was still for sale.

[14] "West Sussex Gazette", 15 November 1951. Busbridge Estate Sold. Sign of the times, says auctioneer.

[54] West Sussex Gazette, 22 November 1951.

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