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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Croft Road (formerly Croft Terrace) & St. Edmund's Church, 1908

The road we recognise today was developed in a number of stages towards the end of the nineteenth and early into the twentieth centuries. Before 1871 the eastern end, where it joined Brighton Road, was part of the very narrow Butts Lane[1]. Between 1891 and 1901 Croft Terrace, as it was then called, became Croft Road[2]. The 1897 Ordnance Survey Map shows Croft Terrace joining the recently developed South Street but the western end of the terrace was a dead end. It was subsequently extended to form a junction with the newly built Holloway Hill and the 1916 OS map shows Holloway Hill with the houses and the church at that end of Croft Road having been built. However, the eastern end, from close to the bottom of Town End Street to the junction with Brighton Road, remained a footpath for many years[1].

The Roman Catholic St. Edmund King & Martyr Church, which we can see on the above postcard, was erected on a sloping site above the road in 1905-6 and cost about £6,000 to build. It was constructed from Bargate rubblestone and designed to seat 300 people[3]. As the image shows, there are a large number of steps for the worshippers to climb to access the church.

Dr. Hyland (4 July 1875 - 1950) was the church's first priest and lived at the adjacent Presbytery. His obituary said that he had been appointed in 1904, so he must have supervised the construction, and he remained rector for 45 years[4]. In 1920, by which time he had been the priest here for 16 years, he was appointed rector of St. John's Seminary at Wonersh by the Bishop and Chapter of Southwark[5]. By the time he passed away it was acknowledged that great progress had been made under his direction, with the creation of the parish of Haslemere and Mass centres created at both Bowlhead Green and Elstead[4].

The 1913 edition of Kelly's[2] does not list many Croft Road residents. James Herbert Norris, the borough surveyor and water engineer, had moved into one of the houses with his family. Mrs. Strudwick let out apartments. The registrar of births, marriages and deaths, Annie Norris, was another resident as was Walter James Pilcher who was a retired commercial traveller and listed under gentry[6].

In October 1914, not long after the outbreak of war, Godalming's Belgian Refugees Committee had been set up under the presidency of the Mayor and welcomed refugees to the town. The committee had rented and furnished "Brumfield" in Croft Road and the first batch of 19 refugees were housed there. The group included a Belgian doctor and his extended family who had formerly lived either in or near Brussels. Another "haven" for the refugees was The Mount on Holloway Hill[7].

In addition to the refugees a large number of Canadian soldiers were welcomed at the station with cups of tea and then camped on Witley Common. A canteen was set up for them on Croft Road[8]. Some soldiers were also billeted in the town and, when they left, a number of the items they had been issued with had either not been handed back or had been discarded. They caused problems for their hosts. A warning was issued to householders about retaining the military blankets left in their houses. Three people in Croft Road, who claimed they had forgotten all about the items, found themselves in a difficult position. They were charged with being in possession of eleven blankets between them and were fined by the Godalming Borough Bench[9].

Read the comment about soldiers
made by the postcard's sender, who was living on Croft Road in WW1.

"Godalming. Croft Road and R.C. Church". F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate, No.59951. First published in 1908. Unused.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] The maps referred to are Ordnance Survey County Series maps of Surrey. Those of 1871, 1897 and 1916 are all 1 :2,5000. The remainder are 1 : 10,560.

[2] Information from the 1891 and 1901 census returns.

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

[4] "The Times", Friday, 23 Jun 1950, p.8. Canon St. G. Kieran-Hyland.

[5] "ibid.", Tuesday, 13 Jul 1920, p.9. This appointment lasted until 1923.

[6] Mr. Pilcher was the only one found living on Croft Road in 1911. J. H. Norris was living at Ramsden Cottage on Ramsden Road, whilst Miss Norris had lived on Queen Street and Mrs. Strudwick was round the corner on South Street.

[7] "Surrey Advertiser", 26 October 1914. Godalming. Belgian Forty Welcomed at Godalming.

[8] Janaway, John "The Story of Godalming" (1983) Local Heritage Books, Newbury ISBN 1 86368005 4.

[9] "Surrey Advertiser", 14 August 1916. Accused.

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