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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Farncombe, Street - early 1900s
Farncombe Street

The butcher's, a drapery, a pub and the post office would have been at the heart of village life at the beginning of the twentieth century. On the left are the employees of Willie Rothwell's butchery, though the young lads could have delivery boys or may have just been asked to be in the photo. The shop had no direct entry from the street, but there was a door down the path to the left of the large bay window. A metal rail, presumably for hanging Christmas turkeys or geese from, is attached to the upper part of the window frame.

Willie, sometimes recorded as William, was the son of John Rothwell, who was a butcher in Milford, and his wife Susan. A number of Rothwells were involved in the meat trade in the area. He had moved to Farncombe some time before 1900 and had married his first wife in the first days of the new century[1]. He remarried in 1910 and had two children, who were born at No.41[2]. Thomas C. Matthews was the butcher here in 1939[3], and the shop entrance was still down the side of the building.

Next door, at 43 High Street Farncombe was William Havell, a draper's manager from the Isle of White, and his family[4]. The drapery occupied two shop units at the beginning of the twentieth century. The layout of Rothwells and Havell's shops is slightly different today. Wakeling's butchers, who have been in Farncombe since 1952, occupy two units; there is now a front door to their shop and no side window. Beyond are two single units up to the Tottenham Road junction (where the lamp post is), one of which can't be seen above although maps show it was there.

The Havell family lived at the drapery in 1901 and 1911. By 1913 Stephen Tanner was running the store[4].

The large brick building on the opposite side of the road was a public house - the Duke of Wellington. It opened in the 1830s, as a direct result of an Act of Parliament passed by the Duke of Wellington's government[5]. The original pub burnt down in 1880 and was replaced by the building in this photo and was owned by the Friary Brewery by this time. Pheasant Griffith was landlord here from 1898 or possibly slightly earlier. His license was transferred to George Smith in 1908[6]. The headquarters of the Farncombe Football Club were here in Mr. Griffith's time[7]. He had founded the old floral and vegetable show, which afterwards merged into the Farncombe Allotment Association. The show took place in the pub's yard at one time and Mr Griffith gave away the prizes[8].

On the far right is the Post office, with its letter box outside. The Post Mistress was Catherine May Frith or May-Frith[9]. She married Joseph Daniel Blain in 1904 and a similar view, taken in 1905, shows the business had become a Newsagent and Stationer called Farncombe Bazaar[10]. The post box had gone, the Post Office sign above the door had been removed and the Post Office had moved a few doors way[11]. In 1910 Mrs. Blain placed the following advertisement in the local press:

C M BLAIN Bazaar, Farncombe, Newsagent, Stationer, Confectioner, Toys, Fancy Goods, Hardware, China, Tinware, Cheapest House in Farncombe. Agent for One and All Seeds and Fertilisers, Daily, Weekly and Monthly Papers delivered from 7 am-round Farncombe, Prior's Field and Compton ...[12]

In 1917 both Mr and Mrs Blain were knocked down in Borough Road by a car driven by an under 18 year old boy who then failed to stop. As it wasn't the driver's first accident he was jailed for 1 month[13]. Mr. Blain passed away in 1920 and his widow remarried and moved away. The post office eventually returned to 20 Farncombe Street after WW2 and is still in business today.

Postcard of "Farncombe, Street.". No published or number but the card has an undivided back so is likely to have been published before 1902. This card was posted in London in 1906, though others have been posted in 1902 and 1903.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] " St. John's Church, Milford, Parish Register Marriages", 21 Jan 1900. His wife was Grace Annie Lewry, daughter of James, a Milford farmer. Willie was already in Farncombe. His wife passed away in late 1905.

[2] William George, their son was a Shop Man & Butchers Rounds Man in the 1939 Register. His parents were both buried at Eashing Cemetery, Willie in 1936 and Gertrude Hetty in 1945.

[3] Three members of the family are listed in the 1939 Register, available on FindMyPast.

[4] Kelly's Directory of Surrey, 1913.

[5] Janaway, John (2003) "Godalming and Farncombe Pubs and Breweries", Ammonite Books, Godalming, Surrey. ISBN 1-869866-14-2. The Beerhouse Act (1 Will. IV, c. 64 1830) had been introduced, abolishing the beer tax, etc.

[6] "Woking News and Mail", 19 April, 1907. Mr. Griffith continued to live in Farncombe and in 1911 he and his wife Jemima were at 15 High Street Farncombe. After his death in 1814 Griffith was buried at the Nightingale Road cemetery on 15 High Street Farncombe.

[7] "Surrey Advertiser", 18 November 1901.

[8] "West Surrey Times", 20 June 1914. Death of Mr. P. Griffiths. He was buried at the Nightingale Cemetery, Deanery Road on 16 Jun 1914.t

[9] In the 1901 census Catherine May Frith (or May-Frith), aged 27, was Stationer and Postmistress here. She lived with her sister Bertha Fanny, a Dressmaker.

[10] Head, Ronald E and Young, John (2005) "Godalming", Francis Frith collection. ISBN 1-85937-976-1.

[11] In the 1911 census Ada Tugwell, of 16 High Street Farncombe was sub postmistress employed by the PO and was employed at home. The Blains address was 20 Farncombe Street. Catherine was a newsagent and her husband worked as an electrician.

[12] "Surrey Advertiser", 16 April 1910.

[13] "West Surrey Times", 16 March 1917. Boy Motor Driver. Thought he had killed someone.

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