Godalming, Surrey> Picture Gallery> Godalming Section> This page
The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Robinites, former Charterhouse School Boarding House
Robinites, Hindhead Road, 1906

Robinites was built on the plateau above Godalming in the early days of the school's migration from London, directly opposite Bodeites on what was then Hindhead Road. If the structure still existed today it would be on Twycross Road, opposite the road's junction with Frith Hill Road. Like so many of the school's former "outhouses", it was demolished in the early 1970s and its grounds are now covered over by housing although the house name lives on as a replacement boarding house was built within the school's grounds in 1973.

It was never one of the bigger outhouses. In 1881 there were 21 boys in residence, in 1891 20 boys were there and in 1901 21 boys lived in[1]. The school's first historian, A. H. Tod, recorded 29 boys in Robinites in the 1910-1919 era and the number of boys living there was to be raised. Robinites and Bodeites had both taken on a slightly larger number of boys, and the accommodation in both houses was said to be greatly improved. They were also lit by electricity[2].

Robinites was a contraction of Robinsonites[2], named after George Henry Robinson (1842 -10 Sep 1909) who was the first housemaster as well as the school's organist and music master[3] and had joined the staff in 1872. He had received the degree of Mus. Bac. at a Convocation of the University of Cambridge in 1885[4]. He retired in 1901 and was succeeded as organist by Mr. E. D. Rendall[2]. George Robinson passed away at 62, The Parade, Leamington in 1909 although he was living at Fareham at that time[5]. He was survived by his wife Jenny / Jennie[6].

Oswald Hawkins Latter, M.A. (1864-11 Oct 1948), who taught Natural Science, became the housemaster of Robinites in 1909; in 1911 he was living there with his wife and two daughters, ten servants (including the matron for boarders, three nurses and the cook, and 29 boarders[7]. Mr. Latter had previously lived at Laleham, which was nearby and a former home of the Huxley family; for a time he was the acting headmaster[8]. When Charterhouse school's museum was built in 1891 there were two rooms, one mostly devoted to archaeology and the other covering Natural Science, designed respectively by S. Davies and O. H. Latter[9]. Mr. Latter retired from teaching in 1926; by early 1944 it was reported that he had kept a daily record of the weather for 53 years[10]. Later that year he retired from the chairmanship of Godalming Higher Education Committee and of the governors of Godalming County School because of his age and increased deafness.

Robinites in 1927
A similar view of Robinites, this image published in 1927.
Some of the trees in front of the house had disappeared by this time.

Mabel Pope was the matron of Robinites for over 20 years[11], so she would have served under both Mr. Latter and his successor Francis William Bolton Smart (post war Lt. Col. Smart[12]). The 1939 Register shows Aubrey H Scott as the housemaster of Robinites.

What happened to Robinites and the other outhouses.

Following an appeal to raise funds, Girdlestones had been modernised in 1962 and Robinites was next on the list[13]; it was updated in 1964[14]. Having tried to restore one house with the boys living on the site, it was then decided to seek a different solution. This was to rapidly install single storey units - Terrapin buildings - on the Markenhorn field where the pupils were to reside for about a year whilst their house underwent major refurbishment[15]. Once the work on one house was completed and the pupils were back in their original accommodation, another house would be emptied.

The school eventually concluded that it would be too expensive to refurbish more of its old properties and decided to construct replacement buildings within the school's perimeter. A purpose built Robinites was the second of the seven new houses to open in late 1973[16] and was to have about 60 study/bedrooms of varying shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the house should have opened earlier but by August 1973 the work was already three months behind schedule; this was partly blamed on the Power worker's strike of 1972 as "construction of the prefabricated walls and ceilings was held up"[16].

Robinites and the other outhouses were to be demolished. The Local Planning Authority also needed to make a decision about what would happen to the old buildings and their land when it was sold on and how it could be redeveloped in 1973. Unfortunately, there was a fire in the abandoned Robinites building in late 1974[14]. Part of the proposal to be considered involved "about 16 acres (gross) between Farncombe Road and Frith Hill Road and comprising "Robinites," "Pageites," "Daviesites," "Bernina" and "Twycross" (opposite the Manor House). It was proposed that 88 detached dwellings with garages would be built on the land[17].

Although the gardens became very overgrown following the departure of the boys and the staff, houses were built on the land that had been occupied by the boarding houses at the top of Farncombe Hill. Their former occupancy is reflected in the names given to some of the roads within the housing development today.

Other Charterhouse "outhouses" built in the 19th century





1. "Robinites, Charterhouse", published by Craddock, Publisher, Godalming, Copyright. Printed in Saxony. Unused. The Stamp box states Affix Half Penny Stamp. Frith published the same view in 1906.
2. "Robinites, Charterhouse". Published by P. and G. Wells, Charterhouse. A Frith's Series card, No.79370 and published in 1927. Unused.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Pupil numbers extracted from census returns.

[2] Tod, A. H., M.A. (2nd Ed., Revised) (1919) "Charterhouse". Handbook to the Great Public Schools. London : George Bell and Sons Portugal St. Lincoln's Inn W.C. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell & Co New York : The MacMillan Co Bombay : A. H. Wheeler & Co. With grateful thanks to Clive Carter, a former Charterhouse headmaster, for the loan of this book.

[3] George H Robinson, who was born in Leamington Spa, is listed in the Post Office Directory, 1878 and Kelly's Directory, 1891. Both he and his wife can also be found in the 1881, 1891 and 1901 census returns which is where the pupil numbers were recorded. In 1891 his sister Amy was living with the couple.

[4] "Leamington Spa Courier", 19 December 1885. Musical.

[5] "Leamington Spa Courier",17 September 1909. Announcement of death.

[6] "Leamington Spa Courier", 13 September 1912 and 1911 census.

[7] 1911 census. Robinites had 27 rooms. O. H. Latter was to move to The Elms on Charterhouse Road by 1924; it remained his home until he passed away.

[8] Veale, W (1957) "From a New Angle. Reminiscences of Charterhouse 1880-1945". P & G. Wells, Ltd., Winchester.

[9] Jameson, E. M. (1937) "Charterhouse". Blackie & Son Limited, London and Glasgow.

[10] "West Sussex Gazette", 20 January 1944.

[11] "The Times", 23 May, 1938. Notice of Miss Pope's death.

[12] Kelly's Directory of 1924 shows him still at Robinites (Smart, Lt. Col, F. W. B. T.D., M.A.). By 1939 Lt. Col. Smart was retired although he was still in Godalming, living opposite the school at Rathmoyle on Hurtmore Road.

[13] "The Times", 9 Sep 1962. E. J. Hartwell had become housemaster, replacing Mr. Dicken.

[14] "Charterhouse Archives", Catalogue Digitised by TNA, GB1143 Charterhouse.

[15] "Surrey Advertiser", 18 August 1962. Top-speed job at Charterhouse. The prefab took eight men 24 hours to erect. There were dormitories, baths, kitchens, dining rooms, studies and staff accommodation.

[16] "Surrey Advertiser", 17 August 1973. Charterhouse Gets New Look in October. The decision to build the replacement boarding houses had been taken in 1971.

[17] "Surrey Advertiser", 27 April 1973. Local Planning Authority notice that would involve a departure from the Local Plan then in place. The new proposals superseded an advertisement placed in the previous September and included the five boarding houses.

Godalming Pictures Index
Next page
Previous page
Elsewhere on this website
Godalming, Surrey (about)
Godalming, Surrey: Murder, Trial and Execution, 1817-18

Charterhouse School