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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Hindhead Road and Water Tower

In late 1877 a notice was placed in The London Gazette stating that an application was to be made to the Board of Trade by the Frith Hill, Godalming, and Farncombe Water Company Limited for "authority to construct and maintain waterworks and works connected therewith, and to supply water to Frith Hill, Godalming, Farncombe, and other places" in the parish of Godalming. It was to include "a service reservoir and water tower ... on Frith Hill on a plot of ground situate between the roads known as Hindhead-road and Knoll-road at or near the junction of those roads"[1]. Hindhead Road is today known as Frith Hill Road.

The reservoir and castellated water tower were opened by Lord Midleton of Peperharow Park in 1880[2] in a brief ceremony at the engine house. This was followed by lunch in a marquee near the water tower. Those present included the headmaster of Charterhouse school and several members of his staff.

Before any work had been undertaken, trial bore holes had been sunk; it was proved that an inexhaustible supply of water was to be obtained from the lower greensand. The water was also analysed by a number of people who concluded that it was "wholesome, palatable, and of excellent quality for dietetic purposes." The reservoir, capable of holding 360,000 gallons, was on brow of the hill, whilst the engine and boiler house were at the foot. The tower was constructed of Bargate stone and brick and the first manager of the enterprise was a Mr. Ede, from Cambridge[3].

In 1900 Godalming Corporation "agreed to pay the Frith Hill, Godalming, and Farncombe Water Company, Ltd., the sum of £51,000 for its undertaking, and all expenses incurred by the company in winding up its affairs"[4].

This image shows the water tower around 1910, though the entrance to Knoll Road looks smaller than it is today. The structure is now Grade II listed[5].

In 1988 the then disused water tower was purchased from Thames Water. Elspeth Beard, an award winning architect, hoped to turn it into a six storey home. It took her six years to complete and the outcome included two staircases to meet fire regulations, custom made windows and a new roof[6].

The fence on the left belonged to Woodcote; the large house that was there when this picture was taken was demolished and replaced by a number of smaller homes.

"Hindhead Road and Water Tower, Godalming". Published by S. G. Eaton, Stationer, Godalming. The Milton Post Card. Posted 20 Apr 1910 at Wormley. Sent to a Miss Alice Mitchell of Petersfield who was about to visit.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "The London Gazette", 23 November 1877. Board of Trade.-Session 1878. It was placed by Hugh F. Day Solicitor, Godalming and others.

[2] "Kelly's Directory of Surrey", 1891.

[3] "Surrey Advertiser", 7 August 1880. Opening of the Frith Hill, Godalming and Farncombe Waterworks.

[4] "Surrey Mirror", 6 March 1900. The Act had been passed in the last session. Godalming was described as "the smallest of our Surrey municipalities".

[5] Further information may be found on the British Listed Buildings web site.

[6] "The Times", 19 August, 1995 mentioned her using the original 1898 spiral staircase and the same paper 15 July, 1998 provided a little more information about planning, etc.

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Frith Hill, 1895

General view shows the pumping station at Deanery Farm