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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Godalming High Street, early twentieth century

This view is looking broadly west towards the Pepperbox/Pepperpot in the distance.

The young errand boy with his friend, who is lolling nonchalantly against the lamp post, are both standing outside The Capital and Counties Bank at what was then 89 High Street. Valentine Norman's chemist's shop, "by appointment to Charterhouse" in 1891[1] when he was living at and working from 87 High Street[2], was beneath the circular suspended sign a few doors along. The shop was on the corner of Hart's Yard. Mr. Norman was still there in 1901[3] but by 1911 he had moved to 6 Queen Street[4] and his chemist's later moved to 12a High Street[5].

On the right hand side of the road is a large red brick building with an impressive round arched sash central window at first floor level. Most of the property was by this time a store run by Arthur Augustus Barfoot (Barfoot & Co.) at 20 and 21 High Street. He sold school outfits and was also "by appointment to Charterhouse"[5] as well as a costumier, tailor, hosier, hatter and shirt maker. The Barfoot family initially lived above the shop[3] but by 1911 had moved to Risegate on Marshall Road[4]. The right hand window of their shop is full of shirts.

However, this large three storey property had in earlier times been a coaching inn known as the Great George, which extended to the corner of the High Street where it meets Great George Street. By 1851 the building had been split and was no longer an inn, with Dr. Frederick Yate (later of the King's Arms) in one half and Reverend Evan Edward Russell and his paying pupils in the other. Then in 1853 James Figman applied for licence for the "Great George" tavern, which had recently opened as a beer-house on the eastern end of the building after being closed for several years. The licence was refused but in 1855 the Great George inn and eating house, run by James Wigman[6], was open. The premises cannot be seen this picture but today there are four shops along the ground floor of the former inn.

Next along the road are two small shops with what looks like Register or Regency Office Servants written between the windows on the first floor.

Beyond that is a slightly shorter three storey building, with a large lamp over the front door, which housed the Little George Inn at 25-26 High Street. The Little George for many years occupied just the three storey building but eventually incorporated the two storey property next door (where Mr. Chennell and his housekeeper were murdered in 1817[7]). The two became Timothy Whites in 1929 and the premises is now Waterstones at 68 & 70 High Street. Godalming Post Office was housed in the back of the bookshop for some years but has now moved elsewhere.

Licensees/publicans of the Little George from the 1840s onwards included:

  • In 1844 the licence of the Little George Inn, Godalming, was transferred from Richard Wells to Henry Moon[8];
  • James Tucker was there in the 1850s (1851 census, although inn/pub name not given, and 1855 Directory[6]);
  • In 1865 Henry Griffiths, landlord of the Little George, was summoned (from information provided by P.C. Atkins) for keeping his house open for the sale of beer during the hours prohibited by law on Sunday 12 Feb. He was fined 1l. and 17s costs[8].
  • The Inn Keeper in 1871 was George Edwards, aged 29 who was born in Godalming. The widowed Sarah Balchin, shopkeeper, was in the adjoining shop. Edwards was still the landlord in 1877 when the Sun Brewery, together with six licensed houses and a hosiery factory which had all been owned by William Smeed, were auctioned. The Little George was one of the six inns and described as "Most eligibly situate in the High-street. There is a shop adjoining"[9];
  • Lewis H Luck (1881 census);
  • Sarah Luff, who took over after her husband Frederick died in 1890 (1891 census);
  • In 1893 Mr. J. W. Benham, landlord of the Little George, catered for a treat put on for the navvies who were laying the mains drainage. Over 100 men were given a supper in the Masonic Hall. The food was paid for by the ex-Mayor, J. C. Collier J.P."[10];
  • John H. White (1901 census);
  • Henry Gardiner (1911 census [4] and 1913 Directory[5]);
  • Robert Stanbridge was the last landlord (Kelly's Directory, 1924) .

"High Street, Godalming". No publisher. Published early twentieth century as there are instructions about the writing space on the divided back. Not posted.
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


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

[2] 1891 census information can be found on FindMyPast.

[3] 1901 census (FindMyPast).

[4] 1911 census (FindMyPast).

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

[6] "Post Office Directory of Surrey" (1855).

[7] See Godalming, Surrey : Murder, Trial & Execution, 1817-18

[8] "Sussex Advertiser", 11 June 1844. Guildford. County Bench.

[9] "Hampshire Telegraph", 21 and 28 April 1877. Mellersh were selling the properties of the late Mrs. Bateman, previously Mrs. Emma Smeed.

[10] "Surrey Advertiser", 13 November 1893. Godalming. Treat to the Navvies.

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