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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Farncombe Railway Station, 1905

This is the north western facing elevation, viewed from Station Road. Whilst at first glance little has changed in the intervening years, the large canopy over the main entrance has gone, the fenced off 'garden' on the right has become a car park and the footbridge to the down platform has lost both its roof and the windows. The massive telegraph pole on the far side of the track has also been replaced. Also of note are the tall chimneys and the first floor blind "attic" windows at each end of the brick and stone structure.

The card was posted in 1916 and sent to Freddie Thorpe of Surbiton by his grandmother. She noted that this was the "Front View of the Station. ... Gran lives at the back of this" so she must have lived on Summers Road.

Farncombe station was opened for passengers on 1 May 1897 and replaced Old Godalming Station a little further down the line to the south, which continued to be used solely as a goods depot until January 1969[1]. William Henry Pearce, who was born in 1861 in Woodbury in Devon, was the first station master. He was still at Farncombe in 1913[2]. His son, Llewellyn Reginald Pearce, was employed as a Railway Telegraphist in 1911 and in 1939 he was still working for the railway, by then as a Passenger Railway Guard and living in Woking[3].

Notice published in the "Morning Post", 28 April 1897[1]

South Western Railway.
Principal Train Alterations,
Commencing 1st May.
On Saturday, 1st May, a NEW STATION will be OPENED
for Passenger Traffic at FARNCOMBE, situated between Guildford
and Godalming (New), and from that date the booking of passengers at
Godalming (Old) Station will cease, and be transferred to Farncombe
Station, and the Service of Passenger Trains to and from Godalming
(Old) will be discontinued. For full particulars of Train Service to
and from Farncombe, see pages 60, 61 and 62 of Time-book. Goods
Traffic will be dealt with at Godalming (Old) as hitherto. ...

By 1924 Godalming and Farncombe stations were sharing the same station master[4].

A few yards to the right of the station is a road junction and level crossing with a signal box (the West Box)[5]. In 1925 this junction was the scene of a minor drama and a lucky escape when a steamroller ran down Farncombe Street towards the level crossing. The driver, having narrowly avoided colliding with a motor-lorry, steered his steamroller into a part the level crossing which had just been opened after the passenger train from Portsmouth to London had gone through. The driver was unhurt but the line was blocked for several hours[6].

William Henry Pearce, with two of his staff and several local children.

Another "sensation" occurred just before the First World War when a hunter, which had been grazing in a field close to the line, heard the sound of an oncoming train. It panicked, jumped over a hedge and wooden fence and landed on the track. Fortunately the driver has seen the animal and slowed, but It then raced in front of the train for half a mile before the station's booking clerk, a Mr. Baxter, managed to grab the horse's halter. He was dragged along but finally managed to stop the frightened animal[7].

What this image doesn't show us is more of the 'garden' area behind the fence, a parcel of land that extended down to Farncombe Street. A single dock siding, its points on the main London bound line and controlled by the Farncombe Street signal box, used to be here. Ordnance Survey Maps[8] show both this and a second, more extensive, siding next to the down line to Portsmouth.

On 13th and 14th June 1930[9] the newly built Schools Class engine, "Southern Railway's three-cylinder express passenger locomotive no. 30903 "Charterhouse", visited the Station Road siding and attracted many visitors including pupils and staff members from the Godalming school[9]. There would have been an official naming ceremony and pupils were allowed in the cab. A final note for train buffs: the loco was cut up at Eastleigh over the weekend of 15 Feb 1964. As a final gesture for all in this class, the name boards were presented to Charterhouse School[10].

Recommended reading for train enthusiasts:
– Derry, Richard (2006) "The Book of the Schools 4-4-0s", Irwell Press, Ltd. ISBN 1-903266-67-X.
– Mitchell, Vic and Smith, Keith (1985, 3rd reprint 2006) "Southern Main Lines Woking to Portsmouth", Middleton Press, Easebourne Lane, Midhurst, GU29 9AZ.

Postcard of "Farncombe Station". Published by F. Frith & Co. Ltd., Reigate, No.53238. First published in 1905 but posted in 1916
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews, with grateful thanks to both Andy Andrews and Duncan Mirylees for their input.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "Morning Post", 28 April 1897. This notice announced the closure of all passenger traffic through Godalming Old and appears in the main text. The station's closure is also mentioned in "Southern Main Lines, Woking to Portsmouth" by Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith (1885) pub Middleton Press. The signal box that controlled the line to Godalming Old was on Marshall Road.

[2] WHP was living at the Living in the Station Master's House on Summers Road in the 1901 census with his wife, Sylvia, and four children. The couple's youngest daughter was born in Farncombe. The family were still at the 7 roomed Station House in 1911 and WHP is listed in Kelly's directory of 1913 (Farncombe Railway Station, William Henry Pearce, station master). Kelly's Directory gives the opening as 1898, but this is incorrect.

[3] Information from the 1939 Register.

[4] Kelly's Directory of Surrey, 1924. The station master for both stations was Sidney J Webb.

[5] Farncombe station used to have two signal boxes. A second (East) box controlled the gates where the line crossed Bourne Road, to the north east of the station. It has been removed. The remaining box on Farncombe Street, opposite the Station Road junction, is to be closed.

[6] "Portsmouth Evening News", 9 April 1925. Runaway Steamroller.

[7] "Daily Citizen" (Manchester), 20 May 1914 and "West Sussex Gazette" 21 May 1914. Old hunter dash. Takes a nasty fence and races a train. The horse belonged to L. J. M. de Michele of Farncombe of Nightingale Road. The incident was widely reported.

[8] See, for example, the 1916 1:2,500 OS map.

[9] { Winkworth, D. W. (1982) "The Schools 4-4-0s", London: Allen & Unwin.
    { "West Sussex Gazette", 19 June 1930. With grateful thanks for both pieces of information from two members of the Southern Railway Email Group.

[10] The date the engine was cut up was published in Derry (see above book recommendation). The school eventually sold one of the two name boards but the other has been retained by Charterhouse.

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