Guildford is the largest town straddling the course of the River Wey. Commanding a key geographic position directly between London and the industrious south coast, especially the long productive naval shipyards in Portsmouth, has given the town many centuries of opportunity.
Guildford, with a competiveness rating of 121.2 (UK 100), has actually slipped in its score by two points since 2006. The town has the strength as being recognised as one of the country's most important sites for high-technology and knowledge-based economic activity.
(1) The index ranks localities with a population of over 100,000 as a 'city'. London due to its size is rated as a 'region'.
& WEY CHEAP
In 1919 the average price of a house in Guildford was recorded
House prices in West Surrey covering Guildford increased by 11% (August 2006 - July 2007) with the average cost of property reaching £309,000, against a national average of £184,131. Source: Nationwide Building Society
At a time (2008) when property prices are now beginning to take a fall elsewhere in the UK, Guildford appears to be holding its own:
“Guildford is a strong commuter zone with a market which is fed by London but also supported by strong local and international demand,” says Lucian Cook, a director of Savills research. “While applicant numbers fell heavily in some other areas, those in Guildford in November, December and January remained at just under 97 per cent of the level for the same three months a year earlier.” Source: timesonline.co.uk 7th March 2008
And a survey (August 2008) reconfirmed Guildford's position at the top of the Most Expensive University Towns league. The Times survey ranking the town in the number one slot showed an average house price in June 2008 of £363,503 (up from £285,592 five years before) above Winchester, Bath and Oxford. Coventry was bottom with £164,888.
Guildford is ranked (August 2009) as the second most expensive city for students to live in the UK. Coming in at an average weekly rent of £87.86 Guildford way exceeds the national average of £62.61 London took the top spot with rents reaching £104.13, with Cambridge in third place at £86.95. In 2004 average rents for student digs were just £52.44 a week. Source: The Argus 15th August 2009
Town of The Golden Ford
Guildford is a market town and the county town of Surrey, and is located in a gap in the North Downs where the River Wey breaks through the hills. The name Guildford translates from ancient English as ‘the town of the golden ford’. The ford to which this refers is that that was once located next to the spring at St Catherine’s Hill.
Straddling the main road network linking London with Portsmouth, and boasting a railway network that radiates out in six directions, has been a key to the town’s success. The first railway reached the town in 1845, and in the decade after this when the railway finally reached Portsmouth, the thriving London-Guildford-Portsmouth coach trade floundered, and along with it the majority of the coaching inns that relied on the coaches passengers for their trade.
There is evidence that Guildford was the site of ancient settlements including Saxon. The Saxon settlement was originally established on a site on the east side of the river, but which grew to encompass the west bank of the river around the site of St Mary’s Church in Quarry Street, the oldest building in the town. The site of a Romano-British temple has been identified at Wanborough on the outskirts of the town.
The first written record of the town is in the will of King Alfred when he gave Gyldeford to his nephew Etheldred. The town was at the centre of much of the period’s power upheavals and had its share of bloodshed. When King Canute died, there was a period of unrest in England with confusion over the succession. Alfred Atheling (brother-in-law of Edward the Confessor and son of Ethelred the Unready) sailed to England from Normandy with an army in an attempt to take the throne. He was captured at Guildford after being betrayed by Earl Godwin and his eyes put out. His supporters were massacred and their remains were buried in the Saxon cemetery on the outskirts of Guildford at Guildown.
Guildford had become one of the most important towns in Surrey by the time of the Norman invasion in 1066. An eye witness account at the time tells of being able to see the sacking of Shalford Manor with smoke from the burning building clearly visible from the Saxon tower of St Mary’s church. William the Conqueror passed through Surrey on his way to London from Hastings.
At the time of Edward the Confessor (1003 – 1066) the town was still in the ownership of the Crown, and was to remain so until the time of James I when it was granted to the Earls of Aunandale, and eventually ended up in the hands of the Onslows of Clandon.
A royal castle was built in the town in the time of William the Conqueror. The ruins of Guildford Castle that remain today are confined to the central square keep and a few outer walls. The Norman keep (GR: SU997494) was the only one to be built in the county, and is of three stories towering 70 feet (21 metres) above the town. The walls at the foundations are 10 feet (3 metres) thick and are cased with chalk, flint, sandstone and ragstone and have herringbone and fern leaf decorations.
The structure, which was probably built not long after William the Conqueror seized power in 1066, follows the classic Norman design of a motte on which the central tower was erected with the chalk excavated for the mound leaving a deep defensive ditch, and a bailey which provided a secure courtyard below. Much of the original bailey ditch was filled in when the bailey was further extended in around 1200 to where Quarry Street now is. The original buildings in the bailey would have been of timber but were upgraded to stone structures in the 12th century.
The fortification was built in stages. First a 'shell-keep' of chalk was built around the top of the motte. In the 1130s and 1140s the 'great tower' was built in two phases with the height of the first phase battlements marked out in the plaster, this probably being the king's private apartments and which would have been reached by an outside staircase. Not long later a second floor was added.
Henry III (1207-1272), who favoured Guildford castle and was to often take up residence here over the Christmas festive season, spent a great deal of money on upgrading the buildings and provided for lavish decorations.
As the only royal castle in Surrey it became an important administrative centre and served as the headquarters of the sheriff, who acted as the king's deputy in the county. Trials were held here for serious crimes and by the time the king had new apartments constructed in the bailey the keep served as the gaol for both the counties of Surrey and Sussex, with early reference dating back to 1202 when a record of 4s was made for repairs for that purpose. It appears that the gaol here was still operational in 1508 according to deed records for the maintenance of prisoners made at that time, although not for county use. A new gaol was built in Quarry Street in 1604 which was in use until 1822 at which time it was resited to South Hill. This was the last gaol in Guildford and closed in 1851 after which time prisoners were sent to the House of Correction in Wandsworth in London.
The ruins near the Castle Hill entrance are thought possibly to be the site of the King's Great Chamber which would have served as his private quarters. Official records suggest that the chamber was panelled with wood, the ceilings were decorated with moons and stars, and the windows were glazed - a real luxury in the 13th century. Both the king and queen had their own private chapels near the Great Chamber.
The Great Hall would have been the focus of royal life at the castle, and close by there was a complex of buildings that accommodated an entourage of officials, courtiers and servants who attended to the king and queen's every need. The royal children would have been housed here too. It is thought that the Great Hall was sited where the Victorian brick houses stand today.
The Castle Arch by the museum was constructed as a fortified gate by Henry III in 1256. It was constructed by the king's master mason John of Gloucester, and you can see the grooves on either side of the gateway in which the portcullis (1) slid into position to seal off the entrance. In 2009 renovation and repair was carried out on the arch, a Grade II* Scheduled Ancient Monument. The structure itself was deemed as being sufficiently sound but the renovation was needed to repair and protect the surface which has been cracking and crumbling due to water and frost damage to the chalk.
A bronze relief mounted on the gardens' wall by the Castle Street entrance depicts the castle as the artist imagined it to be in the 13th century. It shows the fully completed keep with its motte and bailey defences rising high above the town. There is activity within the castle walls and two mounted figures accompanied by a dog approach the gate either side of two peasants carrying a deer slung over a pole.
The plaque carries the following inscription:
(1) The portcullis would have been made of wood or metal, or most likely a combination of the two, and as a large latticed grille was cranked up and down in its grooves by a system of chains or ropes using a winch.
Maintenance records have survived which chart daily life at the castle, which at its zenith was regarded as one of the most luxurious royal residences in England. These include orders in the time of Henry III for the repair of the great hall, the decorating of the king’s bed, and the arranging of the queen’s herbary. There were regular royal visits with records of Henry II, John and Henry III having often stayed there.
The outlaw Gordon was arrested in the area by Prince Edward and was delivered into the hands of his father Henry III at the castle. Visits by Edward III were recorded in 1336, 1340 and 1347.
After Henry III died in 1272 the castle had a chequered history in terms of its preservation. The brick window frames and fireplaces in the keep were added in the 1540s when the castle was owned by the Daborne family.
However by the 17th century it had fallen into disrepair and was eventually bought in 1611 from James I by one Francis Carter who renovated the keep. The family eventually gave up the keep as a home and built a house by the Castle Arch, now the museum. By 1630 the house which was built into the northern gate tower wall had been constructed in a hall-and-crosswings plan typical to the area. It was around this time that the roof of the great tower was removed, probably for use as building material. It is clad in brick with tile-hangings on the upper storeys. The mueum took over the building in 1898.
By 1885 the castle had deteroriated quite significantly and the ruins were bought by Guildford Borough Council from Lord Grantley in order to protect them. Almost £750,000 was committed by the council in 2003 to a major conservation project on the structure, which is scheduled as an ancient monument. In 2004 a new roof and floors were put into the tower.
The grounds of the castle were opened to the public in 1888 on the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's coronation by the Borough Surveyor Henry Peak following extensive restoration and today are well maintained offering a quiet retreat from the hubbub of the High Street a hundred yards away. Peak had specifically intended the grounds to be 'public pleasure gardens' and the layout clearly reflects that. A commemorative plaque to Peak was erected in the castle grounds in 2008. MORE ON PEAK HERE
Castle Cliffe Gardens as named today include the extension added during Henry III’s reign and the ruined walls in the corner are thought to be the quarters of Henry’s son Edward (1239-1307), referred to in documentation as ‘the Lord Edward’s Chamber’. He was to become king as Edward I and was also known as Edward Longshanks in deference to his 6ft 2in stature. The gardens were once part of the grounds of the house of Castle Cliffe further up the hill and were gifted to the borough by Harry Stevens in 1971. The Stevens family around that time also owned the Wey Navigation on which they operated their extensive haulage and barge building business which centred on Dapdune Wharf, and they had also gifted the navigation to the National Trust in 1964.
In 2007 the Guildford Society re-opened Peaks Pond which had been filled in and which has been restored to its 19th century glory using the original design including the fountain and edging. The Society contributed £5,000 towards the project. The pond is maintained by Guildford Borough Council and has solar powered fountains which constantly recycle the water they use.
The area of the grounds that today contains the bandstand and bowling green had been laid out as formal gardens by the early 17th century. This part probably formed the outer bailey of the medieval castle. At the time of the 1888 public opening of the gardens the bowling green had gone to be replaced by the Mayor’s Lawn, and was not reinstated as a bowling green again until 1907. The Guildford House Gallery has in their collection a painting of the green made by Thomas Remington in the early 19th century. The Guildford Castle Green Bowling Club is active here.
A Victorian bandstand also graces the gardens under the setting of a great oak tree. Regularly the venue for all manner of public performances from brass bands and orchestras to rock bands and theatre groups. The Pranksters Theatre Company which was founded in 1977 has for over 25 years put on performances here and The Herald Players have been performing open air Shakespeare here since the 1960s.
Standing proud at the northern end of the green is the Guildford War Memorial. An impressive arch designed by local architect F J Hodgson set in a Garden of Remembrance the memorial has four large panels on the outer pillars containing the 440 names of those local people who gave their lives in the 1914-18 war. A central pillar added to the memorial, which was originally dedicated in 1921 to the First World War, carries four smaller panels with 202 names from the 1939-45 war added in 1952. Many of the soldiers listed had served with the local regiment, The Queen’s, based at Stoughton Barracks. A full list of all those commemorated can be found HERE.
An original gas street lamp has been preserved here. It was originally erected by the Guildford Gas Light and Coke Company in 1824 for the trustees of the turnpike road at the junction of London and Epsom Roads and is highly unusual being constructed of stone with a 10ft (3m) fluted Doric column standing on a square pedestal and plinth.
The stunning life-sized statue of Alice Through the Looking Glass was created by Jean Argent under commission from the Municipal General Insurance company and was erected in the gardens in 1990. Author Lewis Carroll’s family lived in The Chestnuts on Castle Hill with their house overlooking the gardens from 1868 until 1919 and he died here in 1898 having caught flu. Although Carroll lived in Oxford, as head of the Dodgson family (3) being the oldest brother to six unmarried sisters after the death of their father he acquired the lease for the house to provide a home for them. He did visit frequently during university vacations and many of his later works were inspired by his stays. Alice in Wonderland had been published before he came to Guildford although in 1871 he completed his second Alice book Through the Looking Glass whilst staying at Guildford. It is also believed that the idea of The Hunting of the Snark came to him whilst taking one of his many long walks in the area. The statue stands in the garden that once belonged to Castle Gate which is immediately beyond the railings. Its location is also quite apt in that the author was a frequent visitor to a young girl Miss Edith Haydon who lived at Castle Gate. He took a photo of her standing against the sloping garden wall here. On the wall is a plaque commemorating the opening of the Castle grounds extension in 1989.
(3) Lewis Carroll was the pen name of the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson who was an Oxford mathematics tutor at Christchurch College in Oxford.
The castle keep is open to visitors for a small entrance fee from March until September, although opening times vary according to the season. The gardens are free to access and are open all year round from dawn to dusk.
Running beneath the castle and into the hill across the southern boundary are extensive chalk tunnels and galleries. These caverns consist of a large cave measuring 45ft by 20ft (14m by 6m) and reaching to 9ft (2.7m) in height from which run passages running as far as 120ft (36m) in different directions. One of the tunnels was dug 105ft (32m) beneath what is now the road through Quarry Hill.
These man-made workings, which consist of eight linked chambers, are ancient quarries which provided the building materials for the castle and other early buildings locally, and Quarry Street running alongside was named after these. The quarries were particularly renowned for the durable properties of chalk clunk. Archaelogists believe that a perpendicular shaft sunk into the workings from above was a cesspit probably used for the gaol above. Some historians believe that in 1688 the women and children of the town hid in the tunnels to avoid detection by an invading Irish army.
The caverns, which are sealed and not accessible to the public, have been opened in modern times to quarry chalk for repairs to the castle.
Guildford historian Stan Newman, who believes that the caverns were the site of a brutal massacre of 600 Norman soldiers 1,000 years ago, is campaigning (April 2008) to have the underground caves opened up to the public. The soldiers were killed along with Prince Alfred, son of King Ethelbert, by Godwin the Earl of Kent in a power struggle. In pre-war years, after a clean-up organised by Lord Grantley in 1869, the caverns were accessible by the public which included lantern-lit tours. One tour in 1905 attracted 2,500 visitors. However Guildford Borough Council, who commissioned a survey in February 2008 by structural consultants, believe the caves to be too unsound and will require considerable work to make them safe for public access.
The site of another quarry (GR: SU998487) half a mile away in Chantry View Road (off A281 Shalford Road) is the subject of continuing local debate after the application by a property developer to build 14 houses on the site was resurrected (March 2009). Latchmere Properties original application for 31 apartments was rejected after strong resistance for local residents and the lodging of 85 objections with the council.
Guildford has had the status of a Borough since the 11th century, and became the County Town in 1257 having been granted its Royal Charter by Henry III the year before. From the time of Edward I until 1867 the town had two members of parliament representing its interests when a new Act reduced this to one. The Act provided for a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councilors.
The town you see today is considerably different from that even of the 18th century. The town in a 1739 map The Ichnography compares significantly in size with that of a 1613 one, showing little growth between the two. The High Street was all dominant with gates and passages leading to North Street and Castle Street. Other streets were populated but not to the degree they are today. Plots along streets were divided up into gardens, one of which as the garden of the Red Lion provided produce for the kitchens, and it is said that Samuel Pepys particularly enjoyed the asaparagus grown there when he stayed in the town.
The town has seen incredible population growth over modern times. By 1901 it was over 43,000, the rate of growth far exceeding the national average for the same period. Driven by the town’s strategic location straddling the navigable river, and its proximity to both London and the industrious south coast centering on the shipyards at Portsmouth the population had exploded by 2001 trebling to 129,717.
The economic profile of the town is well documented. The dominant trend has been to shift the town away from industry to a service provider with 74% of the local population being employed in the service sector. This was only 48% in 1841. For Guildford this sector provides services in shops, hotels, catering, financial, local government and health care. The census of 1841 had the majority of workers in the service sector classified as domestic servants, who at the time did not work just for the rich but also in most middle class houses and even for the best paid skilled manual workers. Over this 160 year period Guildford has consistently had a far higher proportion of workers in the service sector than the national average.
Guildford has been blessed by relative wealth through much of its history, and ever since national censuses began has had unemployment rates significantly lower than those recorded nationally. For example in 1931 male unemployment nationally was running at almost 13% of the working age population, in Guildford this was running at 5%. In 2001 nationally this had dropped to 6%, with Guildford only having to support a 2.6% unemployment rate. The distribution of wealth has dramatically broadened since 1841 when 17% of male workers had middle class jobs. In 2001 that percentage had jumped to over 64%. One measure of relative wealth used by statisticians has been the facilities available to home dwellers. In 1951 over 18% of households lacked their own toilet, by 2001 this lack of such an essential facility had virtually been eliminated (0.6%). Other measures included the percentage of households with more than one person per room, which from the first available records on this measure in 1931 to the 2001 census Guildford was running at a considerably lower percentage than the national average.
Guildford Museum (GR: SU996493), founded in 1898 when the Surrey Archaeological Society was formed, resides in an old house in Quarry Street built into the old castle walls adjacent to the castle gate. The museum boasts the largest collection of archaeology, local history and needlework in Surrey, including original collections dating back to 1854.
A rich resource tapping into the history of this important hub on the River Wey, the museum has rare items on display including Palaeolithic hand axes, a Roman priest’s headdress, Saxon coins, medieval tiles, 17th century pottery and glass. Hundreds of items over the years have been donated by people which has helped the total collection reach an estimated 78,000 items (2009). A large proportion of the collection is made up of objects found in the area, manufactured here (for example an original Friary brewery wooden cask) or were owned by someone with a strong link to the town (a good example being toys belonging to the Rev Charles Dodgson's family aka Lewis Carroll).
The museum collection includes the human remains of 85 individuals ranging in date from the Neolithic (10,000 to 4,000 years ago) to as recently the medieval period (up to 700 years ago). Several exist as almost complete skeletons although the majority are only partial remains such as a skull or long bone from an arm or leg. The collection includes the remains of 47 people excavated from an Anglo Saxon cemetery in Ashtead near Leatherhead between 1985 and 1989. The museum, along with others throughout the country, has been formally contacted (August 2008) by a Pagan group Honouring the Ancient Dead requesting that they are involved in decisions as to how such human remains are dealt with in storage, display and reburial. The museum’s response to the group’s questionnaire requesting information about human remains held can be found HERE.
The Guildhall (GR: SU997495) in the High Street was built in Tudor times, and was converted in 1683 to include the highly distinctive decorative clock made by John Aylwards that considerably overhangs the granite sets of the cobbled street below. Innerworkings of the clock date back to 1560 and the original bell, purportedly from St Martha’s Chapel, had to be replaced when it became cracked. A fifty foot long hall contains portraits of Charles II, James II and the Speaker Onslow. The council chamber above the hall has at its end an unusual chimney piece which was originally sited at Stoughton House. A set of standard measures presented to the town by Elizabeth I are kept in the Guildhall, and are one of only a few complete sets that have survived.
Vandals damaged the Guildhall clock (September 2010) when they climbed temporary scaffolding erected to the outside of the building for maintenance work and wound the clock forward by pulling on the hands. A specialist was employed to repair the internal mechanism.
Opposite the Guildhall is the Tunsgate (GR: SU997495) The market that had traded at the bottom of the High Street was relocated here in 1818 and a few market traders still use the grand Tuscan style portico today. As the official Corn Exchange, where merchants secured trade for grain with the many millers along the Wey Valley, the building was also often turned over to serve as the Assize Court with many a comment made as to the dust and musky smell of the hastily cleared out interior. Once the Assizes were lost to Kingston-upon-Thames and the Corn Exchange became less important with the decline in the milling industry, the building was part demolished to open up access to the street behind. The portico did originally have four pillars evenly spaced but the two central ones were moved in 1933 to allow motor vehicles to pass through.
The Guildford Institute
The Guildford Institute, on the corner of Ward Street and North Street, was originally founded as the Guildford Mechanics Institute in 1834 during a nationwide drive to meet the demands of the Industrial Revolution and the powerful social changes being triggered at the time. By the end of the century the Institute was a formative and popular focus for social and cultural life in the town.
After the Second World War new government bodies were formed which were to provide many of the educational functions the Mechanics Institute had been formed to provide, and so the organisation quickly fell into decline. The Ward Street building was Grade II listed in 1974.
The Institute’s library has a large collection of press cuttings books and photographs, much originating from the late Victorian period and early 20th century, and has a large collection of annual volumes including the Illustrated London News, Punch, The Engineer and The Sphere (1). Members also have access to a borrowers library of newly-published books including fiction and non-fiction, including biographies and autobiographies many dating back to 1892 when the library took up its present location. The library has over 13,000 catalogued volumes of which almost 2,000 predate the First World War. An index of much of the library’s resources has been made available online.
The Beano Restaurant in the Assembly Room and Ladies Room serves vegetarian lunches every weekday and the first Saturday of the month during school term time.
A brass plaque by the door commemorates the fact that Guildford Chess Club has played matches at the Institute for over a century, and continues to do so.
Surrey University announced (December 2007) that it will be withdrawing from a long standing association with the Institute, originating in 1982, which had provided much needed funding to keep the organisation afloat. The university, in a ‘merger of partnership’, made use of lecture rooms whilst the Institute could continue to organise regular talks and events for its 500 members. Other organisations were also able to hire facilities in the building. The University estimated that it has supported the Institute to the tune of £500,000 over the last 10 years, which has included an annual grant of £30,000 to fund educational courses and a £200,000 interest free loan. The arrangement came to an end in August 2008.
The Institute continues to generate an income by hiring out facilities including meeting rooms and providing educational courses, although there is some doubt as to how it will now face a certain future. A new management committee formed to manage the split with the university also introduced new initiatives with a new adult education programme and strengthened the regular programme of current affairs and arts lectures. The paid positions of caretaker and receptionists were also replaced by volunteers to save money, and the library continues also to be staffed by volunteers.
(1) Illustrated London News (published 1842 - 2006), Punch (published 1841 - 2002) ,The Engineer (founded 1856 and still publishing) and The Sphere (published 1900 - ??)
The Institute was used by BBC3 to film part of an episode of it's Naked series showing five female estate agents undergoing a radical confidence building programme. The scene filmed at the Institute involved the group individually having to undertake a persoanlpresentation to members of the Guildford Debating Society followed by a questions and answers session. The episode was broadcast in February 2009. The series, presented by psychologist Emma Kenny, seeks to test how far a group of people will go to overhaul their self-image.
Ancient Coaching Inn
The Angel Hotel (GR: SU996495) is the only coaching inn left in Guildford and the courtyard where the horses were changed lies behind. Beneath the inn lie remarkable vaults dating back to the 13th century which have since been converted into a restaurant. The Angel boasts of famous customers who have stayed at the inn by naming rooms after them. These included Sir Francis Drake, Lord Nelson and his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton, and Jane Austen. Oliver Cromwell billeted his troops there which forced the inn into bankruptcy.
The earliest records relating to the building are contained in a deed when Sir Christopher More bought the property from Pancras Chamberleyn in 1527 for £10. Sir Christopher More’s son and heir, a minister to Elizabeth I, was later to build nearby Loseley House. The first documentation relating to the building as an inn is that of the will of a yeoman of Cranleigh, John Astret, who bequeathed it to his son Thomas in 1606. The building was almost demolished in 1989 for conversion of the site to shops, but planning permission was witheld following a well publicised public outcry.
The Guildford Coach ran a scheduled service at the end of the 19th century from London to the Angel Hotel. Their timetable printed in 1895 showed that passengers departing from outside the Berkeley Hotel in Piccadilly, London at 11.00 am would reach Guildford before 4.00 pm. The return journey from outside the Angel Hotel departed at 4.00 pm and arrived back in Piccadilly at 7.00 pm. The fare one-way was 10 shillings, although for an extra 2s 6d you could secure a box seat. Passengers’ luggage was carried free. It was possible to travel part of the route with a 4d per mile charge and a minimum fare of 1s. The timetable shows that horses were changed at Kingston Vale by Richmond Park and again at The Bear in Esher in Surrey. Passengers were able to follow their journey and look out for landmarks and places of interest listed on the timetable.
Another historic inn in the town is The Three Pigeons at the top of the High Street. A Grade II listed building, which reportedly is graced by a poltergeist, is believed to have provided various services to the public including serving ale from 1646 with its name taken from adjoining grocers, although it didn't become a fully fledged inn until 1755. As the inn grew in popularity it underwent a number of extensions, one of which involved taking over the adjoining Nags Head Inn. The inn was owned by a local brewery in the 19th century and for which the following advertisement was placed in a trade directory in 1874:
Severely damaged by a fire in 1916 The Three Pigeons was rebuilt in its original 17th century style with a mock Jacobean front. As a public house The Three Pigeons in common with other hostelries in the town was used for public meetings. A meeting was convened in the inn's Market Room by a Guildford tobacconist and fishing tackle dealer in 1883 the outcome of which was the founding of the Guildford Angling Society, which is still an active club today. A popular pub with locals it also became a focus of many local events. A 2006 charity fund raising event billed as 'Pubwatch Jailbreak' raised £25,000 for local children's hospice CHASE. The Three Pigeons Team won the event by getting as far away as possible without incurring any cost - and reached Milan in Italy.
The inn has been sold to a company that will be converting the premises into a restaurant and wine bar in November 2007 effectively closing a chapter covering 360 years of history as a public house and presumably will lose its local community focus. Annual visits by the Guildford Mummers (1) are also likely to cease. However the new owners have released a statement saying that they intend to 'return the pub to its original design' and will retain the pub atmosphere on the ground floor with the restaurant confined to the first floor.
(1) Mummers recreate traditional English rituals through storytelling. A Mumming troupe, which is an all-male group dressed in black clothing with blackened faces, visit places where the public are free to gather and perform Mummers' plays. The name originates from medieval times although the Mummers tradition is documented from the mid 18th century. The short plays tend to focus on a battle between good and evil culminating in the administering of a magic potion by the Mummer's Doctor and a declaration that the public house is free of evil by the marking of a chalk cross on the door.
Undercrofts & Caves
Similar medieval vaults, or undercrofts, to those beneath the Angel can also be found beneath 72-74 High Street and 50-54 High Street The latter was discovered in 1995 when the building was being refurbished prior to becoming a bookshop. It appears that the chamber was only in use for about a century and was then blocked off. Its exact purpose is not known although a suggestion has been made that it was a Medieval Jewish Synagogue. Further work in 1997 revealed a house of correction elsewhere on the site dating back to 1611. Ancient manmade caverns have also been long documented in the steep chalk ridge on which the town stands and were re-excavated in 1869.
At an unknown date prior to 1868 Thomas Taunton founded a new brewery in the town. He was already the owner of the Cannon Brewery when he founded the new Friary Brewery, which was named after the Dominican friary that had been established in the town in 1275 by Queen Eleanor, mother of King Edward I. The brewery, which occupied the site that the Friary shopping centre was later to be built on, proved to be a great success and provided significant local employment.
The land was purchased for £3000 and in the process he also secured a steam flour mill which was on the site. Taunton sold the business in 1874 to his business partner Charles Master after a business disagreement. Master paid £950 but also agreed to take on a debt of £2000 that was still outstanding from the original land purchase. The Master family retained ownership until 1959 when the brewery was bought by the London brewers Meux and effectively merged to become Friary Meux. Meux at the time of the merger owned 500 licensed premises and over 140 off-licences in the south of England. The Friary Brewery eventually closed in 1969, six years after Allied Breweries took it over.
Guildford Museum has a number of items from the brewery. These include beer labels, a collection of photographs of the brewery in action, and a perfectly preserved wooden beer cask. The unused cask was donated by a collector who had bought it from the son of a cooper who was employed at the brewery in the early 20th century. The cooper had made the cask himself but had decided to keep it as a memento and it became a feature in the corner of his kitchen in the 1930s. It was his son who eventually sold the cask.
Harvey’s, a department store at 105 - 111 High Street in Guildford, commissioned Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe to design a roof garden inspired by the launch of the first Sputnik earth-orbiting satellite, and to provide “primarily a sky garden, … the underlying idea has been to unite heaven and earth; the sensation is one of being poised between the two”.
When it opened in 1958 it became a popular attraction offering views from the curved lines and circular shapes of a viewing platform over the town to the Downs from across a pond with stepping stones and a waterfall that cascaded down three storeys on the south side of the building.
The garden eventually fell into disrepair and was closed until the House of Fraser took over the building in 2000 and in an ambitious renovation reinstated a smaller garden, sadly without the spectacular waterfall and upper viewing platform, and added the atrium to the front of the store. A condition of the planning application was the reinstatement of the garden.
In 2008 the upper pond was converted into a gravel filter bed providing for clearer water and the need for less maintenance. The plants around the pond include many grasses, varieties of iris and willow with water plants making a central feature. The Jellicoe Roof Garden, which is Grade II listed by English Heritage, is at its best in late summer and is free to visit during store opening times.
The son of a cloth worker, the young George Abbot (1562 - 1633) lived in a house adjoining the bridge in Guildford. A local story relating to how George was to become one of the most powerful figures of his time centres on the river and relates to the dream that his mother had just before his birth. The dream depicted that if she ate jackfish or pike the very next day her child would be empowered with an occasion of such luck that he would rise to great distinction, and hence would be able to pull himself from the abject poverty that otherwise would confront him. She followed the guidance given in the dream, having caught the fish herself in the river below the bridge. As George Abbot and his brother Robert were playing one day on the bridge two gentlemen being struck by their extremely dishevelled appearance and having heard of the curious dream placed them at their own cost at school and were later to sponsor both boys through university.
Hospital of the Blessed Trinity or Abbot Hospital (GR: SU998496)at the top of the High Street was founded in 1619 by Archbishop Abbot, “out of love to the place of my birth”, as an almshouse for the poor. Built to look like the buildings of an Oxford college it has apartments for 12 Brothers and 8 Sisters who had to be aged over sixty, unmarried and Guildford residents for at least 20 years. A building with an impressive gatehouse and the Royal Arms of James I over the door, it has as an interesting feature the tall chimneys that tower above.
George Abbot has a tomb in the Church of Holy Trinity opposie Abbot Hospital at the top of High Street.
As an experiment in June 2005 the Master of Abbot Hospital decided to open their doors to the public for guided tours to include the recently repaired tower, and the Wey Valley site's editor was lucky to be in the first group to be shown around. Well worth a visit, especially to be able to sit in the little chapel with its oversized stained glass windows and climb up the stairs all the way to the roof above the gatehouse and which provides commanding views over the town. Check for a notice on the door to see whether these tours have been extended. The ‘hospital’ still provides accommodation for the 12 Brothers and 8 Sisters, and in the garden to the rear additional accommodation has been built to extend the protected accommodation to more residents.
The Monmouth Room at Abbot’s Hospital hosted an exhibition (November 2008) to tell the story of its founder and the hospital during its early years between 1622 and 1650. George Abbot was determined to repay the town’s kindness in enabling him to attain great status despite coming from a humble background in the town.
The Master of Abbot's Hospital, Anthony Richmond, has adapted Abbot's A Brief Description of the Whole World which was originally published in 1599. The new edition released by local publishers Goldenford has been edited to 'to be accessible to readers of today while still keeping the flavour of George Abbot's work', but has attracted criticism.
In editing the 16th century manuscript Richmond took modern sensibilities into account. In Elizabethan times the former Archbishop of Canterbury held what today would be regarded as fairly racist opinions of foreign peoples and would have been handicapped by a narrow view of the world in general. The editor has retained in the new edition the author's original comments that the indigenous population of the tropics were 'not only blackish, like the Moors but are exceedingly black and therefore at this day are named Negroes, than whom no men are blacker', which may hint at the more extreme views of those comments that were removed.
The book was published in October 20111 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Abbot's work on the King James Bible.
Church of Holy Trinity
The tombs of Archbishop Abbot and Speaker Onslow, an influential local landowner and politician who is often referenced in this web site, are in the Church of Holy Trinity (GR: SU998496) opposite Abbot Hospital in the High Street. It is the only large 18th century church in Surrey, and for a while served as Guildford’s cathedral. A statue of Abbot rests in the south transept showing this great benefactor on a pile of books with skulls and bones. This strange choice of objects relates to Abbot as a man of considerable learning and emphasises how short our stay on earth is. There is a chapel commemorating the Weston family, whose members included the second Sir Richard Weston the creator of the Wey Navigation in the 17th century. The Right Reverend George Reindorp was the first bishop ever to be enthroned whilst being televised in 1961 here, the same year as the new cathedral was to be consecrated by the bishop.
The first church on this site was built in the 14th century but the present building dates from 1763. The previous Holy Trinity church was destroyed in 1740 when the tower collapsed, apparently after some ill-advised alterations. The new building was not started for another 11 years with much of the money for the rebuilding being donated by the Earl of Onslow, marked by his family crest above the clock face.
The rector of the Holy Trinity Church is scratching his head after planning permission to install a disabled ramp and handrail in place of the front steps of the church in the High Street was refused (March 2010). The application, which is intended to ensure that the church complies with the requirements set out in the Disability Discrimination act 2005, has been refused due to the impact the plan will make on the area around the Grade 1 listed church.
The High Sheriff of Surrey played out the tradition of pledging the loyalty of the people of Guildford to the monarch in a Queen's Diamond Jubilee ceremony (February 2012) on the steps of the Holy Trinity Church. Professor Michael Joy made the proclamation at a meeting of the Sheriff's Court of Surrey which was founded in the Middle Ages. The Sheriff's Court had conducted a proclamation on Elizabeth II's succession to the throne on the steps sixty years ago.
Guildford’s Royal Grammar School (GR: TQ001496) in the Upper High Street dates from the time of Henry VIII and was constituted a free grammar school by Edward VI in 1552.
The original school was founded in 1509 after Robert Beckingham, a Freeman of the City of London, left a bequest to establish a free school in the town. His executors three years later conveyed the lands of Beckingham's estate to a body of trustees including the Mayor of Guildford and four 'sad and discrete men' who had formerly been mayors, and it was from the rental income of these lands that the school was funded.
The trustees petitioned Edward VI to grant them further endowments for maintenance. This resulted in the king in January 1552 ordering that there was to be "one Grammar School in Guildford called the Free Grammar School of King Edward VI for the education, institution and instruction of boys and youths in Grammar at all future times forever to endure".
The site at the time was right at the limits of the town, and overlooked open countryside and the cricket ground that was in popular use in the mid 16th century.
The school was to quickly outgrow its original facilities and following the purchase of land in the High Street in 1555 construction of new buildings, today referred to as the Old School, commenced two years later with these being completed in 1586. The school was extended on the Allen House Field plot on the opposite side of the road in 1963. Coincidentally the year prior to the new building being finished the Old School suffered substantial damage from fire.
After centuries of providing free education, including a period of voluntary controlled state education provision which was introduced with the 1944 Education Act, Guildford Grammar School withdrew to become independent and fee-paying in 1977.
There is a chained library in the school which houses books originally bequeathed to the school in 1573 by a previous pupil Bishop John Parkhurst. These books include Walter Raleigh’s History of the World which he completed whilst imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Boys at the school participated in cricket matches as early as 1550, which is one of the earliest references to the game, and there are examples of cricket bats used at the time on display at the school. The Oxford English Dictionary highlights this 1550 game reference to 'creckett', which was made in the official records of a court case held in 1598, as the first in the English language.
We have not been able to qualify whether the following account published around that time is a reference to this case. It refers to a dispute about the enclosure of a piece of land in Guildford and John Derrick, a coroner, was recorded as stating in his evidence that:
The long list of famous alumni included brothers George Abbot, Maurice Abbot the Lord Mayor of London, and Robert Abbot the Bishop of Salisbury who were all educated there having been sponsored by a local benefactor. Bishop Cotton was another notable pupil. Others include Speaker of The House Arthur Onslow - Admiral of The Fleet Sir Thomas Byam Martin (1773 - 1854); Lord Mark Kerr (1776 - 1840); Prime Minister of New Zealand Sir George Grey (1812 - 1898); Air Chief Marshall Sir John Allison (b. 1943) and Terry Jones (b. 1942) of Monty Python fame.
Guildford Grammar School celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2010. To mark the occasion a lineup of comedians who attended the school undertook a commemorative comedy gig at the Stoke Pub (February 2010) - You Must be Stoking! The lineup included former Guildford resident MacKenzie Taylor (who achieved comic notoriety with his act as a part of the Edinburgh Festival which included getting people to read from a phone directory - where he even managed to get Les Dennis, Tony Robinson, Mike McShane and Maureen Lipman involved), George Egg (with his impossibly large briefcase containing a battery of religious props); and Adrian Mackinder with compere Paul Kerensa.
And as a slight deviation: one of the oldest private schools in Western Australia is Guildford Grammar School. Founded in 1896 the school near Perth has absolutely no connection with the hallowed halls of our own Guildford Grammar School.
The original Guildford Fire Station (GR: SU997496) in North Street, built in 1872 to house one of the first hand pump appliances, now houses public toilets. In the picture above, the white building to the right was once the Horse & Groom public house which was wrecked by an IRA bomb in 1974. The pub was targeted as it was popular with off-duty soldiers. Four soldiers and a civilian died and 65 people were injured in the blast. Another Guildford pub, the Seven Stars, was also targeted but the landlord had enough time to evacuate the building and there were no casualties when a bomb exploded inside.
In the following year three men and a woman were jailed for life for the bombings, although they became known as 'The Guildford Four' when the case was revealed to be seriously flawed. After what was considered to be 'the biggest miscarriage of justice in Britain' their sentences were eventually quashed in 1989. The real killers were never found. It was the tireless campaigning of Sarah Conlon, whose husband and son were two of the Guildford Four, that not only resulted in their names being cleared but also in a public apology in 2005 by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. MORE HERE. Three police offices were later charged with fabricating evidence but the charges were eventually dismissed.
A Hollywood film released in 1993 told the story of the Guildford Four. In The Name of The Father was directed by Jim Sheridan and starred Daniel Day Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite and examined the strains in a father-son relationship behind the scenes of the bombing.
BBC News Online published the following on the 34th anniversary of the 5th October 1974 bombings:
Two off-duty soldiers who lost their lives in the Guildford bombings have had their names added to the war memorial in their home town (October 2008). Privates John Hunter and William Forsyth of the Scots Guards who died in the Horse and Groom blast are honoured alongside victims of both world wars on the memorial in Barrhead near Glasgow.
The Fire Service
The town's fire service is today housed in a 70+ year-old building complete with old-fashioned fireman's pole on Ladymead at the Stoke Interchange by the A3.
After a decade of squabbling with the council Surrey Fire and Rescue Service have been given the go-ahead (March 2008) to have the facility, regularly described as 'in appalling condition' by the local press, replaced. The 2.7 acre (11,000 sq m) site looks set to be sold to a property developer who would also provide a brand new building whilst using the remaining land for redevelopment.
The estimated cost of refurbishing the existing building, described as being 'so bad it is not far off being condemned', is over £100,000. Another fire station in the Wey Valley, Farnham, is in a similar state.
The new fire station complete with an educational facility for fire prevention lectures, and an area set aside for specialist training on road traffic accident attendances was planned for a 2011 opening. However Surrey County Council's redevelopment plans unfortunately came to nothing as it appears that there was no interest in the property that needed to be sold off.
The council announced (January 2010) that the building was no longer for sale 'following a review' of the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service's property portfolio.
Plans for redevelopment of Guildford fire station, which is to be funded by Surrey County Council, were revitalised in December 2011. An open day to publicise the development plans, which include an enlarged and more energy efficient building, was held in April 2012. The new facility will be built on the land that in earlier plans was to be sold off, allowing significant funds to be saved by allowing the fire service to continue operating on the current site during the building works without having to temporarily relocate. The derelict building on the site, together with a residential property will be demolished.
The new plans allow for the fire officer's rest areas to be housed at ground level removing the need for a fireman's pole. A public consultation room will also be provided. Improved training facilities highlighted in earlier plans are being incorporated, with part of the space providing for physical objects such as a ditch, lamppost, bollards and road junction markings to allow for realistic road traffic accident attendance and investigation training.
The Electric Theatre (GR: SU994495), in Onslow Street is a community arts centre and as the imaginative name hints at, resides in a converted power station that once provided the public electricity to the town. Operated by the local council the theatre provides a welcome opportunity for amateur theatre and music to be staged for public audiences.
The theatre marked the start of its 10th anniversary celebrations by transforming the plaza into a festive ice rink over the Christmas and New Year period (2006-7).
The Motor Industry
The Rodboro Buildings (GR: SU994495) on the corner of Onslow and Bridge Streets was custom built to house the first production line of motor vehicles in Europe, and as such is the oldest purpose-built multi-storey car factory in the world. Owned by Dennis Brothers who originally manufactured bicycles, the business developed into motor cycles and eventually motor vehicles. Their first motor car was launched in 1902, buses in 1903, with vans, lorries, and ambulances following. The ever resourceful Dennis’ also manufactured military tanks, motor mowers and refuse carts at one time. Local court records at the end of the 19th century show that the Dennis brothers were fined 20 shillings for "driving furiously up Guildford High Street at an estimated 16 mph" in their first motorised vehicle.
The name of the buildings changed to what we have today when the Rodboro Boot and Shoe Company bought the building Dennis having moved into a larger factory on Woodbridge Hill to expand their fire engine manufacture in 1910, the name Dennis Vehicles and later Hestair Dennis, becoming synonymous with this type of vehicle worldwide.
The Rodboro Building now houses the Wetherspoon public house on the ground floor and a music school on the floors above. The Guildford Academy of Contemporary Music, which was awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2008, was launched in 1995 moving into the Rodboro Building in 2004. The school, which started as a guitar teaching project on the back of a Prince's Trust grant, today has 1,200 students. Graduates include soloist Newton Faulkner, Amelle Berrabah of the Sugarbabes, Nick Harrison, Ben King now with the Yardbirds, Guy Davis of Reuben, Nick Tsang of Bo Pepper, and Sam Odiwe and Luke Higgins of the up-and-coming Bryn Christopher Band.
Dennis experimented with social engineering when in 1933 they built a large estate of 102 workers houses on what was then the outskirts of the town to house workers from Coventry, having bought White & Poppe the engine manufacturers. Dennisville (GR: SU984497) survives in name only today.
In 1990, and then a much contracted business, Dennis Specialist Vehicles moved to the Slyfield Industrial Estate on the banks of the Wey to the north of the town. Their Woodbridge Hill factory has been redeveloped and is now a swish complex of office buildings.
John Dennis Coachbuilders, the fire engine bodybuilder, has reported a doubling of its workforce (June 2009) following an increase in orders over the next 18 months. The company has benefited from a new government centralised purchasing service which only places orders with approved manufacturers including John Dennis Coachbuilders, and also through the pioneering of a new plastic body.
Such is the success of the company that it has applied for planning permission to build another 40,000 sq ft (3,720 sq m) factory.
In an endorsement as to how important Dennis is as a vehicle manufacturer three senior government ministers attended the launch (July 2009) of the company's new fleet of environmentally friendly buses. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, and Transport Minister Sadiq Khan were able to try their hand at the wheel of the company's new low carbon buses which release lower carbon emissions and use at least a 30% less fuel than equivalent conventional buses.
The company division trading as Alexander Dennis will benefit from the Department for transport's new £30 million fund for new hybrid vehicles. The Department has confirmed that around 300 of Dennis's new Enviro400 hybrid buses are likely to be purchased through the fund.
The motor industry gripped Guildford early on for Puttocks, who originally established themselves as a livery stable in 1814, quickly saw the rapidly growing opportunities from motoring. The company converted over to vehicles in 1903 and became the first to provide motor cars for hire in 1905, the first taxi in 1908, and the first charabanc (a vehicle designed to carry a large group of passengers, so a precursor to the bus) in 1910. The company still operates today as a car dealer in Guildford.
A prolific local family when it came to the motor industry, the Jacksons, profited by the rapid growth of motoring in the late 19th century. Their garage sites ranged from those at Jackson's Corner off the A3 near Compton; Portsmouth Road, High Street and Woodbridge Road in Guildford; and Borough and Ockford Roads in nearby Godalming. As well as selling and servicing cars the family also specialised in motorcycles and bicycles.
A Godalming family-owned company that evolved from the earliest days of motoring in the late 19th century, FG Barnes, opened a garage alongside the new bypass at Woodbridge in the 1930s to handle its newly won Bedford agency. These premises, with three days notice, were requisitioned by the Government during the Second World War to service Churchill infantry tanks built in Guildford through a Dennis Brothers and Vauxhall partnership.
Barnes moved to Sandford Garage at 60 Epsom Road. This 1930s garage building with its art deco design to the front was in 2005 subject to conservation area consent when plans were submitted to redevelop the site, with the intention of retaining the front facade of the single storey structure. The restored garage was opened in October 2008 with the event marked by a themed party and a parade of cars dating from the 1930s including an MG and an Aston Martin.
As the company grew rapidly during the 1950s and 60s it led to them becoming instrumental in the development of the Slyfield Trading Estate by the local council as they sought to find a substantial site on which to base their business. FG Barnes was one of the first business to move to the estate in 1972 having spent £100,000 on a new building. The opening ceremony saw the High Sheriff of Surrey arrive in one of the first Bedford motor coaches to be used on Britain's roads. FG BARNES IN GODALMING HERE
Two other local businesses, EJ Baker and Charles & Holbrook Crow were involved in the early motor industry in the town. The Crow brothers ran a motorcycle repair business in Upper High Street, with their garage later taken over by Baker for motor vehicles. Out of town in Shalford William Charles Warn founded his garage in 1908 to repair motor cars and cycles and sell Anglo American petrol (1).
In 1898 Drummond Brothers began making lathes at Rydes Hill and quickly developed and specialised in gear cutting machines for the expanding motor industry. The business closed in 1981.
Pinzgauer, a manufacturer of military vehicles, in 2000 opened a 21,000 sq ft (2,000 sq m) facility in the Midleton Industrial Estate in Guildford where the shells of vehicles manufactured at their plant in Fareham in Hampshire are assembled. The location in Guildford provides easy access to local military vehicle testing grounds. Specialising in 6x6 all-terrain vehicles the company produces armoured vehicles for the Ministry of Defence. The company won a 100 vehicle order in 2006 for its Pinzgauer Vector which is designed to minimise the impact of roadside bombs.
The British aerospace company BAE Systems acquired the company (2007) from its American owner for £2.3bn. Pinzgauer vehicles were originally designed and built in Austria but are now produced exclusively in the UK. The vehicles also have non-military applications including versions produced for the Fire Service. BAE announced (2007) that their next-generation wheeled all-terrain Pinzgauer 2 will be assembled at the Guildford factory.
Sadly it did not take new owners BAE Systems long to restructure their acquisition with their announcement (January 2008) that it is to downsize the Pinzgauer Guildford operation with the loss of 76 jobs. The factory is to retain a core team of 25 people to support the vehicle fleets in the UK and New Zealand. Manufacture of the all-terrain vehicles is to be moved to Africa.
In the event 48 people lost their jobs (April 2008) with those remaining staying behind to complete the last orders for the Pinzgauer 1 with ther Pinzgauer 2 production moving to South Africa. The factory was finally closed in August 2008 when a batch of 20 vehicles for the Ministry of Defence had been completed marking a production output of 1,200 vehicles since the building was first leased in 2000.
(1) The Anglo American Oil Company was established in the UK in 1888 and was well known for its Pratt's brand of motor spirit. The company was the first to introduce sealed two-gallon cans for petrol distribution. It was later to become the Esso company.
Three miles south of Guildford in the village of Shalford a revolution in green car design is being pioneered by the racing car designer Gordon Murray. His company is developing a car 'so compact that three vehicles can fit in an average sized parking space' and will be lighter and easier to manufacturer than any other car on the road today. MORE ON GORDON MURRAY
Royal Surrey Hospital
The original Royal Surrey County Hospital (GR: SU988494) was built in Farnham Road in 1862 for a cost of £15,000 with accommodation for 60 patients, and ‘was constructed on arrangements approved by Miss Florence Nightingale’. By 1867 the hospital had 60 beds and treated 248 inpatients and 1,580 outpatients. During the war the RSCH treated many war casualties and was involved in the rehabilitation of disabled service personnel. In 1948, when the hospital was taken over by the fledgling National Health Service, it had 228 beds. The town was able to offer a full range of district general hospital services in 1952 when the RSCH and St Luke's Hospital combined forces. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the hospital in 1957.
The County Hospital relocated to its new complex in Egerton Road, which was opened by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in January 1980 and at that time had 364 beds and nine operating theatres. The Farnham Road site now provides specialist mental health services.
The Royal Surrey became one of the first self-governing NHS Trusts in 1991 and now treats over 260,000 patients a year with over 56,000 passing through A&E. 3,400 staff including 362 doctors and 754 nurses service 570 beds in 20 wards and 12 surgical theatres. The hospital was under threat of closure (2007) under cost-cutting plans proposed by the government. MORE HERE
The Royal Surrey moved a step closer to gaining independence after its bid to apply for foundation status (1) was approved (March 2008). The application process to the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority (SHA) was likely to take 12 months and if successful will free the hospital from the shackles of having to respond to many of the government's much ridiculed targets. As a Foundation Hospital the Royal Surrey would also have greater control over its future and finances, as this statement by the hospital suggests:
The three-month public consultation ended in February 2009 and provided an opportunity to recruit more members of the public for Foundation Trust Membership which had reached over 12,500 members. The public consultation saw hos attend 18 public meetings across the county, as well as in West Sussex and East Hampshire. 20 further meetings were held with other groups including parish councils. A decision on the hospital's status is due on July 1st 2009.
(1) NHS Foundation Trusts remain part of the NHS but are much more accountable to local people. NHS Foundation Trusts place more emphasis on ensuring that they listen to and involve staff, patients and local communities in how the hospital is run and are accountable to them. NHS Foundation Trusts have less central government control and are given more freedom to respond the needs of local people. They are authorised and regulated by the independent regulator Monitor, whose role it is to ensure that the Trusts are well managed and financially stable in order to maintain high quality standards for patients. They continue to be part of the NHS and deliver NHS care and treatment based on the founding principles of need and not the ability to pay. Source: www.royalsurrey.nhs.uk
The health secretary Alan Johnson officially opened England's biggest bowel cancer screening unit at the Royal Surrey in March 2008. The £250,000 southern hub of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme serves a population of 13.4m people and is part of the NHS' plan to check everyone between the ages of 60 and 69 for the disease by the end of 2009, and 70 to 74-year-olds from 2010. By the time the unit had been officially opened 110 people had already been diagnosed with bowel cancer. The laboratory, which is a partnership between the University of Surrey and the hospital, tests bowel motion samples for tiny traces of blood to see if further action is needed. Royal Surrey has been a centre for the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer since 1983. Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK.
The Royal Surrey was awarded (October 2008) the highest possible rating for quality of services covering patient safety, cleanliness and waiting times by the Healthcare Commission. It also scored a good rating for how well it was managing its finances. However the hospital underachieved in its MRSA targets. The hospital was also named as one of the UK's best 40 acute trusts based on criteria including rates of MRSA and an inpatient survey in May 2009 published by CHKS in their Top Hospital Awards.
The Care Quality Commission (2) publishes an annual health check report assessing hospitals around the country. Their 2008/9 health check (October 2009) rated the hospital's services as excellent ranking it in the top 22% of acute trusts in England. The commission surveyed all 392 trusts in the country giving ratings from excellent to good, fair and weak for overall quality and financial management between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009. The Royal Surrey is the only acute trust in the South East Coast region covering Surrey, Kent and Sussex, to be rated excellent.
(2) The Care Quality Commission is an independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England. It inspects and enforces standards across NHS trusts, local authorities, private companies and voluntary organisations.
A forward thinking employee at the Royal Surrey has managed to save the hospital £57,000 on electricity bills (2009). Gary Mountjoy, estates manager, realised that by exchanging the 12,500 traditional fluorescent lighting tubes with new energy efficient ones would more than halve the trust’s energy consumption for lighting. He also managed to secure funding from the government’s energy and sustainability scheme to make his initiative affordable. He has since been presented with the Low Carbon award at the annual South East Coast NHS Best of Health Awards.
The hospital announced (April 2010) delivery of equipment to provide treatment to sufferers of cervical and womb cancer using a technique known as brachytherapy. The treatment involves delivering the radiation dose directly to a tumour or right next to it, rather than using radiotherapy which bombards the whole area with radiation. This not only restricts damage to tissue at also reduces the number of treatment sessions needed.
The method can be applied to most cancers including prostate cancer, which normally takes up to seven weeks of treatment but applying brachytherapy reduces that to just one or two days. More information can be found HERE.
Next door to the old hospital in Farnham Road is the site of the Hillier Almshouses built by the trust named after its founder. The buildings provided for seven women to be accommodated and they were enlarged 12 years later. These original buildings were demolished in 1971 and replaced by Hillier House which provides asheltered housing for older people and is managed by a Registered Social Landlord (2). The property today has 36 studio flats and as an almshouse charity caters primarily for women members of the Church of England who have previously lived in the Guildford area. Elizabeth Hillier had established her original almshouse charity in Shoreditch, London in 1798.
(2) Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) are independent housing associations registered with the Housing Corporation under the Housing Act 1996.
The Royal Surrey Hospital was featured in the last of the series of David Dimbleby's Seven Ages of Britain broadcast on BBC1 on the 22nd March 2010.
In the programme, Age of Ambition, Dimbleby was illustrating the concept of free medical support for everyone put forward by the Economist William Beveridge (1879 - 1963) in 1942 in wartime Britain. It was his concept that was adopted for the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1946 and state funded hospitals. The programme decided to use an operating theatre at the Royal Surrey, Guildford to illustrate the point.
This was followed by a four minute long scene which showed Dimbleby presenting to camera in the operating theatre and also talking to the surgeon Professor Karanjia (1) during an operation. Below is a short transcript of the conversation.
The Royal Surrey had announced the filming of the programme in the NHS Trust's November 2009 newsletter InPractice Royal Surrey well before it went to air.
(1) Professor Karanjia, who trained at Guy's Hospital Medical School in London, where he was awarded five medical school prizes, is a specialist in liver resection (removal of liver tumours surgically).
Originally housed in a building in Park Street the Technical Institute, which was founded in the town in 1908, moved to its new home in Stoke Park in 1939. The move reflected the rapid increase in demand for technical training but at the outbreak of war the new college, complete with purpose-built underground air-raid shelters, was immediately requisitioned by the War Office who moved sections of Surrey County Hall and Wandsworth Technical School to the building. RAF and Naval Officers were also trained in radar technology at the site.
After the war the college was reinstated and by 1947 it had five departments offering courses in commerce, engineering, science, building and domestic subjects. The college continued to expand and by 1969 two new buildings had been opened including a five-storey education block.
In the 1960s the college lead the way in embracing computer technology and pioneered courses for industry and the Ministry of Defence. These included calibration, production control, computer-aided design and motor vehicle technology.
In 1992 the institution was incorporated as the Guildford College of Further and Higher Education and quickly became one of the highest rated colleges in the country winning a string of awards which included becoming the first educational institution in the south-east to win EXCEL-SE bronze award for business excellence and was the only further and higher education institution named in Vision 100, an index of 'visionary public and private sector organisations' in the UK. In 2003 the Guildford and agricultural college Merrist Wood merged.
The modern institution was rebranded simply as Guildford College.
Today (2008) the college has extensive workshops providing a wide range of disciplines with state-of-the-art facilities. These include a multimedia studio, art and design ceramic and textile studios, dance and drama studios, science and language laboratories, engineering and motor vehicle workshops, and industry-standard training kitchens and restaurant. The IT department also maintains a resource of over 700 computers for student use.
The college has had planning approval (December 2008) for their 'pavilions in the park' development at Stoke Park. The new campus, which is projected to cost £90m, will consist of six pavilions providing new classrooms, coffee shops and computer rooms. Much of the existing campus will be demolished to make way for the new buildings. However funding from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) college rebuilding programme was withdrawn (March 2009) after it emerged that the LSC had been trying to juggle work on 144 colleges totalling £5.7 billion and that they couldn't meet a commitment at that level. Their decision affects 100 rebuild programmes across the country.
It was confirmed that the college's Pavilions in the Park Campus project has been indefinitely put on the backburner (June 2009). The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has announced that it does not have the necessary funding available exactly one year since the college was granted planning permission. The LSC has now put on hold 183 build programmes nationally after claiming more colleges than expected applied for grants, and in the process triggered a public debate as to whether the council is 'fit for purpose'.
The Merrist Wood campus, which is located three miles (5km) away in Worplesdon, operates courses in land-based disciplines including horticulture, floristry, landscaping, animal and countryside management, sports studies and equine management. The campus has one of the largest indoor horse riding arenas in the country and an animal care unit that includes exotic animals. Students from Merrist Wood regularly undertake work in estates across the country including Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming and Claremont and Painshill Park near Cobham.
The first records of agricultural activity at Merrist Wood date back to 1318, and the estate was granted to George More of Loseley by Queen Elizabeth in 1582. Merrist Wood House on the estate was built in 1877 but it wasn't until 1943 that an educational institution was established on the estate in response to the Government's plans to establish a Farm Institute in every county in the country. The first courses, that opened in 1945, concentrated on agriculture and horticulture and a herd of 30 dairy cows and 50 ewes was introduced.
The college lost its full stock of cloven-hoofed animals in the 1958 Foot and Mouth outbreak with the slaughter of 134 cattle, 156 sheep and 218 pigs. The Surrey Farm Institute was renamed as Merrist Wood Agricultural College in 1967 after which courses in new disciplines including arboriculture, landscaping and nursery management were introduced. The college won three medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2006 and a Gold Medal and Best in Show at the Hampton Court Flower Show in the same year.
The Guildford College Group that operates both Guildford College and Merrist Wood is also responsible for Farnham College.
The Farnham Road Cottages
A little further down the road closer to the station used to be a row of timber-framed cottages, two of which had characteristic jetty overhangs above the street and five steps up to their front doors which made them a favoured subject for artists and photographers alike. Locally referred to as The Farnham Road Cottages they were actually split on the corner betwen Farnham Road and Park Street (GR: SU993495). The cottages, which were originally built as four houses for craftsmen's and tradesmen's families in early Jacobean times, became the focus of a long-running campaign to save them. In the nineteenth century the houses had become less desirable and were subdivided into smaller homes with a living room on the ground floor with two or three small bedrooms above. To the rear was a scullery with a sink and tap for cold water. There was no indoor sanitation.
By 1910 the properties had deteriorated to such a degree that moves were made to demolish them, which resulted in such enthusiastic opposition from the local populace that the local authority agreed to save them. During the war years the cottages proved popular as they were cheap to rent in times when earnings were scarce, but by the 1950s they again became the subject of concern. Guildford Borough Council declared them unfit for human habitation in 1954. Popular opinion at the time was simply that the council wanted to clear the site as part of their town centre redevelopment plans, and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings argued that the building structures were sound and should not be demolished. They were also now Grade II listed. However after several years of debate the cottages were finally demolished in 1957. Source: Matthew Alexander 'From the archives'. Surrey Advertiser 8th February 2008
The Oldest Building in Guildford
Thought to be the oldest surviving building in Guildford, St Mary's Church (GR: SU997494) in Quarry Street originated as an early Christian church built by the Saxons in the 7th century AD. The original Saxon wooden structure, which probably would have been at the centre of the town's first Saxon settlement, has long gone replaced with a stone church around 1050, with the surviving stone tower dating back to that time. The shallow lesenes (1) and narrow double-splayed windows visible from the inside are typical of Saxon structures of this type.
The chancel (2) to the east of the tower was rebuilt in stone not long after the Norman conquest (1066) with a further extension in the form of two transepts to the north and south of the tower built around 1120. The tower itself is thought to predate the Norman Conquest.
The church was held in the second decade of the 12th century under appointment by Henry I, by the Canons of Merton Priory who held it until the Reformation enforced by Henry VIII. Considerable other building works were undertaken throughout the 12th and 13th centuries indicative of the importance given to the church at the time. Kings and their courts are known to have worshipped at the church during the middle ages.
There are traces of wall paintings dating back to the mid 13th century, thought to have been made by William Florentine who at the time was the painter commissioned to undertake works at the castle close by. In the Middle Ages the church had at least six altars including the high altar, with the smaller altars providing private places of worship for local nobility.
In 1825 the chancel was shortened to widen Quarry Street, and there is an engraving in the church made around this time showing the chancel in its former glory prior to the reconstruction. Additional restoration was undertaken in 1863 by one Thomas Goodchild who moved the gallery and fortunately did little to interfere with the rest of the structure for often cosmetic purposes, as was so common in Victorian times. The clock and boundary railings were added at this time, and a brass chandelier that had hung in the church since 1730 was sold to the parish church of Horsell near Woking where it still hangs today.
A remaining chandelier, which was presented to the church by Muslim soldiers has been restored (2008) to provide light from 18 candles. The chandelier, which has been rehung with the ability now to lower and raise it by a counterweight pulley system, bears the inscription: 'To the memory of Violet Sophia Maxwell, mother of their Squadron Commander, this candelabrum was given by the Indian Officers and Men of the Mohammedan Squadron XI King Edwards's Own Lancers 1914'. The Maxwells were a distinguished military family who had lived in Guildford from 1871.
The tenor bell in the tower, which has one of the oldest peals of bells in the county, was temporarily removed in 1999 to have a crack that had appeared across its crown repaired by SoundWeld in Cambridgeshire.
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is said to have preached at St Mary's regularly (he had been ordained as a Deacon in 1861) and his funeral service was held here in 1898 prior to his burial at The Mount Cemetary in Guildford.
St Mary's is administered by the Guildford Deanery under the Church of England's Diocese of Guildford.
(1) lesenes are pilaster strips used to provide ornamental columns
The west wall of the church, which was rebuilt in Victorian times using unsuitable mortar, is now in dire need of repair. Prevailing wind and rain for a century and a half has worked on the mortar with the result that now flints are working loose and falling out. A flue for the church boiler exits through the same wall and is adding to the problem. Fund-raising events have been started (June 2009) in order to commence expensive repair work.
Guildford Cathedral (GR: SU985500), with its distinctive gilded copper angel that hovers awkwardly over the 160 ft (49 m) tall central tower, sits on top of Stag Hill overlooking the town, the hill apparently so named because kings of England favoured hunting there.
Construction started in 1936 on six acres of land that had been gifted by Lord Onslow. This is one of only two new Anglican cathedrals to be consecrated, and the only cathedral to be built on a new site, since the Reformation. War held up construction and the consecration did not take place until 1961. The foundation stone, which was laid by William Lang the Archbishop of Canterbury , was brought down from Jarrow, and rests on top of stones from Winchester and Canterbury Cathedrals linking Dioceses of Guildford, Winchester and Canterbury with the home of the Venerable Bede (673 – 735) who died at Jarrow.
The bricks used in the construction were made from the red clay dug from Stag Hill, and reportedly overproduction generated much needed revenue when bricks were sold for half-a-crown a pop. Signatures of several members of the Royal Family including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who attended the consecration, can be seen on individual bricks in the wall of the Ursula Porch. Statuary was added to the West Front as recently as 2004.
A Guildford-born man managed to recover the silver trowel used to lay the foundation stone in 1936. Ted Goodredge was a 15-year-old labourer working on the site in the 1960s and so the find had a special significance. He was also one of the hundreds of people to 'buy' a brick to help fund the construction.
The engraved solid silver and ivory trowel, wielded by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the 1936 ceremony was part of an auction in 1995 to clear items belonging to the architect responsible for designing the Cathedral, Edward Maufe. Goodredge picked up the trowel for £450.
The Goodredge family were closely involved in the building with his step brother and father also working on the site.
Deemed from the outside an ugly building by many passers-by, the interior constructed in pale Somerset sandstone and white Italian marble floors contrasts quite astoundingly with the red brick of the exterior, and is an exceptionally beautiful building. The architect, Sir Edward Maufe (1883 - 1974), achieved a credible meld of enormous space with elegance enhanced by the light pouring in through his tall lancet windows.
The Main Organ was built in 1961 by Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool and was a gift from the Coulthurst Trust, although reputedly there were considerable difficulties involved in siting the organ as the architect's original plans were for the Cathedral to be a 'temple of the spoken word' for which no permanent organ was intended. The builders of the cathedral were also bizarrely instructed to apply a thick layer of acoustic plaster to reduce what was generally regarded as a near perfect natural acoustic. The overall result was a muffling of the organ's output and the choir's voices. The remote position of the organist makes accompanying a choir difficult, the choir stalls are also the furthest apart of any British cathedral and the organ is divided into two sections 200 ft (61m) away from each other making it difficult for singers to hear clearly. The Main Organ comprises of 4,398 pipes and required 50 miles (80 km) of wiring with 24 (38 km) in the console alone, 12,056 silver contacts and 33,000 soldered connections.
The Positive Organ was added in 1962 and was housed in a specially built gallery above the choir and was built specifically to accompany them. Despite all of the problems over acoustics and siting, visiting organists tend to describe the experience of playing at the cathedral as enjoyable and rewarding. A third organ, The Ardeton Organ is a 'model organ', also built by Rushworth and Dreaper, and is sited in the Lady Chapel's Musicians' Gallery.
The cathedral has a peal of 12 bells, with the largest weighing 30 cwt (1,514 kg), hanging in the 160 foot (49 m) tall tower. In anticipation and before construction work had started on the new building the Cathedral Bells Fund was established in 1933, but despite very little money being raised a sacring bell (1) was cast in memorial to John S Goldsmith and hung in the incomplete building in 1947. It wasn't until 1962 under the encouragement of a new bishop, Dr G Reindorp, that fund-raising took off in earnest. Each of the diocese's districts pledged to raise enough money for one bell with the remaining bells provided by donors.
A ring of 10 bells was finally hung and dedicated in 1965, four years after the consecration of the Cathedral. All 10 bells were cast by Mears & Stainbank of Whitechapel Road, London, a famous bell foundry that can trace its history back to 1570. In 1969 the bishop restarted fund-raising efforts in order to add a further two bells, Whitechapel trebles, which were installed in 1976. In order to save costs the Guildford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers members undertook the construction of the additional frame and the hanging of the bells themselves. The ninth of the original peal of ten bells was dedicated to Alfred Pulling, a principal conductor of the Guild, in 1961.
The tower is open to visitors at certain times of the year and which affords considerable views over Guildford and the surrounding countryside.
(1) The sacring bell, which is also known as the sanctus bell, is commonly used to call attention to the more solemn parts of a service.
Guildford Cathedral Choir was founded in 1961 under Barry Rose, the acclaimed English choir director who has since been awarded the OBE for his services to cathedral music, but who at the time was only 25 years of age. The choir has in the 40 years since won an international reputation and undertakes regular radio and television broadcasts and tours both in the UK and abroad. In 2008 Guildford became the first Church of England cathedral in the country to appoint a woman as organist and master of the choristers. Katherine Dienes-Williams also tutors for the Royal College of Organists.
The Cathedral Library houses over 5,000 books on theological, pastoral and church history topics and is open to the public. The collection is added to every year by donation and purchase of around 400 new volumes, with non-reference books available for loan to members of the library. The Treasury contains an impressive collection of gold and silver objects owned by the diocese.
The Refectory Restaurant, Gift Shop and Book Shop provide good visitor facilities, which include a large free car park and toilets. There is step-free access via the West Door, a hearing loop, and large print hymn books are also available.
The Diocese of Guildford was formed in 1927 and has responsibility for 500 square miles covering 164 parishes with 217 churches and 90 schools. The Diocese includes Surrey, NE Hampshire and a small part of Greater London and West Sussex.
A six-part Meridian TV documentary Cathedral Cities explores popular places of worship across the country. Guildford is featured in the third programme produced by KMB Productions and is presented by the Bishop of Winchester's daughter, Hannah Scott-Joynt. The programme includes an interview with the Dean, the very Reverend Victor Stock, examining the ups and downs of running a modern-day cathedral, and explores the town of Guildford including a visit to the monthly farmers' market.
The series which includes Portsmouth, Chichester, Salisbury, Rochester and Winchester cathedrals was broadcast in February and March 2007 on ITV Meridian.
A harrowing scene from The Omen (1976) starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick was filmed at Guildford Cathedral.
The trustees of a new initiative to help young people find solace through bereavement announced in 2007 their plans to construct the Seeds of Hope Children's Garden at Guildford Cathedral. The scheme had already raised £25,000 through donations from local people, schools and businesses with a target of £90,000 to be achieved. The brainchild of Guildford mother Caroline Jay who lost her daughter in childbirth, and who with another mother set up the Guildford Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Society (SANDS), the garden will provide a place of beauty where bereaved children can seek comfort with teachers and other professionals. The garden was opened in May 2008 by children's author Dame Jacqueline Wilson providing four distinct areas each representing one of the four seasons inspired by the four different stages in the journey of life. The final cost of £100,000 was met by the tireless fund-raising of Caroline Jay and her co-trustee Gillian Rogers with individuals, church groups and schools providing donations. A grant from the SITA Trust (1) also ensured the success of the project.
(1) The SITA Trust was set up in 1997 to distribute funding through the Landfill Communities Fund (formerly the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme) to support community improvement and nature projects on or around landfill sites. The trust administered by the waste management company SITA UK has since allocated in excess of £60m to over 1,600 projects.
Look very carefully at the base of the angel adorning the cathedral and you may see an attachment that has thrown the Dean into the spotlight (March 2007) over the ongoing controversary on phone masts. T-Mobile pay an undisclosed annual fee to the cathedral to allow their mobile phone communications equipment to be sited on the golden angel weather vane that was added to the tower in 1993. Guildford Cathedral was one of the first dioceses in England to install a mast. The contract is due to run until 2009 although the Church of England is now facing a test case over whether mobile phone masts on church property are appropriate as they can be used to transmit pornography. The issue is to be heard at an appeal against a ruling that was made by an ecclesiastical judge in 2006 which rejected an application for a church in north-east London to erect a T-Mobile base station in its spire. The hearing at the Archbishop of Canterbury's 800-year-old Court of Arches will be conducted by the end of April 2007.
The fabric of Guildford Cathedral is deteriorating to such a degree that the dean is concerned for the building's future. The facility is running at a financial loss and there is urgent need to source finance to provide funds for the upkeep of the cathedral before the structure deteriorates to a point of no return.
The dean has presented (November 2006) a radical plan to Guildford Borough Council to create a 22-acre Cathedral Quarter by leasing land and building around the cathedral. It is hoped that by building a community on the hill, which would include key worker housing, a health centre, education facilities, restaurants and entertainment facilities, the area will become invigorated and vital funds would be generated that would be used to look after the cathedral. The plan includes a monorail link-system to provide ease of access and an underground carpark built into Stag Hill.
The dean has support from the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, English Heritage and The Guildford Society, and has secured funding for the planning application and any appeal processes from an anonymous benefactor. The dean intends to apply to the EU to help fund the project.
The Grade II listed cathedral was £100,000 in the red during its last financial year and with spiralling debts and costs there is concern that Guildford Cathedral may not make its 50th anniversary in 2011. The cost of removing the asbestos in the roof of the nave is likely to cost £4m, and there is the urgent need for repairs and re-pointing to the leaking West Wing window which is likely to cost £30,000. During 2006 the cathedral received £750,000 from donations and event hosting but had outgoings of over £850,000
English Heritage has assigned (February 2008) funding worth £23,000 to Guildford Cathedral to be used in ongoing restoration work on the building. This latest grant, the third from the government agency in four years under their joint Cathedrals Grant Scheme with the Wolfson Foundation (1), will be used to repair the south transept window. The west, south aisle and south-east sanctaury windows have already been renovated. Previous grants were for £50,000 (2005) and £25,000 (2007).
The cathedral, being sited high and exposed on a hill, tends to be battered continually by the elements and experiences significant water penetration during storms. A source of water seepage has been through the lead glazing on the south and west elevations and during repair work on the glazing problems including poor glazing cement, rusting of steel reinforcement in the lead cames (2), and failed pointing around the glazing and to stonework joints have been discovered.
(1) The English Heritage Cathedral Grants Scheme has been running since 1991 after a survey highlighted that 61 cathedrals in the UK could not keep with repairs and buildings were rapidly deteriorating. The scheme has funded £49.5m nationally to date (by February 2008). The Wolfson Foundation was set up in 1955 by Sir Isaac Wolfson (1897 - 1991) as a charitable foundation providing funds to registered charities, which currently run at £35m annually. Wolfson made his fortune from Great Universal Stores.
Churches in Guildford are facing critical shortfalls in funding to enable them to preserve the fabric of their historic buildings. Church managers have had to plunder their cash reserves to cover costs of restoration as they are facing a squeeze in the availability of external funding provision.
St Mary's Church in Quarry Street, Guildford's oldest building, has just had extensive restoration work costing over £120,000 completed (October 2009). However, the church had to use their own cash reserves and fundraising abilities in order to complete the work having been turned down by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Holy Trinity is facing the urgent need for maintenance and restoration work and St Mary's Church in Perry Hill, Worplesdon, is undergoing renovation work likely to cost over £230,000 to prevent the exterior of the building deteriorating further. They were able to secure £50,000 funding from the SITA Trust and £500 from Guildford Borough Council, but the balance had to be raised locally and luckily in their case an anonymous parishioner made up the considerable shortfall. However the building still requires an additional £500,000 over the next two years in order to prevent further deterioration.
St Mary's in Quarry Street resorted to their own creativity to raise some of the funding which included bring and buy and singing events, but this raised just a few hundred pounds.
The University of Surrey (UniS) was established in 1966 with the grant of a Royal Charter and in 2007 was ranked in 12th place in a newspaper survey of the country's best universities.
The beginnings of the university go back to the late 19th century with Battersea Polytechnic Institute which focused on teaching science and technology, and which during the early 60s began to relocate its facilities to Guildford to overcome ever worsening space constrictions in its London location.
The 150 hectare greenfield site (GR: SU985503) was acquired from Guildford Cathedral, Guildford Borough Council and the Onslow Village Trust in 1965 and the university, having officially opened in in 1966, was fully operational by 1970. The now iconic rock band Led Zeppelin played their first gig under that name at the new university on 16th October 1968.
The university has become a leading authority in space satellite engineering and communication winning the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education in recognition in 1997. The following year the university founded (1985) Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) was awarded the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement which was presented by the Queen during a visit to the university. The university disposed of almost all of its 85% stake in SSTL in April 2008 pledging to invest the estimated £40m-£50m paid by the European space industry giant EADS Astrium in education and facilities. The university has retained a token 1% shareholding. SSTL RACE FOR THE MOON HERE
The university has one of the highest number of staff who are academicians of learned societies and by 2005 there were over 90,000 graduates scattered across the globe. The university continues to grow with a £25m construction of new residences for a new campus at Manor Park covering 25 acres which commenced in 2005.
There are around 7,500 undergraduates and 4,400 postgraduates (2005) attending the university spread across schools of Arts, Communication & Humanities; Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Electronics & Physical Sciences; Engineering; Human Sciences; Management; the Postgraduate Medical School and the European Institute of Health & Medical Sciences. By 2014 the university estimates that it will have 12,650 students in full time education supported by 2,475 members of staff.
The building of a new facility has started (March 2007) at the University which will allow a revolutionary new cancer treatment to be developed. The treatment targets tumours using laser-powered particles which don't harm healthy tissue. The world's only vertical nanobeam is currently being installed which is essential for the research into finding out about levels of dosage to destro tumours. The university are hoping to also use the £14m funding to develop a new smaller type of laser that can be installed into the majority of UK hospitals.
The University's Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences established a Postgraduate Medical School (PGMS) in 2000 to form a link between the university's academics and its healthcare partners. The school has since achieved a Research Assessment Exercise rating of five stars in recognition of its research into the cause and prevention of conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. THE PGMS took up residency in its state-of-the-art purpose-built new building in Daphne Jackson Road close to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in 2005. The facility, which cost £10m, was in part funded by the Wolfson Foundation and was opened by Lord Wolfson whose foundation supports medical research and science projects.
Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) was set up by the university in 1985 to develop small low-cost satellites for the international market and have grown to be a leading developer for Earth observation, communication and navigation satellites. The company employs 270 staff across three sites in the south-east of England including their facility on campus and achieved a turnover of £26m in 2007. Currently (2008) SSTl has 14 spacecraft in manufacture in Guildford. The university announced that it was to dispose of almost all of its 85% stake in SSTL in April 2008 pledging to invest the estimated £40m-£50m paid by the European space industry giant EADS Astrium in education and facilities.
SSTL update 2009: The university has retained a token 1% shareholding. Confirmation of completion of the deal was announced in January 2009. The company retains its independence despite the acquisition.
SSTL was visited by Lord Paul Drayson, minister for science and innovation, in March 2009.
The Surrey Ion Beam Centre based at the university has revealed (January 2008) a new system it has pioneered for forensically testing crime scenes in the UK. The technique uses an accelerator to charge particles like helium and hydrogen to up to two million volts and the x-rays emitted from the subject being bombarded are charted for analysis. The ion beam technique is much more sensitive than traditional x-ray methods allowing more revealing evidence can be gleaned from samples which include soil, bank notes and gun shot residue.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has awarded (January 2008) scientists at Surrey University a £292,000 grant to further their research into the development of a ground-breaking alternative to conventional batteries. Dr James Varcoe of the university has been working alongside his colleagues to replace conventional batteries with alkaline polymer cells which are able to hold their charge for considerably longer. Dr Varcoe conceived the polymer combination three years ago and now believes that with the grant the concept could become a commercial reality and will help impact on the reduction of fossil fuel use.
A team of scientists at the University of Surrey have started (January 2009) a project to develop affordable solar power for domestic use. The university’s Advance Technology Institute will employ the efforts of a 160-strong group having received funding including €1m to finance the three-year project from an energy company. The key will be to replace the existing technology of expensive silicon solar cells in glass panels with cells that pick up electro-magnetic cells in the atmosphere. This has the added benefit of generating energy even if the cells are not in direct sunlight.
A new school of acting and performing arts centre will be built on the Stag Hill campus. The Higher Education Funding Council awarded (July 2007) £3m to the University of Surrey and the Guildford School of Acting (GSA) to merge the two institutions and through the provision of new £12m purpose-built facilities introduce new courses and for students and exciting performing arts opportunities for the local community. A new GSA headquarters will be built and an existing campus facility will be converted into a performing arts centre with a 250 seat theatre, studios and workshops. The GSA has a long and distinguished list of former students including Brenda Blethyn, Gaby Roslin, Michael Ball, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie and more recently Emma Barton and Rob Kazinsky in Eastenders and Diane Pilkington.
The topping out ceremony for the GSA Conservatoire building took place in July 2009 attended by actresses Brenda Blethyn and Helena Blackman. The building, which will include 15 dance and drama studios, 10 tutorial rooms and a cafe, is to replace the drama schools existing seven buildings scattered around Guildford. The contractors working on the building confidence that the facility will be fully open within six months and will be completed on budget.
The university is also intending to convert the existing sports centre that sits opposite the new GSA building into a specialist performing arts college to be opened in 2011.
It’s no joke. The University of Surrey have announced (April 2009) that it is to open a centre for the study of humour which is expected to attract academics and students from across the world. A humour studies degree is currently being formulated based on research conducted at the university which includes detailed analysis of what makes people laugh. The centre is to open in 2010.
The renowned mathematician Alan Turing (1912 - 1954), who lived nearby at 22 (originally numbered as 8) Ennismore Gardens in Stoke Park during his school days, had a bronze sculpture erected in his honour outside the computer science department on the university campus. Turing led the team that succeeded in breaking top secret German codes during World War II. His work formed the basis of modern computing.
The statue, which was unveiled in 2004 by The Earl of Wessex, took over 18 months for sculptor John W. Mills to create. In 1987 a plaque was erected on the house he was brought up in. A play by Hugh Whitmore about Turing and the Enigma Code was first performed in Guildford before transferring to the West End in 1986 with Derek Jacobi playing the part of Turing. It was later adapted for television and broadcast by the BBC in 1997. A road on the university-owned research park is also named after the mathematician.
Surrey University is planning to open a Multi-Faith Centre which will be the first in Britain providing dedicated space for practising Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities on the campus. Open space facilities are also to be provided for Buddhist and Hindu worshippers in the Centre which is budgeted to cost £6.5m to build and is targeted to be completed in 2010. The Bishop of Guildford presented a cheque (February 2008) to the University donating £250,000 towards the cost of the facility which will also create a base for the University Chaplaincy. The donation to this 'mission project' does not come directly from Guildford diocese funds but from a bequest left by the wealthy Onslow family. The university campus is located right next to the cathedral.
Students at the university don't have to venture far for evening entertainment. The University of Surrey Student's Union has a nightclub on campus with a capacity of 1,500 students. Rubix, which sits directly on top of the Student's Union building, attracts top DJs and bands and has seen the likes of Travis, The Darkness, Tim Westwood, Rachel Stevens and The Twang grace its stage. The venue, which also doubles as a market during the day selling everything from vegetables and jewellery, has recently (2008) installed a new £80,000 sound system.
The Varsity Bar has won a special award after being mentioned for 10 years in a row in the Good Beer Guide. The Surrey and Hampshire Borders Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) presented the award (October 2009) at the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2010. The uni bar will be relocating from the Varsity Centre to new premises at the Surrey Sports Park when it opens in 2010.
The University of Surrey has announced (May 2008) a formal association with the annual Guilfest three-day music festival held in Stoke Park. Stating that students from the university regularly help Guilfest organisers with light and sound engineering, Surrey Uni will be using part of its budget of £35,000 community engagement project in the marketing move which will see their logo replace the previous sponsor Unison.
The Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university (June 2008) for his services to the music industry. If you're wondering why Guildford, it was because the newly formed British band played their very first gig at the university in October 1968.
Figures released by the university (July 2008) showed that in 2007 9.5% of their 13,500 students failed to complete their course, a reduction of 1% from the previous year and well below the national average of 14.1%.
ITV 1's long-running (2007 - 08) sci-fi series Primeval starring Douglas Henshaw used the university's boat-shaped Duke of Kent building (pictured this page SEE HERE) for shooting some of its scenes. The production company also used forest at Alice Holt near Farnham for outside locations.
Award-winning sculptor William Pye, who lives at Cutmill near Elstead, has loaned (March 2009) his sculpture Narcissus which he created in 1969 to the university. The artist has had a life-long fascination with water and especially its reflective qualities.
The university awarded (April 2009) an honorary doctorate to rugby world cup winning fly-half Jonny Wilkinson. Wilkinson, who scored the winning drop goal in the last minute of injury time in the final against Australia in 2003, attended Weybourne Infant School in Farnham and Pierrepont in Frensham.
The University of Surrey commissioned Allan Sly to create a sculpture to stand by the main road entrance to the campus. The 16ft (5m) tall stainless steel stag with a foreleg resting on an upturned key was unveiled by HRH The Duke of Kent in February 2009. The stag represents the association the university has with Stag Hill, the medieval royal park on which the campus is built, and the key is both a relic of the former crest of Battersea Polytechnic from where the institution originated and part of Surrey’s coat of arms. The sculpture rests on a granite base. It was also reported that the foundry workers tested the stag rigourously to make sure it was strong enough to carry any ‘over-enthusiastic students keen to ride it’.
The sculptor also created the Surrey Scholar that stands at the bottom of Guildford High Street.
The University of Surrey has been selected (May 2009) to host the 2009 British Science Festival. The prestigious event was founded 178 years ago and today attempts to ‘connect science with society’ by running talks, plays, debates and hands-on events to give the public a chance to interact with the science community. MORE HERE
The University of Surrey has signed a joint agreement (July 2009) with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) worth £10 million to develop communications and signal processing. As well as researching and developing new areas for mobile phone technology, the joint team will be working on nanotechnology and photonics covering the latest in high speed optical communications.
"This award affirms Surrey's track record as a leading university for innovation and commercialisation," said Vice Chancellor Professor Christopher Snowden. "Surrey developed the laser diode that is used in CD and DVD players worldwide and NPL has also had a fantastic track record of transferring technology to industry." Surrey Advertiser July 31st 2009
The Guildford Environmental Forum announced (January 2010) that a team of University of Surrey scientists is working on a project to adapt lasers to capture energy directly from the sun. The idea is to install lasers on satellites and for these to redirect the sun's energy through infrared beams down to energy storage units on the surface of the Earth. A group of satellites managed by space pioneers EADS Astrium would be placed into orbit around the sun in a bid to tap solar energy efficiently and effectively in the long-term. The system would also enable the sun's energy to be tapped at night and being delivered by infrared would mean that it would be invisible to people on earth.
The Surrey Baby Lab at the University has over the last decade been conducting research into how babies see colour. Hundreds of babies from across the county have helped in the research, which is hoped will provide a better understanding as to how young brains develop. The research centre, set up by Dr Anna Franklin in 2000, is currently conducting an experiment which involves tracking babies' responses to different colours and seeing whether they are the same as the responses of adults.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England reduced (March 2010) the University of Surrey's central funding by 2%. The university's government grants for 2010-2011 was reduced to £42m, representing about a quarter of the total £168m budget. The timing of the cut was awkward for the university as it had seen a 10% jump in applications through the UCAS clearing system than the previous year, with 15,500 people applying in 2010 against 13,900 in 2009.
The University of Surrey developed The Surrey Research Park (GR: SU967498) to provide a centre for companies engaged in a broad spectrum of research, development and design. Covering 70 acres (28 ha) of landscaped grounds complete with lakes and manicured lawns 110 companies employing around 2,700 people including the BOC Group, Canon and Mitsubishi are based here in a low density development.
The Research Park was established as part of a condition of the government's original £3m investment in 1966 in the new university. The agreement was to acquire a site of at least 300 acres which as well as land for the university campus on Stag Hill included that of Manor Farm less than a mile away.
The public enquiry in 1965 revealed that it would be 30 years before the whole Manor Farm land holding would be required. In the event some of this land was brought forward for the Surrey Research Park in the County Structure Plan of 1981 in a strategy to extend the university's links with industry. This allowed for the development of the current 70 acre (28 ha) site, with planning permission restricting the use to "carrying out research, development and design activities, in any science, including the social sciences that is complimentary to the activities of the University of Surrey".
In order to fund the development in the early 1980s the university sold some of its land holding as a long leasehold interest for £1.23m to the Associated Examining Board (AEB) - now the AQA which today is still based on the campus site. Funds were also raised by the sale of a site on the Research Park to BOC UK Ltd on which the company built its headquarters and technical centre (the Priestley Centre).
These funds allowed the university to build its first phase known as Chancellor Court with the rental income stream from tenants in these buildings supporting further borrowings so that the park could be developed further. This included the Surrey Technology Centre which itself was developed in three phases.
The Research Park was identified as being able to provide a source of independent income for the university at a time when the climate (as indeed it is today) was one of declining government support for higher education and research. Also at the time the strategy was to raise the university's profile as a major British Technological University and to assist in the process of technology transfer (1).
The principal was to facilitate transferring technology to companies on the Park from sources such as the university, regional government laboratories and from other commercial organisations. For that reason the university would also support the whole process of commercialisation. It was believed that the objective would also assist in the region's economic development and at its heart was the principal to support Europe-centric initiatives.
It was planned to divide the development into three zones, small, medium and large for companies of different sizes, with different origins and likely to be working in widely varying technologies.
The Research Park was opened by the Duke of Kent in 1985
In 2006 the university stated that over 2,750 people were employed on the Park with 54% of these recruited from within Surrey. Of these 1,150 were new jobs created by companies moving on to the park, with 280 positions filled by people living in Guildford. Once the site is completely developed the university says that direct employment will exceed 4,500 jobs.
They also estimate that in developing the Park £27.5m was invested into the local business community through professional fees, labour and contractors' profits and that currently (2009) businesses based there contribute around £500m annually to the regional economy. The university's research shows that of 80 companies that have moved away from the Park since 1992, 50% have remained within Surrey.
The Surrey Research Park secured second place in the Self Sustainability category at the international Best Science Based Incubator Awards 2009.
The Research Park its own football league which was created in 1995 the teams fielded by companies based there. By 1999 the Surrey Research Park Football League was supported by enough teams to introduce a cup and shield competitions and a second division. Today following a Champions League format the league has over 1,100 registered players and is run on a non-profit basis with all funds raised used to cover the cost of pictures, medals, trophies and the league website.
(1) 'Technology transfer' was defined by the university as "the means by which intellectual capital and know-how pass between organisations with a view to creating and developing commercially viable products or services".
Sources include: surrey-research-park.com 2nd April 2010; Business News. Surrey Advertiser. July 2009
At the Park's core is the Surrey Technology Centre which specifically provides facilities for small start-up and spin-off companies. Over the years vital research into cancer treatment and crucial data driving the world's markets have all originated from firms based here. The centre serves as a small community with units leased by individual companies, and is designed to provide early-stage mentoring and support to people who want to turn their ideas into reality. Teams of scientists, researchers and business people have turned the centre, which is owned by the University of Surrey, into a hive of activity.
Three companies were spotlighted by the Surrey Advertiser in a feature (July 2009) on the Research Park and Technology Centre. Stingray Geophysical Limited established at the centre in 2006 has grown from a team of two into a unit of a 12-strong team providing a high-tech monitoring service for reservoirs on behalf of oil and gas companies. It provides a multi-million pound system, Fosar, using fibre optics to measure the changes in reservoirs as oil and gas is being produced.
The Ovarian and Prostate Cancer Research Trust was set up by a prostate cancer sufferer in 2007 to develop an alternative plant-derived treatment called PC-SPES.
Gold-i was launched at the Centre in May 2009 to design and develop software used by trading brokers at the world's financial markets.
A world leader in the creation of computer games, Lionhead Studio, is based in Occam Court in the Research Park. MORE HERE
Headquartered at the Surrey Research Park, TMO Renewables, working in conjunction with Surrey University, has announced (May 2007) that it is to build a testing pipeline at Dunsfold Park to further advance its cutting-edge green technology that it claims can produce eco-friendly fuel from any organic material.
TMO Renewables announced (September 2010) that it is to design and build waste-to-bio-ethanol plants over a 20 year contract period, in partnership with a clean technology company in the US. The project is likely to divert millions of tonnes of waste away from landfill every year.
An eye hospital in the Surrey Research Park is taking part (August 2009) in a pioneering technique to restore sight to people aged over 55. The surgery enhances the central vision by inserting an implant behind the iris which magnifies images entering the eye by two and a half times. The Lipshitz Macular Implant utilised by Optegra Eye Care is likely to help millions of people.
Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) have started to build (September 2010) a specialised technical facility where the company will be building 14 satellites to service the European GPS System. The new £10m building is located opposite SSTL's HQ and will provide 3,700 sqm for a team of 40 to build the satellites. MORE ON SSTL HERE
A new University of Surrey Sports Centre has been planned (April 2007) to provide world-class sporting facilities when it is completed in 2009. The £36m Surrey Sports Park will provide facilities not just for the university but also the local community, and will benefit sports participants regionally and nationally too. The new facility will replace the existing sports facility built in 1971 at a time when the university only had 2,000 students but over the last 30 years has provided considerable community involvement. The university cites 500,000 annual sporting visits and 80% of usage of their outdoor facilities is by the community with over 150 local and regional teams using pitches.
The plans for the new facility include:
The centre has integral to its designs complete disability access and has consulted the English Institute of Sport, the English Federation of Disability Sports, and the Limbless Association at Roehampton.
The university said (September 2007) that the contractor due to undertake the work, the biggest of its kind in the South East, will be announced in October and the work to start building the complex would commence in April 2008 for completion 18 months later.
The university announced (February 2008) that due to a 'funding gap' there may be a delay to the start of the project. A shortfall of £15m has triggered a major fund-raising campaign which will include events and sponsored sports competitions, but hopes to attract a major sponsor. The university hopes to be successful in a joint bid to offer facilities for athletes at the centre to train for the 2012 Olympics and that the facility will become a major centre for paralympic athletes. Other centres locally hoping to attract Olympics sportsmen and women include Guildford Spectrum, the newly re-opened Lido, and Guildford College's Merrist Wood campus.
A further update (May 2008) indicated that the project will be completed at the end of 2009 with the Manor Park centre, earmarked for the 2012 British paralympic team, opening in January 2010. However a funding shortfall still remained which the university is energetically seeking to resolve helped in part by fund-raising events locally. Sport England has also been approached for help.
A topping-out ceremony was held (March 2009) at the construction site of the sports centre to mark the completion of the roof of one of the buildings. An ancient Indian ritual bestowing good luck on a new building was undertaken by portions of red wine, olive oil, salt and corn being poured into a hole in the floor.
A dedicated management team, recruited to oversee the development and budgets of the sports park, is focusing on commercial opportunities to ensure the project has a long-term success. The international coffee chain Starbucks has signed up for a concession with more deals expected. The Starbucks agreement is expected to create an extra 20 jobs and provide operational support to the facility.
The centre is being run (July 2009) by a team of 30 full-time staff members. When the centre opens it is expected that the staffing levels will be around 90 people.
Surrey Sports Park bosses have applied (January 2010) for permission to hold plays, dances and show films at the new venue. The university also intends to hold sporting events such as boxing and wrestling matches together with tournaments, shows and corporate sports days. The centre has been registered as a training ground for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic teams.
Management at the Surrey Sports Park announced (April 2010) that it is likely the centre will recoup the full costs of its construction a lot earlier than first anticipated.
The park has also worked hard to forge links with sports and leisure clubs from Guildford and throughout Surrey as well as elite sports teams and athletes. The Harlequins rugby team and the England women's Rugby Union team are using the centre for training programmes as are teams training for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The university's former director of sport who helped devise the project 16 years ago said that it was very important that clubs and non-professional teams would have a place at the centre.
Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) announced (January 2007) that it is to lead an attempt by Britain to join the race for the moon. SSTL plans to carry out two un-manned missions to the moon, with the first to be achieved by 2010. Their plans, which will start with an extensive survey of the lunar surface to find the best possible sites for human habitation, has been submitted to Particle Physics and Astronomy, the body that funds British space exploration.
SSTL believes that the cost of space exploration has dropped sufficiently to allow Britain to go it alone on the missions. Until now all of Britain's space ventures have been carried out in partnership with Nasa and the European Space Agency (Esa).
The first mission dubbed Moonlight would involve the firing of four suitcase-sized darts on to the moon's surface from an orbiting probe. The darts, which would be fired into craters, will penetrate the surface to a depth of two metres and allow data to be gathered to analyse the composition of the moon's core and determine whether 'moonquakes' are an issue.
The next mission, Moonraker, would then land a spacecraft on to the surface to make a more thorough investigation for a possible manned spacestation.
SSTL has a staff of around 200 people and has been involved in 23 small satellite missions. Other countries are actively planning to start building lunar colonies with agencies from the US and the European, Indian and Chinese space agencies involved in the first 21st-century space race.
SSTL has secured (August 2007) a contract with NASA to undertake a joint US-UK mission to develop a low cost lunar orbiter which will explore the south pole of the moon. The Magnolia mission has at its focus the investigation of water ice at the pole which could be used for any lunar bases in the future. SSTL will be involved in developing the primary mission design for NASA and will train American engineers in the fundamentals of small satellite technology. The next phase is planned to start in 2008 with mission launch scheduled for 2010.
SSTL are involved (2007) in the development of satellites for an international disaster monitoring project. A constellation of satellites is due to be launched into orbit above the earth next year to monitor global catastrophes, with SSTL's two satellites providing high resolution images of disaster zones which will contribute to coordinated disaster response strategies. The satellites will be lifted into orbit by a Russian Dnepr rocket blasting off from Kazakhstan, and will bring to 29 the number of SSTL satellites in space. The company has built an enviable reputation for being able to develop highly advanced satellites, all built in Guildford, at a fraction of the cost of many competing companies. In response to growing demand the business has recently recruited 81 new members of staff with another 30 likely early in 2008.
SSTL successfully transmitted (August 2009) detailed satellite images of the Californian wildfires ravaging the Los Padres National Forest to help with the efforts in controlling them. The disaster monitoring satellite UK-DMC 2 built and operated by SSTL is carrying satellite imagery sensors that get twice the number of pixels per square mile than earlier microsatellites. Images are further enhanced by advances in satellite imaging optics which provide for a sharper and more detailed picture. The incoming images are received and processed at DMCii in Guildford.
SSTL announced (February 2008) the news that it is to be contracted by the Canadian Department of National Defence funded Sapphire space object surveillance programme to build a spacecraft. The satellite technology unit, which employs 270 staff, has two years within which to deliver the craft which will track and provide data on orbiting objects between 3,700 miles (6,000 km) and 25,000 miles (40,000 km) above the Earth. In the same month the company also announced that it it is hoping to secure the backing of space giant NASA for their MoonLITE project which will analyse the internal structure of the moon by examining data transmitted from four missiles fired into the moon's surface from a Guildford-built satellite. The intention is to determine whether the moon has any water deposits, with the same technology being further developed for use on moons in orbit around Saturn and Jupiter. The project will also test telecommunications potential should moon bases be established in the future.
The Chairman of SSTL, Sir Martin Sweeting, won the 2008 Sir Arthur Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award in a presentation at the UK Space Conference held at Charterhouse School in Godalming in April. The award was in recognition of Sweeting's pioneering development of small satellites using low-cost engineering techniques. He was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Electra Electronics Industry Awards 2009.
The company successfully keeps manufacturing costs low by using off-the-shelf components developed for ordinary consumer computer technology.
SSTL's global success can perhaps be founded on it's get-up-and-go attitude - which is encompassed in this statement made at the firm's exhibition stand at the 2008 Farnborough International Airshow:
The European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed (April 2008) the successful launch of the first stage of the Galileo project which is intended to provide an alternative to the American sat-nav mapping system. The £30m satellite project represents the initial part of a contract with ESA worth almost £200m which will deliver a network of 30 satellites operating across three orbits and will release Europe from dependence upon American systems. SSTL fought off worldwide competition to win the project co-ordinated by the EU and European Space Agency.
Satellites built by SSTL became actively involved in the relief efforts for three natural disasters in May 2008. The satellites delivered images of the cyclone damage to Burma (2nd May), the eruption of Chaiten volcano in southern Chile (2nd May) and the earthquake in Sichuan province in China (12th May) to be used for response assessment by employees of Disaster Monitoring Constellation International Imaging in the university-owned Surrey Research Park in Guildford. The images were processed and passed without charge to the UN for conversion into maps to be used for rescue co-ordination. The satellites, which can image an area of 600km square, were also used in the Asian tsunami of 2004 an`d hurricane Katrina after it hit New Orleans in 2005.
A constellation of five satellites built by SSTL were successfully launched (August 2008) from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to provide a privately funded Earth observation system. The five identical satellites built for Germany-based RapidEye, who expect to be earning 20 million euros (appx £16m) annually from the constellation, each weigh 330 pounds (150kg) and stationed 19 minutes apart will image almost 2.5m square miles (4m sqkm) per day from their orbit 403 miles (650km) above the earth.
In 2009 SSTL has consolidated its position as the world’s premier producer and manufacturer of small satellites. Since the early 1980s the company has launched 32 satellites mostly from sites in Russia and Kazakhstan. These have to date (March 2009) completed over 200 mission years between them at orbits of over 370 miles (600km) above the earth. Another eight satellites are planned for launch over the next two years.
The satellites are tracked from the company’s HQ in the research park whilst the satellites themselves are still built at the university. Almost 90% of SSTL’s satellite technology is exported with clients including Spain and Russia as well as the European Space Agency. The company has also worked with the British National Space Centre (BNSC).
SSTL satellites were part of the co-ordinated relief effort for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 and the Asian tsunami in 2004.
Two new satellites were launched by SSTL (July 2009) to expand the capability of the space-based disaster monitoring system. Both satellites were designed and built at the company's HQ in Guildford and has brought the total number of satellites on the disaster monitoring constellation to six.
SSTL finalised its sale to Europe’s largest space company EADS Astrium in early 2009.
SSTL was ranked (March 2009) 89th out of 997 best UK firms to work for in a survey run by a national Sunday newspaper.
SSTL have been awarded (January 2010) a share in a £500 million contract to build a new global satellite navigation system. The project, to build 14 satellites that will orbit the Earth, will in effect guarantee that one third of the company's 300 strong workforce will be working well into 2014 when the system becomes operational. The Galileo network will supplement current GPS satellite systems to provide even greater accuracy. SSTL technicians are contracted to build the internal workings including amplifiers, signal generators and antennas.
The European system will be significantly more accurate than that operated by the US with location errors not exceeding one metre (3.30ft) compared to the American three metre (9.84ft) accuracy. The system will also utilise more advanced technology providing significantly faster more reliable positioning fixes.
SSTL have started to build (September 2010) the specialised technical facility where the company will be building the European GPS System satellites. The new £10m building is located opposite SSTL's HQ in the University's Surrey Research Park and will provide 3,700 sqm for a team of 40 to build the satellites.
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited is a founder member of the newly created Space Innovation and Growth Team (IGT), an organisation set up to encourage the government to invest in space technology with an investment of between £5 to £10 billion. Part of the plan SSTL has put forward (March 2010) is to ensure that the UK has its own Earth observation service to help meet national needs security. The company is also nearing completion on the construction of a new building directly opposite its current site on the Surrey Research Park.
A commercial venture between SSTL and one of its subsidiaries that specialises in data processing will see the company undertaking a £100m project to launch three British satellites. SSTL and DMCii have an existing contract operating a fleet of imaging satellites for a group of countries including Nigeria, Spain, China and the UK. The venture, announced in October 2010, will generate revenue from providing satellite time for commercial organisations and research bodies.
The 2011 Tycho Brahe prize was awarded to SSTL's Dr Martin Unwin at the International Meeting of the Institute of Navigation for his pioneering work in the development of low cost Global Navigation Satellite System receiver technology. Dr Unwin, who studied his PhD at Surrey University's Space Centre said after the award ceremony: "Many of our pioneering achievements and commercial successes have only been possible as a result of the active research relationship between SSTL and the Surrey Space Centre."
The University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have reached agreement (March 2012) on a joint partnership which is set to provide real impetus in advancing low-cost space and terrestrial technology.
Surrey Satellite Technology shipped the first of 14 Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) navigation payloads in April 2012. The payloads, which are being fitted to the satellites by the European Space Agency in Germany, provides Galileo's precision positioning measurements and services to users. The first two Galileo satellites entered orbit in October 2011.
Standing high on the bank by the waterway just below the Millmead Lock gates, which mark the end of the Godalming Navigation, is the modern striking structure of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (GR: SU996493) built on the site of Filmer’s 1794 iron foundry.
The Yvonne Arnaud is the largest and only remaining producing theatre in Surrey. The 18th century building to the right in the picture above is the Old Town Mill which was opened as the 80 seat Mill Studio in 1993. The Mill allows smale-scale works to be presented by both amateur and professional companies.
In 2006 a new hydro turbine was installed in the mill building to deliver electricity for the town.
Guildford has a long theatrical tradition with records relating to public performances going back to 1619. The first purpose built theatre opened in 1789 in Market Street. It was however the burning down of the repertory theatre in the old Borough Hall in 1963 that triggered the creation of the Yvonne Arnaud by the Guildford Theatre Company.
Opening in 1965 the theatre was named in honour of the popular French actress (1892 – 1958) who had settled in nearby Effingham Common and had trodden the boards of English theatres for 46 years. Her ashes were reportedly scattered on St Martha’s Hill near Chilworth just to the south of Guildford. A stage-full of stars graced the new theatre on opening night with Ingrid Bergman and Sir Michael Redgrave topping the bill in Turgenev’s A Month in the Country.
Adopting a strong West End bias, the theatre over the ensuing decades has attracted many other famous actors, which as well as Redgrave and Bergman has included Dame Sybil Thorndike, Dirk Bogarde, Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth, Felicity Kendal, Paul Eddington, Derek Jacobi, Edward Fox, Peter Egan, Alistair McGowan and Zoe Wanamaker.
Since 1991 the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre has created 106 productions (to 2006) which have toured 78 UK cities. The theatre company is proud of its successful productions, with no fewer than 47 transferring to the West End. The theatre's craftsmen are also in great demand with the scenery workshops building sets for Glyndebourne, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chichester Festival Theatre and most of the country's leading commercial companies.
The theatre gave 619 performances to nearly 155,000 people during 2007, and touring plays from Guildford had 533 performances to over 107,000 people.
The theatre buildings are used by Surrey Police for annual counter-terrorism search courses run by the Police National Search Centre using a combined team of police and army instructors. The theatre provides the location for building search elements of the course, with outdoor search training conducted at Witley Farm at Brook near Godalming.
The Yvonne Arnaud learned (December 2007) that it may lose all of its £447,799 Arts Council England grant from April 2009 which has put some doubt as to how the theatre will make up the shortfall in order to remain viable as a regional producing theatre. The theatre is shocked at the severity of the cut in funding.
The Arts Council however are standing by their decision which they feel to be reasonable.
www.thestage.co.uk 18th December 2007
The theatre submitted (January 2008) an 'extensive and rigorous appeal' to ACE by the official response deadline to challenge the suggestion that the theatre has not developed enough new work or broadened its audiences, the basis of the recommendation to withdraw funding. The director of the theatre however has stated that it is unlikely the theatre will have to close without the ACE grant as unlike most provincial theatres the Yvonne Arnaud generates around 75% of its own income, compared to 50% for other theatres. However the board will have to decide on what activities to curtail in order to ensure the theatre remains financially viable.
At the end of January 2008 the theatre received official confirmation from the Arts Council that their decision remains and no further funding will be received from 2009.
The Maltings in neighbouring Farnham has been awarded an increase of £11,000 in its annual grant over the next three years.
Adding her voice to the anger being expressed locally, Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench as a patron to the theatre expressed her disbelief in the Art Council's decision.
A Guildford Borough councillor has put his weight behind an online campaign to protest against the Arts Council's decision. Nearly 1,600 people (February 2008) have registered in protest on Facebook, the social networking site.
Guildford Borough Council has granted £335,000 (March 2008) to the Yvonne Arnaud to help support its programme of theatrical and educational events. The funding is part of over £600,000 in grants the council is awarding to local projects.
As part of the Yvonne Arnaud’s continued attempt to fill the funding gap following the loss of Arts Council funding the theatre has launched a number of initiatives including their Guardian Angel campaign (2009) in which they are asking supporters to sign up to the scheme and donate at least £2 a month. By their calculation they hope to raise £360,000 a year if just 10% of the 150,000 people who visit the theatre each year sign up.
The theatre has also cited (October 2009) that they have cut production costs and pruned overheads. Costs have also been reduced by seeking help from charitable trusts to help on essential maintenance work. The theatre has also re-launched their Friends membership scheme and the Vanbrugh Club which has seen an increase of 28% in membership numbers since 2008.
The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre's campaign to raise funds to make up the shortfall created by the withdrawal of funding by the Arts Council has resulted in great success (March 2010) with the theatre recruiting over 850 new donors, 11 new corporate sponsors, and 127 new members of the Vanbrugh Club. Monies raised have compensated for almost 24% of the lost grant.
Surrey has lost two long established theatres in recent years including the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham and The Thorndike Theatre in Leatherhead.
Guildford's Bellerby Theatre, which was housed in a 'traditional two-storey red-brick Victorian school', provided a facility for amateur dramatic and independent theatre groups to stage their performances. The theatre was named after mayor Bill Bellerby who was instrumental in bringing about the creation of the venue, and who was passionate about arts in the town. However the lease for the theatre was taken up by the Guildford School of Acting in 1983 with the result that performances were restricted to college holidays. A lobbying group, the Guildford Amateur Theatre Association, was formed to represent the interests of over 20 amateur arts companies, and the Electric Theatre was born. <qv>
The site of the two-storey theatre building off York Road in Guildford Town Centre has been earmarked by Waitrose for a new multimillion pound supermarket. The grocery chain was selected as preferred bidder for the site (September 2011) by Guildford Borough Council. Plans for the complex include a 21,000 sq ft supermarket with 170 car spaces and new homes and community facilities.
The 2.5 acre (1 ha) site is immediately adjacent to the west of the Town Centre Conservation Area, with a small part of the site, Beverley Hall at 71 Haydon Place, within the conservation area boundary. Beverley Hall is to be extended and refurbished to act as a community facility. It is currently a single-storey double-height red-brick building.
A formal planning application is to be made in spring 2012 with an opening date of 2014.
The Guildford School of Acting (GSA), which has no direct association with the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, evolved from the 1935 London-founded Grant-Bellairs School of Dance and Drama. At the end of the Second World War the school relocated in 1945 to Guildford in a small building opposite the Yvonne Arnaud theatre on Millbrook, and was renamed the Guildford School of Acting in 1964.
The school was based in Bellairs Playhouse in Millmead Terrace and had six other sites in central Guildford including their own television and radio station. The scattered facilities provide an 80-seat theatre, three dance studios, a 10,000 book library with IT facilities and theatre workshops, as well as general teaching facilities.
In a deal originally signed with Surrey University in 2007, the school relocated its main educational and performance facilities to the university campus utilising a single purpose-built state-of-the-art facility.
The topping out ceremony for the new GSA Conservatoire building took place in July 2009 attended by actresses Brenda Blethyn and Helena Blackman. The building, which will include 15 dance and drama studios, 10 tutorial rooms and a cafe, is to replace the drama schools existing seven buildings scattered around Guildford. The contractors working on the building confidence that the facility will be fully open within six months and will be completed on budget.
The £12m cost of the move, which was completed in January 2010, was shared by the GSA and the university, but also received funding by the Higher Education Funding Council (£3m). The new facility consists of a performing arts centre with rehearsal studios, a 200-seat theatre for GSA public performances, and a training venue for stage management and technical courses plus new arts administration and venue management courses.
The GSA administrative headquarters moved to Stag Hill in Guildford in January 2010.
The GSA has among its alumni Brenda Blethyn, Michael Ball, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Gaby Roslin, Emma Barton, Rob Kazinsky and Diane Pilkington.
A new production company has set up in Guildford (2008) with the specific focus of utilising the talents of GSA graduates and helping them find their feet in a notoriously competitive industry. Sean McNamara Productions, set up by McNamara and his partner Anna Margilewska - both GSA-trained - launches with its first show the Broadway hit ART (Yasmina Reza) at the Electric Theatre in June 2008.
View GSA YouTube video HERE (February 2011)
The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford was founded in 1995 on the back of a small grant from the Prince’s Trust quickly establishing a reputation for producing well-prepared and talented songwriters and musicians principally in pop and rock music. Beginning with courses run as evening classes the ACM now has 1,200 full-time and 400 part-time students who study not just music but also the intricacies of the industry utilising close links with specialist sectors such as publishing, promotion, management, A&R, legal, CD manufacturers and radio stations.
The on-site facilities include state-of-the-art recording studios, a business centre and a performance venue. The ACM also runs two record labels.
In April 2008 the ACM finally achieved parity with its higher profile contemporaries, including the British Record Industry Trust School in London and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in Liverpool, when it won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its teaching achievements.
Such is the reputation now for ACM, names such as Brian May (Queen), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) regularly run masterclasses and Genesis freely provide access to their studio located near Guildford.
Following the success of the Academy in the BBC's Last Choir Standing talent competition when the ACM gospel choir reached the 2009 semi-finals, the college has launched (July 2009) a new gospel choir course. The course will teach skills including group harmonies and vocal techniques. The gospel choir, which started out as an extra curricular activity for their full time students, has since released an album and has also been undertaking tours around the country.
The ACM opened (August 2009) its first branch in America with a first-year enrolment at the University of Central Oklahoma of 160 students. The initiative ACM@UCO operating from a 120,000 sq ft facility under headship of Scott Brooker the veteran manager of band Flaming lips is a test bed for the academy’s plan to roll out franchises across the country.
The home of Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898), the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass was The Chestnuts (GR: SU997493) to be found up Castle Hill through the castle gate. Lewis Carroll was buried in the cemetery in The Mount (GR: SU989489) on the original coaching route that runs up to the Hogs Back and on to Farnham. If you visit the cemetery you will need to locate the inscription made in his real name Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Detailed information on Lewis Carroll can be found in the museum, and there is a delightful commemorative bronze sculpture (GR: SU995494) on the west bank of the Wey in Millmead featuring Alice reading with her sister and a hare in full flight. Another sculpture has been erected in his honour in the gardens of Guildford Castle. MORE ON LEWIS CARROLL
Drivers travelling along the old Guildford bypass (now the A25 Parkway) cannot fail to see a striking sculpture on a plinth by the Boxgrove roundabout (GR: TQ001509). Created by sculptor Jane Jones, 'The Dancers' grace the front of the Clock House offices of the accountants Baker Tilly and are testimony to the firm's support for the Arts. BUT SEE NOTE BELOW
Guildford Arts launched a scheme, Art@Work, to provide greater exposure for local artists and sculptors and Baker Tilly have enthusiastically given their support by providing exhibition space in The Clock House. It was at one of the Art@Work events that The Dancers was displayed and the firm decided to acquire the piece for permanent display outside their offices. The firm received the Guildford Society Design Award in October 2006 in recognition of their contribution.
After wonton vandalisation in 2007 which rendered the original sculpture beyond repair Baker Tilly elected to commission a new piece in bronze which now sits in its place.
Guildford House Gallery
At 155 High Street is housed a collection of paintings by the Guildford born artist John Russell (1745 - 1806) alongside other artists work. The gallery also mounts regular static and touring exhibitions of local artists.
Guildford House celebrated its 350th anniversary in July 2009. The property was built as the High Street home of John Childe, a London lawyer and also three times Mayor of Guildford during the 17th century. A high profile family by the name of Martyr also lived here until the 19th century when booming trade in the town gave rise to converting the building into a shop. Prior to being acquired by Guildford Borough Council in 1956 it had been operating as a restaurant and cafe, with other uses including a long period of use by Alfred Bull's the saddlers and tent maker's shop during the 19th and early 20th century.
Russell, a member of the Royal Academy, is renowned for his oil and pastel portraits of 18th century royalty and international figures of repute. He was painter to George III which gave him access and influence enabling him to quickly become the talk of London in his day. He also was an accomplished astronomer successfully making accurate records of the surface of the moon. His lunar sketches and engravings are held in high regard with many held by the Museum of the History of Science.
The Guildford House Gallery collection has been featured in a directory of paintings by the Public Catalogue Foundation. The Foundation, which has set out to make available a complete record of all oil paintings in public ownership, has included John Russell paintings in Discover The Paintings You Own - The Hidden Heritage of Surrey Revealed which is to be published in September 2006. Go to www.thepcf.org.uk for more information.
The Friends of Guildford House, which was formed in the 1970s, has been instrumental in building the council's collection of works by local artists to over 750 pieces.
The news that Guildford Borough Council is considering closing the Guildford House Gallery (February 2010) has fuelled an energetic campaign to oppose the move. The campaign revolves around the council's plan of combining the tourist information office and the activities currently undertaking in Guildford house and housing these at 170 High Street (Constitution Hall and formerly Thorpe's Bookshop). The council are intending to spend £160,000 to repair and refurbish this building.
Here are some excerpts from letters written to the Surrey Advertiser in Guildford.
Providing an official view is the following letter:
After a local campaign to keep the Guildford House Gallery in its current home it would appear that following a flurry of energetic activity from local objectors the town council has backed down and returned the building (August 2010) at 170 High Street, which used to house a cinema and later a bookshop, to be offered again on the property market.
As part of the army's plan to link regiments with districts Edward Cardwell, Secretary of State for War, ordered in 1873 that barracks for the 2nd Regimental District infantry be built in Stoughton in north Guildford. Stoughton Barracks (GR: SU985517), which opened in 1876, were then sited in a sparsely populated area and were designed to house 300 soldiers from The Queen's (Second) Royal Regiment.
A married quarters block was added in 1879 and became home to 500 men, women and children. The barracks expanded with additional buildings being erected until 1936. During both World Wars Stoughton became a major recruitment and training centre for infantry recruits. The base was further expanded with additional buildings and extensions between 1905 and 1936.
The regiment's 2nd Royal Surrey Militia originally had a depot in Friary Street in the centre of Guildford which was primarily used during short periods of training but this was relocated to Stoughton Barracks when it was built and the Militia building became a business premises until it was demolished in 1969.
Queen Elizabeth I was stationed at the barracks for a short period in 1945 whilst she undertook training on military vehicles. The Queen in common with all able-bodied women during the war actively contributed to the war effort, and in her case she was trained to drive and repair HGVs.
Immediately to the north of Stoughton Barracks a hutted militia camp was built during World War II for the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment
The Auxiliary Transport Service (ATS), which was renamed the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC) in 1949, took over the camp. The camp which was reopened as a depot and training centre in 1951, and renamed the Queen Elizabeth Camp in 1953. WRACs did not undertake weapon training but undertook support roles including the manning of searchlights and rangefinders for anti-aircraft batteries.
The original camp was constructed of wooden huts referred to as ‘spiders’ and in each up to 28 women were accommodated with a single coke-fired stove providing warmth. By 1960 the camp had become run-down so a major rebuilding exercise provided the Corps with a new depot consisting of modern residential blocks with accommodation provided in four-bed rooms, and positioned in a landscaped setting. The new centre was opened by the Queen in 1964 and renamed as the Queen Elizabeth Barracks to reflect its new status.
Two WRACs from the barracks were killed in the Guildford IRA bombings in 1974, with privates Ann Hamilton (19) and Caroline Slater (18) dying in the blast at the Horse and Groom in North Street. Both women are commemorated in the corps’ memorial window, which had been a feature of Guildford Cathedral since it was first installed there in 1961, There is also a memorial in Quakers Acre in North Street opposite the former pub which today is a shop. THE WRAC received the freedom of the borough of Guildford in 1988.
When the WRAC was finally disbanded at Guildford in 1992 the parade at Queen Elizabeth Park was recorded as the largest all-female parade ever held in the country. The corps was amalgamated with the Adjutant General’s Corps.
The Queen's was one of the founding regiments of the British Army having been established in 1661. It became a royal regiment in 1703 and was named the Queen's Royal in 1881.
The Queen's vacated the barracks in 1959 although it continued as a pay administration and records office until 1983. In 1993 Countryside Properties plc bought the 18 acre estate and developed it for residential use. The developers were required to preserve many of the original buildings including Cardwell Keep, the Officers' Mess, some of the barrack blocks and the wall and arch fronting on to Stoughton Road. The design of the Keep is typical of those built in many 19th century barracks and provided for wartime security including steel shutters fitted to the inside of windows. 75 soldiers could be comfortably billeted in the building.
Street names around the modern Queen Elizabeth Park residential development include those commemorating prominent members of the WRAC.
Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP) has 525 homes and is serviced by a supermarket and member-only leisure centre complete with swimming pool on site. There is also a business centre with offices and a private purpose-built residential and nursing home. The developers agreed to provide a building to house a community centre as part of the approval process for planning permission. Although planning permission for the centre was granted in 2006 construction of the building was not started for another two years. However the developers and council have been approached (April 2008) by the QEP Residents Association complaining that the facility is not needed amid fears of increased traffic and the costs of maintaining the grounds around the centre which they believe will have to be carried by QEP residents. If the dispute is not resolved the use of the whole building will revert to offices - the ground floor is already reserved for commercial use.
In 2005 a first floor two bedroom apartment in the Keep had a market value of around £200,000. A two bedroom flat in the Keep fetched £1,200 monthly rental in 2007, with that year's property prices in the Queen Elizabeth Park development continuing to climb to new heights. Five-bedroomed homes with purpose built studies are on the market for around £650,000. In early 2008 a one-bedroomed first floor apartment in King George's Lodge at the old barracks with 'cathedral views and a vaulted ceiling' was on the market for £225,000.
The first of the popular Carry On films was made at Stoughton Barracks. Carry on Sergeant (1958) starring William Hartnell, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Connor was filmed here and told the story of Sergeant Grimshaw who hoped to retire in a blaze of glory by winning the Star Squad prize with his final platoon. His platoon had other ideas . . . The film was more a parody of the latter days of National Service with the Carry On stable not having yet taken on its more bawdy approach.
The two museum collections for the regiment at Stoughton and Kingston-upon-Thames were amalgamated and are now housed at the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment Museum at Clandon Park, near Guildford. The regimental collection of historic documents, books and photographs has been put into the care of the Surrey History Centre in Woking.
Perhaps quite appropriately, given the site's history with the Women's Royal Army Corps, the Surrey Federation of Women's Institutes (SFWI) moved their headquarters to Railton Road in Stoughton's Queen Elizabeth Park in 2006. Their new building was officially opened by the Countess of Wessex.
Fifty army homes in Pirbright near Guildford which were vacated by service families in 2005 have remained empty and are now (2007) reported to be either vandalised or occupied by squatters. The houses in Manor Crescent, Billesden Road alongside Pirbright Army Barracks are still owned by the army and have not been released for private occupation. Criticism has been levelled at the MOD given the acute shortage of affordable housing in the area. Surrey Police have been using the estate for police dog training exercises.
By the southern perimeter of the old Stoughton Barracks is an outstanding wall mural created by artist NB Scott in 2008 and which graces the front entrance to a Stoughton school. It features the school’s allotments and pond, and paints a picture of almost rural serenity providing a hint perhaps as to the inspired way the school is run.
Stoughton Infant and Nursery School was opened in 1886 initially just as an infant school. The school today is fully modernised having been refurbished in 2002 and high-tech with internet links and interactive whiteboards in all classrooms. The children also have access to computers and a reference library in an information centre. As the wall mural, which has the slogan ‘loving to learn – learning to love’ prominently featured on it, suggests the school does provide a very rounded approach to the education of its young pupils. Outdoors the children are encouraged to grow-their-own in the school allotments, and enjoy a wildlife area, a quiet area, pond and sensory garden. They also have access to a large field and a playground. There are 229 places for three to seven-year-olds at the school.
On the Aldershot Road not far from Stoughton Barracks is the fascinating Georgian building that now accommodates Rydes Hill Preparatory School. Also known locally as The Clock House it houses the billiards room, now the school library, which has an 18-panel frieze recounting the story of Joan of Arc. The frieze was painted by the 19th-century artists Talbot Hughes and Sir Herbert Hughes-Stanton. The building was originally a private dwelling.
The distinctive 'Y' shape of the Shepherd's Hill (GR: SU982514) estate off the Worplesdon Road in Stoughton was one of the earliest developments in the borough of Guildford under a national building campaign started in 1918 to provide council-owned homes. A renowned house builder at the time, one W. G. Tarrant, won the contract to erect 83 houses on the eight-acre site. Tarrant, who made his name building the exclusive St George's Hill in Weybridge MORE HERE, committed to build 'homes fit for heroes' promised by the government of Lloyd George for troops returning from WWI.
The subsequent 1919 Housing Act was passed to fulfil this pledge and provided government grants with strict conditions for builders in order to subsidise their construction. Tarrant had submitted the lowest bid of £66,646 18s 3d from 16 builders and the following year Dr. Addison, the President of the Local Government Board responsible for implementing the new housing policy, cut the first sod at the site using a spade presented by Tarrant. The spade has been preserved at the Guildhall in Guildford. Tarrant was to go on to build other council houses in the area including 50 at a cost of £705 on Guildford Park Estate, as well as other developments in Byfleet, Pyrford and Lightwater.
In 1920 a local bus company, Yellow Bus Services, started operating from a depot on the corner of Worplesdon Road and New Cross Road to provide transport for the rapidly growing local population. Yellow Bus serviced local routes until 1958.
Straddling the Stoughton Road adjacent to the railway line is Stoke Cemetery (GR: SU99514) which is located on eight acres of land purchased and laid out from 1880 – 82. A Victorian chapel forms the centrepiece of the old cemetery to the south of the road. Famous people buried at Stoke cemetery include William Babtie (1859 – 1920) a professional soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in the Boer War. On the other side of the road is the expansive Stoke New Cemetery. There is a consecrated Jewish section in the new cemetery.
Stoughton Methodist Church started in 1891 as a corrugated iron building referred to locally as 'The Tin Tabernacle' and was built for the Wesleyan Methodists. The church that today stands prominently on the corner of Stoughton Road and Grange Road supplemented the iron structure in 1895, with local records pointing to the fact that the original 'Tin Tabernacle' continued to be used for activities including a Sunday School until at least 1953. The new church, which initially lacked an organ with singing accompanied by a harmonium, became a centre of activity for the local community including bizarres, concerts and numerous club activities. Slots can still be seen in the floor of the building which helped keep equipment in place for separate boy's and girl's gymnastic clubs that operated there until the 1930s. Today a 1985 Norwich Electronic Organ provides accompaniment.
The old tin hall was replaced in 1953/4 by a new hall at a cost of £3,200 - and remains today immediately behind the church fronting on to Grange Road. One of the three stones laid at the time include that of one Mrs Welch who was the oldest member of the church. The church gifted a piece of land from its frontage to the council in 1991 to enable the road to be widened and traffic lights to be positioned to ease congestion problems - although contemporary records express dismay at the stop line for one of the lights being placed right in front of the car park entrance.
The oldest surviving building within the village boundaries is an 18th century timber barn that formed part of Grange Farm in Grange Road. Grange Farm fell into disuse in 1924.
The old Royal Hotel in Worplesdon Road, which once hosted gigs in the early days of both Eric Clapton and The Stranglers, may be returned to use as a hotel. Over the years the business gradually declined eventually falling back to become just a pub and food takeaway. Various owners had tried to bring some of the 11 bedrooms back into use but through a lack of funding only managed to have six available for bed and breakfast accommodation.
The Royal as a pub closed in May 2009 and has remained boarded up. However it will be up to the development company to persuade the council planning department that the premises hasn’t lost the right to be deemed as a hotel rather than a pub or restaurant due to a long lapse in providing a hotel service.
The pub, which was a favourite haunt for soldiers from the nearby barracks and attracted a reputation for being ‘a little rowdy’, was owned in the early 1980s by the wrestler Mick McManus, and who tried to improve its reputation by banning large groups of off-duty soldiers. McManus was one of the first Guildford landlords to be granted a licence to have music and dancing until 1am on Saturdays, although by 1983 this had been withdrawn.
The hotel was designed by Guildford architect Henry Peak in the 1870s and built and owned by local builder William Wells. Wells leased the pub to a Farnham brewery until 1883 when the brewery bought the freehold for £2,500. In 1927 the business was sold to Courage & Co.
Tangley Place (GR: SU978527) is an Edwardian manor house on Worplesdon Road close to the junction with Salt Box Road that has fallen to dereliction and the effects of vandalism over recent years. A planning application has been submitted (17th July 2009) to Guildford Borough Council to convert the building into a 92 bed care home.
A local bat conservation group and other wildlife enthusiasts have expressed previous concerns over the refurbishment of the building due to the presence of bats, badgers and rare great-crested newts on the site, all of which are legally protected. However, it appears that these groups may be satisfied with the plans that the developer has for the building which includes the installation of a wildlife pond. Other planning issues that have been cited include the fact that the property lies within the green belt and is close to the Whitmoor Common SSSI which is part of the Thames Basin Heath special protection area.
After the war between 1947 and 1955 Tangley Place was used as a post war convalescent home. After this the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) based a research station at the property, which included a large two-storey laboratory building in the grounds. A paper presented by MAFF in 1978 to the Eight Vertebrate Pest Conference illustrates the type of work being undertaken at Tangley. The paper presented by one Harry V Thompson from the Ministry was entitled Wildlife as Vectors in Diseases: Approaches to Solving These Problems in the United Kingdo. The paper covered concerns over rabies prevention and the spread of the disease in wildlife populations. Another paper issued in 1987 focused on tackling the threat to agriculture in Britain of a rapidly expanding population of the European rabbit.
In 1997 the building was offered for sale in a government surplus land sell-off. A developer had purchased the building in 1999 with the plan of transforming it into upmarket apartments, however a fire gutted the building and it has remained derelict ever since. Other plans for redevelopment have come and gone, one of which included (2007) developing part of the site as a park and ride car park in return for planning permission. Whatever development plan is successful it is unlikely that any of the existing structure is to be retained due to the acute level of damage.
Located nearby at Wonersh Common is Great Tangley Manor (GR: SU981539) set in an expansive Victorian garden. The Grade 1 listed moated manor house, part of which operates today as a five bedroomed residential business venue, dates back to the 11th century. The first mention of the manor is in the Domesday book of 1086 in which it was described as a royal hunting lodge. Much of the character of the main part of the house that survive today results from major alterations undertaken in 1582.
It is believed that the some of the timbers salvaged from the Armada fleet were used in the dining room and also in parts of the panelling throughout the house. In 1880 one Wycham Flower owned the property and commissioned Victorian architect Phillip Webb to further extend the property and renovate the moatand gardens. King George V and Queen Mary with other members of the Royal family visited the property shortly afterwards, their signatures still discernible scratched into the window of the dining room with a diamond ring.
The current owners also say that signatures of King George VI and Edward VIII can be seen on the dressing room windows of the master suite. Other notable visitors are said to have included John Evelyn, William Morris, Lord Grantley, Gertrude Jekyll, and Alice Keppel who was 'royal mistress' to Edward VII. George Macdonald, 19th century writer and 'thinker' is documented as having rented Great Tangley manor in the spring of 1875. The manor house was divided into two separate dwellings in 1959. The courtyard seen today dates back to as recently as 1976.
In the mid-19th century, in response to the decline in popularity for the annual Guy Fawkes celebrations (1) on the 5th November, Guy Societies were established as an initiative to keep Bonfire Night alive. Money was collected by the societies during the year to purchase gunpowder from the works in nearby Chilworth and to pay for the festivities surrounding the event. The central event was a procession through the town, with revellers dressed in period costume and with many wearing antlers, to the site of the town bonfire.
(1) Bonfire Night held annualy on the 5th November is an exclusively British event which celebrates the foiled attempt by religious conspirators to assassinate King James I of England and displace Protestant rule in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Fawkes, who had been trained in the use of explosives when in the military, had filled the cellar of the House of Lords with gunpowder with the plan of creating a massive explosion during the Opening of Parliament, which the king was due to attend. Parliament was then housed in the Palace of Westminster and not the building currently used, which was not built until Victorian times. After a tip-off Fawkes was arrested in the cellar on the 5th November prior to the event.
In 1844 the bonfire was lit outside Holy Trinity Church in the High Street, and it would appear that the event in that year would set the scene for rioting that would accompany the celebrations for a considerable number of years. Much of the wood used in the 1844 bonfire appears to be have stolen from properties in and around the town which lead to widespread incriminations.
In 1852 Reverend Shrubb of St Catherine's Hill made an official complaint to the town authorities that large stretches of his fencing, and those of neighbouring properties, had been stripped and used on the bonfire without permission. The riotous behaviour that ensued, which reportedly involved large numbers of people from the town and outlying villages, went unchecked. Having not had his complaint taken seriously by the local Borough Bench, Reverend Shrubb took the matter directly to the Home Office who committed support from the army, special constables and police from the County Force to future events.
The extra support succeeded in quelling the rioting the following year, but in 1854 large groups of thugs roamed the town smashing windows and damaging public property resulting in the Riot Act being read and force being used to quel the riots. Against a backdrop of general social unrest throughout the country at the time, the riots reached their zenith during the years 1858 - 1862 with stone throwing and running battles with the police. Large quantities of fencing had again been stolen and a considerable number of windows in the town were broken with bricks and through the missuse of fireworks.
At the time the town council was small and ineffective by modern standards and they had access to only three policemen. Public opinion however grew and led to the Home Office insisting that the riots be stopped. This culminated in 1857 with fierce battles being fought between the rioters and the local police who had been reinforced by officers from the country force. Injuries were widespread which included serious injuries to a policeman and the death of a man who had fallen from a ladder.
The Royal Wedding year of 1863, when the Prince of Wales (later to be crowned King Edward VII) wed Princess Alexandria, was to be a strictly policed event. The army had been called in to patrol the streets for several weeks and this year was to remain peaceful. However the official banning of bonfire celebrations that was then imposed resulted in an attempt on Boxing Day 1865 to challenge the authorities. A large mob of thugs intent on rioting entered the town. They confronted Guildford's police force who after a running battle, in which an officer was badly beaten, defeated the rioters in Quarry Street. The police had armed themselves with cutlasses. Four rioters were arrested which resulted in prison sentences for three of them.
This victory was to prove to be the turning point as the rioting was never repeated and the local populace were able to enjoy trouble-free formally arranged bonfire parties every year thereafter. It also saw the emergence of a properly funded and organised town council which took over greater responsibilities including running the local gas and water utilities.
The proposal (2012) to erect a 16ft (5m) tall sculpture of a bonfire on the roundabout by Guildford Police Station has generated heated debate. The steel sculpture features a chair on the top of the pyre engulfed in flames.
The Alderman followed his letter (above) with another a few weeks later.
(2) The 'Skeletons' originated in Weston-super-Mare in 1881 and their activities were designed to disrupt and intimidate the Salvation Army. They used banners and insignia decorated with the skull and crossbones and coffins. A newspaper report at the time (Bethnal Green Eastern Post November 1882) included this description:
Did you know that The Star public house in Guildford was integral to the explosion of the punk rock phenomenon worldwide? The veteran band The Stranglers made their 1974 debut here, then under the name of The Guildford Stranglers. The Star was then owned by the drummer Jet Black. They took the pub rock scene by storm and were instrumental in attracting attention to a new and often controvertial genre of music. The Stranglers had a hit single every year between 1977 and 1982. Do you remember No More Heroes, Peaches (banned by the BBC), Something Better Change and of course Golden Brown?
A poll (March 2006) of 250 Guildford residents sought local opinion on various property related issues. The more serious opinions reflected a fear (78%) that property prices in the town don't reflect good value for money and a concern that potential price hikes over the coming year will make upgrading virtually impossible for most people.
When polled for opinion as to the ugliest and prettiest properties in the town Friary Court, the 1960s structure that straddles the A281 Horsham Road between the bottom of the High Street and Town Bridge was voted as the ugliest. The Guildhall polled 37% of the vote for the prettiest, with Guildford Castle following with 19%.
Friary Court below as seen from the river straddling the A281.
Close to here is The Friary Shopping Centre, a modern enclosed development on three levels. It is so-named having been built on the site of a Dominican Friary said to have been established here around 1275 by Eleanor of Provence the widow of Henry III. The friary never truly established itself and was dissolved in 1538 with only seven Blackfriars in residence. The site was eventually built upon by the Earl of Annandale in the 17th century. The Earl's grand house is thought to have been demolished in 1818. Military barracks and the Friary Meux brewery were later to be located here. An archaelogical dig carried out in the four years from 1974 unearthed a number of artifacts which are on display at the museum in Quarry Street.
A multi-million pound redevelopment of the Friary Shopping Centre has been announced (November 2010) by the joint owners, Westfield and Hermes Real Estate. The improvements are to include new entrances, new and modern shop frontages and contemporary mall features. There will be space for five new large stores and a revamped foodcourt modelled on the Westfield brand successfully launched elsewhere in the UK.
The developers say that Guildford has a catchment of 723,000 households with a weighted spend of £1.2 million.
A planning application is due to be decided upon on 17th December 2010.
Guildford was again pronounced as the safest town in Britain in 2008 in Endsleigh Insurance's annual survey. Dundee ranked second with Nottingham and London at the bottom of the league. Rankings are rated on the incidence of household theft based on an analysis of claims records over a four year period. Measured on incidences of claims for home accidents Guildford was ranked fourth in the UK after Leeds, York and Newcastle-uon-Tyne.
In its research in an earlier survey (April 2006) into the frequency of theft claims nationally, Guildford had the lowest rate of household theft in the country. The highest were Nottingham, Hull and Leeds. Householders in Guildford were 41.8% less likely to make a claim compared to the national average. Nottingham waded in at 109% more likely. Guildford also boasts a crime rate per head of population 40% below the national average and nationally ranks as the safest in all the major crime categories of burglary, vehicle crime and violence. And Surrey generally has the least crime of any police force area in the country. Perhaps there is a correlation in the fact that salaries in the county are above the national average and there is little unemployment.
Coincidentally another survey highlighted Guildford as being in the Top Ten of towns where drinkers can find a quality pint of cask conditioned beer. Now if you're tempted by the good life and fancy living there, the town also ranks as amongst the most expensive for property. Probably not so surprising.
The Waterfront Consortium, which includes the Guildford Arts and Enigma Dance Company, are proposing that a new multi-purpose cultural centre is built in the town. The consortium's aim is to provide access to the arts and knowledge "that will energise all ages and that will provide a focal point for the Borough’s multi-ethnic community".
Their intention is to try and stimulate a fund-raising campaign and establish an architectural competition for designs of the centre. There is general concensus in the town that the library and Guildford House Gallery need to be resited and the former Farnham Road Bus Station (GR: SU992495) is proposed by the consortium as a possible site. Covering 0.32 hecteres adjacent to the George Abbot public house this has been used as a temporary car park for many years.
The site falls within the Southern Wey Corridor Riverfront Character Area and is currently (2008) earmarked initially as a temporary bus station when the Friary shopping centre is extended in a project that has been tabled for completion in 2010. However currently upon completion of that project the council's planning application to use the site for housing and a new day centre to replace the existing North Place facility is being considered although no decision has yet been made.
In addition to rehousing the Surrey County Council library and the Guildford House Gallery, a long list of possible uses for the cultural centre include relocating the Tourist Information Centre from Tunsgate, a drop-in IT centre, an art cinema, dance and music studios, shared workspaces for artists, a permanent home for the Surrey Sculpture Society and public catering facilities.
It is hoped that a consortium involving Arts Council England, Foundation for Sport & the Arts, Culture South East, the South East England Development Agency and the University of Surrey would be involved.
The Farnham Road site is designated as an Area of High Archaeological Importance and will be subject to an intensive archaeological survey prior to redevelopment.
Attempts to create an arts centre in Guildford stretch over decades with the most recent including an unsuccessful proposal in 1994 to use the then newly available Rodboro building on Onslow Street (now the Academy of Contemporary Music), and in 2002 when Guildford Borough Council examined eleven different sites in the town as possible sites for the gallery.
In 1997 Guildford Borough Council granted planning permission for the redevelopment of the Surrey Advertiser's old premises on Martyr Road close to North Street in the centre of Guildford. The Art Deco building, which was built in the 1930s, was a town centre landmark and planning consent centred on the retention of the Art Deco frontage.
The redevelopment was triggered by the decision of the Surrey Advertiser newspaper group to consolidate their various office locations into one site, and the paper chose to move to Stoke Mill in Woking Road, which it did in 1999. The paper had stopped printing on its own presses in 1992 when colour was introduced and production moved initially to the Daily Mirror's presses in Watford before being printed by Surrey and Berkshire newspapers in Reading. Today, outside the Stoke Mill building is preserved part of the Goss printing press control unit from which the Surrey advertiser ran its presses from 1961 and could produce up to 45,000 newspapers per hour and usually produced half a million newspapers per week.
The redevelopment deal provided for a payment of £27,500 towards ' transport initiatives' and a £40,000 contribution for 'some form of art on the building within the courtyard' from the developers. The 0.67 acre site was cleared and an office block replaced the old Surrey Advertiser building.
As part of the overall development of Martyr Road the Biddles & Sons factory adjacent to the Surrey Advertiser building was demolished and replaced with up-market apartments, Printing House Square, which include "a pre-installed entertainment network, allowing integration of TV, Video, Telephone, data and internet connections. In addition to this there are two speakers and an iPod enabled dock so your music and video goes where you go". One bedroom flats were being advertised in October 2009 ‘from £215,000’ and two bedroomed at £375,000.
Biddle & Sons had opened a stationery shop in Martyr Road in 1885 and by the First World War employed 30 staff in a purpose-built print factory erected on the site. In the mid-20s the company became one of the first printers in the UK to utilise modern typesetting machinery when they installed a Heidelberg, and they were able to produce a wide range of commercial products and magazines. In 1935 the printing works was extended to five floors, which for the Second World War provided the Air Ministry with factory premises commandeered to make air filters for British aircraft.
Guildford Borough Council's planning officers having rejected (May 2006) plans submitted by local entrepreneur Michael Harper to construct a 124-bedroom hotel and casino on the site behind where his Players Lounge and Casino Nightclub currently stand, are now looking at an alternative development. Harper had put in a bid to buy the land for £5.2m.
The Bedford Road riverside site (GR: SU993497) lying between the Odeon Cinema and Bridge Street is currently occupied by a 70-space public car park and a building fronting the Wey. Terraced housing once stood on the site.
A public consultation has started (July 2008) to allow an assessment of the impact of what would become the largest residential complex in the town. The new development would provide 139 apartments, one third of which would be affordable housing, and space on the ground floor for commercial use. The existing riverside building, which once housed an auctioneer, would be preserved and refurbished to provide shops and a restaurant.
In the absence of any planning application to be submitted for the residential complex, Michael Harper submitted another application with a cash offer of £5m to buy the land, which is owned by the council, but again had his application rejected (November 2008).
Forever the optimist, Michael Harper has appealed (February 2009) against the council's decision not to allow his plans for a seven-storey casino complex to go ahead. The application was rejected on the grounds that 'insufficient information has been submitted with regard to the location of these uses [casino, cinema, bingo hall, amusement arcade, restaurants, cafes and existing nightclubs] within the buildings'. Only one objection has been made public, this being from the Guildford Society which said that the development would be detrimental to the surrounding area.
Harper says that he already has permission for a new building but wants to revert this back to the original site.
Harper was reported (getsurrey.co.uk 1st October 2010) as having given up his long-running battle with the authorities to secure planning permission for a casino on the site. The club is on the market for an annual lease of £125,000 per year. Harper had also been ordered by the council to remove two of the four large neon signs bedecking the building's front facade. He previously also had permission to have higher value jackpot machines in the Players Lounge bar increased from a maximum win of £70 to £500 turned down.
Harper has consistently defended his developments on Bridge Street.
Michael Harper has been interviewed by Channel 4 Television to investigate his run-in with Waverley District Council, who took enforcement action to dismantle a £1 million granny annexe at the entrepreneur's home in Woodhill Lane, Shamley Green. Harper secured planning permission for the extension, but the council claimed that when built it was longer and wider than approved. The enforcement action (April 2010) saw Mr Harper and his 76-year-old mother, with 13-year-old daughter together and his employees trying to stop the demolition.
Guildford has been without its Civic Hall since January 2004 when it was closed by the local council after a star-studded farewell concert which included the likes of Eric Clapton and Gary Brooker. Closure was due to the high cost (£4m) cited by the council for repairs and modernisation.
The current Grade II listed building in London Road (GR: TQ003497) has had hundreds of international acts as varied as Eric Clapton, The Clash , 10cc, The Rolling Stones, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, David Bowie, The Jam, AC/DC, Lindisfarne, Elton John, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Prodigy, George Harrison, Hawkwind and the Buzzcocks grace its stage since it opened in 1962.
A popular story is that the rock group Free wrote their all-time classic hit All Right Now in their dressing room at the Civic. The Clash started their White Riot tour supported by the Jam and the Buzzcocks at the Civic in 1977, a tour that was to establish all three bands as Top Ten performers. Orchestras, choral societies and other community performers regularly used the venue.
The rock band Genesis, which had been formed by three pupils from nearby Godalming's Charterhouse public school, performed there in their formative years, with their first gig at the venue in 1970. The outsider Phil Collins from Chiswick in London had joined the band and they often used the Civic for warm-up gigs before setting off on their international tours.
The punk band the Stranglers all came from Guildford and caused a stir at The Civic in 1977 when a riot broke out in the audience. Such was their reputation with the authorities, when the band reappeared at the venue in 1980 the police stripped the audience of anything likely to be used violently including belts and steel-capped boots.
A lot of activity has been generated locally to have plans become reality to redevelop the site as a cultural centre.
Guildford Borough Council (GBC) had hoped to secure a £1m grant from the Arts Council which would have provided a springboard for the development, but has twice been snubbed.
The only firm proposal that was still on the table mid-2006 was for GBC to spend £50,000 of tax payers' money on investigating a plan to have the University of Surrey build a joint-venture facility on their Guildford campus, and for the costs of the empty Civic Hall to be given a facelift to be investigated.
The local radio station, Eagle FM, have been campaigning not just for the Civic Hall but also to have more venues provide live music entertainment in the town. A forum hosted by the station in April 2006 raised public awareness on the issue but there was still huge frustration at the lack of progress.
However it would appear that at last plans for a new civic hall are in the offing. The Guildford Borough Council (GBC) executive have agreed (July 2006) a blueprint for erecting a new building on the site. The £20m rebuild will allow for a venue that will seat 1,000 people and allow standing space for 1,500. The building will also have state-of-the-art acoustics, the poor acoustics of the existing building always having been an issue, and will incorporate advanced energy saving technology. GBC intend the fund the project largely through the sale of council-owned assets.
Plans have also been submitted (2006) for a separate development to the rear of the Civic Hall site for a 185 bedroom hotel with two restaurants together with conference and banqueting facilities for up to 350 people. A decision as to whether these plans will be endorsed will be made by Guildford Borough Council in January 2007.
The council are working to a timetable (April 2007) which would see the new venue opening in the autumn of 2009. A decision on the look and facilities of the building are to be finalised by July with building work commencing at the start of 2008 with an 18 month build time.
A planning blueprint submitted (May 2007) to Guildford Borough Council has revealed more detail about the proposed Civic Hall development and thrown into the public spotlight doubt by the architects that the venue would be able to open by the autumn of 2009. The front of the building will incorporate panes of green glass reflecting the intention to kit the venue out with the latest green technology which is projected to reduce the carbon dioxide contribution from the building by an additional 50% from a building designed to only meet the minimum regulations. As well as the 1,000 seater main hall a 100 seat studio theatre is also planned. The proposed hotel would be built above a 220 space car park and the council revealed (September 2007) that a deal had been struck whereby half a hectare of the carpark will be released for the building of the hotel on a 999 lease in return for a one-off payment of £2.2m. The council will also receive £150,000 from the developers to fund the relocation of the existing carpark toilets and to provide CCTV cameras.
Calls to consider introducing underground parking at the new Civic Hall have been proposed (February 2008) in order to minimise losses of existing parking on the site. Lib Dem councillors, who are campaigning for the alternative plan, have highlighted that 464 short term spaces will be lost when the new Civic Hall, hotel and Friary Centre are built with proposals only to replace 326 spaces within the new schemes.
A report issued by Guildford Borough Council (April 2008) has revealed that the council expects to lose an estimated £1.4m annually in interest on the Civic Hall project. The capital costs had been raised from £19.5 m to £24m. In the latest plan the capacity of the venue has been increased by an extra 100 to 1,700.
A scandal involving alleged price-fixing by 112 UK construction companies when bidding for contracts in the public sector broke in April 2008. One of the companies listed by the media as under investigation is the preferred bidder for the Civic Hall, Willmott Dixon, although there is no evidence that there has been any wrong-doing in the Civic project. Three other construction companies Guildford Borough Council uses are also under investigation.
Initial work started at the site in June 2009.
Local residents have raised an objection to the felling of some 50 trees in and around the Civic Hall site. Contractors, who had received approval as long ago as June 2007 to fell 54 trees, started work in August 2009.
Guildford Borough Council announced (September 2010) that HQ Theatres has been selected to operate the Civic Hall on its behalf. The company, which manages nine venues in London and the South East, will be responsible for putting on shows, conferences and local events.
After having had an application for a government grant turned down the council is having to fund the £26m (up from £24m estimated in 2008) inititiative from its own coffers.
Surrey Police are utilising (2012) Guildford's G Live building as a location for training their dogs. The dogs are put through an eight week training course which includes sessions teaching both young dogs and refresher training for veteran police dogs in detecting drugs and explosives. The Surrey Dog Training School attracts canine students and their handlers from all across the country and internationally..
At a cost of £28m Guildford's decaying 1970s Leisure Centre was replaced twenty years later by The Spectrum (GR: TQ005510) on Parkway, a multiple facility complex offering modern facilities for serious sports and leisure use. The local council sold off two plots of land to fund the scheme. The Tesco store in Park Barn was built on the old Banisters Athletics track, and the site of the old leisure centre in Bedford Road by the River Wey was sold to Odeon Cinemas.
The Spectrum, which opened in 1993, is set in 26 acres of landscaped parkland, houses four pools including a competition pool and a leisure pool, a 32-lane tenpin bowling centre, an Olympic sized ice rink, a 1,500 seat indoor arena, squash courts and aerobics studios in a modernistic building set in 26 acres of landscaped parkland, complete with an all-weather athetics track. The centre, which attracts 1.8 million visitors each year runs at a profit and is self-funding.
Catering facilities at the Spectrum are due to get a facelift as the world's largest caterer Compass Group announce a major refurbishment having been awarded (February 2007) a 10-year £34m contract to cater for the centre's visitors each year. The company also intend to introduce 'hawkers' who will serve refreshments during events at the 2,000 capacity ice arena and 1,500 seater sports arena. Hospitality services are also planned for private boxes overlooking the ice rink.
The Spectrum was awarded (April 2007) the 2006/07 Surrey Business Award for Leisure & Tourism. The centre is currently (2007) ranked in top position as the UK's leading leisure complex having scored the highest mark in Quest, the national leisure quality assessment scheme.
The British Basketball League winners (2007) Guildford Heat (MORE HERE) and ice hockey team Guildford Flames are based at The Spectrum.
The Spectrum was awarded (August 2009) the accolade of being the best of its kind in the country. The complex was rated at 94% by Quest which is the scheme rating sports and leisure facilities in the UK, and is the highest ever given to any of the 965 assessed centres in the country. A reassessment includes mystery visits and an intensive three-day examination into every aspect of the centre's operation. The spectrum was awarded 100% scores in business management, marketing, management style, ICT, continuous improvement and performance management. The national average overall score was 73%.
Foreign Olympic committees have been visiting Guildford to assess the suitability of facilities for setting up training camps for their athletes for the London 2012 Games. Olympic visitors from Zambia and Papua New Guinea have toured the facilities at the Spectrum and also the Surrey Sports Park being built by the University. Especially encouraging was a visit by two members of the national Olympic committee of Zambia (September 2009) who also want to build coaching links to benefit their athletes.
A youth worker and coach working for Surrey County Council so impressed the visiting delegation from Zambia that he has been invited to run a ten-day training session for Olympic hopefuls in the country. Ollie Wilson, who has worked as film stunt doubles in Star Wars, Batman Begins and a Harry Potter film, a bodyguard for Led Zeppelin and The Who and who coaches young boxers at Woking Boxing Club, is looking forward to his role.
The Spectrum is at the centre of a campaign launched (July 2009) by UNISON, the public sector trade union, who fear that the council may consider selling the facility to raise funds. Guildford Borough Council has commissioned a team of consultants to look at ways of cutting costs at many of its key services, and both the Spectrum and the nearby Lido are reported as being unsustainable in the long-term. The Lido made a loss of £200,000 in the last financial year with its revenues directly affected by adverse weather. The Spectrum generated revenues of £6.8m in the same year but the council had to outlay £7m.
Guildford Borough Council, following receipt of the consultants report, stated (July 2009) that there is no intention to sell either the Guildford Spectrum or Lido and has invited applications from charitable trusts to take over the running of the leisure centre. The council is concerned that without expensive renovation the facility will not be able to compete against the new Surrey Sports Park being built by the University and which is due to open next year.
Refurbishment plans at the Spectrum are likely to be delayed for another year because of a cash shortage and management at the complex proposed (December 2009) changes to the Spectrum's 15 year renewals program because of the economic downturn. Improvements are funded through the council's reserves. It is now deemed the replacements for the ice skating rink coolers, part of the hot water supply and the centre's public address system will be affected.
Guildford Borough Council announced (September 2010) that the Spectrum is to receive a share of £349,000 in funding in order to replace outmoded gym equipment. The money, which is to be shared with Ash Manor Sports Centre, is hoped to enable both facilities to compete with new rivals including the sports centre opened by the University.
The Guildford Lido (GR: SU999508) on Stoke Road, an open-air Olympic-sized pool, was opened in 1933 by the town mayor William Harvey, and it was Harvey who was instrumental in setting up the first workers' fund allowing people to gain employment during the Great Depression. The cost of building was £13,700 and provided employment in desperate times. The Lido celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2008.
The popular facility is set in over four acres of landscaped gardens and the 164 ft (50m) pool is heated to a comfortable 24 degrees celcius. The facility is one of the country's few remaining 1930s pools and was commissioned and built within six months at a cost of £14,500. The entry price in 1933 was sixpence (around two and a half pence in today's money). In 2008 this now stands at &4.70 for an adult day ticket.
The attraction, which is one of 98 open-air pools in Britain, sees over 70,000 people through its turnstiles every year. Community galas, competitions and parties are frequently hosted at the Lido, and a heavy-weight gym operates from a building on-site. Guildford Borough Council has spent £2.25m on a five-phase development plan which has included building refurbishment, replacement of the plant and filtration system, as well as renewing the pool's tiling.
The Guildford Lido received the National Pool Safety Award (2008) from the Institute of Sport and Recreation in recognition of its high safety standards, the first pool of its kind in the country to receive the award.
Engineers servicing the boilers that provide heated water for the pool discovered (April 2009) that they have struggled to provide enough hot water for the job because the piping installed has a diameter of two inches (5cm) instead of the required four inches (10cm). The blunder almost prevented the pool from opening on time for the new season, however at a cost of £6,000 a temporary oil-fired boiler was installed with additional costs of £1,000 accruing weekly for hire fees until the problem is corrected. Local taxpayers are having to foot the bill.
Swimmers concerned about the future of Guildford Lido launched Friends of Guildford Lido (July 2009) in a bid to provide a better understanding between users of the facility and council bosses. The group were formed initially over concerns that the Lido might face closure after Guildford Borough Council announced that it was re-examining its options for both the pool and the spectrum leisure Centre, although the council have since said that the facility is not under threat.
The Borough Council announced (April 2010) that extended opening times are being reinstated much to the relief of the Friends group who believe that this may be a climbdown on behalf of the council.
Engineers have also fixed a problem that had prevented the pool from being heated and therefore unable to open fully.
A 'temporary artwork' crafted from a 100-year-old beech tree has had to be felled (December 2011) almost 10 years after it was created. The sculpture The Divers depicts intertwined figures leaping from water and was located by the road at Stoke Crossroads near the Lido. Godalming artist Ruth Wheeler created the piece in 2002 at the beginning of her career as a wood sculptor.
Guildford Borough Council, who had to remove the sculpture after the tree's roots rotted away, are hoping to resite it at a new location.
Guildford Flames had their inaugural season in 1992 having had intially to run training sessions at Slough and play their home matches at Alexandra Palace in North London as the Spectrum wasn't to open until early the next year having suffered from construction delays. The team was owned by an American, Barry Dow, who as owner of the Guildford Heat basketball team had no experience of ice hockey. However he hired two seasoned Canadian player-coaches who established the team with some key signings from within the sport in the UK and abroad.
When the Spectrum finally opened The Flames were there to officially open the venue. The opening night had a real carnival atmosphere with cheerleaders and the mayor provided the formality - and the team also convincingly won this their first ever game in their new home. Unfortunately the late opening of the Spectrum forced the team to have to play all 16 of their remaining home games in 11 weeks which over-stretched the team and they lost their first league championship.
The team was to play to capacity crowds (2,200) at the Spectrum as Guildford residents sought out the new experience of watching ice hockey. They were soon to secure the backing of influential local companies including Cornhill Insurance. Such backing did occasionally come at a compromise for their 1993 season saw the team having to temporarily change their name to Pepsi Guildford Flames in order to secure backing from their sponsor.
Flames made history in the same year when the team fielded the first female player to feature in a British National League match, although the player Gillian Barton did not get to ice. 1993 to 1994 also saw a financial crisis hit the team which almost resulted in the Flames having to disband. Pepsi Cola withdrew sponsorship in October and plunged the team into turmoil as players threatened to strike over unpaid wages. The Flames only just survived with worried fans rallying together to help promote the team's games and even in providing financial help in paying bills.
A Canadian businessman stepped in and his consortium SportFact Ltd took the team over. This saw the team's spirits restored with new signings and Flames clawed their way back from near relegation from the Division One table. The 2005 to 2006 season saw Flames join the English Premier League (EPL) after the dissolution of the British National League and soon came to dominate the tournament picking up the EPL title in this their inaugural season. The Flames today regularly averages 1,500 spectators for their home matches and they have 500 season ticket holders supporting them. This, and weekly coverage of their matches by local radio station The Eagle, has ensured that the team is now financially stable and continues to secure sponsorship from major corporates.
The team, which throughout it's history has had a reputation of being willing to pay the top rates allowed under league rules to attract talented players, has an impressive trophy cabinet. Flames were British National League (BNL) Champions (1997-1998); BNL Playoff Champions (1997-1998); BNL Southern Conference Winners (1997-1998); Benson & Hedges Plate Winners (1998-1999); NTL Christmas Cup Winners (2000-2001); BNL League Champion (2000-2001); Findus BNL Playoff Champions (2000-2001 and (2003-2004); English Premier League Champions (2005-2006) and Premier Cup Winners (2006-2007).
Guildford Flames are also closely involved with Surrey Police in their Drug Freeze campaign which targets schools throughout Surrey to increase drug awareness for Year 6 pupils who are about to make their transition to Secondary School. The programme sees one of the team's hockey players give a talk about ice hockey and the equipment they use to safeguard against injury which is followed by a presentation by a police officer providing information about the dangers of drug use.
The team was selected to mark the Queen's first state visit to Slovakia (October 2008) by competing in an exhibition match against HK Aquacity SKP Poprad in the Slovakian city. The link was established through Flames' player Milos Melicherik formerly of the Poprad team. In total Flames have 'iced' a total of nine Slovakian nationals in the last five years. The team made a previous trip to the country when they held a pre-season training camp there in September. In the event the English champions lost the match (3-2), which was started by the Queen dropping the puck for a ceremonial 'face-off'.
The history of Guildford basketball started with the opening of the Spectrum which had at last provided the town with a world-class sports facility, although initially providing a succession of false starts. A successful team based in Kingston uprooted themselves and briefly reformed here as the Guildford Kings basing themselves at the Spectrum in 1992. They were followed after their demise (1994) by the Pumas, who in their turn left the town in 1999. It took the return of the ghost of the Guildford Pirates, who had played successfully in the town from 1975 until relocating to Bracknell in 1982, to bring stability back to the game locally.
When the Pirates had left for Bracknell they saw considerable success in the league Championship under the guise of the Thames Valley Tigers, but their demise lay in the loss of their owner who pulled out for financial reasons in 2005. Attempts at attracting a major sponsor failed but a determined group of fans persuaded the British Basketball League to allow them to form a new team and base this at the Spectrum with the centre management’s full support. And so the Guildford Heat was born in the same year, finishing the 2005-06 season 5th in the league.
By 2006 the team had secured a significant sponsor which was to provide the team with financial stability and further league success in the following year. The Heat picked up their first trophy in January 2007 winning the BBL Cup final against the Scottish Rocks and won the 2006-2007 BBL League title. The team also became the first BBL club to secure a Sport England Clubmark Level 4 accreditation of quality in recognition of its community development work.
In the 2007-08 season the Heat became the country’s only team to be admitted to the Eurocup (ULEB) although the team failed to win any matches. The team were the BBL Cup Winners’ Cup winners for the 2007/08 season.
In 2007 the team lost a key player when point guard Brian Dux was critically injured in a car accident in Chobham and retired to his family home in the USA for rehabilitation.
The company that owned the basketball club, Guildford heat Ltd, went into administration in February 2009. However, the managing director of John Dennis Coachbuilders who are based in the town stepped in to secure the club's future. Alan McClafferty, who is a keen basketball fan and coach, acted after the main sponsor Bobby Banks had to withdraw from the financial commitment. In the same month Heat had reached the final of the BBL Trophy. McClafferty confirmed that the club would operate as a not-for-profit organisation with any surplus money being ploughed back into basketball.
Guildford Heat joined (May 2009) with a London mentoring charity, CIA Basketball, to help expand the team’s outreach programme to the local community.
The basketball team’s sponsors have set up the Heat Business Club (October 2009) to attract more sponsors by providing them with additional benefits including business generated directly from their sponsorship. The initiative has already resulted in over £50,000 of new business for the inaugural members of the club.
Founding companies include a hotel, courier company, solicitors, management consultancy, and a design company.
The Heat Business Club was taken over (September 2010) by a husband and wife team after Kate Lester was promoted to run the sales and marketing arm for the team. Nigel and Jaz Blake announced additional opportunities for sponsors.
The Heat Allstars, who are the team’s official cheerleaders, won the Future Cheer Championships in Brighton (July 2009). There are several more levels to come in the national competition but the mixed-sex team of 13 women and two men are confident of further successes, although the team will be depleted by members leaving to go to university.
Stoke Park (GR: TQ005507), popularly known for annually hosting the Surrey County Agricultural Show and the outdoor music festival Guilfest, is a 52-hectare (128 acres) of open parkland laid out in a traditional style and designed to provide a range of functions. The main park provides space for rugby, football, cricket and lacrosse pitches, a putting green, tennis courts, skate park and a children’s play area.
A three hectare (seven acre) Victorian style garden incorporates an award-winning sensory garden, an ornamental watercourse with stepping stones (which has only flowed intermittently over the years hampered by filtering problems and the fact that the feed system requires regular topping up from the mains water supply), boating pond and a paddling pool, which was built in the early 1930s. Alongside is a Japanese-style shelter, which forms part of the oriental-style gardens.
The Sensory Garden located alongside Nightingale Road was added in 1996 and focused on providing scented plants. The garden was winner of an environment award in 1998.
Stoke Park was awarded a Green Flag by the Civic Trust in 2007/08.
The Walled Garden dates back to the 18th century when the estate was first laid out and probably formed part of the formal gardens adjacent to Stoke Park Mansion. The Rose Garden which lies just outside of the walled garden was opened in 1935 and has each bed planted with a different variety. One of the roses planted in 1935 was a bright orange floribunda named Dig for Britain. Having all been removed and replaced with bedding plants in 1990, a decision was made in 2005 to restore the Rose Garden to better conference the early 20th century plan the garden.
Jubilee Wood, which was planted in 1798 when the park was part of a private estate of 87-hectares (216 acres), has seen new trees planted to increase the size of the wood and its diversity. The trees lining the London Road are oak, sycamore and lime. Records show that the land here has been continuously wooded since 1600. Anti-tank concrete blocks, known as dragon's teeth, were installed here in 1940 as part of the network of defences established in anticipation of a German invasion. The blocks were designed to hinder the progress of tanks and when they tried to cross them expose the underside of the vehicle to anti-tank fire. Allotments between the bowling club and the A25 were established here during the Second World War.
A post marked walk has been established through Stoke Park providing an interesting walk through the park and gardens, with an optional excursion into woodland on the north side of the park. The walk covers two miles (3.2 km) of mainly tarmac pathway with an additional 0.8 mile (1.3 km) for the wetland section. The full tour which is classified as easy grade walking will take about 45 minutes to one hour to complete.
The Council established a new community hall in the park in 2002. Greenark is being developed as a centre to educate the public about recycling, composting and the use of renewable energy. The building is heated by wood fuel and a solar and wind power demonstration has been established. The hall seats 64 people and has full catering facilities.
The road alongside Greenark was originally one of two lime avenues that approached the 18th-century mansion, with this possibly providing the front approach to the house. Close to here is a ha ha, a ditch designed to keep animals such as deer confined. The ha ha marks the edge of the site where Stoke Park Mansion once stood, demolished in 1977 after falling into extreme disrepair.
The 18th century Burchatts Farm Barn (GR: TQ008507) provides a timber-framed venue for private and public functions, and seats up to 70 people.
In the late 1970s 80-hectare (197 acres) of land next to the River Wey was assigned as a nature reserve following the construction of the Guildford bypass when the area was used for gravel extraction. Riverside Local Nature Reserve hosts a number of rare species including the reed bunting. Footpaths, including a section of boardwalk, and a cycle path provided access to some of the wetland.
Stoke Park – a Site for a New County Hall?
Stoke Park was cited as a possible location for a new county hall for Surrey County Council. The council’s headquarters was opened in 1893 in Kingston-upon-Thames, but despite having extended and refurbished the building over the ensuing 70 years, by the early 1970s it had become woefully inadequate to house the growing army of bureaucrats charged with running the county. In 2009 the building houses 1,500 staff.
Kingston at the time of being chosen for the site of County Hall was then in the county of Surrey. In 1965 Kingston became a London borough resulting in the people of Surrey being governed by an authority located outside of the county, and giving rise to the following exchange between two members of the House during the 1975 debate.
The Stoke Park Guildford Bill was put before the House of Lords in 1975 in order to provide the power for the council to override strict controls on the usage of 35 acres of the park for the building. The idea was to relocate the council from its overcrowded site in Kingston-upon-Thames and pull back in those departments that due to lack of space had been scattered around other locations across the county.
The land identified was isolated from the main park falling to the north of the Guildford bypass, and the council proposed to trade off the loss of this open space by acquiring 200 acres of riverside meadows adjoining the north side of Stoke Park.
An opponent to the plan was Lord Onslow who spoke out against the private bill, which had been proposed by Lord Nugent of Guildford, at its reading. The park had been sold by the Onslow family in 1874 when Onslow’s great grandfather was seeking to raise funds to finance the Guildford via Cobham railway line. The land was sold on to Guildford Borough Council who paid £42,500 for it in 1925. One year later an Act of parliament safeguarded 186 acres of this land ‘for the benefit of the burgesses of Guildford’. 20 acres were later lost when the bypass and technical college were built, both of which Lord Onslow claimed went ahead despite neither the council nor the government of the day having the power to allow the constructions to proceed on the land. The 35 acres were to be leased by the borough council to the county council for 999 years at a peppercorn rent.
Needless to say over thirty years later Surrey County Council's HQ is still located in Kingston, that foreign borough. . .
St Luke’s Church was built in 1858 as a chapel of ease when Burpham was in the parish of Worplesdon and by geographic circumstance was separated from the parish church by Whitmoor Common and the marshy meadows by the river. The new church, which was designed by one Mr Woodyer of Graffham and cost £1,000 to construct, was to at last provide a community focus for its parishioners in Burpham.
The churchyard features a number of tombstones marking the passing of important local residents. Sir William Stuart (d1896). The inscription on his stone reads: ‘Knight Commander of The Order of St Michael & St George. Envoy Extraordinary of Her Majesty The Queen in Athens and at the Hague’. Also interred here are Henry Graham Lintott (d1878); Jane and John Christmas (d1871) (d1890); and Joseph Choat (d1873).
A memorial to honour the 18 Burpham men who lost their lives in the 1914-18 war, and the 11 for sacrificing theirs in the 1939-45 war, stands in the churchyard. A booklet is available for sale from the Parish Office detailing the men’s stories.
The parish has a second church The Church of The Holy Spirit in New Inn Lane which is larger than St Luke’s and provides community focused facilities including drop-in coffee mornings and Caterpiller Cafe for pre-schoolers.
The cricket club in Burpham was founded in 1890 and merged with that of neighbouring Worplesdon in 1999 to become the Worplesdon & Burpham Cricket Club. In 2007 the club along with other sports clubs locally received a pledge of £25,000 from Guildford Borough Council’s community project fund toward a campaign to build a new sports pavilion in Worplesdon. This, and other fund-raising activities, added to the Football Foundation’s initial grant of £288,500 and enabled the new £400,000 facility to be built. The Memorial Ground’s new pavilion was opened in April 2008 by former Spurs midfielder David Howells, a Worplesdon resident, to provide a new home for the local football, cricket, tennis and badminton clubs. Sutherland Memorial Park was recognised as one of the best in England and Wales and was awarded its fourth green Flag in 2007/08.
Burpham Court Farm Park in Clay Lane is a Rare Breeds Conservation Centre and provides visitors with access to the River Wey and its natural habitats on a 76 acre site. The owner of the farm had been in dispute with the National Trust after new weir gates had been installed on the river which he claimed had resulted in his fields being regularly flooded. Bob Dearnley was declared bankrupt in 2006 after losing a court battle but vowed to continue his fight. MORE HERE
(1) A foundation school is maintained by the local education authority but has more autonomy on how it is run including directly employing staff, taking direct control of its admissions policy and owning the school’s land and assets.
The now derelict pub and restaurant The Green Man on the London Road in Burpham is at the centre of a battle by local residents to prevent the site being developed as a supermarket and high-density housing.
The building, which had all of its tiles lifted from the roof (April 2008) in a bid to deter squatters, marks a site that has had a public house serving the local community for over 400 years. The oldest records so far found show that in 1593 a 1,000-year lease was granted for establishing an inn. In 1890 Guildford brewer Richard Elkins was registered as running a public house on the site.
In previous centuries the inn enjoyed high levels of passing trade from travellers moving between London and Portsmouth as the road, today by-passed by the A3, was the main thoroughfare into Guildford.
During the Second World War the local Home Guard were based in the building and were joined by the Women's Royal Volunteer Service who used the second floor for storage.
In 2006 Aldi, the German-owned supermarket chain, bought the Green Man from the pub-restaurant chain Mitchells and Butler for £3m and the pub ceased to operate in August of that year. The building has remained empty and boarded up ever since.
Local residents are campaigning to have the usage of the site remain for a public house and since 2006 the local council has received over 1,700 letters protesting against demolition. The residents had already survived an application in 2005 to build 70 flats on the site, which was refused by the council, but now face the prospect of a 1,000 sq m store with 14 one and two-bedroom flats on the site. Aldi have issued a statement that if planning permission for the supermarket is turned down they will develop the whole site for high density housing.
Aldi undertook a presentation to concerned residents (September 2008) in an attempt to overcome objections, although it would seem that this has done little to win them over. Burpham Conservatives published online a statement that the meeting was little more than 'window dressing'. and the original concerns over traffic congestion and the loss of community facilities werre not addrerssed.
This view seems to reiterate that made by the Burpham Community Association in a letter addressed to Aldi in February.
The German supermarket chain faced a furious reaction from local residents when the old Green Man building was completely demolished in December 2008. It was reported that the company had given a commitment in 2006 when it secured the site not to demolish the existing building without first securing planning permission. The council subsequently released the following statement:
Aldi has announced (September 2010) that it will be submitting plans to build a superstore on the site. Local residents have promised robust opposition to the plan.
A 28-day trial broadcast in the summer of 2004 provided the directors of a new community radio station with the approval of residents in the borough that they needed a new local radio station.
The station's Restricted Service Licence allowed them to broadcast independent music ranging from techno to hip-hop and in the process attracted thousands of votes of support through their website, text messages and emails. Kane FM has the backing of Guildford Borough Council in its bid to win a full community radio licence which the station's management are hoping will be awarded by mid-2008.
Kane FM, which has so far received grants totalling £7,782 from the council, is currently based at the Lockwood Centre in Slyfield but hopes to relocate to a more central position in Guildford in the coming months. The not-for-profit community station has seven producers all with their own responsibility for specific genres of music and who will provide a point of contact for any artists trying to have their music played on-air.
The station received (June 2008) a £9,518 grant from the National Lottery which will be used to install wireless transmitters on the Hog's Back masts, conditional on the Office of Communications (Ofcom) approving issue of a broadcasting licence.
Kane FM launched a fundraising event (November 2008) at Guildford's Boileroom music venue.
News that the American national game of baseball was played in Guildford over 20 years before American independence has undoubtedly rocked a nation who live and breathe the game.
The Surrey History Centre has confirmed that a diary entry by one William Bray in 1755 recounts a game being played in Guildford. Bray, who was a lawyer and historian and lived in Shere, reveals that he played baseball with a group of young ladies and enjoyed tea and cakes afterwards. Bray who was 19-years-old at the time of the diary entry also described a game of cricket he played the same day.
Surrey History Centre Manager and William Bray specialist, Julian Pooley, said that the diary proved the game was becoming established in the 18th century and was played by men and women.
The first recorded competitive game of baseball in America took place in New Jersey in 1846.
The diary entry reads:
Bray, who died in 1832, kept a diary for much of his life. He also published a history of Surrey and transcribed and published the writings of English writer John Evelyn.
The Surrey History Centre have also pointed to an earlier reference to baseball although it was made in a fictional piece by John Newbery - A Little Pretty Pocket-Book published in 1744. Jane Austen also refers to baseball when she wrote Northanger Abbey in 1798 (published 1817).
Proving perhaps that there is substance to the popular British claim that America’s national sport is just a game of rounders, which incidentally we also invented . . .
Surrey University has been selected by the British Science Association to host its 2009 festival. The event, which is hosted in different counties each year, was established to ‘connect science with society’.
The week long British Science Festival is the largest and longest running event of its kind in Europe and starts on the 5th September tocelebrate British and European science, engineering and technology through talks, plays, debates and hands-on activities. The festival will also focus on the fact that 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the International Year of Astronomy.
Starting its life 178 years ago as the BA Festival of Science (1), the event was first established to provide a forum for scientists to discuss the latest scientific research and ideas away from London. The festival can lay claim to being instrumental in the phrase ‘dinosaur’ being coined (1842) and the legendary clash between two powerful and opposing opinions on evolution in the Huxley-Wilberforce debate in Oxford (1860). (2)
Five professional scientists and engineers will be honoured in the Award Lectures to be held at the university and enable discussion on important scientific topics specifically for non-specialist audiences.
The 2009 festival is being partnered by the South East development Agency (SEEDA), Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council.
During the event different faculties at the University opened their doors to provide the public with a broad introduction to the science hidden within. The faculty of Arts and Human Sciences said that they would be challenging visitors with controversial questions including: Is it too much money spent on sport? Can TV drama teach us about science and politics? Will the credit crunch lead to higher crime rates? The faculty also tempted visitors with the following:
(1) The British Science Association was originally known as the British Association for the Advancement of the Science (BA)
Philip Hutchinson, a professional actor and tour guide, has run a ghost tour of the town since 2001 since when many thousands of people have joined him to visit Guildford's haunted buildings. The tour, which lasts just under two hours and covers 20 'haunted and mysterious sites' is the only independent tourist attraction in the town.
The tour has been featured widely on television and in the press. To join the tour simply meet with Philip on the steps of the Holy Trinity Church at the top end of the High Street opposite the Three Pigeons pub at 8.00 pm on a Friday from March until November. There is a small charge (£5 in 2010). We recommend you visit his website to check availability prior to travelling: www.ghosttourofguildford.co.uk/
Hutchinson is a paranormal investigator who sits on the Council of the Ghost Club, the oldest paranormal society in the world which was founded by Charles Dickens in 1862.
The award-winning new building for Pond Meadow School in Larch Avenue was officially opened by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in June 2009. On the same day Prince Philip also opened Christ’s College’s new building on the other side of the campus. Both projects were part of a £24.6m contract awarded to innovative London architects DSDHA. The Pond Meadow project was awarded a Royal Institute of British Architects Award in May 2009.
Pond Meadow School, which as a special needs school aims for an average class size of seven children staffed by a teacher, a welfare assistant, and up to three full-time classroom assistants. It occupied the building in November 2008 and its pupils have since benefitted from its light and airy spaces which have been augmented by its many windows and glass panels that have coloured abstracts on film designed by artist Martin Richman applied providing a constantly changing kaleidoscope of colour throughout the school. Unusually long and thin bricks have been used in the structure which in shadow have the colour of beetroot and in direct sunlight have a silver appearance.
The school provides separate primary (2-11 year-olds) and secondary (11-19 year-olds) education within the same building, with each educational phase provided in different scales to suit the children’s ages. This includes the placing of windows at different levels, changes of external viewpoints and the use of changes in the angle of external structures. The large cantilevered roof covers a 3,600sq m internal area and also provides the children with sheltered play areas outside the classrooms. The school will accommodate 92 pupils by September 2010. Their last two Ofsted reports (2009; 2006) rated the school as ‘outstanding’.
The building is on a single level with the design eliminating the need for stairs and extra-wide corridors and large classroom spaces enable ease of access for all pupils regardless of their disability. Every two classrooms share two toilets and a hygiene / shower room complete with a hoist., and the school halls are fitted with Soundfield Systems (1). The school has a central dining courtyard and a specialist hydro-therapy centre, together with rooms for sensory light and sound, soft play, music and drama, science, food technology and art. The school also provides extensive health services including a speech and language therapy, paediatrician, nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, music therapist and access to a clinical psychologist.
At the nursery level vulnerable children are assessed for autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in the Springboard Nursery, and those diagnosed are provided with specialised education. The architects took the needs of autistic children into account and concealed light switches in cupboards and concealed lights within painted MDF units mounted on the walls to avoid stimulating the condition’s typical obsession with fixtures and fittings.
Pupils in the 14-19 year-old group follow a personalised community based independence curriculum to prepare them for adult life. This includes external work experience supported by an EmployAbility transition worker.
Pond Meadow School was previously located off the road of the same name in Park Barn.
The new £15.5m Christ’s College facility replaced a 1960s building and has provided a new learning environment for its 700 pupils. Now sharing the large site with Pond Meadows the 7,250 sq m structure includes a heat recovery and ventilation system on the facade and was designed to represent a ‘contemporary dovecote’.
The school is a Church of England comprehensive school catering for 517 (2007) 11 to 18-year-olds, one third of whom have special education needs, with its primary intake from Bellfields and north Guildford. The school when first opened was called Larch Avenue School but has since been renamed twice, firstly as Bishop Reindorp and in 2003 to its current name. Having suffered a poor reputation in recent years with a declining roll the relaunched school is now showing significant improvement in Ofsted reports.
(1) Soundfield System is a proprietary audio system built around a high-tech decoding processor providing particularly clear results.
A specialist day school for children with autistic spectrum disorders has been able to develop and equip a new life skills centre (August 2009) for its pupils in Guildford. The development was made possible by a grant of £57,539 from Hilton in the Community Foundation, run by the hotel chain. The new facility, which is located in Sydney Road in a building originally donated by St Faith's, has rooms that simulate a typical home environment and which are equipped to help the pupils learn skills such as cleaning, cooking and personal hygiene. The Jigsaw Trust first opened in 1999 with just six pupils.
The money has also enabled a garden at the centre to be designed specifically to encourage social interaction among children with autism. The garden, which is equipped with seats facing each other and polytunnels to encourage the planting of seedlings, was constructed by volunteers.
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