1960's Woking


(Featuring the Articles and Archive of Iain Wakeford)




1960's Woking

1960-61 - Chobham's Changing Shopping Scene & the Rise and Fall of Village Banks.

New buildings on the corner of Chobham High Street and Vicarage Road in 1961 and later at Kings Court, replacing the Kings Head in the High Street, where the Westminster Bank also replaced the Horse & Groom in 1961. The High Street then had as many banks as pubs (Barclays also being in the road), whilst about this time other banks were opening in Horsell (Barclays), Kingfield (Lloyds), Knaphill (Midland and later a new Barclays), Byfleet (Lloyds, Barclays and Midland), and West Byfleet - which by the mid 1960's would have the 'full set' with the construction of Sheer House.


1960-61 - Woking's Old Council Offices Replaced by the New Post Office.

The history of the Post Office in Woking from the days when it was delivered by horse from Ripley to when the train took the strain in 1865 with a post office on the corner of the High Street and Church Path, followed by moves into Chertsey Road, Walton Road, Chertsey Road (again), and then as a temporary measure the site of the old Rendezvous Restaurant in Commercial Road until Woking Council, Surrey County Council and the Ministry of Works could agree on the new building (opened in 1960) on the site of the Old Council Offices (now part of the site of the Victoria Square development).


1960-61 - Gloster's Ltd.

The development of the company founded by Henry Gloster in 1876 in Chobham Road and its expansion to take over the garden of the original Albion Hotel and develop it with shops including the Corn Exchange (demolished in 1960 and replaced by new shops) and the Central Stores. Also their warehouses at the Market House in Old Woking and in Walton Road, the take-over of Drake & Mount Coal Merchants, and the companies move into 46 Commercial Road (after the Post Office moved) following the demolistion of their offices and stores on the site next door and the construction of five new shop units.


1960-61 - New Shops in Commercial Road.

A look at developments in Commercial Road from the Pearl Insurance Building at Sparrow Park to Gerrard's and Tesco (opened in June 1961) at the junction with Chertsey Road, where also new shops were being built on the site of the old Gaumont Cinema.


1961-62 - Gammons and Early Closing Days.

Recalling James Fielder Gammon (of Guildford) Department Store on the corner of Chobham Road and Commercial Road and the take-over in 1962 by Debenhams. Also the campaign in 1962 by local shops such as Maxwell's Music Shop and Russel's Jewellers, to introduce the 'Sainsbury's Experiment' and abolishing half day closing on Monday's and Wednesday's, for all-day closing on Sunday and Monday, predicted by Elton's Stationers not to work).


1961-62 - The Inconvenience of a Closed Convenience.

Problems over vandalism and the cost of up-grading the public toilets in Woking, including the underground loos at both ends of Commercial Road, in Chertsey Road, Byfleet, Horsell, Knaphill and West Byfleet, where only some were provided with hot water (often just in the ladies) and some provided with no wash-basins at all. Also a look at plans from the old Tesco site mentioned above.


1961-62 - The Merger of Woking & R.A.C.S.

Looking at the History of the Woking, Horsell & District Co-operative Scoiety from their beginnings in 1899 in a shop in Chertsey Road, to their move a couple of years later to Church Street, where additions were made over a number of years so that eventually they had departments where everything could be bought from their own baked bread, to groceries and provisions, draperty, boots & shoes, furniture, funerals and travel. Also the opening of branches in Kingfield, Knaphill, Horsell, Maybury, Pirbright, Send, LIghtwater, Sunningdale and Camberley, and the take-over in 1913 of the Surbiton Co-op - before the Woking Society amalgamated with the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in 1962.


1961-62 - Robinsons Rejected Redevelopment

The rejected plans of Robinson's Department Store in Chertsey Road by Surrey County Council's Planning Department on the grounds of lack of parking space, despite other recent developments in the town not required to include similar provision, such as Bel Air Dry Cleaners in Commercial Road, whose local rivals, Jons in Goldsworth Road, also fell foul of the planners on parking when they wished to build a drive-through dry cleaners.


1961-62 - Premier House and Ryde House - The Start of the take-over of Woking by the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society Ltd.

The redevelopment of Ryde House in Chobham Road and the former Grand Theatre and Woking & District Water Company's offices on the corner of Commerical Road and Percy Street (Victoria Way) by Norwich Union with shops and offices designed by Osborn & Hollis architects of Woking. The new Ryde House, built by W Deakin & Co Ltd, was later replaced by the Victoria Gate development, whilst Premier House (later renamed Globe House), built originally by James Miller & Partners (Hayes) Ltd, is now part of the Victoria Square development.


1961-62 High Density Housing in Heathside

Woking Council's plans to designate part of the Heathisde area as the Mount Hermon High Density area, with sweatners such as a proposed new Primary School on the site of Ringrone and Lismore House in Heathside Road and a new commuter car park in Heathside Crescent.

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