Early Post War (1940's & 50's)


(Featuring the Articles and Archive of Iain Wakeford)




EARLY POST WAR WOKING - 1940's & 50's

1945-46 - Prefabricated Bungalows at Eden Grove in Byfleet and The Hermitage at St Johns, with photographs of Italian Prisoners of War helping with the laying of the foundations and road at Byfleet after the main contractor (Furbank's of Luton) could not find enough labour for the job. Also a picture of a similar type bungalow to Woking's 'preferred option' of the 'Tarran Arcon' or 'Uni-Seco' prefab bungalow on the 'Arcon Mark V floor plan' at the Old Kiln Museum at Tilford.


1945-46 - Permanent Council Housing in Knaphill (Barnby, Victoria and Beechwood Roads), Horsell (Eden Grove) and offers of land for housesfrom Mr Rodnick on the Manor House Estate at Byfleet, Smith Brothers at Floyds Lane in Pyrford, and A & J Simmons on the Hoe Bridge Estate in Old Woking as well as comments about Woking, Byfleet and West Byfleet as contained in the Greater London Plan of 1944.


1946-47 - The Impact of the Education Act of 1944 on Woking including the renaming of the Woking Secondary School and Technical Institute as the Boys Grammar School, the addition of prefabricated huts at Kingfield, Knaphill and West Byfleet Central Schools due to the raising of the school leaving age, and the re-arrangement of primary and infant accommodation at Maybury. Also Surrey County Council's provision of the first local authority controlled boarding school at Ottershaw, the Surrey Farm Institute at Merist Wood in Worplesdon and the opening of numerous private schools in Woking such as Mr R F Wood's Old Oaks Prep School and kindergarten at Poplar Grove in Westfield and Ridge End at Hook Heath, Mr G J Bidwell's Halstead Prep School at Potters Croft in Woodham Rise and Miss Ena Churchill's Langsmead Boarding School at Pyrford.


1946-47 - Fair Oaks Aero Club abnd the 6d pilots of the London General Omnibus Company (later London Transport) Social Club, with notes on the establishment at Dollys Farm, Chobham of Fairoaks Airfield by Colonel Louis Strange of the Sparton Aircraft Ltd on the Isle of Wight and the take over of the airstrip by the Air Ministry for the training of RAF volunteers by the General Aircraft Ltd.


1946-47 - The Destruction of Send Corner at Old Woking, the junction of Broadmead Road and Old Woking High Street where once were shops and houses including Mr Hart's butchers (Ivy Cottage), Levette's sweet shop and Flemings Garage (originally the White Horse Hotel, before becoming Conway West Motors), partially saved as Leigh's Garage until the construction of Manor Mews on the site.


1946-47 - The Restoration by Mr Thompson and his successors of Byfleet Manor House (the home of Dame Maggie Smith's character, Dowager Violet, in the TV series Downton Abbey), once the home of Mrs Margaret Rutson (later of Nunnington Hall in Yorkshire) after the use and abuse during the Second World War by the military that led to its then owner, Mr RWH Marris (aided and abetted by Woking Council, Surrey County Council and the Inspector of Ancient Buildings) proposing to demolish the whole house leaving just the entrance gates and garden wall.


1946-47 - The Floods in Byfleet in 1946 and 1947 (including the flash-flood of Rectory Lane), plus the story of the boat houses on the Wey Navigation by Parvis Bridge and the conversion by Cllr Cawsey of the Dartnell Park boathouse into accommodation.


1947-48 - NHS Free-for-all Land Grab in Woking - with the demolition of the Woking Victoria Hospital by Wheatsheaf Bridge and the site's development with apartments; the sale of Kettlewell Hill in Horsell for housing (Fairlawn Park); the transfer of Wynberg in Oriental Road to the Southern Railwayman's Home (and its subsequent demolition for housing); the closure of the Woking Maternity Home at Wilmington and Beechcroft in Heathside Road; the demolition of Rowley Bristow Hospital at Pyrford and most of Brookwood Hospital at Knaphill - so that all Woking has left to show for its years of fundraising for local health services is the Woking Community Hospital.


1948-49 - The last load of timber on the Basingstoke Canal (carried by the barge Gwendoline to Spanton's Wharf by Chertsey Road Bridge) & the sale of the waterway to the New Basingstoke Canal Company


1949-50 - On the Buses in the early 1950's with pictures of Aldershot & District vehicles and notes on the proposed Omnibus Station in between the Broadway and Duke Street (behind the Odeon) and the provision of new bus shelters throughout the district, some supplied by Grayson Mann Publicity.


1950-51 - The Sylvian Arcady of the London County Council Sheerwater Estate - noting also earlier 'Sheerwater Estates' at Old Avenue and Woodlands & Hollies Avenues - with a look at some of the problems facing the early residents.


1950-51 - The Lost Watermills of Woking - recalling Jack Hillier's book (Watermills of Surrey, published in 1951) noting the Heath Health Mill at Bullswater Common near Fox Corner; Rickford Mill on the Stanford Brook at Worplesdon; Ockham Mill, Byfleet Mill, Coxes Lock Mill and Woking Mill on the River Wey; and recent research into the long-lost mills at Sutton, Pyrford & Wisley.


1951-52 - Ockenden - Woking's Festival of Britishness. The Festival of Britain of 1951 (marking the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851) was not just an exhibition at the South Bank in London (where you could see the Dome of Discovery, the Skylon and the Royal Fesitival Hall), but also numerous events throughout the country, including in Woking the initiative of Joyce Pearce, Margaret Dixon and Ruth Hicks to offer a 'holiday' at the Pearce family home of Ockenden in White Rose Lane to Polish and Latvian children from the displaced persons camps in Germany - eventually leading to the formation of the Ockenden Venture (later Ockenden International) taking in and educating refugees from all over the world and setting up schools to help refugees in (amongst other places) Tibet, South Africa, Sudan, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.


1951-52 - Woking's Farm Estates of the early 1950's, replacing the old army camps at West Byfleet and Durnford (Martyrs Lane at Woodham) with new council estates at Elmbridge and Maybury with Unity Houses built at Rectory Lane in Byfleet. Amongst the many firms involved were A & J Simmons of Woking (St Mary's Estate at Byfleet, Elmbridge, Hoebridge and Maybury); W Deakin & Co of Woking (Grove Barrs at Horsell); Burbage (Builders) Ltd of 2 Station Approach East Horsley (Maybury); E P Wicken & Son of 83 Church Road Addlestone (Anchor Hill, Nursery Road & Beechwood Road at Knaphill, St Mary's in Byfleet, Elmbridge and Maybury); E Clarke & Son of Addlestone (Grove Barrs at Horsell); Challenge Fencing Co Ltd of Cobham (St Marys Estate in Byfleet) and H Beasley & Son (Maybury). Also a note on the overspend on early post-war estates at Knaphill, Well Lane Horsell, Floyds Lane at Pyrford and the Hoe Bridge and Rydens Way extensions in Old Woking.


1951-52 - Bisley Bullet Bites the Dust. The closure of the Nataional Rifle Association's branch line from Brookwood Station to Bisley Camp (and during the wars to Pirbright, Deepcut and Bleakdown Barracks) with pictures of the bridge over the Basingstoke Canal and the last journey by the Railway Correspondance & Travel Society on the 23rd November 1952.


1952-53 - Coronation Parties and Parades. The celebrations around the Woking area including Coronation Coins for the patients at Brookwood Hospital; Mugs for school children (with pencil boxes and chocolates also given to children at Horsell School and revolving pencils and spoons being given to children in Goldsworth Road West); Coronation Tea for those in Goldsworth Road West and a barrel of beer for those in Poole Road and Cherry Street (donated by councillor Herbert Nind); Coronation Souvenirs available from Robinsons and TV set on sale in Maxwells; Best Decorated House on the Maybury Estate where fancy dress and children's tea and games were held before a firework display; Coronation TV for the elderly of St Johns and Sutton Green; Old Person's teas at Byfleet and West Byfleet; WI Entertainment at West Byfleet and Knaphill (where tins of tea were also presented to the oldest man and woman); Old Folk sing-songs at Old Woking, Horsell and Sheerwater; Childrens' barge trip on the Basingstoke Canal at Sheerwater; Fancy Dress Parades at Vale Farm Road and Oaks Road and at Kingfield, Hoebridge and Elmbridge Estates; Coronation Cakes at Gloster Road in Old Woking and at Nursery Road and St Hilda's Close in Knaphill; Coronation Queen and entertainment at Sheerwater; Jellied Eels etc at the Working Men's Club; Sports at St Johns and Chobham; and the main event on the Saturday in Woking Park where there was entertainment by the Weymann Works Band, sports and a firework display, preceeded by a parade through the streets of Woking.


1953-54 - Barnsbury Farm Estate. The demolition of Barnsbury and Egley Farms (owned by Gustav Wermig) and the building of the Barnsbury Farm Estate by Taylor Wimpey & Co.


1954-55 - The Widening of Commercial Road from Bath Road to Percy Street with the purchase of land outside Rosslyn, the Methodist Church and the Constitutional Club.


1955-56 - Train Crashes at Maybury in December 1955 and at Brookwood in November 1956 as reported in the official Ministry of Transport investigations.


1956-57 - Plans for the building of new Civic Offices on the land between Guildford Road, Mount Hermon Road and York Road that did not come to fruition.


1957-58 - The House Building Crisi and Population Boom of late 1950's, with Woking (and Wimbledon) Councils proposals to build on the West Byfleet Golf Course, plus other developments by local buildiers including W Deakin's plans for flats in Brewery Road; Davis Estates housing in Pyrford; the MOD development of Broadoaks in West Byfleet; and H B Kingston Ltd's plans for the Royston Chase Hotel in Byfleet.


1957-58 - Woking Football Club's success in the FA Amateur Cup (with wins against Aveley, Hendon, Hayes, Finchley, Barnet and finally Brentford at Wembley) with the help of England Amateur Internationals John Hebdonoffry Hamm, Reginald Stratton and Charlie Mortimore. Also the re-naming of the Railway Hotel to The Cardinal (now the Sovereigns).


1957-58 - Bad Bends and Broken Bridges - the installation of traffic lights at Brookwood Crossroads, the widening of Wych Hill Railway Bridge, the reconstruction of Durnford Bridge between Horsell and Ottershaw on the A320, and the erection of traffic signals at Oyster Lane Arch at West Weybridge Station (now Byfleet & New Haw) - just some of the traffic schemes in Woking whilst our local MP, Harold Watkinson, was Minister of Transport.


1957-58 - Memorial Mania keeps Her Majesty Busy - the unveiling in 1958 of the Commonwealth War Graves Commision's Brookwood Memorial (designed by Ralph Hobday) and the Magna Carta Memorial at Runnymede in 1957, designed by Sir Edward Maufe (architect of Guildford Cathedral) who had also designed the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, opened by the Queen in 1953.




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