Late 1960's Woking


(Featuring the Articles and Archive of Iain Wakeford)




Late 1960's Woking

1965-66 - The Changing Face of St John’s (& Knaphill).

With Watney Combe Reid (Alton) Ltd holding a competition to name a new pub they were building on Hermitage Hill (coincidently won by someone from their home town in Hampshire who proposed the name ‘The Surrey’), whilst down the road the Howard Collings Group of Companies were building a row of seven shops on the corner with Barrack Path (named Graphic House after the investors, the pension fund of the newly merged print union, the National Graphical Association), and Stoneslade Developments Ltd of Teddington were constructing the tyre showroom of Oliver Cox Ltd at 10 Robin Hood Road. Meanwhile in Knaphill A & J Simmons Ltd’s controversial plans to replace the shops on the corner of the High Street and Sussex Road with a petrol station were approved (but later changed), whilst W Deakin & Co Ltd also had problems trying to develop an estate on the site of The Mount and Barley Mow Cottages at the top of Waterers Park.


1965-66 - Initial Proposals to build the Bullbeggars Estate in Horsell,

Fierce local opposition to the Council's plans led to the formation of the Horsell Resident’s Association, with many not so much against the building of houses on part of Goldsworth Nursery and the Roake Brothers’ Whapshott Farm, but simply against them being council houses (the local Vicar wanting the houses to be ‘a showpiece, not just an ugly council estate’).


1965-66 - A brief look at the History of Telephone Exchanges in the Woking Area

With the introduction of Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) in March 1965. Since about 1898 or 1899 operators would have connected your calls at the Woking Telephone Exchange in The Broadway (behind the Post Office in Chertsey Road), with Byfleet’s exchange being set up by 1906-7, Brookwood in 1910, and one at ‘Hook Heath’ in 1905-6 (run by the National Telephone Co Ltd probably from the Post Office on Star Hill). Meanwhile in the mid 1960’s, to avoid confusion with Cobham, it had been proposed to change the name of Chobham to Chobham Common, but with STD it was deemed not necessary.


1965-66 - The housing development of Priors Croft in Old Woking

Unlike Bullbeggars at Horsell, the new council estate between the High Street and Rydens Way was virtually unopposed, but was nevertheless not without problems as the builders A H Swann & Sons found the soil conditions required special foundations (at extra cost to the council) – a situation not experienced by local firm A & J Simmons who were seeking permission to build what became Trentham Gardens (behind the new Baptist Church Hall), nor C W Norton, who were building Hassall Court for the council off Old Woking High Street.


1965-66 - Walton Court

The proposed new development was to replace a number of condemned buildings such as Firgrove Terrace in Boundary Road, Nos 129-143 Courtney Road, and 204-246 Walton Road, but attempts to demolish 248-270 Walton Road were stopped (as were plans by the council to condemn some of the houses in Walton Terrace). The new estate was set to become a ‘paradise for kiddies’, but meanwhile a Civic Trust Award for the Maybury Estate was giving Woking Council a headache about where it should be placed.


1965-66 - Restrictions on New Office Development to just Local Companies

New Government guidelines led to some imaginative solutions from the likes of Gilbert Ash, whose ‘local’ branch was in Goldsworth Road (and the newly constructed Albion House); whilst NSS Newsagents were at Ryde House in Chobham Road; Kennedy & Donkin were in Premier House (above the newly opened Maples Furnishing Store); Bell & Howell Ltd were in Stewart House; and Commercial Union were at 30 Commercial Road (to name just a few national and multi-national companies who then had office in Woking). A proposed new development at the Railway Hotel in Guildford Road by Friary Meux Ltd was not successful, however, helping preserve what is now The Sovereigns and some of the shops towards York Road.


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