It is now over five-and-a-half years since I started this Illustrated Chronological History of Woking, and I must admit that when I started, I thought I would have been finished by now.
The first year took us from geological times to the building of Brookwood Cemetery, and whilst I knew that with increased information (and illustrations) I would be able to look at our history in more detail, I didn’t foresee that by the time we reached the later 20th century the amount of material would mean that we have now only just reached the 1970’s.
Looking back, I was amazed to realise that I first started writing about the 1960’s over eighteen months ago! Evidently there was a lot of history going on in Woking in the 1960’s. Before then it seems that the majority of projects in the area could be started and finished within a year or two, but with increased bureaucracy (or dithering), by the late 1960’s often the same story would drag on for years and years.
The result is that by the 1970’s not only is it harder to keep to a proper chronological order, but it is also harder to find so many stories to tell. Whereas before, individual buildings would be knocked down and replaced by other small-scale developments, by the 1970’s whole swaths of buildings were to be demolished and eventually developed, cutting down on the actual stories to tell (although increasing the amount of material to work from and wade through).
By the end of July this year it was getting more and more a strain to research and write the column each week, and when I succumbed to a virus, something had to give, and the weekly column for the Advertiser had to go.
I would like to thank all those at the newspaper over the years who supported the column. I fully intended to return to the paper, once my health had returned, but sadly it seems the feelings were not mutual, as I received no reply when I sent them my last report explaining why I was temporarily unable to continue!
I will, from time to time, add to these pages here – which I have now re-named to avoid any confusion with the newspaper.
These articles are grouped together in the hope that it makes it easier for you to locate and access the relevant file.
The first section deals with articles from Geological times, right the way up to the Medieval Period, with a second section of articles on the Tudor Period up to Georgian Times at the beginning of the 19th Century. The third section covers the Victorian period, with the fourth on 'Edwardian' Woking. At the end of the latter two sections are notes on the election results to Woking Urban District Council from 1895-1901 and 1902-1914 (with a similar note for the period 1915-1945 at the end of the 'Between the Wars' section).
By this stage the amount of information available meant that it was possible to look at the history of events from each year in some detail, and indeed for some years there were so many stories that more than one set of articles was needed to cover all I had to tell. Nevertheless I am aware that there are many more stories that have remained untold, either because of lack of illustrations (the Woking Advertiser like to print at least four or five each week), or more often through my own lack of knowledge. If there is a story from a particular period that you think I have missed, please let me know.
On the fifth section - The First World War - the articles were grouped together more by subject than by year, but on the sixth section (Between the Wars), the chronological nature of this series returned, with 'subject based' articles returning for the period of the Second World War.
The 1940's and 50's are covered in 'Early Post-War Woking', followed by 'Early 1960's Woking', 'Late 1960's Woking' and now 'Early 1970's Woking'.
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