Fringe Box



Where Is This? No.126

Published on: 10 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 10 Sep, 2014

By David Rose

The village of Shere with St James’ Church in view was indeed the location of last week’s vintage photo.

In their replies several readers mentioned some of the films in which the village has been used. I think one of the most recent was a film called The Holiday. Parts of Shere, around the church, were covered in fake snow and an olde-worldly cottage was built by the set designers in a field behind.

The bell tower can be seen at today’s Guildford Children’s Centre, formerly Sandfield Boys’ School, in York Road. Some readers who replied suggested Pewley school. The photo shown is exactly how I took it, the image was not flipped as suggested by John Lomas.

Click here to see last week’s post and all the replies at the foot of it.

Interesting that Norman Hamshere recalls infamous teacher Johnny Gardiner from his days there (and yes, my late dad used to tell me about him).

And here is a picture of that teacher – happy memories Norman?

The infamous teacher Johnny Gardiner.

The infamous teacher Johnny Gardiner.

The picture shows him after he left Sandfield and opened his own school. Bernard Parke can add more details about that.

However, some former pupils have told me that despite the sore backsides they received, they did learn a thing or two from him.

Johnny Gardiner was indeed fond of caning boys who, in his opinion, misbehaved. There is one lovely story in which a strapping lad who Johnny was trying to exert corporal punishment upon grabbed his cane and snapped it in half, much to the obvious delight of all the other pupils.

I was probably among the last lot of kids who were in education when corporal punishment was still legal. That was Guildford CofE school (now Christ’s College) in the 1970s. A teacher once threated a small group of us with the cane, upon which we stood up and walked out of the classroom. No further action was taken. Things were a bit laidback there then!

We had the legendary Len Farley, who was a metalwork teacher (and once well known for his stirling work behind the scenes in local amateur theatre). His method of punishment for bad boys was to use a long steel ruler. He would jump in the air as he dealt the swift single blow, no doubt to get more impact with his instrument of pain.

Other teachers used to throw blackboard rubbers at pupils who were misbehaving or not paying attention.

So, stop talking and pay attention to this week’s homework….

Which station is this branch line train pulling out of?

Which station is this branch line train pulling out of?

The vintage photos show a steam train on a branch line that once ran into Guildford and closed in 1965. You can see the level crossing and signal box at the end of the plantform. Do you know which village and station this is? As a clue, part of the station still exists and the former trackbed is a well used footpath and cycle route. No doubt the railway fans will be able to supply lots of extra details about the locomotive and the closure of that line.

Where is this building and what was its original use?

Where is this building and what was its original use?

The quirky photo I took on my iPhone, zooming into the building in question. I wasn’t holding the smartphone that straight, so it looks as if the building is leaning, but I can assure you it stands straight. Do you recognise it?  Do you know what its original use was for, something to do with the admiralty’s messaging system?

If you know the answers and can perhaps add some extra facts, please leave a reply in the box below. They will be published at about this time next week along with two more mystery images.

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Responses to Where Is This? No.126

  1. John Lomas Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 1:25 am

    The quirky picture is part of the semaphore relay system between the Admiralty in London and Portsmouth and is on Pewley Hill.
    The station to the north on Telegraph Hill, Chatley Heath, nr Wisley; is open to the public on Sundays in summer, and contains hands-on working semaphore models and displays on the history of overland naval communications in the early 19th century.(according to Wiki)and the next station to the south was on Bannacle Hill nr Wormley, that one has been lost

    The railway station is Wonersh and Bramley on the Horsham line, I remember using this line as far as Christ’s Hospital where we changed onto the electric line train to Littlehampton where the train reversed and then took us on, via Ford, to Bognor Regis.
    The view is looking towards Guildford so that train was bound for Horsham

  2. Chaz Folkes Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

    The railway station appears to be Bramley and Wonersh, now part of the Downs Link.

    The building is Semaphore House on the corner of Semaphore Road and Pewley Hill. It was part of the signalling system running from Portsmouth to London – if memory serves a message could be transmitted from one end to the other in a matter of minutes.

    Just along from the Semaphore House is the site of Pewley Fort which was part of the defensive system built along the downs in the C19 of which Henley Fort is also part of.

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

    1) Bramley Station

    2) The old Semaphore Station at Pewley

    John Gardiner also was also quite skill at ear boxing and shaking pupils violently.

    Caning was split into three sections the first two were the cane across the finger tips at the third offence the cane was administered across the buttocks as the culprit was stretched across a desk.

    I was caned for standing up in class at the wrong time. Bad writing and incorrect spelling in dictation was also a punishable offence.

    Having started teaching as a pupil teacher at the age of 13 years in the late Victorian age, John Gardiner took to heart the saying: ‘Spare the Rod and spoil the child’.

  4. John Lomas Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I have just realised that picture was probably taken on the last day of full service, Sat 12th June 1965, as 41287 is pulling the train, there is bunting on display and the trainspotters surely wouldn’t normally be inside the the trackside fencing.

  5. Ray Springer Reply

    September 11, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    The railway station is Bramley and Wonersh and the picture shows the last train from Guildford to Horsham leaving on June 12th 1965.
    The first train had run 100 years before.

    The other picture is of Semaphore House on Pewley Hill. The semaphore station was set up in 1822 as part of the London to Portsmouth Semaphore Line.

  6. Norman Hamshere Reply

    September 12, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Ivatt class 2 LMS designed tank locomotive for branch line working, number 41287 seen leaving Bramley and Wonersh station en route to Horsham. Probably photographed on last day of regular train operation judging by background flag display which was June 12th 1965.This locomotive was used on the very last evening service that day by which time “THE END and FAREWELL” had been chalked on the smokebox.

    Semaphore House on Pewley Hill, one of a chain of similar buildings on high points between Portsmouth and London to relay messages by signalling with flags.

  7. Colin Reardon Reply

    September 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Looks like Bramley and Wonersh station on the Cranleigh/Horsham line. If so I travelled thorough there on the very last train to Cranleigh in 1965.

  8. Margaret Cole Reply

    September 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    The Branch Line is the Bramley and Wonersh station closed in 1965 by Lord Beeching as not profitable.

    The unusual looking building is Semaphore House, Pewley Hill, built by The Admiralty for communications between London and Portsmouth in the 1800s. It is now a private listed residence.

    There’s a good chapter in book: Guildford Our Town by guess who? One David Rose no less.

    David Rose… David Rose… The name does ring a bell. Ed

  9. Brian Holt Reply

    September 14, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Photo 1

    This is the last scheduled service train from Guildford to Horsham at Bramley and Wonersh station on Saturday 12th June 1965. The line was built by the Horsham & Guildford Direct Railway opened on 2nd October 1885, but was taken over and run by the London, Brighton, & South Coast Railway until 1923 when the Southern Railway was formed.

    During the railway strike of 1955 all services stopped on the branchline. This seriously affected freight traffic on the line, which never recovered and the line started losing money.

    Timetabling also didn’t help, Guildford-bound trains were leaving Horsham a few minutes before trains with potential passengers arrived there, yet these trains had to wait 15 minutes at Cranleigh because Guildford couldn’t accommodate them at “busy times”
    and this meant that there was no connections of any use when the train did arrive at Guildford.

    In the Beeching Report of 1963 all five stations on the line were listed for closure, the report showed that it had less than 5,000 passengers per week, less than 5,000 Tons of freight per week. At this time the line was loosing £46,000 a year.

    The day after the closure a special excursion train ran along the line. Scores of people turned out to stand on the lineside or at stations to wave goodbye to their faithful old steam trains on the “Cranleigh Line”.

    Older locals will remember the Cranleigh trains, in those final years of the line operating under British Railways, with several class 22-6-0 black tank engines pulling three green coaches.

    Photo 2

    Semaphore House on the corner of Pewley Hill and Semaphore Road, is one of the highest points in Guildford, a reminder of a communication link between the Admiralty in London and the naval fleet in Portsmouth, long before telephone had been invented.

    The last semaphore messages were sent in 1847 after which it was replaced by a far quicker and more reliable system – the electric telegraph.

    It’s now a Grade II listed residential property.

  10. Doug and Bill Stanniforth Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

    It’s the station at Bramley and Semaphore House on Pewley Hill, absolutely nothing to do with speedboats.

    Just like our prizes then. Ed

  11. Chris Townsend Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 11:22 am

    The vintage photo is of Bramley and Wonersh station, at Station Road, Bramley, on the former Horsham line. More information can be found here:

    The quirky photo is of Semaphore House, on Pewley Hill, much added to since the Admiralty built the original tower about 1822. It was part of a chain of telegraph stations between London and Portsmouth to convey messages using semaphore.

    Signals were made using two moveable arms on a mast on top of the tower. The Pewley station closed in 1847, superseded by the electric telegraph. Up the line, the restored tower of the station at Chatley Heath survives and is occasionally open to the public.

  12. Peter Holt Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    1) The station is Bramley and Wonersh. The locomotive in the photo was used to haul the last passenger service from Guildford to Horsham. The train left Guildford at 19.34 hrs on Saturday 12th June 1965.

    I was on duty in Guildford South signal box on that day and recorded the time in the signal box Train Register Book. Three extra coaches were added to the last train to accommodate the passengers. The photo was taken before the last service.

    On 16th December 1942 a German aerial attack killed seven people on a train that had just left Bramley and Wonersh station.

    2)Semaphore House, Pewley Hill/Semaphore Road. Used by the Admiralty in the days of sailing ships (before speedboats) to send messages by semaphore signalling from London to Portsmouth. There were a number of these buildings along the route.

    Ah yes… the age of the sailing ship. It is sad to think that some correspondents, born in that great era, now have only unrealistic speedboat dreams. Ed

  13. Dave Peters Reply

    November 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I travelled on the last train and had to come back via Effingham Junction! I remember a Q1 loco on it.

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