Fringe Box



A 1920s Tour Of Guildford From The Air

Published on: 27 Feb, 2012
Updated on: 27 Feb, 2012

by David Rose

No sooner had the first aircraft taken to the skies than photographers were on board taking pictures of the ground below them.

This is an aerial view of Guildford from my collection that I imagine was taken in about the 1920s. I have added some numbers to the print, next to various buildings of interest – some still standing, some long gone.

Aerial photo of Guildford, circa 1920s, from David Rose collection. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Starting from 1, this tour of the town from above goes in a clockwise direction. The first building featured is to to help you get your bearing. It is, of course, St Nicolas’ Church at the foot of the High Street just over the Town Bridge on the west bank of the River Wey. Not much change there then.

However, number 2 marks Crooke’s Brewery that finally closed in about 1929. Today, the site is a car park adjacent to the George Abbot pub.

Number 3 is the old Guildford Technical School that stood in Park Street. The site is now part of the gyratory system.

Moving across the river number 4 is next to a building that today you will recognise at the Electric Theatre. It was then the town’s electricity power station. Note the additional buildings that were once there – now the open space beside the theatre. And just above these buildings you easily spot the Rodboro Buildings – today the home of the Academy of Contemporary Music and the Weatherpoon’s pub. Back then it was occupied by the Rodboro Boot & Shoe Company – hence the name that has survived to this day. But, as many will know, the building was constructed in 1901 by the motor manufacturer Dennis Brothers. The firm soon outgrew the building, so built a giant factory on the outskirts of Guildford at Woodbridge.

Just in view on the left-hand side is the town’s gas works, marked by number 5. And just above that you should be able to see some open space. This was the cattle market off Woodbridge Road – now the police station and law courts.

Number 6 is above the sprawling complex of Friary, Holroyd & Healy’s Brewery – now occupied by the Friary shopping centre.

St Saviour’s Church is marked by number 7. The building would have been just over 20 years old or so when this photo was taken.

The white roof of number 8 is the Cinema in Woodbridge Road. It later became the Guildford Cinema, the Astor and finally Studio 1 and 2. In the early 1990s it became a nightspot. Now it is boarded up and it, and the area around, is scheduled for re-development, some day!
The church marked by number 9 was the Guildford Methodist Church. It was pulled down in the 1970s.

We move along North Street for number 10 and marked are the Borough Halls and Congregational Church. These fine Bargate stone buildings have now been gone some 40 years.

On to the High Street and the prominent building marked by number 11 was then the Lion Hotel. It was pulled down in 1955 and replaced by a Woolworths store. Today it is the site of the White Lion Walk shopping centre.

Coming on almost full circle, this tour ends with number 12. Then it was a jumble of buildings that formed Moon’s timber yard. Today, Debenhams store is on the site.

If you spot any other buildings of interest or have any questions about any others, please leave a post below.

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