Fringe Box



Guildford’s Historic Angel Hotel Remains Open During Essential Repairs

Published on: 23 Aug, 2012
Updated on: 27 Aug, 2012

Scaffolding now surrounds the Angel Hotel in Guildford High Street as important and necessary repair work goes on behind.

Important repairs are taking place to one of Guildford’s most important historic buildings – the Angel Hotel in the High Street.

Work on this historic building follows on from similar work completed at the Guildhall further up the High Street shorty before the Olympic Torch Relay reached the town centre in July. Like the Angel is now, the Guildhall too had been covered in scaffolding and wrapped in protective material.

Notice boards on the scaffolding around the Angel Hotel reveal that while the repair work is taking place, Angel Gate and the courtyard (with its shops and coffee shop) will remain open for business.

The work on the hotel is expected to take 20 weeks. The notice boards state that the repairs include: the removal and repair of all roof slopes, removal of all redundant non-historical features, external decoration and repair to all windows, replacement of the Juliet balcony to the courtyard, replaying of all cobbles [sic] to courtyard for ease of access, and the redesign of external lighting.

Guildford Borough Council’s heritage department will be monitoring the work that CCL Properties and Wadham Isherwood have commissioned the Marrick Group to carry out.

It is well known that the Angel Hotel has a number of stories about ghosts and unexplained happenings attached to it – one wonders how they will react to all the banging, sawing and drilling that’s now taking place!

In their book Guildford A Walk Through Time, (see advertisement elsewhere on this website) authors David Rose and Martin Giles write of the  Angel Hotel: “The Angel Hotel is now the only surviving example of the numerous coaching inns that were once on Guildford High Street. It probably started life as a timber-framed house. In the 13th century an undercroft (not a crypt) was constructed which might have been used as a store or as a shop. Guildford’s market was originally held on the High Street and from 1345 it included a fish cross (where fish was sold) just by the spot where the Angel now stands. Although the first written evidence of its use as an inn is from 1606, it has probably been one since the 1500s. The building was sold in 1527 for £10.

“In common with the other houses on the High Street a side passage or ‘gate’ ran down the side of the Angel to the town ditch where North Street now is. The gate was expanded making it suitable to facilitate the servicing of the London to Portsmouth coaches. Originally, before the roads were improved in the 1700s, travellers often broke their journey in Guildford, which was roughly half way. Later, when the road was ‘turnpiked’, the journey time was reduced to nine hours. Stops were still required to change horses and for meals.

“In 1636 after it had been largely rebuilt, The Angel was described as one of Guildford’s ‘Very faire innes’ and in 1707 it was seen fit to be the venue for a feast for the Mayor and Approved Men. The prominent clock in the lounge would have been important to staff and guests alike as they awaited the arrival of the scheduled coach services, much like a station clock today. Of course, the advent of railway travel had a major detrimental impact on trade and in 1906 an advert included the statement: ‘Flys to meet the trains if required.’”

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