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How Should One Pronounce Guildford?

Published on: 18 Jun, 2012
Updated on: 18 Jun, 2012

From Brother Adrian Risdon,

St Cross, Winchester

Please forgive this eccentric enquiry.

For decades my best friend and I have had a running argument over whether or not one pronounces the middle “d”. I make the case that there is a Guilford (no middle “d”) Street in London (near the British Museum) and that the distinction is lost if one pronounces the town’s name ‘Guilford’.

I would appreciate your readers comments on this (maybe) trivial issue. I close by thanking you for your time and attention and recalling, also, that the very great priest at the church of my Paddington childhood, Tony Bridge, went on to be your Dean. I cherish a photo my brother took of the portrait of Tony in your cathedral. I was sad to read his obituary not so long ago and look forward very much indeed to any published biography.

Can you help Brother Adrian? Should the ‘d’ be silent? Please write a reply using the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below.

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Responses to How Should One Pronounce Guildford?

  1. Brian Matthews

    June 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I personally believe that the ‘D’ should be pronounced, however I am sure that, more often than not, I am guilty of using the silent ‘D’ pronunciation.

    The almost slang version ‘Guilford’ rolls off the tongue far easier than ‘Guild-ford’ which I find can sometimes sound pretentious when used in conversation.

    Maybe Tony Scott is slightly to blame, he started and still runs the ‘Guilfest’ music festival when it could just as easily have been and probably should be ‘Guildfest’.

    Anyway, a good question, and I’ll be interested to hear other peoples views.

  2. Phillip B

    June 19, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I use the silent D pronunciation, and have done since before Guilfest started – I remember attending the first such event Tony put on, called Guildford Folk and Blues Festival.

    The wide variety in the sources of our English words results in many pronunciation rules (tough; though; through), so having silent letters isn’t much of an additional problem.

    Of more concern, particularly when people ask for directions, is:
    Chobham vs. Cobham;
    Farncombe vs. Farnham.