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Scrapbook History No.7

Published on: 22 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 23 Feb, 2022

By David Rose

It’s been a while since the previous look at some at Guildford’s history from old local newspaper and magazine cuttings.

I have recently been given a nice collection of loose cuttings, all from editions of the Surrey Advertiser from around the late 1960s and early 1970s, and some are featured here.

The Surrey Advertiser was the newspaper of west Surrey, broadsheet in format and with a very high story count – in news terms that means lots of stories per news page. It was also high on the number of display advertisements on the news pages, as well as many pages of property, motors, situations vacant and classified ads.

First up is a photo and caption reporting a visit to the, then new University of Surrey by members of the Guildford Congregational Church. Congregationalists had previously worshiped at their church in North Street, but moved to a new building in Portsmouth Road in 1965.

In 1972, the Congregational Church in England and Wales united with the Presbyterian Church of England to form the United Reformed Church and the Guildford church became the Guildford United Reformed Church.

Staying with Guildford’s churches here’s a brief story about vandalism at Holy Trinity Church in the High Street, and shows that vandalism is, of course, nothing new.

It reads: THE Rector of Holy Trinity, Guildford, Cannon Michael Hocking, is having his patience thoroughly tested at the present time. In his April newsletter he reported, firstly, that a young person from the youth club had found his motor scooter badly damaged; later a car was similarly damaged by someone hurling bricks at it; and these acts had shortly followed damaged in Trinity Churchyard when one of the tombs was pulled apart.

To add to that, shortly afterwards, a week or so ago in fact, someone found enjoyment in removing the seat and cover from one of the new ladies toilets in the parish hall. Apparently the removal was done expertly with a screwdriver.

The final blow came this week, sometime during Monday, when a thief entered the church and removed an 18 inches by nine inches brass memorial plaque from a wall. It is amazing what some people will do.

At least the story was written fairly ‘straight’ as we say in the news business. I hate it when reading in any publication nowadays an introduction trying to add drama to a crime story that begins something like … “Heartless thieves broken into”… or “Hungry thieves stole food…. How did the reporter or police issuing a press release know they were heartless or hungry? They’re all THIEVES, simple as that!

And jokingly, the report could have said, if police officers had visited the church to investigate and felt the urge to use the broken loo, they would have had have “nothing to go on!”

Actually, a line to that effect really was included in a similar story written by a crafty reporter when I worked at the Surrey Herald newspaper in Chertsey between 1991-93.

Although Guildford’s Debenhams store has now closed, many will recall that it was named Plummers when it opened in 1968. Here’s a lingerie advertisement for pantie corselettes with ‘Zippersuasion’!

And for the gents, an advertisement placed by Harveys of Guildford, then part of the Army & Navy Group, currently House of Fraser. It says: ‘Treat yourself handsomely’ and for £14 or 67 shillings and six pence as well.

The problem of litter is not new at all. I reckon as soon as the Victorians had more leisure time and explored the countryside and byways they dumped their litter as they couldn’t be bothered to take it home.

As a collector of old bottles and similar items since the 1970s – call them ‘yesterday’s castaways’ – it’s been known in our hobby that within the bushes and undergrowth on the slopes of places such as Box Hill, Newlands Corner, Pewley Down, and so on, our forebears chucked their litter. Over the years collectors within this hobby have scoured such places with some good finds!

Litter and other unsavoury things discarded in public places rightly riles people a great deal, and the subject has helped fill the letters pages of local newspapers for years.

Here’s a letter to the editor that is much the same as people write today. All that has changed from this one is the name of the local authority, the councillor named and the services offered by the council.

It reads: Sir, – your article on the front page of the Surrey Advertiser of April 17th, brings to our notice the comments of Mr A. A. Cook, chairman of the Guildford Rural Council, about the disgraceful litter situation.

Surely we have all become far too apathetic about the whole question of litter in town and country and it is so very easy to blame any and everybody but ourselves.

If we all taught our own families by example and training, never to drop litter this would be an excellent first step. Also all of us who really care about the appearance of a countryside, should make a point of drawing the attention of those we see leaving litter around, to their bad habits. It can be an embarrassing experience for both sides, but unless we have the courage of their convictions, we shall never improve the situation.

So far as large articles dumped in hedgerows and open spaces are concerned, I feel that not enough publicity is given to householders of the arrangements for collecting those articles which are too large for normal refuse collection.

There is a scheme for their collection, in Guildford Borough on Saturdays, if one rings for the refuse depot, but this far is seldom given publicity.

Let’s hope that in this conservation year we may all contribute something to help Keep Britain Tidy. Yours etc. Joan Theobald. 55a Burpham Lane, Guildford.

Back to advertising and one for the now long gone Seeboard (South Eastern Electricity), whose Guildford showroom was at the bottom of the High Street near MIllbrook.

Ronson, whose hairdryers were being advertised, was founded in the USA and is famous for its lighters, but it also made a number of other household products as seen here. It once had a very large factory in Leatherhead.

Grays of Guildford was, for many years, the garage to go to if you fancied a new Ford motor. Here its iconic Cortina, with five models and in 14 colours to choose from, is being advertised. Which model would you have chosen?

The address given is so simple – ON THE BYPASS. The site is now occupied by the Travelodge hotel and gym at Woodbridge Meadows.

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