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About Guildford

Guildford

 

 

Guildford  is the county town of Surrey, England and the seat of the borough of Guildford. The town is 27 miles (43 km) southwest of central London on the A3 trunk road mid-way between the capital andPortsmouth.

Guildford has Saxon roots and historians attribute its location to the existence of a gap in the North Downs where the River Wey was forded by the Harrow Way[n 1]. The town's access was sufficient  that by AD 978 it was home to an early English Royal Mint. On the building of the Wey Navigation and Basingstoke Canal Guildford was connected to a network of waterways that aided its prosperity. In the 20th century, the University of Surrey and Guildford Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral, were added.

Due to recent development running north from Guildford, and linking to theWoking area, Guildford now officially forms the southwestern tip of theGreater London Built-up Area, as defined by the Office for National Statistics.

 

 


The Guildhall in Guildford
The Guildhall in Guildford



 

 

History


 

Etymology

The root of the first part may be the word "gold" rather than Guild, a society or meeting of tradesmen: the only known 10th century (Saxon) record uses Guldeford and in the 11th century Geldeford [5][n 2]; both meaning gold and ford. Local historians on toponyms cite the lack of gold in the regions's sedimentary rocks and have suggested that use of gold may refer to golden flowers found by the ford itself, or the golden sand; several older sources such as Lewis's topological dictionary of 1848 prefer and give an unreferenced assertion there was a guild. There is an old coaching Inn on the Epsom Road previously called the 'Sanford Arms' may derive from 'Sand Ford', adding weight to the suggestion that the first part of Guildford and its many historic predecessors may refer to the very distinctive golden sand showing on the banks of the River Wey where it cuts through the sandy outcrop just south of the town.


 

Early settlement

In Sir Thomas Malory's early 1485 fictional series Le Morte d'Arthur, Guildford is identified with Astolat of Arthurianrenown. however only rural Celtic Bronze Age pieces have been found in the town. Continuing the Arthurian connection, there is a local public house, the Astolat,

Some of the tiles built into Guildford Castle may be Roman, and a Roman villa has been found on Broad Street Common at the end of Roman Farm Road just west of Guildford's Park Barn neighbourhood.



 

The Dark and Middle Ages

It is proven by archaeology and contemporary accounts that Guildford was established as a small town by Saxon settlers shortly after Roman authority had been removed from Britain[n 3]. The settlement was likely expanded because of the Harrow Way (an ancient trackway including the ancient cities of Winchester and Canterbury crosses the River Wey at this point, via a ford).

Alfred the Great, the first Anglo-Saxon king of unified England named the town in his will and from 978 until a change of location part-way through the reign of William the Conqueror, Guildford was the location of the Royal Mint.

 

 

 
Guildford Castle






Guildford Castle is of Norman design, although there are no documents about its earliest years. Its situation overlooks the pass through the hills taken by the Pilgrims' Way, and also, presumably, once overlooked the ancient ford across the Wey, thus giving a key point of military control of this hardy long distance way across the country. [n 4].

Guildford appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Geldeford and Gildeford, a holding of William the Conqueror. The King officially held the 75 hagæ (houses enclosed in fences or closes) wherein lived 175 homagers (heads of household) and the town rendered £32. Stoke, a suburb within today's Guildford, appears in the Book as Stoch and was also held by William. Its domesday assets were: 1 church, 2 mills worth 5s, 16 ploughlands with two Lord's plough teams and 20 mens plough teams, 16 acres (65,000 m2) of meadow, and woodland worth 40 hogs. Stoke was listed as being in the King's park, with a rendering of £15.

William the Conqueror used the Harrow Way when he sacked the countryside, including Guildford, after his victory at theBattle of Hastings. He then had the castle built in the classic Norman style, the keep of which still stands. A major purpose of Norman castle building was to overawe the conquered population and it had the considerable improvements sum of £26 spent on it in 1173 under the regency of the young Henry II. As the threat of invasion and insurrection declined the castle's status was demoted to that of a royal hunting lodge as Guildford was, at that time, at the edge of Windsor Great Park. It was visited on several occasions by King John, Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry III. In 1611 the castle was granted to Francis Carter whose grandson's initials EC and the year 1699 were above the entrance way. The surviving parts of the castle were restored in Victorian times and then in 2004; the rest of the grounds became a pleasant public garden.

In 1995, a chamber was discovered in the High Street, which is considered to be the remains of the 12th century Guildford Synagogue. While this remains a matter of contention, it is likely to be the oldest remaining synagogue in Western Europe.

Guildford elected two members to the Unreformed House of Commons. From the 14th century to the 18th century theborough corporation prospered with the wool trade.

In the 14th century the Guildhall was constructed and still stands today as a noticeable landmark of Guildford. The north end was extended in 1589 and the Council Chamber was added in 1683. It was in 1683 when a projecting clock was made for the front of the building and can be seen throughout the High Street.


 

 

Post Renaissance/Dissolution of the Monasteries

In 1598, a court case referred to a sport called kreckett being played at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford which was built in 1509 and became Royal gaining the patronage of Edward VI in 1552. The Oxford English Dictionary gives this as the first recorded instance of cricket in the English language.

 

 

 
The Hospital of the Holy Trinity still has a charitable role






 

In 1619 George Abbot founded the Hospital of the Holy Trinity, now commonly known as Abbot's Hospital, one of the finest sets of almshouses in the country. It is sited at the top end of the High Street, opposite Holy Trinity church. The brick-built, three-storey entrance tower faces the church; a grand stone archway leads into the courtyard. On each corner of the tower there is an octagonal turret rising an extra floor, with lead ogee domes.

 

 

 

 
The River Wey in Guildford is canalised into the Wey Navigation
 



 

One of the greatest boosts to Guildford’s prosperity came in 1653 with the completion, after many wrangles, of the Wey Navigation. This made it possible for Guildford businesses to access the Thames at Weybridge by boat and predated the major canal building program in Britain by more than a century. In 1764 the navigation was extended as far as Godalming and in 1816 to the sea at Arundel via the Wey and Arun Junction Canal and the Arun Navigation. The Basingstoke Canal also was built to connect with the Wey navigation, putting Guildford in the centre of a network of waterways.

 

 

 

 

Post Industrial Revolution

The Chilworth Gunpowder works operated right through the Industrial Revolution, transported much of their wares through Guildford and its toll paid canal network.

A branch of the London and South-Western railway was opened in May 1845, to Guildford; its initial spur from Woking of six miles. In 1846, Acts were passed for making two railways from Guildford one leading to Godalming, and the other to Farnham and Alton; and in the same year, an Act was obtained for a railway from Reading, by Guildford, to Dorking and Reigate. All of these followed in the nineteenth century and remain. The Guildford Union Workhouse Casuals Ward provided accommodation for many of the casual workers on the railways.

In the years from 1820 to 1865 Guildford was the scene of severe outbursts of semi-organised lawlessness commonly known as the “Guy Riots”. The Guys would mass on the edge of the town from daybreak on Guy Fawkes Night, wearing masks or bizarre disguises and armed with clubs and lighted torches. With the onset of nightfall they would enter the town and avenge themselves on those who had crossed them in the preceding year by committing assaults and damaging property, often looting the belongings of victims from their houses and burning them on bonfires in the middle of the street. In later years attempts to suppress the Guys led to the deaths of two police officers. In 1866 and 1868 the Guys were dispersed by cavalry and this seems to have brought an end to the riots. Similar disorder surrounding the St Catherine’s Hill Fair, held just outside the town on the Pilgrims' Way, was suppressed around the same time. In 1906 the Guildford Union Workhouse Casuals Ward The Spike was built in Union Lane (Now Warren Road) on the grounds of the Workhouse, not far from the castle and this is today a tourist attraction.

After the 1882 death of their father, brothers Charles Arthur and Leonard Gates took over the running of his shop, which held the local distribution franchise for Gilbey's wines and spirits, and also sold beer. However, in 1885, the brothers were persuaded to join the temperance movement, and hence poured their entire stock into the gutters of the High Street. Left with no livelihood, they converted their now empty shop into a dairy. Using a milk separator, they bought milk from local farmers, and after extracting the cream and whey, sold the skim back to the farmers for pig feed. In 1888 three more of the Gates brothers and their sons joined the business, which led to the formal registration of the company under the name of the West Surrey Central Dairy Company, which after development of its dried milk baby formula in 1906 became Cow & Gate.

 

 

20th century

During World War II, the Borough Council built 18 communal air raid shelters. One of these shelters, known as the Foxenden Quarry deep shelter, was built into the side of a disused chalk quarry. Taking a year to build, it comprised two main tunnels with interconnecting tunnels for the sleeping bunks. It could accommodate 1000 people and provided sanitation and first aid facilities. Having been sealed since decommissioning in 1944, it has survived fairly intact. The quarry itself is now the site of the York Road car park, but the shelter is preserved and open once a year to the public.

In May 1968 students at Guildford School of Art began a "sit-in" at the School in Stoke Park which lasted until mid-summer.

On 5 October 1974, bombs planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army went off in two Guildford pubs, killing four off-duty soldiers and a civilian. The pubs were targeted because soldiers from the barracks at Pirbright were known to frequent them. The subsequently arrested suspects, who became known as the Guildford Four, were convicted and sentenced to long prison sentences in October 1975. They claimed to have been tortured by the police and denied involvement in the bombing. In 1989 after a long legal battle, their convictions were overturned and they were released.[

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education

 

State schools

 


As for the rest of Surrey, Guildford's state schools operate a two/three age groups system. Primary schools in the town include Holy Trinity (which merged with Pewley Down in 1995), Burpham, St Thomas of Canterbury (Catholic) and Goldford Grove. Amongst the Junior schools are Bushy Hill, Northmead Junior and Queen Eleanor's C of E. Secondary schools include George Abbot, Guildford County School, St Peter's, King's College and Christ's College.

 

 

Independent schools

 


The Royal Grammar School is towards the east end of High Street

The best-known school in Guildford itself is the Royal Grammar School. The 'old school' building which was constructed over the turn of the Tudor andElizabethan periods and houses a chained library, lies towards the top of High Street. The school was established in 1509. Nearby is the prep schoolLanesborough School which is the choir school for Guildford Cathedral and has had a long association with the Royal Grammar School. Other private schools include Guildford High School, Tormead School and Rydes Hill Preparatory School.

 

 

 

Higher education

 

The campus of the University of Surrey is in Guildford. Battersea College of Technology (previously the Battersea Polytechnic Institute) moved to the town in 1966, gaining a Royal Charter in order to award its own degrees and changing its name to its current title.

The town is home to the inaugural campus of The University of Law and to the Guildford School of Acting. Other institutions in Guildford include Guildford College of Further and Higher Education (which also occupies the site of the former Guildford School of Art), Academy of Contemporary Music and the Italia Conti Arts Centre.






Administration

 

 


The town of Guildford forms part of the larger area administered by the borough of Guildford, which in turn forms part of the county of Surrey. Whilst the rest of the borough's area is split into civil parishes, the urban area of Guildford in unparished. Thus, within the town of Guildford, the Borough Council takes the role of both first and second tier local authority, whilst the County Council forms the third tier of local authority.

Though often referred to as a city Guildford is a town, but has applied for city status several times. Guildford's 2002 application to be granted the status of a city was unsuccessful, losing out to Preston, the only English town that was formally recognised as a city as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. Traditionally, the establishment of a diocesan cathedral in a town conferred city status. Guildford is a significant economic hub in Surrey, a county with no cities.

 

 

 
Guildford Cathedral

 

 

 

Even though Guildford is the county town for Surrey, the council itself has its administrative base in Kingston upon Thames which, although formerly in Surrey, is now in Greater London. Public sector organisations of note that have headquarters in Guildford include Surrey Police, the South East England Development Agency and the Government Office for the South East.

Politically, the constituency of Guildford is thought of as a traditional Conservative seat. However, for the first time in over ninety years, the 2001 general election returned a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, Sue Doughty. The 2003Borough Elections returned a majority council for the Conservative party, replacing the Liberal Democrat-controlled council. In the 2005 general election Guildford returned a Conservative Party MP, Anne Milton – by a narrow margin (0.7% of the voting electorate, or 347 votes) and despite a 0.5% rise in the Liberal Democrat vote. The Conservatives also held the council majority in the local elections of 2007.

 

 

 

 

 Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guildford


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