Godalming town guide 2015
PUBLISHED: 14:37 25 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:05 25 August 2015
Found among beautiful countryside by the River Wey, Godalming’s streets retain much of their historic character. Here you can discover Titanic history and where the first electric street light was said to be introduced
Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life
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Did you know?
1 Godalming was among the first towns in the world to use electricity for street lighting. In 1881, a tender by the gas company to supply lighting was undercut by Calder and Barrett electricians, who managed to rig up several lamp posts in the High Street with power supplied from the mill.
2 The Arms of Godalming, granted in 1896, incorporates the woolsack to highlight its heritage as a major cloth town.
3 Godalming Museum is the perfect place to swot up on the area’s most famous historical folk, from Arts and Crafts garden designer Gertrude Jekyll to local Titanic hero Jack Phillips. Found in a listed medieval building, you’ll be able to visit their Arts and Crafts gallery as well as discovering the history of Godalming and surrounding villages.
4 Local lad John George Phillips – better known as ‘Jack’ – was the chief wireless operator on the Titanic, and he continued to send distress signals until the ship’s power faded and he was plunged to an icy death. A cloister and gardens by the River Wey mark his memory.
5 General James Oglethorpe, an 18th century Haslemere MP from Godalming, is still lauded in the USA as the philanthropic founder of a key American state, Georgia.
6 Located at the far end of the High Street, one of the best-known buildings in the town is the Pepperpot. A landmark difficult to miss, it was used until 1908 for borough council meetings.
7 With 400 years of history, Charterhouse is one of the leading independent schools in the world. The school moved from London to its current site in Godalming in 1872. Famous alumni, Old Carthusians, include Jeremy Hunt and most of the band Genesis.
8 Trade in Godalming was greatly enhanced when, in the spring of 1764, the Godalming Navigation was opened, connecting the town to the already existing Wey Navigation at Guildford.
9 With Farncombe Boat House and Godalming Packetboat Company on the doorstep and plenty of water meadows to take a picnic to on a sunny day, make sure to take advantage of the canal.
10 No trip to Godalming would be complete without a visit to the nearby Winkworth Arboretum, a spectacular National Trust area of woodland and rare shrubs a few miles south of the town.
A pocket guide:
Drink at: Head to the highly unusual Bel & The Dragon, which is found in a beautiful converted chapel. The Star, meanwhile, is a no-frills Victorian boozer with plenty to try.
Stay at: Peter the Great of Russia is said to have stayed at The Kings Arms and Royal Hotel on the High Street.