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Monday, July 22, 2013


   Guildford must be the largest town centre on the River Wey but as you can see below we found a lovely mooring next to the water meadows. From here it is just a 10 minute walk into the centre of town.
   Nb Valerie can just be seen past the rowing club`s boathouse. A sunny weekend brought out the BBQ`s  and picnickers into the fields off to the right but were just far enough from the mooring to give us peace and quiet. 

   On the walk into town we spotted what could have been a number of things in the past. Too small for railway tunnels--and with the river just behind me--my guess is the river once was more important than the road passing by and this was storage of some kind. The sign between the arches above the seat drew me across the road seeking an answer.
  It`s a Time Vault sealed by Dame Vera Lynn in 2000 to be opened in 3000.  Items sealed in the vault include a Mini car and the flying lady also called the Spirit of Ecstasy--from the hood of a  Rolls Royce car. Wouldn`t you just like to be there and see what people make of the contents that reflect on life one thousand years in the past.

   While there is plenty to see in Guildford, this building caught my eye, standing proud at the top of the high street amongst the shops.
    More intriguing was the notice (above) posted on the gate. George Abbot was born in a cottage at the bottom of the high street in 1562.  In 1611 he became Archbishop of Canterbury which at that time made him very rich and he decided to build Abbots hospital Alms houses for the poor.
On site there are 20 flats, although they state vacant apartment, housing 28 residents.
George Abbot is buried in Holy Trinity Church across from the Alms houses. Handy for him to keep eye on his legacy.

   The impressive arched entrance leads to the courtyard and a rope marks the boundary of public access, giving residents some privacy. I have stitched some photos below to give an idea of how some of the apartments form a square facing out onto the green beyond the entrance.
   You really must appreciate the work that went into this and so many of our old buildings. It survives after almost 400 years. I think of today's buildings and wonder how many will survive 400 yrs hence. Stone window openings and those tall chimneys would today be too labour intensive and cost prohibitive.
   This high street shop looks normal enough but it`s what lies below street level that`s interesting! As you go down the steps behind the Black  railings you enter a medieval undercroft dating back to the latter part of the 13th century. There are about half a dozen in Guildford but this is the finest in the country. 
   This is a model showing a side view. The steps come down from the street and above the undercroft would have been the merchant's house. This was a very practical use of the buildings footprint and having seen so many stunning basements in the U.S. I cannot understand why we don`t make use of the ground below our homes here in the UK. Guildford is a nice place to spend a few days with the castle and museum being just two more of many attractions in the town.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen the treadmill - it's quite impressive.

The recent brick built cathedral dominates the town.

Mike Hawthorn (my hero - famous racing driver - was killed on a hill in Guildford in the 50's - sad!

oh and visit Dapdune Wharf.

Mike (Cowroast)

Les Biggs said...

Hi Mike
Have noted the treadmill but did not fancy the Cathedral.
Dapdune was good.
Be up your way when I get sorted.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs