Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Godalming and a blog reader meeting

Ian and Karen (nb Whispers) joined us for coffee this morning prior to them heading back towards the Thames.  They needed to leave in the morning as the forecast for the afternoon was rain.

Whilst we were all inside Waiouru discussing toilets (as boaters do) Horse boat Iona passed. The crew needed to disconnect the towrope in order for the Iona to pass all the erected boat TV aerials.

The steerer obviously recognised either our flag or boat name because he told Jan he had lived in Whenapai, NZ some years ago.

Later in the morning we wandered up into the town.  Jan particularly wanted to visit the butcher on the High Street after reading some good online reviews.  We eventually exited the shop minus £40 but in possession of two pieces of steak, four chicken breasts, three pies and 24 sausages.  The latter being a mixture of wild boar & apple, venison & ?  and Godalming sausages.  We had the steak for dinner and it was delicious!

Wikipedia states Godalming owes much of its historical existence to the fact it is midway between Portsmouth and London.  There has been a settlement here since saxon times.  The town is recorded in the Doomsday Book.  I was amused to read “In 1726 a Godalming maidservant called Mary Toft hoaxed the town into believing that she had given birth to rabbits. The foremost doctors of the day came to witness the freak event and for a brief time the story caused a national sensation. Eventually Toft was found out after a porter was caught smuggling a dead rabbit into her chamber, she confessed to inserting at least 16 rabbits into herself and faking their birth.”

Godalming was the first town in the world to have a public electrical distribution system.  This only lasted three years when the town reverted to gas lighting after flooding and high maintenance costs resulted in Seimens withdrawing from the project.

The town is known for its many Tudor style buildings.  It also contains the “Pepperpot”, the 19th century town hall.

The Pepperpot is an octagonal building in the market square on the High Street. It was built in 1814 replacing the original town hall.  The lower part of the Pepperpot is still used as a market place.

We can’t leave the High Street without looking at another of those interesting Tudor style buildings.

Mid afternoon and local blog reader Kevin called in to have a chat.  He is thinking of becoming a residential boater and had a number of interesting questions for which he sought answers.  Later in the day I went for a final walk around the local area.

There was an interesting looking building on Bridge Road.  It was the roofed turret that caught my eye.

A closer look revealed the building is the Godalming British School, founded in 1812.  It was originally called the Godalming Non-Conformist School but changed it’s name in 1814.

Walking further NW I noticed yet another building which appeared to also incorporate a type of turret.  However this building had more of a religious look about it.

As I passed  I noticed grave headstones at the rear of the property leading me to believe my assumption might be correct.  Shortly thereafter I turned NE eventually returning to Waiouru.  It wasn’t until I was later looking at the map that I realised if I’d only walked sightly further I might have seen Charterhouse School, one of the great historic schools of England and it is one of the original nine English public schools which include Eton and Harrow.  

No comments :