old woking

THE well-manicured flower beds and vegetable plots run by Derry’s Field Allotment was once again open to the public last Saturday for the association’s open day.

Tony Harding, chairman of Derry’s Field Allotment Association

The annual event is as an opportunity for people to see what can be grown on the 117 plots at the Coniston Road site in Old Woking which currently has 160 members, and to raise money for charity.

Chairman Tony Harding said: “The weather was on our side and we raised around £700 by the end of the day. We’ve been doing the open day for about 20 years now and it’s as much about the community as putting the allotment on show.”

For the full story and picture spread, see the 29 August edition of the News & Mail

We all know Buckingham Palace. Hampton Court Place and Kensington Palace – of course! But how about Woking Palace?

It was once a large and important palace, used by Tudor royalty from King Henry VII through to Queen Elizabeth I. The first house on the site, beside the River Wey, was probably erected in 1217. Successive building on the site over the centuries resulted in a substantial complex of buildings.

A once opulent Tudor house, Woking Palace is now considered a Scheduled Ancient Monument and site of archaeological importance

Today Woking Palace is a collection of ruins on a peaceful site hidden away in the countryside near Old Woking village. But this weekend (Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July) the Friends of Woking Palace – a local voluntary preservation group – will show it is much more than mere left-overs.

They are holding a Festival of Archaeology on this site of Woking’s palatial link with Tudor royalty, which is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

From 11am to 5pm both days, volunteers from the Friends of Woking Palace will provide information and lead tours around the eight acre moated site. There will be displays about its fascinating history, including the discoveries made during archaeological excavations over the years from 2009 to 2015, which revealed even more about the Palace’s illustrious past.

The studies were mainly the result of a three-year Heritage Lottery Funded project “Woking Palace and its Park”, which included major archaeological excavations by many volunteers and schoolchildren.

Other attractions this weekend will include children’s activities, the history of bee keeping, Tudor juggling by Hattie Hyder, and demonstrations of traditional woodworking crafts by John Waller (underwoodsman).

For the first time at a Woking Palace open day, Tudor re-enactor Catherine Guilder – recently on TV as an expert in “The Repair Shop” on BBC One – will provide demonstrations of Tudor Life, including medicine and folklore.

There will also be displays about Surrey Archaeological Society’s ongoing Test Pitting Project in Old Woking. Guidebooks, CDs and postcards of Woking Palace as well as other publications will be on sale in an on-site pavilion.

Site access is only by foot or cycle; there is no on-site parking or along the narrow private road (Carters Lane) leading to it. Cars can be parked free of charge in Old Woking, in the large car park behind the short stay car park at the mini roundabout.

Disabled visitors should contact the Friends of Woking Palace on 07722 299026 to arrange access.

For lots of information about Woking Palace and the Open Day this weekend, visit the Friends of Woking Palace’s excellent web site: www.woking-palace.org.

The Friends are always looking for volunteers to help with preservation, site maintenance, preparations for Open Days and to act as guides on those days. Membership of the Friends is just £5 per annum (£7.50 for family membership). Members receive regular newsletters full of articles and news, and can participate in meetings and influence the work of the Friends.

THE International School London in Old Woking is to close at the end of the academic year, with Greenfield School taking over the site.

The deal was formalised last week with ISL Surrey due to close on 28 June and staff staying on until 5 July.

Greenfield School, which is moving to take over the ISL site in Old Woking

The closure of ISL Surrey follows several years of declining intake.

Greenfield School, whose origins go back more than 90 years, will move from its current single building on Brooklyn Road to the 10-acre ISL grounds, which has several buildings, including two forest schools for outdoor learning.

The relocation will mean the school will increase to two-form entry. Offers have been given to the large number of pupils on the waiting list. There are currently just over 200 pupils and the school hopes to gradually double this number.

Tania Botting, Headmistress of Greenfield, said: “We are incredibly excited by the huge potential of the Old Woking Road site. We are so proud of Greenfield’s caring, inclusive ethos and broad curriculum, but we know that our compact school site has prevented us from realising dreams for our PE department and other areas of the school in recent years.

“The new site gives us a much-needed missing piece to our puzzle and will enable us to ensure that Greenfield continues to offer an excellent, all-round education to boys and girls for many years to come.”

For the full story get the 23 May edition of the News & Mail

MORE than a dozen community-minded neighbours, including seven children, from Priors Croft got together recently to give their immediate area a spring clean and collected six bags of rubbish.

Andrew Bates and Beverley James, with young litter-pickers (left to right) Harry, Jack, Charlie, Leon, Bentley, Kian and Owen

“We had noticed the rubbish building up and thought that it was about time to do something about it again,” said Beverley James. “We’ve done these before and, like last time, the children really enjoyed being involved.”

“The area is a lot tidier now and hopefully people will think twice before littering it,” added Andrew Bates. “Next time, we hope to involve neighbouring streets in Old Woking and make this a bigger thing.”

If you would like to be involved in a future litter pick in Old Woking, please contact Andrew at andrewdavidbates@gmail.com.

SUITS YOU, SIR - Matt Cobb with his greyhounds sporting Jubilee cravats

SUITS YOU, SIR - Matt Cobb with his greyhounds sporting Jubilee cravats

IT was a weekend none of us will ever experience again. Street ­closures were rejoiced. The weather was not an issue. The Queen was ­celebrating 60 years on the throne and Woking was in the mood to party.

In Chobham a red, white and blue wave of people washed through the high street.

Horsell crowned its ­Jubilee weekend with a collection of hats that Her ­Majesty would have felt at home in.

While hundreds of picnickers ­savoured this historic moment on Byfleet village recreation ground.

A regal parade, fronted by a stirring marching band, hit the right note with revellers at ­Pirbright Green.

In Ripley, hundreds watched on as the Diamond Jubilee beacon was lit on the village green. And Pat Baker, born in the year of The Queen’s coronation, unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.

In total, 48 roads were lawfully closed for residents to take their parties to the street.

The Queen is the physical embodiment of all that is great about us and our country

And there were hundreds of impromptu gatherings tucked away in the borough’s streets, as friends, families and neighbours ­enjoyed a right royal knees up.

A sing off and ­Wellington boot ­throwing competition was held at Maitland Close, West ­Byfleet.

Champion ­thrower James Post, 38, said: “Celebrating a ­Jubilee is very unique.

“There will not be a day like this again for a very long time so we should take the time to enjoy it.”

Residents of Lincoln Drive, Pyrford, received the shock of their lives when the Mayor of ­Woking, Michael Smith, arrived with Mayoress Anne Murray and joined in their ­Jubilee bash.

Freda Spickett, 84, of Send, toasted Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953 and remembered it being very similar to her Diamond Jubilee. She said: “It was wet and very cold that day, too.”

As The Queen marked her 60th year as head of the monarchy, villagers gathered on the green to celebrate her outstanding achievement.

A rousing marching band led a parade of patriotism, with young and old decked in their finest royal-themed fancy dress, with red, white and blue the order of the day.

Cunningham House retirement home residents decorated two golf buggies to join in the action before everyone tucked into a mouth-watering lamb roast.

Laura McMurniman, 25, who grew up in the village and was married in St Michael & All Angels church last summer, said: “It’s great how so many different generations are involved.

“My whole family being here made my dad so happy – he was actually born in the village.

“I know she was really busy but I’m sure The Queen would have loved seeing everyone enjoying themselves.”

Laura’s husband Sheldon, 30, added: “Pirbright is the quintessential British village.

“The community spirit and ‘tally- ho’ attitude really does epitomise everything we are celebrating this weekend.

“The Queen is the physical embodiment of all that is great about us and our country.

“Even the cricketers were out and about gearing up to try and get some overs in despite the rain.”

TARGETED - damage was caused to Woking Palace

TARGETED - damage was caused to Woking Palace

ARSONISTS have targeted a Site of Special Scientific Interest in Old Woking for the second time in as many months.

Offenders caused more than £1,000 worth of smoke damage to Woking Palace after setting fire to litter outside the metal door of the monument sometime between April 6 and June 1.

The attack follows a similar incident first reported to police at the beginning of April when £200 of damage was caused to the historic ruin in Carters Lane.

Investigating Detective Constable Kerry Whindle said: “This is the second time Woking Palace has been damaged as a result of mindless acts of vandalism and I appeal to anyone who may have any information which might help Surrey Police locate those responsible and deal with them accordingly, to call me as a matter of urgency.

“This site is of enormous historical and cultural interest and Surrey Police will not tolerate this wanton damage against such a specialist site in the borough.

“The Safer Neighbourhood Team is aware and will be monitoring the location providing a visible presence and reassurance to those members of the public accessing the monument.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference WK/12/3287.  Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.