Sidney was quick on the draw in village pub

SITTING in the corner of the bar at the New Inn at Perry Hill, Worplesdon was artist Sidney Sime making sketches of the regulars who drank there.

This was a building that dated back to the 18th century and was replaced by the currently named White Lyon and Dragon pub / restaurant, which was built in the 1940s.

ARTIST AT HOME: Sidney Sime lived at Perry Hill, Worplesdon

Born into a humble background in Hulme, Manchester, in 1865, Sime is best known for his illustrations in magazines and in the books of Irish fantasy author Lord Dunsany, as well as for Scottish landscapes.

In 1904 he and his wife moved to Worplesdon and lived at Crown Cottage (also at one time an inn) across the road from the New Inn.

ON THE GREEN: The New Inn as Sidney Sime would have known it

Sime died in 1941 and is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard at Perry Hill. In 1956 his widow donated all 800 pieces of his artwork in her possession to the trustees of Worplesdon Memorial Hall.

And that is where the delightful Sime Gallery is today. The collection has 36 caricatures that Sime drew of local people. Researcher Stephen Cranstone has found out a wealth of detail of these characters. Here are some facts about three of them.

George Henry McGready

William Brewer Buckle was the landlord of the New Inn from 1901 to 1935. He was born at Finchley in 1873 and he ran the New Inn with his wife Ellen. They had a daughter called Florence who was a dressmaker. The 1911 census records Ellen’s sister, Sarah, as a barmaid at the New Inn.

George Henry McGready was born in Litchfield in 1887. He married Lena May Harkness in 1914. Her father was Robert Harkness, the founder of what became a very well known rose cultivating business in Yorkshire. George’s father, Hugh, had bought the Harkness rose growing business in 1913 and George was placed as manager.

George and Lena came to Worplesdon in 1926, but three years later she left him. The Woking area was once well known for its garden nurseries and George owned the Perry Hill Rose Garden. However, the electoral register for 1935 reveals he was then by then living in Exeter. He died in Devon in 1944.

William Brewer Buckle

Sime drew him rather like a Buddha holding a blue rose in his left hand. A photo of him exists, and although much slimmer, his hair line is the same.

Charles Poole was born in Wiltshire in 1859. By the 1880s was a gardener at Westonbirt House in Gloucestershire. It is well known today as the location for the National Arboretum. However, by the mid-1890s he and his wife Bessie have been traced to Tongham, near Farnham.

Moving to Godalming, Charles and his wife then came to Worplesdon, and from 1918 to 1935 he was the caretaker of an isolation hospital for people with smallpox that was on Whitmoor Common. The main hospital building was pulled down years ago, while the superintendent’s accommodation is now a private house. He appears to have retired to Farnham and then Witley and died in 1945.

Well worth a visit, the Sime Gallery at Worplesdon Memorial Hall is open during normal times on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. Website: or call Mary Broughton on 01483 233869, for details.

Charles Poole

Back to the 1950s and 60s in Woking

Take a trip down memory lane with local historian David Rose, who is giving an illustrated talk on how Woking looked in the 1950s and 60s as a fundraising event for Woking Lions Club. It will be on-line using Zoom on Monday 30 November at 7.30pm. Cost £5.

To book, send an email to

Once you have registered you will receive an email back with a list of available payment options. All those whose payments have been received will be sent the Zoom link 24 hours before the talk.

If  you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call me, David Rose, on 01483 838960, or drop a line to the News & Mail.

David Rose is a local historian and writer who specialises in what he calls “the history within living memory” of people, places and events in the west Surrey area covering towns such as Woking and Guildford. He collects old photos and memorabilia relating to the area and the subject, and regularly gives illustrated local history talks to groups and societies. For enquiries and bookings please phone or email him at:

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