Precious memories of a Ripley childhood

LIKE most villages in the Woking area, Ripley has changed over the years. Sue Grimmer lived there from 1944 to 1953, and this is the second collection for Peeps into the Past of her memories of the village before her family moved to Guildford.

“There was great excitement twice a year when the fair arrived on Ripley green. It was lovely to watch the big lorries and caravans trundling in.

MEETING PLACE – Members of Ripley’s Order of Foresters gather in front of the White Hart pub. The picture is from Ripley and Send Pubs, published by Send & Ripley History Society in 1998

“The bonfire, fancy dress and firework display started then, but on a much smaller scale than today,” Sue said.

“The green was smaller then, too, some of it was used for farming during the war. We could walk down a path in the middle of the green to Ockham Mill.

“I remember paddling and picking watercress in the stream. Also, just once a hunt gathered on the green.

“The blacksmith’s shop was fascinating. I remember holding my little brother up over the half door to watch the horses being shod.

“My mother worked at one time for Stansfield’s mineral water firm in Newark Lane.

PEACEFUL – A picture postcard view of Ripley from the 1900s with the gates to the big estate on the left, as described by Sue Grimmer

“Nearby, the airfield at Wisley was in use the with planes on test flights between there and Vickers at Weybridge. Their engines were run for hours on end. 

“When coming in to land, the planes seemed to barely skim the tops of the trees and made such a noise my baby brother would pull his pillow over his head if he was outside in his pram.

VINTAGE – Soda syphon from Stansfield Bros. of Newark Lane

“On Coronation Day in 1953 we children danced round a maypole on the green and a children’s tea party was held in the pub opposite, which I think was the White Hart, more recently an antique shop.

“I was allowed to join my friend’s family along with other neighbours to watch the Coronation on their TV. Hardly anyone had a TV in those days, and we sat with the curtains drawn. It was very special.

“At the northern end of the village there are park gates to what was a big estate. At one time my great-grandfather and family lived in the gatehouse and my great granny used to have to open and close the gates for the carriages going through. Apparently, the poor lady was sadly afraid of horses. 

“Also at that end of the village was the Rio sweetshop and tearooms, and another aunt of mine had her wedding reception there.”

If you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call 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: davidrosemedia@gmail.com

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