READER Sue Grimmer has fond memories of the village of Ripley, where she lived from 1944 to 1953.

Following the Peeps into the Past story about tea shops and cafés in bygone Ripley, Sue provided some lovely memories of the village where she grew up before her family moved to Guildford. Her mother’s and grandmother’s families also grew up in Ripley.

Sue said: “My aunt Win was the housekeeper to the vicar, Mr Thomas. I remember the vicarage before the kitchen, the scullery and the butler’s pantry were knocked down to update it for the new vicar. There was also a coal hole to the side of the house.

“By the scullery door was a line of bells on springs with a number by each to say which room the maid was needed in.

“My aunt taught at the Sunday school when Mrs Methold was in charge of it. She organised outings to the seaside every summer, and Nativity plays that were held in the church hall opposite the vicarage.

“Garden parties took place in the vicarage garden every summer, with the ladies’ sewing guild selling hand-made items there. I remember a big cherry tree on the lawn, and a verandah and a conservatory full of geraniums. 

“I have very fond memories of Miss Pinnock’s tea shop. Her niece Jennifer was a good friend of mine and we were sometimes allowed to help out doing odd jobs. I recall a big garden at the back with a long tearoom in it.

“We lived behind the old fish and chip shop. Both homes that were there have now been demolished and rebuilt.

“My grandma used to tell me that during the Blitz they could stand on the green and see the sky towards London glowing red.

“My uncle Alf Blakeman was the local Scoutmaster. The name of one of my grandma’s brothers, J Edser, is on the war memorial. 

“There was a doctors’ surgery in Rose Lane. Buses to Cobham and Guildford used to wait in the little triangle there.

“The village school was next to the church. When more space was needed, a room behind the Methodist chapel was used for one class. An office for the headmaster was partitioned off in the top classroom.

“School lunches were served through a hatch from the kitchen next door and we ate our lunches in some of the classrooms.

“We were forbidden to go down into the air-raid shelters in the playground and always wondered what they were like inside.

“I think the village was much more self-contained in those days. There were more ‘proper’ shops then. I remember three butchers, two bakers, four grocers, one newsagent, two cafés, one toy shop, one fish and chip shop, one ironmonger, one ladies hairdresser, one chemist, two outfitters, one garage, one greengrocer, one sweet shop, and the post office.”

More of Sue’s memories of Ripley will be featured soon.

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: [email protected]