LOOKING for a new way to promote their businesses, some Woking traders took advantage of a new craze as they looked to promote their businesses in the early years of the 20th century.

With postcards featuring images of street scenes and other views suddenly popping up everywhere with millions being bought and sent each year, this seemed the perfect way for firms to spread their messages.

So companies had postcards printed and gave them away free to customers, who would likely keep them for the scenes depicted and also have a permeant reminder of the business.

Peeps reader Richard Langtree has supplied the images featured here.

Richard said: “Albert Foord, in Bath Road, was a well-known coal and coke merchant. A price list is dated 1 September 1905. The card was printed by Davis & Co, Woking, on the back of an image of Newark Abbey. It was specially printed without the usual postcard posting details.

“The two postcards depicting sheep were presumably produced by Maenson Clothes for retailers to add their own text. The address panel is clear so I wonder if boys’ outfitter Sydney Bailey sent them to customers?

“The postcard of the L&SWR orphanage and the one of the public buildings were used by SC Knight & Son, another retailer. The firm was so well-known there was no address on the back.

“He had a wonderful name: Sparks Cornelius Knight. He was a local councillor, chairman of the council in 1909 and one of the earliest traders in Woking.. He had shops Goldsworth Road, High Street and Chertsey Road and sold almost everything. The business is listed in the 1919 street directory as selling house furnishings, ironmongery, drapery, millenary, clothes, boots and ironmongery.

“The great winter sale started on 11 January and I have looked up old calendars and estimate the year as 1912.

Local businesses were still using postcard advertising much later in the 20th century, as Richard explained.

“The Wheatsheaf Hotel postcard is much later in date and was posted on 31 March 1964, just as I was preparing to sit my GCE exams,” he said.

Richard added that the Wheatsheaf is now an Ember Inns establishment, and adds that Catering Houses appears to be a current business. The Wheatsheaf was once a Friary Meux pub. The catering arm of the brewery chain was once called Catering Houses Ltd.

The white witch of Chobham

ANN Tilbury, the News & Mail community news correspondent, was told the following story a few years ago by the now late Richard Collyer, whose family go back several generations in the area.

Outside Parley Cottage – once the Collyer’s family home, now the site of Squire’s garden centre in Littlewick Road – stood a grove of pine trees. When Richard’s father’s hands got sore, he would take a penknife and nick the trunk of a tree and rub the gooey stuff that oozed out onto his hands. It was a very good remedy and his father generally had very healthy hands.  

However, one summer, warts came up on both hands. He tried everything and went to the doctor and got some ointment, but it had no effect. A week or two went by and no further mention was made of his hands until Richard asked his mother.

There was silence, and then she told Richard the following tale.

One evening, his father got on his bike and went to Chobham and consulted a white witch (or hedge witch). How he found out about her Richard did not know. 

His father paid her some money, she put a silver Thrupenny bit in a silk handkerchief, touched each wart while whispering a spell and charmed the warts away. They never returned!

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: [email protected]