A New Lease Of Life For Hydestile’s Red Telephone Kiosk

The red telephone kiosk at Hydestile crossroads is being given a make-over after it was decommissioned as a working pay phone.

The kiosk is a familiar and much-loved landmark at the entrance to the village and was at risk of being removed by BT. It is on the border of Hambledon parish but just inside the boundary of neighbouring Busbridge.

 

Fortunately, Busbridge Parish Council has undertaken to preserve the box by financing a renovation before the expected installation of a defibrillator for public use in an emergency.

This work is currently underway and is being carried out by a professional restorer (Ralph Restorations) who works from the back of his 1960s Austin A35 van, which is pictured here parked at Hydestile beside the kiosk.  A familiar sight on Britain’s roads in years gone by, it was an Austin A35 that featured more recently in several Wallace and Gromit animated films.

 

 

For several years Busbridge Parish Council has paid towards BT’s continued maintenance of the kiosk as a working pay phone. However, so few calls were made that the council decided to end this agreement and instead to “adopt” the box under a BT scheme, to ensure it remained in place as a distinctive feature of the rural cross roads landscape.

Under this scheme the ownership of the kiosk is transferred to the parish council for a nominal fee and BT undertake to maintain the working light inside.

The only other red kiosk left in the immediate area is the one in Hambledon, outside the shop and Post Office on Cricket Green. Hambledon Parish Council succeeded in getting the box “Listed” as a heritage feature by Historic England and it remains in working order although it no longer accepts coins.

Surrey Highways Boss To Answer Salt Lane Traffic Concerns

Rat run at Marepond

Surrey County Council has been told that its cabinet member in charge of highways must be called to address issues of safety, rat-running and heavy goods vehicles on the narrow cut-through of Salt Lane at Hydestile.

In what is a significant achievement for local resident and campaigner Paul Osborne, a joint meeting of county and Waverley Borough councillors agreed that further consideration should be given to measures to mitigate the increase in traffic along the cut-through route of Station Lane, Hydestile Crossroads, Salt Lane and Markwick Lane.

Paul had successfully petitioned to have the issue added to the agenda of the SCC Waverley Local Committee meeting held on March 22nd. He needed 30 signatures before SCC would agree. In the event he had 251, most of them Hambledon and Hydestile residents, which demonstrated the extent of concern about the east-west route linking the A3 and Milford Station with Dunsfold Park, the A281 and Cranleigh.

In a powerful video presentation, seen by committee members before the debate, Paul sought to demonstrate how a narrow, rural lane with passing places was already at beyond capacity, and the problem would only get worse with the prospect of major new housing at Dunsfold Aerodrome together with others at Milford Golf Course, Milford Hospital and in and around Cranleigh.


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The local hero and the swan

Recently we heard about another animal rescue by Graham Cornick at Hydestile Resident Animals.   Graham tells the story:

“We had a phone call about a Swan on the A3, when Paul and I arrived the Police had coned off one lane which made the rescue a lot safer, so Paul and I climb down into the ditch and I managed to untangle him the bramble he had fallen into (the Swan that is not Paul), we then got him into the Swan bag, Paul scrambled to the top of the ditch and carried the Swan to the car, meanwhile I’m still in the ditch, the kind policeman held his hand down to me and managed to (drag) help me to the top, I said “thanks I can’t believe I’m doing this at 75” and he said “You’re our hero mate” that’s a first! a police officer calling me a hero.

Sadly the brother to the Swan was killed on the other carriage way, the one we rescued is doing fine. “

HAMBLEDON CHURCH – CAN YOU HELP SECURE ITS FUTURE?

If Hambledon is to have a new vicar and secure a future for its village church then money must be raised with the help of the local community and its residents.

The challenges facing St Peter’s Church and its continued ministry to the village were outlined by Simon Taylor, rector of the joint benefice of Busbridge and Hambledon, and Andy Dunn, treasurer of Hambledon church, at a packed meeting at the village hall on Thursday evening (March 7th, 2019).

In a rallying call for financial support, Andy said: “We are appealing not just to members of the congregation but to those who value the presence of a church in our village, but who may not wish to attend there regularly.”

Hambledon has not had a vicar since Catherine McBride moved to a new parish in October 2017. Although it was intended that she would be replaced, several obstacles stalled the process.

Mervil Bottom, the church house in the village, suffered severe water leaks when empty during the following cold winter and required major repairs and renovation. And the parlous state of the church’s finances meant that the Diocese of Guildford questioned whether it was feasible to appoint a new minister.

It costs £120,000 a year to fund St Peter’s with a vicar, but the income is currently just over £80,000.

The biggest single outgoing is £30,000 that St Peter’s has to pay to the Diocese. Second is the £28,000 salary to the vicar, which rises when tax and pensions are added. Then comes maintenance of the church, churchyard, Mervil Bottom and insurances.

Money raised from events such as weddings goes directly to the Church of England and not to the parish church.

The only money that comes to the church is from the Sunday collection plate, Gift Aid, standing orders and donations from generous benefactors and a small grant from Hambledon Parish Council.

In asking for people to consider making financial pledges, Andy said: “If we want to recruit a vicar, we must find £120,000 a year which is significantly more than our current income. The Diocese will only appoint a new minister if we can demonstrate that we can afford it now and for the next five years.”

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Parish Council Holds Talks Over Village Speeding Concerns

Hambledon Parish Council has held talks with Surrey County Council highways engineers and Surrey Police road safety officers in order to press home its case for measures to reduce the speed of traffic through the village.

At the same time, it also raised concerns about road safety at the Hydestile Crossroads and along the narrow Salt Lane and Marwick Lane, already a rat-run and likely to become even more of a danger if and when the approved new homes are built at Dunsfold Aerodrome.

It emerged that Hambledon is unlikely to get a 20mph speed limit through its centre – which some villagers have been asking for – as neither Surrey County Council or Surrey Police have any evidence that speeding is a problem. And they do not have data to indicate injury accidents have occurred with any frequency.

Nevertheless, the parish council stated that there was anecdotal evidence to indicate speeding was an issue. The outcome of the meeting was that speed data recorders will be temporarily installed at key locations along Hambledon Road to measure traffic speed.

However, the council was warned that this exercise may demonstrate that there is no significant speeding in the village, despite perceptions. And severe budget restraints may limit or exclude any steps that could be taken to implement traffic calming.

It was also suggested that Hambledon could consider implementing its own community speed watch. Police would provide villagers with approved speed detection devices. Drivers of vehicles caught speeding are sent warning letters.

The council has been investigating whether a 20mph speed limit could be introduced in the centre of the village, and in particular in the narrow section outside the Merry Harriers pub and the village nursery school, both of which have expressed support for traffic calming measures.

Parish councillors Mary Grove and Stewart Payne secured a meeting with Surrey County Council and Surrey Police.  Only SCC has the authority to approve road changes and reduce speed limits, and only Surrey Police can enforce the limits.

The meeting took place on Tuesday (February 26th) and was attended by Adrian Selby, senior SCC highways engineer, Graham Cannon from Surrey Police road safety traffic management office and PC Steve Milford, casualty reduction officer. Councillors Grove and Payne and Julie Fleney, parish clerk, showed them around the village and highlighted areas of specific concern.

Mr Selby had previously written to the parish council stating it was “extremely unlikely” that Hambledon would meet the criteria for lowering the current 30mph limit in the village centre. He also stated that SCC data did not indicate that any “particular safety problem exists” and that he was not able to recommend any engineering measures such as changes to road surfacing or road narrowing.

Despite this, Hambledon Parish Council has persisted and the meeting provided an opportunity to show SCC officers around the village and to discuss its concerns face-to-face. Continue reading

Two More Crashes at Hydestile Shut Salt Lane

For the second day running there has been a crash at the Hydestile Crossroads, and another collision just a few hundred yards away has completely blocked Salt Lane which is now closed to traffic.

Police closed Salt Lane at its junction with the crossroads to all traffic at around 9am today (Wednesday January 30th). It is closed along its entire length to Markwick Lane and beyond to Loxhill.

The crash at the crossroads itself involved two vehicles, and was relatively minor. The crossroads, and its approach down Salt Lane, is covered in ice and road conditions are treacherous.

The second accident was more serious as it has blocked the narrow, rural lane just above New Road. Two cars, traveling in opposite directions, have collided. Injuries appear to be minor. Police are in attendance.

As with the crossroads crash yesterday (see earlier news report), icy conditions are likely to have played a part. But it emphasises the need for Surrey County Council Highways Department to pay heed to the initiatives suggested by Hambledon Parish Council to tackle road safety in the village and its outlying rural lanes.

Salt Lane, on the Hambledon parish boundary is used by many as a cut-through between the A281 and the A3. With the likelihood of a major new housing development at Dunsfold, this narrow lane with passing places will inevitably become even more congested.

As for the crossroads at Hydestile, this has been regarded by locals as an accident black spot for many years and the parish council is in discussions with the highways authority and police to try to implement road safety measures along the length of Hambledon Road, from the Hydestile approach and though the village to Lane End.

 

 

Serious Collision at Hydestile Crossroads

A collision between two cars at the Hydestile Crossroads today (Tuesday January 29th) resulted in one overturning and the other receiving extensive front-end damage. No one was hurt.

The accident occurred during the busy morning peak period when temperatures were below freezing.

The overturned vehicle came to rest on its roof on the Hambledon Road. The other was at the junction with the crossroads, in Salt Lane. The Bargate stone wall of Hydestile Farmhouse was partly demolished in the collision.

Police were swiftly on the scene, attending to the occupants of the cars and directing traffic. Although shocked, no one needed medical treatment.

The road remained open and the vehicles were recovered by 11am.

This is the latest of many accidents at the Hydestile Crossroads and comes at a time when Hambledon Parish Council is pressing police and Surrey County Council Highway Department to consider road safety measures along Hambledon Road, from Hydestile to Lane End.

 

 

Peak District Village seeks Hambledon help in keeping red phone box

A small village on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District has turned to Hambledon for help in keeping its traditional red telephone kiosk.

Villagers in Simmondley, near Glossop, contacted Hambledon Parish Council after reading about how it had succeeded in getting the red K6-type phone box outside the village shop and post office listed as Grade II by Historic England.

The council also objected to proposals by BT, back in 2008, to disconnect the box, arguing that it was the only one in the village and should be retained for emergency use.

The kiosk in Simmondley is on the village green and BT has proposed disconnecting it. In the day of mobile phones, few people use public call boxes anymore. Various attempts to secure its future met with no success, and so residents turned to Hambledon.

One wrote: “Our community group applied to Historic England for permission to list the kiosk as it is under threat of being decommissioned. However, we have been turned down. Would you be kind enough to share your application arguments for listing as clearly we have not put a very good case forward.”

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Hambledon Road Closure at Rock Hill

A section of Hambledon Road at Rock Hill, between Church Lane and Woodlands Road, will be closed to daytime traffic from Monday (November 12th) until Friday (November 16th)

This is to allow carriageway excavation by engineers on behalf of British Telecom. This involves clearing blockages in existing underground infrastructure. Access to local properties and the emergency services will be maintained.

A diversion will be in place requiring traffic to use Station Lane, Milford and the A283 Petworth Road, or the reverse.  Full details of the works and diversion can be found on the earlier news item on this website. http://www.hambledonsurrey.co.uk/?p=10306

However, the road remained open until late morning on Monday as no work had started. This may have  been because of torrential rain earlier in the morning and localised flooding, particularly in Station Lane. In addition, Salt Lane, at the junction with the Hydestile Crossroads, was also closed for a time on Monday morning to allow for the removal of a fallen tree which came down in winds and rain yesterday afternoon.

Work did start later in the day and the closure was enforced.

However, there may be periods during the day when the road will be passable, but this should not be be taken for granted. The road was expected to be open in the evenings when work finishes for the day.

Heavy rain showers followed by bright sunshine throughout Monday may have led to difficult road conditions – but it also created a beautiful rainbow seen here from the Greensand Way by Hambledon Church, looking across the fields towards Hydon’s Ball.

 

 

ADVANCE NOTICE OF ROAD CLOSURE AND DIVERSION IN CENTRAL HAMBLEDON

ADVANCE NOTICE OF ROAD CLOSURE

NOTICE: THE SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL, ROCK HILL (C31) HAMBLEDON, TEMPORARY PROHIBITION OF TRAFFIC ORDER 2018

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL propose to make the above mentioned Temporary Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will be to temporarily prohibit vehicles from entering or proceeding in that length of Rock Hill (C31) Hambledon which extends from its junction with Church Lane (D168) to its junction with Public Bridleway No. 181 (Hambledon). Vehicular traffic will be diverted via Hambledon Road, Station Lane, Church Road, Petworth Road, Lane End and Malthouse Lane or this route in reverse order.

This Order is required because works are being or are proposed to be executed on or near the said, namely works in relation to clearing blockages on the existing underground structure, to be carried out by BT. These works are anticipated to be completed within five days, between 08.00hrs and 18.00hrs, during the three-month period of operation of this Order which commences on 12 November 2018. Advanced warning signs will be displayed and the temporary closure will only operate when the relevant traffic signs are displayed. Access to premises within the affected length of Rock Hill, including access by emergency vehicles to these properties, will be maintained at all times as will access for pedestrians, equestrians and pedal cyclists.

Download the PDF file .

JUNIOR CRICKET TRAINING STARTS APRIL 21

Hambledon Cricket Club actively encourages youth cricket and holds popular training sessions for boys and girls on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings.

This season’s sessions begin later this month and new recruits are welcome to join. The first Saturday session is on April 21st and NOT April 22nd, an incorrect date in the poster below.

For more details contact Caroline Tristem at tristem@btinternet.com or 07860 618262.

Major Travel Disruption After High Winds

UPDATE – As of 17:39 all train lines have been reopened, but trains are running with some delays.

UPDATE – As of 12:45 Thursday 18th Jan, there is still no rail service to or from Witley, Milford, Godalming or Farncombe because of a fallen tree at Milford, which has caused extensive signalling damage. Disruption is expected to continue until 16:00. You can check the status of this disruption using the following link: https://www.journeycheck.com/swr/search?from=&to=WTY .

High winds overnight have brought down large numbers of trees, blocking roads and rail lines across the county, including at Hambledon Road and Milford Station.

South Western Railway reports that a fallen tree is blocking the line at the station and engineers are working to clear it (as of 9am Thursday 18th). Rail replacement transport is in place.

A fallen tree is completely blocking Hambledon Road close to Clock Barn Farm, so the direct route to Godalming from the village is impassable. Given the scale of tree debris across the area it may take some time before the road can be reopened.

There are long weather-related delays on the A3, M25 and A281.

Many other routes are affected by fallen trees and other debris and travellers are advised to use the contacts on this website’s winter weather page to check for further details. The link can be found at the top right of the opening page.

 

Winter Weather – Some Useful Advice and Emergency Numbers

UPDATED FOR WINTER 2018/2019

Hambledon Parish Council has an Emergency Plan procedure in place in the event of harsh winter weather bringing disruption to the village.

However, there are many simple precautions people can take to make sure they can cope with cuts to power supplies and phone lines, a problem that has affected Hambledon in the recent past and usually caused by high winds or heavy snow.

If power fails so to do household phones as many cannot function without electricity. As a safeguard, make sure you have a stand-by phone that does not need a power supply. The council has a small supply of such phones and if you require one please leave your details at the village shop.

Mobile phones lines can also fail during severe weather and it is worth remembering that the public phone box outside the village shop does not require electricity and will continue to work unless overhead lines have been brought down. Operator, reverse charge and 999 calls are free but you will need to use a bank card for all other calls.

Keep torches handy and make sure that you have a supply of batteries. A battery-operated radio will also come in useful for listening to local radio bulletins. Tune in to BBC Surrey on 104.6FM or Eagle Radio on 96.4FM or on DAB and Internet if available.

The village website will also carry updates at www.hambledonsurrey.co.uk.

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Any more fares?

Many readers may have seen a vintage bus around the village recently, negotiating the narrow lanes or parked up in the bus stop outside the Merry Harriers.

Its owner Richard Shirley was staying at the pub as he had been hired to take a party of birthday revellers from Busbridge to the Noah’s Ark pub in Lurgashall, with a late-night pick-up.

His bus attracted a lot of attention and Richard was asked if he would be prepared to bring it back next year for the Hambledon Midsummer Festival in June. He agreed and his bus will take part in the classic vehicle rally which will start from the Cricket Green on Sunday June 24 (see earlier news item).

It is hoped that the bus, with villagers aboard, will follow the rally of local classic cars and bikes from the Green, where the fete and ball will have been held the previous day, through local countryside and ending up at the Merry Harriers.

Richard, from Kingston, is a bus enthusiast. His 1953 AEC Regal RF-type single decker was one of 700 built for working in London and the Home Counties. It was retired by London Transport in the early 1970s and, after passing through various ownerships, was eventually acquired for preservation.

Richard, who also owns a red London Transport RT double-decker built in the early 1950s, works in the transport industry. Both his vehicles are inspected and licenced for passenger-carrying service and are maintained in superb condition.

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Power Line Partially Down on Hambledon Road – UPDATE

UPDATE to news item below: SSE engineers were able to carry out repairs without any significant disruption to the traffic.

Overnight high winds and torrential rain have dislodged a power line causing it to sag where it crosses Hambledon Road beside the football ground.

Scottish and Southern Electricity has been informed and a police officer is in attendance to ensure high-sided vehicles do not make contact with the live cable. Cars and vans are able to pass underneath but the road may be closed when SSE attend to make repairs.

With 28 power cuts reported across the SSE region following the stormy weather – although none in Hambledon – it is unlikely that engineers will be on site until lunchtime at the earliest. In the meantime the police officer will remain in attendance to supervise traffic.

The power line crosses the Hambledon Road from Hydon Farm Cottages to the field opposite, just before the entrance to the Badger Park Football Ground. If a diversion is necessary it will involve motorists using Station Lane, Rake Lane and Petworth Road.

 

Wise Up For Winter

Hambledon Parish Council has an Emergency Plan procedure in place in the event of harsh winter weather bringing disruption to the village.

However there are many simple precautions people can take to make sure they can cope with cuts to power supplies and phone lines, a problem that has affected Hambledon in the recent past and usually caused by high winds or heavy snow.

If power fails so to do household phones as many cannot function without electricity. As a safeguard, make sure you have a stand-by phone that does not need a power supply. The council has a small supply of such phones and if you require one please leave your details at the village shop.

Frosty Hambledon, November 30th, 2016

Mobile phones lines can also fail during severe weather and it is worth remembering that the public phone box outside the village shop does not require electricity and will continue to work unless overhead lines have been brought down. Operator, reverse charge and 999 calls are free but you will need to use a bank card for all other calls.

Keep torches handy and make sure that you have a supply of batteries. A battery-operated radio will also come in useful for listening to local radio bulletins. Tune in to BBC Surrey on 104.6FM or Eagle Radio on 96.4FM.

The village website will also carry updates at www.hambledonsurrey.co.uk.

Please keep an eye on your neighbours, particularly those living alone or infirm, especially during cold spells and weather-related disruption.

If conditions are severe the Emergency Plan volunteers will do their best to assist with any individual issues as well as deal with general problems around the village such as fallen branches/snow blocking roads, paths and drives and maintaining contact with external agencies.

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King George V Hospital History

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.01.55

Menu Links:   King George V Hospital    St Thomas’ Hospital    Pantomines at King George V     Milford Hospital

Built by the Metropolitan Asylums Board as a Tuberculosis Isolation Hospital in 1922 (originally known as Highdown Sanatorium), KGV was at the cutting edge of TB research and treatment for forty years. It was instrumental in pioneering development of drug therapy (streptomycin) to combat TB and the manufacture of Iron Lung equipment. KGV had a smaller sister hospital just 2 miles to the west: Milford Hospital ( formerly Milford Sanatorium )

Groves--smallThe King George V Hospital was constructed at an initial cost of £215,000 on an open field site surrounded by trees. The land was originally part of the Busbridge Hall estate. Chessums were the builders working under post-war pressure to complete on time and on budget. Original plans intended that the entrance would be from Hambledon Road, with a long drive approaching the star formation building layout. (The route is probably marked by a line of Poplar trees still in evidence between Hares Grove, the Superintendent’s house, and the road.

Cost cuts prevented this and the Salt Lane entrance remained the only way in with porter’s gatehouse. Buildings on site included many isolated wards connected by covered open sided paths in a star formation, canteen, chapel, kitchens, pharmacy, Library, X-ray and operating theatre (extended in 1950’s), nurses homes (1940 & 1960’s), admin block, greenhouses, patients leather workshops, snooker room, tuck shop, mortuary, engineering, boiler with chimney for the overhead piped heating.

KGV Tower then now

The tower and admin block: 1995 prior to demolition, and in 1947

Most buildings were brick built (pebble-dash rendered) with concrete floors (innovative in their day) under slate roofs. The majority of Wards were single storey with central corridors and glazed pavilion at the end. These were demolished in the 1970’s.
The hospital was only connected to mains drainage in the later years and originally sewage was discharged into the field to the SW of the crossroads (see ornate soil vent pipe at crossroads).

The hospital was also a significant horticultural site, the orchard, extensive range of trees and vegetation being laid out by the first medical superintendent Mr James Watt (an arboriculturist) in the 1920’s. A farm sited at Hydestile crossroads (now mostly demolished) was used for patient rehabilitation.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.03.03Many patients were from London and upto the late 50’s it was exclusively male. The long term nature of their incarceration and treatment meant that patients and staff built strong friendships. Most staff and patients speak of their time at Hydestile as being “the best of times”. Indeed many patients came back to work at the hospital.

The site expanded considerably in 1941 with the building of a hutted military hospital on adjacent farmland to the South East. This soon became the home for St. Thomas’ Hospital Lambeth, evacuated from their London site due to extensive bombing. St. Thomas’

The Hospital ceased to be for diseases of the chest in 1969 and adopted a variety of other roles and eventually closed in 1988. The buildings were demolished in 1997, leaving only the gatehouse, Hares Grove (former Superintendents house) and six staff cottages, all now refurbished. Other buildings in the area owned at some time by the Hospital included Ryecroft, Hunt Cottages and Wayside.

TB Hospital Godalming

KGV in 2016 and 1970 – click to see animated transition from now to then

The 52 acre site has now been redeveloped for housing – known as The Hydons, Salt Lane, Hydestile. Little trace remains of the KGV although one of the tennis courts has been refurbished and forms part of one garden. In the woods to the north of the new houses there are traces of the foundations of nurse and doctors accommodation, hidden in the undergrowth. Likewise the steps and footings of 1&2 Salt Lane remain close to the new footpath. These were temporary buildings used by the original builders of the Hospital. No. 1 was demolished after 1945 and number 2 (latterly a shop) in the 1970’s.

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Ray Galton as a TB Patient in Milford 1949

The hospital also benefited from celebrity support over the years from Leslie Phillips, James Robertson Justice and Terry Scott, who were regular visitors. As an interesting snapshot of what it was like to be a patient you’d be well directed to view a BBC2 sit-com from the 90’s “Get Well Soon” co-written by Ray Galton. He drew upon his experience as a patient in the nearby Milford Hospital (linked to KGV) during the late 40’s and early 50’s. He met his long time comedy writing partner Alan Simpson there and together they wrote their first comedy radio scripts during their enforced stay in hospital. Within 10 years they were the UK’s foremost comedy writers, famous for Hancock and Steptoe. Their famous Hancock’s Half Hour radio episode “The Sunday Afternoon” is a clever observation of the boredom that must have been repeated often during their many years treatment for TB.

 

 

Gallery of images from 1920 – 1988:

This video was recorded in around 1995.   At the time I lived on site in one of the former nurses cottages.  The site had been stripped by vandals and used for paintball and general destruction.  After many planning battles the site was eventually destined for re-development. The diggers came in and flattened it all.   A sad day for the many who’s lives had been touched by their time at Hydestile.  I had recorded this on 8mm tape and stumbled upon the tape recently.  I dumped it to my Mac and ran a soundtrack underneath, so please excuse the rough quality.

 

Gallery of images from 1999:

 

The Story of KGV

By Dr. J.V. Hurford      As published in the KGV Gazette Summer 1963

My predecessor, Dr James Watt, wrote this article in 1954, (he retired in 1948). I modified it for the issue of August 1957, and here it is again, brought upto date.

The need for sanatoria for London patients was foreseen in 1914, when sufficient land for three hospitals was purchased. Building of King George V Sanatorium, the first of these, started after the First World War, and it was finished and opened in 1922.  The two huts still in use are reputed to have housed the workmen!  (1 & 2 Salt Lane? sic).  The new Hospital was to have been called Highdown Sanatorium, but by command of’ the King, who had been invited to attend the opening but was unable to be present, the name was changed to King George V Sanatorium.

kgv aerial from sw

It was administered by the Metropolitan Asylums Board (whose crest is over the entrance to the Administrative Block), until 1929, when the London County Council took over, only to give way in 1948 to the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, With local control vested in the Godalming, Milford and Liphook Group Hospital Management Committee. Recently, this Management Committee area became merged with that of’ Guildford, and the controlling body is now the Guildford and Godalming Hospital Management Committee.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.02.21When I wrote in 1957, my thoughts ranged back over the period from 1922 to that year, the period of the modern treatment of tuberculosis, as being mirrored in the story of K.G.V., there were so many changes.  Patients, and perhaps even doctors and nurses, entering in this “Anti-biotic Era” – when successful treatment is difficult enough, though usually achieved – know little or nothing of the strenuous methods of treating tuberculosis which preceded it.  Surgery played a great part.   The first surgeon was appointed in 1929, and the Theatre and X-Ray Department were built in 1934.  At one stage fifty per cent of tuberculosis patients had major surgery of the chest, usually very successful; now perhaps only five per cent require it.

The Hospital expanded over the years both staff and buildings.  Of the latter I have already mentioned the Theatre Block, the Canteen was built in 1936; an additional Wing to what is now the Nurses’ Home was added in 1945, the Theatre Annexe in 1953, the Respiratory Function Unit in 1955, a new Patients’ Library in 1958, a messroom exterior (now the Domestic Staff sitting room) in 1959, and Nurses’ Home No.3 in 1960.

1931 postcardAt one time, what is now the Staff Restaurant was a dining-room for perhaps a hundred up-patients. Gradually, the numbers of these shrank as methods of treatment changed, and patients were discharged earlier, until the present conversion was made two years ago.  In the immediate future it is planned to erect a large hut on the rising ground by the main car-park, to be used as a playroom for visitors’ children, and as a Staff’ club room.

 

 

KGVsmallStaffgroup'60sBut of course the most striking change is in the nature of’ the work carried out in the Hospital. From being a Sanatorium for the tuberculous, it came to treat also non-tuberculous chest conditions, hence the present name: King George V Hospital for Diseases of the Chest; and then some patients with other than chest diseases – a limited number of orthopaedic and geriatric cases – were admitted. There is a lot to be said for this departure from the restricted area of’ our disease, even were there now sufficient tuberculous patients to fill the beds, for variety is a stimulant to the interest and intelligence of doctors and nurses. ‘ It is odd perhaps that not many of our patients come from the immediate neighbourhood, which is catered for by Milford Chest Hospital “down the road”, but from beyond this area, from London, Aldershot and Farnham and sometimes as far away as the South Coast. We have the Respiratory Function (“Puff and Blow”) Unit for this Region, and are also part of the regional Chronic Bronchitic Unit.

KGVaerial

KGV and St. Thomas’ Hospitals in 1973

I wonder when another revision of this article will be called for, and if I shall write it. It is certain that “K.G.V. ” will go on for many years and probably it will change in many particulars as time goes by.  There has always been something human and genuine in the atmosphere of the Hospital; let us hope that nothing changes that!

KGV Gazette Summer 1963

HISTORICAL NOTE   By Dr. J.V. Hurford

As published in the last ever KGV Gazette Summer 1968 upon the closing of the Hospital


The Highdown Sanatorium which started at Hydestile in 1922 was soon, by gracious permission, allowed to take the name of “King George the Fifth”… However, it is told that his Majesty, when asked if he would condescend to come to the opening {in 1924) said: “Not on your life – visit a T. B. hospital – I might catch it ” – or words to that effect. These fears were felt by dwellers in the locality, even by their G. P. s, who met the choice of site with as much opposition as now would be offered to an aerodrome for jumbo jets.  Though the sanatorium was modern for the time (incorporating an early form of re-inforced concrete in its pavilion walls), the money which the authority {then the Metropolitan Asylums Board – crest over the entrance to the administrative block) was prepared to spend on it ran out before the plans could be fulfilled, so that the main entrance was from a narrow lane (Salt Lane) rather than by a more imposing approach from the Hambledon Road.

KGV Aerial 1928

There are aerial photographs which show the site in the early twenties. Though surrounded apparently by forest (the Hare’s Grove which gave a name to the Medical Superintendent’s house) the actual grounds were quite bare.  The beautiful limes and birches and ornamental trees and shrubs may be credited to Dr. James Watt – a canny gardener as well as a towering medical figure – and grew up during his reign. The hospital really was in the country (in 1935 when I first saw it as a member of a visiting D. P. H. class from London, I half wondered if we should ever find our way back) and in its building workmen were accommodated in wooden chalets, used for many years as staff quarters, and plans and materials stored in two wooden huts which still do service though very decrepit.

pavilion1930s copyIn 1949 the wards were still without heating, other than the thin pipes under the windows designed, so it was said, to reduce condensation – in itself unlikely since windows had to be kept open.  A few years later this was remedied, but the previous absence of heating was symptomatic of an age, the age of the “cure”, based on ‘Sanatorium principles’ of fresh air, good food, rest, graduated exercise.  This age lasted into the ‘antibiotic era’ and both were overlapped by that of minor and major surgery.  To those who know tuberculosis as a disease fairly easily treated by chemotherapy, the long periods which started perhaps with Hippocrates and died away in the fifties of this century cannot be imagined or fully understood. Artificial pneumothorax, pneumoperitoneum, thoracoplasty and so on seem almost bizarre in retrospect.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.03.03

South facing pavilion

Yet the ‘cure’ and the surgery did save lives. And what seemed spartan routine was much more vital and engrossing.  Quite apart from the attentions of the doctors and nurses a patient’s week could be filled with: occupational therapy, art therapy, typing, learning a language, woodwork, printing, concerts and whist drives, inter-ward sports – shove-halfpenny, table skittles, croquet, billiards etc. There were a silver shield and two cups to be competed for. When Marcus Patterson devised “graduated exercise ” at Frimley he used baskets of stones of various weights. At K.G.V. there were walks increasing in length and then outdoor tasks. Many a patient must have acquired there a love for gardening or even pigs!  “Teebeeland” seemed to be regarded with a wry humour.  Perhaps the uni-sexual nature of the sanatorium (women patients came only in the late fifties) was a trial and the outlook of the authorities far too monastic – rather backward looking.

But in other respects, for many years we were in the van of sanatorium work.  With its first surgeon – Mr. J. E. H. Roberts, whom I always imagine operating with a Petit Caporal hanging to his lower lip – major surgery in anew theatre started in 1933.   K.G.V. took part in all the M.R. C. Trials of the new anti- tuberculous drugs from 1949 onwards. Whilst such units were still rare in the UK a respiratory function laboratory was inaugurated in 1954.The antibiotic era which came with the fifties for some years increased the use of surgery, largely because an umbrella was provided for lung or part-lung removal.

 

In 1955, of patients admitted with tuberculosis, 58% had a major operation; the figure for 1967 was 3%.  However, what was so amazing was the decline in tuberculosis due to anti- tuberculous drugs.  The great physicians of the past – Robert Philip, Trudeau, Marcus Patterson – could never have imagined it.  K.G.V., like other sanatoria (or Hospital for Diseases of the Chest as it became) began to admit patients with other complaints. Since these stayed a shorter time, the turnover accelerated.  In 1951 there were 401 admissions (354 tuberculous), in 1967, 1358 (135 tuberculous).

Operating Theatre, date unknown

Starting under the rule of the M.A .B., the hospital became a jewel in the crown of the gargantuan London County Council in 1929, and in 1948 of course entered the National Health Service. These authorities appeared to differ in administrative approach, but of course this depended on other things – the changing conception of disease, uniformity and availability of finance over the country rather than a metropol is and so on.

The War did not alter things very much, -it saw the appearance of an E.M.S. hutted hospital, at first under the aegis of K. G. V., then of the Australian Army Medical Corps, and finally St. Thomas’s Hospital, Westminster.  The expatriate staff of the latter organised their lives with the ingenuity and cheerfulness of castaways on a South Sea Island, who know that sooner or later they are bound to be rescued.  Every year they expected this to happen and, finally, after twenty-three years, it did.

Nursing Sister 1952

K.G.V. has seemed to be blessed by the numbers of sterling people who remained on the staff for very long periods, even at this present date in one or two instances going back to the twenties.  Perhaps other hospitals have been as fortunate, but I doubt it.  Inevitably, sad little ceremonies of farewell have sprinkled later years.  Till the middle-fifties a generous and mutually useful policy had meant the recruitment of many excellent nurses – who happened themselves to have had tuberculosis, and to whom a place on the staff was offered for re-habilitation. These were known for some reason as ‘trainees’, presumably because they could complete training in the B.T.A. certificate (though many already had an S.R.N.). In the later years of the hospital, a Pupil-Nurse training school was set up in conjunction with Haslemere General Hospital, and was successful. In our ‘middle period’ a number of decorative, charming and efficient young things were very much appreciated – these were the ‘Tommy Nurses’ seconded for three months at a time to explore the countryside on their bicycles.

The staff has tended to be cosmopolitan.  At one Christmas dinner some years ago, I counted nineteen different nationalities. There were cycles of  “foreigners”  (I refer to those who were not what St. Joan called the ‘Goddam English”): early on Scots and Irish, but mostly Irish, then Italian and Polish or Baltic, then Spanish and Yugo-Slav.  (It was touching to see girls from Northern Italy trying to understand the intrcacies of Scottish dancing!)   And of course, in the last ten years many men and girls from the Commonwealth, all very welcome.

There were no tremendous events in the history of K.G. V. and smaller happenings it is difficult to select any except at random. The tennis feuds with Milford in which for so long we had an edge. The farewell party to Miss Sheenan in which those still working with her and many who returned for the occasion filled the Large Hall and a large marquee. The annual pantomime devised and written by a select few and performed by a cast which could include a chaplain, a cook or a consultant surgeon, and in which anything might happen – and usually did. The re-union fetes on August Bank Holiday, to which ex-patients returned in large numbers I(Your name escapes me I’m afraid, but I clearly remember your x-ray!’). The weather station – that curious relic of more leisurely days. The night that the safe was stolen from the Hospital Secretary’s office, taken off on a porter’s trolley and abandoned -empty – on Hydon’s Ball. But why recall only these?

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 16.10.05Perhaps one of the more important landmarks was when a prefabricated building (The Cedar Hall) was added in 1964 and a thriving staff social club became possible. Swinging Hydestile~

Traditionally the hospital had its ties with London and in later years the link was with Aldershot and Farnham through the chest clinics. It was not wholly unregarded, however, in the immediate neighbourhood, and kind and ever present help was found in the W .V .S and its own League of Friends. Nor must we forget the ‘Not Forgotten’ Association, to which successive generations of patients owed much. And, of course, the Red Cross picture library, that opener of windows not made of glass.

I hope that I have recalled something of the forty seven years of a hospital and with little hint of any sadness that they are finished. And the story is not finished – neither of K.G.V. nor Hydestile. The sanatorium may have gone the way of Trudeau and Schatzalp and the National, Ventnor, and many others, but there is still work to be done of another kind.

Good luck to all who remain – or come – to do it in this very pleasant spot.

Tower

KGV in 1994

 

 

Gallery of images donated by former staff and patients:

Gallery of scans of publications from staff and patients:

 

Obituary 1958: JAMES WATT, M.D., D.P.H.
James Watt, for many years medical superintendent
of King George V Sanatorium, Godalming, Surrey, and
chief medical officer of the London County Council’s
medical tuberculosis service, died at the country branch
of St. Thomas’s Hospital at Hydestile, Godalming, on
October 4. He was within two weeks of his 75th
birthday.

Dr. James Watt was born in Aberdeenshire on October 17,
1883, the son of William Watt, J.P., and was educated at
Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, and at Aberdeen Uni-
versity, where he graduated M.B., Ch.B., with first-class
honours, in 1908. Outstandingly successful as a student, he
held the John Murray scholarship in 1908 and the Anderson
scholarship in 1909-10. He took the D.P.H. in 1911, and
proceeded to the M.D., with highest honours, five years later.
After graduation he was an assistant, first, in the department
of pathology, and then in the department of medical juris-
prudence in Aberdeen University. From 1912 to 1922 he
held a number of appointments in different parts of the
United Kingdom: as deputy medical officer of health for the
City of Aberdeen; senior resident medical officer at the
Royal National Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of
the Chest, Ventnor, Isle of Wight; medical superintendent
of the Bradford City Fever and Infectious Diseases
Hospital; and medical superintendent of the Downs
Sanatorium, Sutton, Surrey. From 1922 to 1948, when he
retired, he was medical superintendent of the King George
V Sanatorium, Godalming, and chief medical officer of the
medical tuberculosis service under the old Metropolitan
Asylums Board and subsequently under the London County
Council. Dr. Watt was president of the Society of Superin-
tendents of Tuberculosis Institutions in 1924 and 1925 and
of the Tuberculosis Society in 1926-7. A founder-member
of the Joint Tuberculosis Council, he later became its chair-
man. To his widow and family we tender our sympathy.

We are indebted to Dr. G. LIssant Cox for the following
appreciation: The old guard of the original tuberculosis
service is thinned again through the death of James Watt,
late superintendent of the King George V Sanatorium at
Godalming. He was of the pre-1914 vintage, big in body
and in mind, contemporary of Ernest Ward, Sir Henry
Gauvain, and Jane Walker. Lloyd George’s Insurance Act
of 1911, with its special financial arrangements for “sana-
torium benefit” and for Exchequer grants for sanatoria and
dispensaries, stimulated local authorities to provide buildings
and the medical staff to run them. Of those very early in
the service, James Watt was one. A brilliant student of the
Aberdeen school, he was on the high road to a distinguished
academic career when he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis.
Fortunately, he made a good recovery, and, like several other
medical men and women so affected, obtained, a junior post
in a sanatorium and finally emerged as the well-known head
of the large new London County Council sanatorium
which has been visited by nearly all who have come to
England in order to see some of the best work in tuber-
culosis. Watt had a clear, lucid, logical mind, and took a
prominent part in tuberculosis affairs. One of the two
remaining founder-members of the Joint Tuberculosis
Council, he later was one of its outstanding chairmen and
did valuable work in the chair and on many committees,
work both pioneer and advisory in the tuberculosis field.
He was a very keen horticulturist, and this hobby was a real
solace and interest in his retirement, especially after a
serious motor accident had left him grievously lame, though
still cheerful and uncomplaining when I last saw him in
London. He was the fortunate possessor of the three im-
portant qualities, a clear head, a warm heart, and a stiff
back, and he used them to the full.

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