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.
The Foundation Stone for Milford Hospital, in its original form as a TB Sanatorium, was laid in May 1927 by Col. The Lord Ashcombe CB., TD., the Lord Lieutenant of the County. The Sanatorium was officially opened, by the Rt Hun Neville Chamberlain MP, Minister of Health on 20th June 1928
The story of Milford Hospital really stares in 1911 with Parliament passing the ‘National Insurance (Treatment of Tuberculosis) Act`. This gave power to, and urged Local Authorities, to concern themselves with a disease which than accounted for some 65,000 deaths per annum and even those in medical care had only a one in five chance of recovery.
The story of Milford is to the greatest credit of Surrey County Council and one in which the County can take the greatest pride. In response to this Act in 1911 Surrey County Council purchased 110 acres of land, between Tuesley Lane and the Southern Railway line, from the Sattenham Estate at a cost of £8,234 for the purpose of establishing a TB Sanatorium.
Milford Hospital Milford Hospital
However, World War I intervened and development had to be postponed, Following the trauma of the War, Local Authorities could direct their attention to domestic affairs and ʻTBʻ again became a priority.
The War had devastated a generation; young widows were aplenty and the birth rate was negligible. A flu epidemic struck in the early 1920’s and the birth rate fell to the point of National Survival. At that time, TB was the most consistent killer disease upon which an assault could be made. Medical research and Local Authorities responsibilities were directed to this end and Surrey responded.
In the 1920’s, Surrey County Councils sanatarium sub-committee found it a duty to implement their pre—War decisions, endorsed by the full Council, and the land was available. Sydney Tattle, FRIBA was appointed Architect and the Building Contract awarded to Chapman, Lower and Peptic Ltd. The final cost was £155,000.
In addition, much was raised by private and public donations to provide the ‘comforts’. For example, through the generosity the Mr. H.O. Serpell, formerly High Sheriff, radio was installed through all public rooms and with bedside headphones.
And so Milford Hospital, then known as the Surrey County Sanatorium, came into existence with the official opening on 20th July 1928 by the Rt Hon Neville Chamberlain MP , in the presence E J Holland, DL., JP ., Chairman of the County Council and Arthur Spurge, Kt., JP,, Chairman of the Public Health Committee. Proceedings of the opening ceremony were recorded in the Surrey Advertiser and County Times of 21″ July 1928. By May 1929 all beds were fully occupied with a Waiting List implemented. The first Medical Superintendent to be appointed was Dr R J Allison who was later succeeded by Dr Edwin Joules. The first Matron was Miss F H Hall (the last Matron was Miss Doris Cracker).
It may be of interest to note the annual salaries of nurses at that time (1933) shown less emoluments for residence, meals, uniform etc: Gross Pay Emoluments Nett Pay
Staff Nurse £160.00 £74.00 £86.00
Probationer Nurse £115.00 £69.00 £46.00
Ward Maid £130.00 £69.00 £61.00
In the same year pay was raised all round by £6.00 per annum mainly due to a reduction in the contract price of uniforms
TB was generally considered to be within the sphere of the Physician and the best treatment was understood to be complete rest (as prescribed for Charlotte Bronte). It was believed by the lay person to single out for its victims young women – which was the theme of ʻThe Lady of the Camelliasʼ by Alexander Dumas. However, it was about this time that Physicians, mainly based on the researches of Louis Pasteur, began to revert to earlier methods which were practised by the Ancient Greeks, to whom TB was wall known 3000 years or more ago, of medication, open air, good nourishment and progressive exercises.
Wealthy patients were dispatched to Switzerland but the Milford site had been wisely chosen. A southerly slope in the Surrey pine belt (pine trees exude an essence of Turpentine deemed to be beneficial). Good communications provided by the Southern Railway and the Aldershot Bus Company for transportation. The 110 acres provided the space for progressive exercise (laid out in lanes. 50 yards for the first week, 100 yards for the second and so on). The Architect took the best advantage of the site
orienting the wards accordingly and introduced louverred windows that, regardless of weather or temperature, could not be closed.
TB remained a national scare. Voluntary hospitals did not accept infectious diseases and as soon as a complaint of TB was diagnosed a patient was transferred to the Sanatoria. Removal from poor housing conditions, good nourishment and controlled exercise followed by Occupational Therapy began to show results and in this Milford excelled. Dr Allison was one of the very few Physicians of his day who was qualified, and a specialist in Pullman Tuberculosis and, under his guidance, Milford Hospital achieved a remarkable reputation. Great emphasis was placed on occupational therapy, Clearly, patients couId not be returned to office life at that time and they needed to be readjusted to an open air life. In this regard Almoners (now Social Workers) played an important part. Horticultural and Agricultural training was provided and some two and half acres was given over to form an orchard of apples, plums etc (many of which remain today) Farm animals were introduced (in particular pigs who thrived on surplus food which, by the risk of contamination had to be disposed of regardless). A large field was also dug out for potatoes so, on this account, the patients not only received expert training for a new life but the hospital made a profit and was, in many ways, self supporting.
At this period discipline was most severe, not only for the staff but for the patients as well, the Ward Sister was supreme in her ward. Segregation of the sexes was paramount; wards were separated as were exercise hours and it was expected that ʻthe twain never met’!
Arising from the research work of Luis Pasteur, Surgeons began to apply their skills in combating TB. The first lung operation in England was in 1891 and with research, experience and advancing techniques it became accepted that Surgery had a major role to play in the treatment of TB. By 1940, Thoracic Surgery, with the aid of Radiology, took up the fight in removing the cause and repairing the damage. Much pioneering work in this field was done at Hydestile, King George V Sanatorium, and one of the most progressive.
In 1938, a small operating theatre was added to the existing X-Ray and Pathology departments but its capability was restricted to minor surgery concerned solely with Pulmonary Tuberculosis. Whilst in the 1930’s lung surgery was very elementary and rarely successful, rapid progress was made and by the 1960’s was highly advanced — to a great extent due to the development and extensive use of antibiotics, The partnership of Physicians, Surgeon, Nurse, Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist had reached its peak in conquering TB but this mass killer was itself on the wane through early diagnosis, made possible by the NationalHealth Service, the post war slum clearance and the compulsory immunisation of children.
For many however, the process had been long and painful requiring three or more visits to the operating theatre. The removal of ribs and shoulder blades was not an unusual procedure with me cavities being filled with anything from sand, olive oil, to plastic bubbles and a three year stay in hospital was commonplace.
The Hospital was always keen to promote innovation and education and, in the 1950‘s—1960’s, the hospital ran two year courses for the Cerificate of the British Thoracic and Tuberculosis Association. This Certificate opened up employment in the grade of Staff Nurse as a specialist in any ward dealing with chest complaints.
After more than 50 years of playing a major part in eliminating this devastating disease, and the tremendous advances made in Thoracic Surgery due to the Medical Superintendents Dr Allison and Dr Joules and the high quality of Physicians, Surgeons, Physiotherapists, Nurses Occupational Therapists, Administrative and Support staff who served the hospital, in January 1980 the Department of Thoracic Surgery was transferred to the newly opened ‘Royal Surrey County HospitaIʼ at Guildford.
The importance of the Milford site to provide care was acknowledged and with the aim of building on the hospital’s existing strengths it was converted into a Geriatric Hospital. ‘Geriatric” is often perceived as a rather morbid word but it should be confined to its medical term as the care of the elderly.
Today, Milford Hospital has seen many changes but still enjoys the wide open space and ambience of its early days. New wards with wider corridors were built in the 1980’s and Miiford is now a rehabilitation Hospital for the Elderly with 52 in patient beds and a day assessment and rehabilitation unit. Wards are now integrated with the therapy areas under one roof to provide the Milford Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre. The cheerful colour scheme ensures patients are received in bright and welcoming surroundings
while a newly constructed covered corridor provides a link between the therapy areas and the wards. This new environment lends itself to more cohesive working arrangements and closer partnerships within our multidisciplinary team allowing for more interaction and flexibility in the use of staff and thereby improved efficiency in patient care.
The future of Milford Rehabilitation Hospital, based upon such a great past, now lies in the hands of Surrey Hampshire Borders NHS Trust with elderly patients under the care of multidisciplinary teams comprising two Geriatricians, Dr V Seth and Dr H Powell and a wide range of skilled staff including doctors; nurses; physiotherapists; occupational therapists, speech therapists and Social Services care managers. Through the hands of this efficient and multidisciplinary team a high proportion of patients receive the appropriate treatment needed to continue as independent a life as possible
This compares considerably with years gone past when Milford Hospital was known as The Chest Hospital’ and it was feared ‘the and of the road’ for many people in me area who suffered TB., lung cancer and other diseases of the chest for which there were than few treatments.
Today, Milford Hospital is undergoing a £1m refurbishment and has seen many changes but still enjoys the wide open space and ambience of its early days. New wards with wider corridors were built in the 1980’s and Miiford is now a rehabilitation Hospital for the Elderly with 40 in patient beds and a day assessment and rehabilitation unit. Wards are now integrated with the therapy areas under one roof to provide the Milford Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre. The cheerful colour scheme ensures patients are received in bright and welcoming surroundings
while a covered corridor provides a link between the therapy areas and the wards. This environment lends itself to more cohesive working arrangements and closer partnerships within our multidisciplinary team allowing for more interaction and flexibility in the use of staff and thereby improved efficiency in patient care.
Historical information produced in 1998 with the kind permission of
Maj A V LovelI·Knight, former Surrey County Councillor
Addendum: 2014 – most of the 1930’s and original buildings, including the water tower, have been demolished. The majority of the site has been sold off to build 100 homes.
The Birthplace of the British Sitcom Milford has had some interesting patients. The famous comedy script-writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson met there in the late 40’s and formed a lifelong friendship. Their shared passion for comedy developed 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 and the Peter Seller’s “Wrong Arm of the Law” character Pearly Gates.
Ray Galton outside F Ward where he spent many years as a TB patient
Galton and Simpson were instrumental in the building of the radio studio in a laundry cupboard on F Ward. From there they wrote and performed live radio shows – narrow-casted via cable to patients around the hospital site. Their Milford comedy scripts were the shape of things to come – they were eventually discharged from Milford and went on to become one of the most successful comedy writing teams in Britain – most famous for Hancock and Steptoe. Hancock was revolutionary for its time and arguably the first British situation comedy.
The Laundry Room converted to a studio
The studio in 2009
Armed with some floor plans, old photographs and a general description from Alan Simpson of the location of old laundry room, I set off to discover the lost radio studio in F Ward – perhaps the birthplace of the British sit-com. It wasn’t easy to find – the ward was derelict, dark and strewn with debris. The layout had been changed over the decades as the hospital had evolved in use from its original role as a TB hospital. Many wards had been redeveloped into open plan layouts with structural alteration evident throughout.
Simpson and Galton in their heyday as TV and Film scriptwriters
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.
In later decades the duo were invited back as guests of honour for fetes and events, and on occasion would bring Tony Hancock with them.
In 2013 “the boys” were invited back to unveil a blue plaque on the admin block. The BBC were there (making a programme about Hancock), plus many notables from the world of comedy including Barry Cryer and Paul Merton. Afterwards they retired to the Refectory Pub in nearby Milford village. In the late 1940’s when Ray and Alan were patients, the Refectory was a Tea Room, and against nurses’ orders they would bunk off to the Tea Rooms.
There was an irony that they were looking at a plaque on the admin block, yet 100 yards away, hidden behind the barbed wire, was the derelict sluice room that was their former radio studio – arguably the birthplace of the UK Sit Com. 12 months later, in 2014, that room was bulldozered to make way for 100 homes.
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 1997 “Get Well Soon” co-written by Ray Galton. He drew upon his experience as a patient in Milford Hospital during the late 40’s and early 50’s.
The comedy starred Matthew Cottle and Eddie Marsan, Robert Bathurst and Anita Dobson. The synopsis: “One day in 1947, Roy Osborne (Matthew Cottle) is admitted to a TB sanatorium. He thinks he’ll only be there for a few weeks, then finds that it could be several years before he can leave.”
Here is a behind the scenes image of filming the series at Mundesley Hospital in Norfolk, a former hospital that doubled for Milford. The interior scenes were studio sets that looked very much like wards at Milford and KGV Hospitals.
Mundesley Hospital in Norfolk
In 1949 a real murder story made a big impression on staff and patients at Milford, so much so that 50 years later it formed the basis of the last episode of a BBC TV sit-com “Get Well Soon” – entitled “Poison Ivy” the programme told of a poisoned box of chocolates for Ivy Osborne (played by Anita Dobson). The Sit-Com was co-written by Ray Galton and this particular episode has the familiar themes from his life at Milford – the radio studio in a laundry cupboard in F-Block, the confinement to bed, writing comedy for the hospital radio, the stage performances and the murder! The actual murder case is detailed here:
1949 April: Murder of Margery L. Radford (Kite) at Milford
Extract from Police Detective’s Archive: Surrey County Sanatorium, Milford. Returning from leave on a Saturday Dr Allison ate a pie on his desk and became violently ill. Unwell over the weekend he went into work on Monday and was handed a confidential letter which indicated that one of his patients was being poisoned by her husband. The pie he had eaten had been sent in for analysis!
Fred Radford and wife
DI Crowhurst from Godalming soon attended the hospital and the next day analysis from Scotland Yard showed there was arsenic, potassium arsenite containing three times the fatal minimum dose, in the pie. As the results came in the woman Margery L. Radford died in the Milford hospital. Keith Simpson carried out the post mortem and found 6.5 grains of arsenic; two would have been fatal. Arsenic in the hair allowed for the calculation that she had been receiving the poison for three or four months.
On 15 April DI Crowhurst arrested the husband and took him to Detective Superintendent Tom Roberts at Godalming. He was released after a lengthy interviewed to come back the following day for the inquest on his wife at the police station. He did not turn up and he was found at his rooms at St. Thomas’ Hospital where he worked having committed suicide. He left a note denying any involvement in the poisoning.
I am just tired of being badgered about something I now nothing about. The stuff that has been found in my wife’s body is as much a mystery to me as to anyone else. It has nothing to do with me, I don’t know anything about it. I also know that things look black against me, but there you are, I have tried to do my duty, but apparently failed. All the best.
F.G. Radford. Friday 15th April 1949
At the inquest it was found that the husband had poisoned what turned out not to be his wife as he was a bigamist, and then committed suicide. Frederick Radford was a laboratory assistant at nearby King George V Sanatorium.
Hambledon Parish Council is to hold talks with Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council to press for a review of the way the village bus service operates in the hope it can be made more commercially viable.
Suggestions from villagers would be welcome, either by leaving a website comment on this article or posting suggestions in the Forum section.
The 503 route, which is the only public transport service available to residents, connects the village with Milford, Godalming and Guildford and is especially important to the elderly and infirm wanting to visit shops, banks and surgeries. It is shown here in the picturesque setting of the farm buildings at the Hydestile Crossroads as its leaves the village headed for Milford.
It is operated by Stagecoach but is heavily subsidised by Surrey County Council. Recently it faced the axe, only to be reprieved after the parish council and residents lobbied for it to continue.
The council is keen to see if changes can be made to increase revenue and prevent another cost-cutting exercise threatening its existence the next time SCC reviews its subsidised bus operations.
Currently the 503 operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, twice in each direction, beginning at Lane End at 9.15 and 12.15. Although a vital service for older residents its timing and infrequency means it is of no use to school children or commuters, despite its route taking it past Milford Station and local schools.
Surrey County Council has indicated that it is prepared to discuss the route with the parish council and others and it is hoped this will happen soon.
Surrey County councillors have formally endorsed the recommendation not to withdraw the 503 bus service.
At a meeting of its Cabinet on Tuesday (May 24th) members approved the recommendations arising out of the council’s Local Transport Review, which originally proposed scrapping the 503, Hambledon’s only public transport service.
After public consultation and a campaign by Hambledon Parish Council and supported by residents, the review recommended retaining the 503, which operates three times a week, twice in each direction, and connects Hambledon and Hydestile with banks, surgeries and shops in Milford, Godalming and beyond. The 523 Godalming to Milford Hospital service has also been reprieved.
Both services are operated by Stagecoach but subsidised by Surrey County Council. SCC has been looking to make savings on the money it pays in support of rural bus services and the review has achieved this aim without necessitating the withdrawal of the 503 and 523.
There may be some alterations to the service, subject to further discussion (see earlier news item).
In the meantime the current timetable can be found on this website under the “Home” page link and then clicking on “Travel Info”.
Hambledon’s only bus service, the 503, is set to be reprieved by Surrey County Council, reversing a decision to scrap the route as a cost-cutting measure.
This is a victory for the campaign mounted by Hambledon Parish Council and local residents to save the service.
Following the SCC Local Transport Review earlier this year, aimed at finding savings on council-subsidised rural routes, the 503 was one of a number of services to be scrapped, subject to public consultation.
The parish council vociferously opposed the proposal and many villagers raised objections during the consultation process. SCC has listened, and at a meeting of its Cabinet on May 24th, members are expected to endorse the review team’s recommendation that the 503 continue.
The parish council argued that it was wrong to withdraw the only bus route serving the village, leaving residents without any public transport. The 503 is a lifeline for a number of elderly or infirm residents who rely on the bus to get to shops, supermarkets, banks and surgeries in Milford, Godalming and beyond.
Agenda documents for the May 24th meeting, available on the Surrey County Council website, state that the council recognises “the important role that bus services play for our residents”, adding: “To address some of the concerns expressed during the public consultation exercise it has proven possible to recommend some enhancements to the original proposals.”
These include reversing the decision to scrap the 503. The 523 Milford hospital service from Godalming has also been reprieved.
Currently the 503 operates on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, twice in each direction, beginning and ending at Lane End. The recommendation is for the service to continue on at least Wednesdays and Fridays and possibly on another day to be determined.
The parish council has asked to meet with SCC planners to discuss ways of increasing passenger numbers, perhaps re-routing the service to take in new areas of development. In the documents the council states that it is “working to stimulate patronage on bus services and reduce the need for council funding.”
The 503 is operated by Stagecoach but subsidised by Surrey County Council. The transport review examined services across the county. Faced with cuts in Central Government funding, SCC is looking save £2 million on its transport budget by next year.
The recommendation to be voted on on May 24th will enable SCC to achieve the required savings needed from the review, documents state.
Hambledon residents have until this weekend to write in support of the village’s threatened bus service, the 503. The consultation period ends on Monday (March 14th) at 9am.
Surrey County Council, which subsidises the 503 and other rural bus routes, wants to hear the views of villagers before making a final decision on the fate of the service. It is reviewing all bus routes in the county as it looks to make cuts to its budget.
Hambledon Parish Council strongly opposes the proposal to axe the 503. It is asking Surrey County Council to reconsider the issue and perhaps look to amalgamate the service with the 523 Milford Hospital service, which is also under threat. With more than 100 new homes being built beside the hospital, and a proposal to build affordable homes at Lane End, Hambledon, the council believes Surrey County Council should examine how to better integrate the service before making a final decision.
Here is Hambledon Parish Council’s submission to the Surrey County Council review.
The developer appointed to build more than 100 new homes on redundant land around Milford Hospital is previewing its proposals at a public exhibition and online.
David Wilson Homes, part of the Barratt Group, is displaying the scheme to local residents between 2.30pm and 8pm tomorrow (Thursday 12th September) at Clock Barn Hall, Hambledon Road. It is available online at www.dwhmilfordhospital.co.uk
June 1st saw a significant event for the history of Milford Hospital. Two former patients returned to see a plague unveiled to mark their meeting in 1948. Ray Galton & Alan Simpson met as 19 year olds suffering from TB. They stayed for many years receiving treatment – but their time was well spent. The started to write comedy sketches together, which were performed on the rudimentary hospital radio service. They went on to become the foremost comedy scriptwriters – creating Hancock and Steptoe and Sons, and a huge catalogue of shows over the following decades. The plaque was unveiled by their friend and performer Paul Merton.
I had the privilege to meet the guys a few years ago, as part of my research for the Milford Hospital History Website. They described to me in detail their years at Milford, and most interestingly, the location of the original laundry cupboard in which they built their radio studio – arguably the “Birthplace of the British Sit-Com.
The recently established community footpath across Tuesley Farm has been upgraded with new wooden signs and improvements to the surface.
The footpath was provided by the Hall Hunter Partnership, owners of Tuesley Farm, as a condition of planning permission for polytunnels.
Because it crosses a working soft fruit farm some areas had become churned up by agricultural vehicles.
Harry Hall, who runs the farm, has now provided a hard surface on these area and erected wooden signposts. The path, which is not a Surrey County Council public right of way but may be used by walkers and cyclists, runs from Station Lane, close to the Hydestile Crossroads, to Tuesley Lane where it links up with the roadside footpath to Milford Station, shops, Rodborough School and Milford Hospital.
It has not been possible to secure permission from adjacent landowners for the path to exit onto Hambledon Road, so walkers have to negotiate a short stretch of Station Lane., which has no verge or pavement.
However, it is a welcome addition to the local footpath network and provides an alternative to walking along the narrow Station Lane to reach Milford and the station.
* The Hall Hunter Partnership has been given planning permission to provide accommodation for seasonal workers on land at Tuesley Farm and for the conversion of an exisiting building for this purpose. It has also obtained permission to to install a winter storage reservoir in a field to the east of Tuesley Lane.