The New County School

The front of the school nearing completion in 1930
The hall in early 1930
The rear of the school early 1930

What we now know as Godalming College started life in 1930 as the Godalming County School.

Local people and educationalists had been calling for Godalming to have its own Secondary school for some 25 to 30 years and finally in December 1928 building work began on the current site at the top of Holloway Hill.

The single impressive building was of sand-faced bricks and sand-faced roof tiles. It was designed by Messrs Jarvis and Richards of Westminster and built by local contractors Messrs Chapman, Lowry and Puttick of Haslemere.

‘Healthily’ situated on high well-drained sandy ground at the top of Holloway Hill in 11 acres of grounds, the school itself cost £44,000 to build and was fully furnished and equipped for a further £6,000.

Contained in what is now the main building were 16 classrooms, 3 laboratories, domestic science, art, music and handicraft rooms, a dining room, kitchens, cloakroom, offices and masters common rooms and a large hall. The assembly hall, largely unchanged today, was 80 feet by 35 feet with a lofty, barrel ceiling.

The school was heralded as modern, well equipped, light and well ventilated. It had mains electricity, full central heating and fully fitted science laboratories and craft rooms; a far cry from most other schools at the time.

The School was officially opened on Friday 17th October 1930 by the Earl of Midleton. The opening ceremony was attended by many dignitaries and local luminaries including:

The Earl and Countess of Midleton
Dr T E Page (Chairman of the Governors)
The Bishop of Guildford
Major A Leycester-Penrhyn (Chairman of Surrey County Council)
Miss I Babbington
Lady Jekyll and Sir Herbert Jekyll
Mary Countess of Minto
Sir John Jarvis
Lady Holland
Lady Horne
Mr F E Lemon (Chairman of the Higher Education Committee)
Sir Philip Magnus
The Mayor and Mayoress of Godalming (Mr and Mrs F Harrison)
Alderman C Burgess
Mr Frank Fletcher (The Headmaster of Charterhouse)
Mr O H Latter (Deputy Chairman of the Higher Education Committee)
Mr Sidney C Nunn (Headmaster)

Dr T E Page

In his opening speech Dr Page, Chairman of the Governors, was reported to say that:

‘On behalf of not only the governors, but of the borough and the district, he accepted with sincere gratitude the great charge which the county council had committed to their hands, and he hoped that now and always they and those who would succeed them might so discharge their responsibility that that noble building might fulfil the high and beneficent purpose for which it was designed.’

Lord Midleton

In his reply Lord Midleton wished:

‘..that some of the more enlightened members of those days (Victorian era) like Lord Shaftesbury, had been permitted to live to see the school and see how they in the present day were trying to educate their young people, so that they might be good citizens, and bring them away from the mean and sordid recollections of the schools of the past.’

Memories of the Opening of the school.