It’s not too early to begin your planning for visits to places in the national Heritage Open Days. There are plenty of places to visit. We’ve enjoyed many of them, even events further afield, as sadly, the map only shows a couple of events in Surrey Heath. Click on map to visit the website.
Our Heritage Open Day visit on Saturday was to the Woking Electrical Control Room.
As Southern Railway moved from steam to the electric third-rail system in the 1930’s its expanding electrification needed additional electricity sub stations. The electric power supply from these sub-stations was managed from control rooms, which could reconfigure the electric power in the event of a fault. Of the original five control room Woking is the only one retained in its original condition.
Southern Railway adopted an Art Deco styling to their electrification and station building. Woking has three railway building in the art deco style. It’s station, signal box, and the lesser known Electrical Control Room. Built in 1936, and opened in 1937, the control room continued in operation till 1997, when it was superceded by computer control.
The control room is Grade II listed for the building, control room panels, switches, and lighting. The concrete building has a flat roof with metal-framed casement windows.
Entering the building, past offices still in use, you enter a narrow corridor running around the edge of the building past panel of electro-mechanical switch gear. From the corridor you enter the impressive control room, just as it was when its use ceased in 1997, even the chairs remain.
Operated 24 hours a day, the three attractive copper and iron uplighters were designed to give a soft diffused light. We learned that the original light bulbs have been replaced with LED lights, close to the original lighting effect, though giving off a whiter light than that that I saw when first visiting the control room in 2007.
The inner walls of the control room are a representation, and name of each of the electric sub stations, with coloured lights to indicate the state of operation. The switches allow a controller to divert electric supply to in the event of a fault.
I expect you’ll be wanting to know about how the Jolly Farmer name lives on. Well, the name Jolly Farmer appears on the control panels for the sub station close to what was the Jolly Farmer pub, now American Golf shop. To prove that the Jolly Farmer name is still in use, I hacked through undergrowth to get near the railway line and take a photo of the sub station, which is still named Jolly Farmer.
Here are the photos [click to expand] of our visit, and the Jolly Farmer sub station.
Residents and community organisations in Bisley responded magnificently to the plea by the Trustees of Bisley Village Hall to bring to life the story of the Shaftesbury School and the village hall. Closely intertwined, the chapel of Shaftesbury School and Farm School became the Bisley Village Hall soon after the closure of the School in 1959.
In response, yesterday Bisley Village Hall had a display of information boards, old photographs, and School memorabilia. The hall is the heart of the community affairs in Bisley, and so it’s fitting that yesterday’s heritage event involved the the unveiling of two blue plaques on village hall.
One plaque commemorated that the hall was one the school chapel of Shaftesbury School, and the other to commemorate the boys from the school who lost their lives in the two World Wars, replacing the memorial tablets lost after the school closed.
From Bisley Residents Association newsletter of Spring 2018 is this about the Bisley Village Hall Heritage Project. The Trustees of Bisley Village Hall seem themselves as guardians of its heritage, in addition to their responsibilities for the Hall. This is where the Heritage Project aims to capture information and reminiscences about the building and its place in the history of Bisley.
In the second part of the 19th century Bisley became a place of refuge and support for poor, homeless, and orphaned children. First came the Refuge Farm School constructed in 1868 then, in 1873, the larger Shaftesbury School (with which the Farm School was amalgamated in 1919). In 1874, a chapel was built to accommodate the pupils and staff from both schools, with a separate room in which villagers could buy a cheap cup of tea and meet friends. That chapel is at the heart of the present Bisley Village Hall.
Here are photos of the yesterday’s heritage and plaque unveiling event. Surrey Heath Mayor, Cllr Dan Adams, thanked those involved in the day’s event. Jim Henbest, honorary president of the village hall, unveiled the plaque commemorating the chapel, and Keith Mansfield, former school pupil and bandmaster of the school’s band, the plaque commemorating the memorial tablets.
Surrey Heath Borough Council announce that,
There’s lots going on in Surrey Heath this month to celebrate the Heritage Open Days festival. Click on image to expand.
Surrey Heath Museum, along with many local organisations, has organised a series of free events over two weekends, 8-9 and 13-16 September. They include building tours, from Bagshot Chapel to St. Michael’s Bell tower in Camberley, associated talks and heritage walks in the Borough.
This year a number of historic blue plaques will be unveiled, recognising historic buildings locally and the people associated with them.
Bisley Village Hall was once the chapel of Bisley School, which existed from 1868 to 1959 to provide refuge for destitute boys from London. On Sunday 9 September, visitors will have the opportunity to walk around the Village Hall, find out about its fascinating history, and how it is used today. The blue plaques will be unveiled at 12 noon by local dignitaries, followed by a talk with Old Boys from the school. There is also the opportunity for local children to design replacement stained glass windows for the Chancel section of the original Church.
Frimhurst Family House, once the home of two remarkable women, Ethel Smyth (Composer and Suffragette) and Grace Goodman (local Philanthropist) will open its doors on Saturday 15 September, with tours of the building plus a talk on both of these significant local figures. Blue plaques to mark the legacy of these two women will be unveiled at 2pm. Frimhurst is now owned and managed by the international charity ATD Fourth World, which exists to support families to raise themselves out of poverty – a cause both Smyth and Goodman would fully support.
Saturday 8 September also sees the launch of Surrey Heath Museum’s ‘What, Where, Why and When’ display space in Camberley Library. The library will host two presentations on the local heritage collection at 2.30pm and 3.30pm.
Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers. Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE. Links to both flyers are below, and can also be accessed on the website below.