Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The town has existed since Saxon times, and probably earlier. It is mentioned in the will of King Alfred the Great, and the name itself has Saxon origins, roughly translated as “the family of Godhelm”, and probably referring to one of the first lords of the manor.
By the time of the 1086 Domesday survey, Godalming had three watermills and a population of roughly 400 people. At the time, its manor belonged to the King, but a few hundred years later, ownership transferred to the Bishop of Salisbury, under a charter granted by King Edward I.
In the year 1300, the town was granted the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. Its major industry at the time was woollen cloth, which contributed to Godalming’s prosperity over the next few centuries, until a sudden decline in the 17th century. Instead, its people applied their skills to the latest knitting and weaving technology and began producing stockings in a variety of materials, and later to leatherwork.
A willingness to adapt, and move from one industry to another meant that Godalming continued to thrive. For example, paper making was adopted in the 17th century, and was still manufactured there in the 20th century. The quarrying of Bargate stone also provided an important source of income, as did passing trade - Godalming was an popular stopping point for stage coaches between Portsmouth and London.
In 1764, trade received an additional boost when a canal was built, linking the town to Guildford, and from there to the River Thames and London.
So successful was Godalming, that in the early 19th century it was considerably larger than today’s county town of Guildford, and by 1851 the population had passed 6,500. Already, it was becoming a popular residence for commuters, for it was connected to London by railway two years earlier, in 1849, and to Portsmouth in 1859.
Godalming came to world attention in 1881, when it became the first town in the United Kingdom to install a public supply of electricity, and the first in the world to boast electric street lighting, driven by a dynamo at Westbrook watermill.
The long history of Godalming is still evident in its architecture, from its parish church, with its Saxon chancel and Norman tower, to its 19th century town hall, nicknamed the Pepperpot. The town has around 230 listed buildings, featuring everything from Tudor timbers to 17th century brickwork.
Other significant buildings include Edwin Lutyens's Red House, and one of the best known English public schools, Charterhouse stands about a mile from the town, on the top of Charterhouse Hill. Charterhouse won the FA Cup as the Old Carthusians in 1880 and 1881.
Winkworth Arboretum, with its collection of rare trees and shrubs, is situated a few miles to the south.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details