Sunday, 29 June 2014

River Tillingbourne. Chilworth

River Tillingbourne
The Tillingbourne flows south westwards in two parallel streams.
TQ 03884 47954


Tremendously interesting area on the outskirts of Guildford. The remains of a vast armaments factory disguised in woodlands and water ways.  Some other milling related remains and also remains of Second World War Defence structures

Post to the north Postford Mill
Post to the west Chilworth

Chilworth Road
Opened in 1876 and cuts across the end of Postford Pond
Postford House. This was built as Postford Hill by Charles Ball in 1796. He was one of a family of paper makers involved in the industry locally.  It was later the home of William Magnay wholesale stationer and Lord Mayor of London in 1844 and a number of subsequent wealthy residents. It was used as a hospital in the Great   War. In 1956 a purpose-built shed housed a model railway layout.
Postford House Mill. This mill was built by the paper making Mangays and is still standing near the entrance to the drive in the grounds of the house where it powered a saw mill. It is on the leat from Postford Brook which also served an earlier Twist Mill but is thought to be on a different site.

Dorking Road
Lockner Farm. Riding School and Livery stables. The farm has several old barns, farmhouse and associated cottages. Surrey Gliding Club is said to have begun here
War Memorial. This is a plain cross on a square plinth on a three-stepped octagonal plinth. A down-pointing bronze sword hangs on the front of the cross and there are bronze plaques attached to the faces of the plinth. There is an inscription on the top step.

Lockner Farm Road
Wet deciduous woodland has developed over the site of the gunpowder factory.
Hop Gardens. These were planted near the Postford Upper Mills site before the cordite works was built
Brown prismatic powder works. This dated from the 1880s and eventually spread up the north bank of the Tillingbourne.  It was set up by a specially formed Chilworth Gunpowder Company
Cordite factory. This covered the area south of the Tillingbourne and eventually to the Dorking Road.  This Smokeless Powder Factory dated from the 1880s and was German owned, until in 1901 Vickers had a 40% ownership and it became British owned in 1915. 
Admiralty Cordite Factory built in 1915 to increase cordite production and a few buildings were also added to the 1890s Smokeless Powder Factory. This factory was laid out in fields to the north of Lockner Farm and to the west of Postford Mill
Tramway. This single track, manually operated tramway, travelled round the works and then to a siding at Chilworth Station, agreed in 1888 with the South Eastern Railway Company. This was to transport coal needed to fire steam boilers and connected the various factory buildings. Most of the wooden sleepers and iron rails have been removed, and the course of the tramway can be seen as low linear earthworks, but some stretches of track are believed to survive in the eastern areas.
Tin Town. After the factory closed in 1920 buildings constructed from, or roofed by corrugated iron, were used as house which gave rise to the local name of “Tin Town”. The last of these buildings was eventually abandoned in 1963
Pillbox. Second World War stop line pillbox apparently dug into the earthwork traverse of a former factory building.
Anti tank block from the Second World War on the Lockner Farm Road.

Lockner Holt
Castellated house, now divided built in 1860 by Henry Woodyer for the Duke of Northumberland. It is in Bargate stone with a circular tower by the entrance. It is now divided into three dwellings

Longfrey
Terrace of 5 brick houses for employees at gunpowder works; now one house. 1885 with tile hung walls
A test range was established to the north of Longfrey.  This is a hollow which probably housed the target.


Mill Lane
This is the old road between Chilworth and Albury and follows the line of the mill dam round Postford Pond.
Postford Pond.  This, and Waterloo Pond to the east, were built in the 18th as part of the development of the Upper Mills. It receives water from the Tilllingbourne via a leat which has bypassed Waterloo Pond to the east and also from the Postford Brook to the south.  It is separated from the Waterloo Pond by a huge curved earth dam
Anti-tank blocks, which have been removed, barricaded Mill Lane

Pine View Close
Site of Pine View Farm

Railway Line
Topiary memorial in the shape of a peacock to a railway accident in 1900 to a goods train where a railway worker was killed.

Sampleoak Lane
Chilworth Station. The Reading, Guildford and Reigate Railway opened the station in 1849 as "Chilworth and Albury".
The footbridge was removed to east Somerset railway in 1978

Tillingbourne
On the southern side of the valley the Tillingbourne has been divided and the southern diversion it “New Cut” which probably dates from the 1650s. It was designed as the header leat, providing water to power the mills. It was also used by punts which carried products around the factory site. It has been narrowed by the Environment Agency to stop silting.

Vera’s Path
Footbridge - the path bridges New Cut with a utilitarian footbridge. Directly adjacent to the east of this is the remains of a swing bridge built in 1888, this bridge carried a branch of the works’ tramway to Chilworth and Albury station. Constructed of part timber and part iron, it pivoted to allow punts to pass through
Mound – there are a number of these to protect against blast and they are of corrugated iron and earth.
Incorporating mill buildings of the 1880s strong walls at the back and sides and a flimsy roof. Levers for a system of drenching the walls if there was an explosion. 
Pond formed in the 1980s

Sources
Chilworth Station. Wikipedia. Web site
Crocker. Damnable Inventions.
English Heritage. Web site
Guildford Council. Web site
Haveron. Industrial History of Guildford and its Borough
North Downs Line. Wikipedia. Web site.
Pastscape. Web site
War Memorials Online. Web site

1 comment:

Rob Workman said...

The East Somerset Railway was unable to use the footbridge from Chilworth Station and it was subsequently transferred to the Battlefield Line in Leicestershire. I found it rotting just outside Market Bosworth Station!