Tunnell was born in Merrow Street in 1904 and lived there
until his death in 1988. He was born at No 1 Coxhall Cottages
and later moved, with his sisters Irene and Zoë, next
door into Coxhall, which used to be the stables on the Coxhall
Estate. Irene and Zoë moved to Lime Grove, East Horsley,
of Edgar’s relatives lived in Merrow during the early
1900’s. His great uncle, William James Swayne, was a
butcher and grocer living at Mayor House until he sold the
Business to Mr Kimber. His uncle, Arthur Wigman Swayne, lived
at Garden Cottage and was in the choir at St. John’s.
Arthur’s wife, Florence, was the schoolmistress at St
John’s (Merrow Street) School. Edgar’s Uncle,
Frank Gould, was the village Blacksmith and, with his son,
John, lived at the Old Forge, next door to Mayor House.
Tunnell probably wrote these notes shortly before his death
In my early
days, I knew everyone in Merrow and knew every house in the
village although none of the streets had numbers. Merrow Street
still has not.
we used to spend a lot of time around Merrow Lake,. There
was, on the east bank, a changing area, constructed of wood.
There was no roof. Swimming in the lake was very popular with
the young. There was also fishing, and in winter, if the ice
was thick enough, people came up from miles around to skate
or slide. Sadly it fell into decay, the banks crumbled, and
some trees fell into the water.
later, when Merrow Park was built, the builders promised to
restore the pond to a beautiful new pleasure spot. The trouble
seems to be that a new drain was put in the south end for
the water to flow into the pond, and a similar one at the
other end, for the water to flow out. As the pipes were at
the same level, no water stayed to fill the pond, but it went
on through a narrow ditch across the centre, and out of the
north end. So the landing stage, built about 5 feet high,
has never been used, because there is no water for the Boats
except perhaps very small toy ones.
of six children, all went to St John's Merrow School, as did
about three families of Grover. Later on some of us left to
go to different schools in Guildford. Such as the Archbishop
Abbots School which was in the grounds of Abbots Hospital.
Two of my brothers went there, and one changed to the Grammar
School in Upper High Street or Spital Street, as it used to
be. I went to the Technical Institute in Park Street, before
starting work at the Drummond Brother’s works in Broad
Street, near Rydes Hill, where I worked in several departments
for 50 years before retiring. Bicycles were the main transport
in those days, and we had six or seven of them in our shed.
was a Boot Maker, as was his father before him. He made boots
and shoes, complete, by hand and also did the repairs for
all around Merrow. I remember him telling me, he left school
at 15 and was sent to Albury to take back some shoes, which
had been repaired, only to discover that there was nobody
at home, and he had to bring the shoes back.
was in those days self-contained, and people got together.
They had their own Band, Cricket Club, Golf Club (in conjunction
with Guildford). There was a Concert Party, a Horticultural
Group, a Rifle Club, an Amateur Dramatic Society, where many
Merrow and other people from Clandon, Horsley etc. joined
in. Now there is now no band, no Rifle Club no concert party,
but the drama group still exists.
year, there was the Merrow Fete, supported by Clandon. It
lasted the whole day, and there were either three or four
marquees, in which were on show handicrafts of all kinds.
I remember one year, after the First World War, a man winning
the needlework section, with his army badge on a cushion.
The women were all against that,. However it was pointed out
to them, there was no rule against a man.
children’s sports in the afternoon, and adult sports
in the evening including the high jump which was mostly won
by Mr Mumford who lived at Newlands Corner. This man had lost
a leg in the war, and they told he had others at a disadvantage
because he was not as heavy with one cork leg.
Mathews came with all the fun of the Fair (often spelt Fayre)
and they paid for each item they set up, for the day. Ripley
charged £1 per wheel. I do not know what Merrow charged.
Merrow Show would be held in Clandon Park, near the House.
Once a balloon came over very low, to have a look, then dropped
sand to rise again,. Some people got the sand on them.
been around since January 28th, 1904, so I have seen many
changes in my Lifetime.
buses came to Merrow Church from Guildford and back. It cost
2d from Horse and Groom in Merrow, to Horse and Groom in North
Street Guildford or 3d to the main Railway Station.
used to push a pram with two of us in it, and two more walking,
from Merrow Street, all round the shops in High Street, Market
street, North Street, Friary Street. If we were good we stopped
for a glass of milk 1d in the dairy near Lymposs and Smee,
the East end of Spital Street. Then the walk all the way home.
our Sunday School, and the once a year Tea and Games, usually
at Merrow House, or The Croft, or sometimes at The Grange,
which had lots of land. The fact it had all of the land south
of Horseshoe Lane (later East and West was added) and the
land between Grove Road and High Path Road, which was for
Path and Down Road were built, the latter had an Infant School.
When they reached a certain age they left there, and had to
go to the St John's School about 1 1/2 miles away. Also the
younger pupils had to leave Burpham for St John’s, which
is even further, and all had to walk both ways. There were
no cars or buses for schools then. We were lucky, we had a
very short walk.
and teenagers in those days did not have the chances those
get nowadays. Ours only got as far as entertaining the local
people. There was no radio, no television and no aircraft.
Most of the everyday items of today were not invented then.
I remember later customers walking into my friend’s
shop and saying “My husband had to go to work without
his breakfast, because the toaster broke” or “My
husband is down to his last shirt because the washing machine
is full of dirty clothes and will not work”.
Mrs Robinson who came from Yorkshire to live in Coxhall Cottage,
used a “Dolly” and a washtub in the Yard, every
week, and there were yards of lines to hang all the wet things
out to dry.
came round with hand made pegs to sell. Bread, Meat, Fish,
Coal, the Muffin & Crumpet man, and even Sainsbury sent
horse and cart round to the houses each week.
had its own Blacksmith and a Carpenter and Wheelwright and
both were kept very busy, but now both have disappeared, and
the petrol station is on that site. We even had a parish nurse
and I remember her name was Mrs Parish.
men and boys made up the Church choir and Bellringers. There
was a Butcher and a Grocer and a General Store, plus two small
shops, one in High Path and one in Down Road. The latter sold
Papers and writing material mostly.
ran a laundry and, when the weather was fine, there were many
lines of bed sheets, tablecloths, etc. Between her place and
Peace Cottages there was a pound in which stray horses were
impounded until claimed by their owners. Many times gypsies
congregated there to see three or four of their horses locked
up. When the cottage was sold many years later it was given
the name Pound Cottage.
also two smaller laundries in High Path Road but now we have
a cleaners in the row of shops from Bushy Hill Drive to Garden
Cottage, which is almost opposite the Horse and Groom. This
was built in 1615 and has been altered, especially inside,
over the years. At one time three windows were uncovered that
had been covered over to avoid the Window Tax of many years
two Post Offices, one run by Mr Harms and Son, two local Postmen
and one Policeman.
William Henry Tunnell, had many jobs in the village. He was
Parish Clerk, Secretary to the Merrow Down Conservators, Secretary
of the Rifle Club, Secretary of the Horticultural Society,
Rates and Rent Collector for Merrow and parts of Clandons
and the Horsleys, Secretary of the National Deposit Friendly
Society, Verger, also Tax Collector. He supplied news to Surrey
Advertiser of births, deaths and marriages etc., Agent for
Merrow House Estate, Member British Red Cross. My eldest brother
was an officer in the Red Cross, and both he and my father
helped trains at Guildford and Clandon Stations of wounded
Belgians which were taken to Clandon House, which was a Hospital
at that time. I was only a boy scout in those days but I spent
some time at Clandon Park House and St Lukes which also was
a military hospital in 1914 to 1918.
Second War, I was in the local Home Guard. I was also in the
Drummond Works First Aid and Fire Fighting Sections, and worked
mostly at night 72 hours each week. For these duties I had
three tin hats and three uniforms.
is now just part of Guildford and many things have now disappeared,
such as the famous Horseshoe over the doorway of the Forge.
This horseshoe was so complicated, that the bricks had to
be shaped and assembled first on the ground, and then transferred
to the wall. It was admired and photographed for many years,
until the premises changed hands, and the whole front was
knocked down, and, of course, the horseshoe was just a heap
Downs used to be cropped by about 200 sheep which belonged
to Reg House, but since he died the Downs is so overgrown
it is no longer possible to walk where we played or had picnics
as children. We went there one evening to watch Crystal Palace
going up in flames.
house (Coxhall, Merrow Street) we could see the Downs, the
Church clock, the Hogs Back, Fox Hills, Worplesdon Church,
buildings in Woking, Clandon Park House, and see planes going
down at Farnborough. None of which can be seen now, because
of trees or buildings.
several farms in Merrow, but one by one they have been built
on, and only a few of the farm houses exist. Those which come
to mind are Great Goodwin’s Farm, Hall Place (Epsom
Road), the farm in Park Lane (Back lane) but I do not recall
the name. Other farms were Little Goodwin’s in Smoky
Hole, Boxgrove Farm, opposite side of Merrow to Great Goodwin’s
my father telling me that on bonfire night piles of faggots,
brushwood and even a farm gate or two, if not removed by the
farmer, were collected at the crossroads, where Merrow Street,
Trodds (Hodds) Lane and Epsom (Turnpike) Road met. They would
wait for the Post Van to pass on its way to Guildford, then
the fire was lit.
told me of the Merrow Downs Race Course, and even took us
children over the Course. It would be hard to find today,
but I remember quite a lot of it. It crossed the Road twice.
The first crossing was just above the last house on the left
of the lane (Newlands Cottage) and the other crossing was
about a quarter of a mile further towards Newlands Corner.
There used to be posts to prevent cars driving in from the
along part of this course that farm animals were driven, towards
One Tree Corner and on via Warren Road to the North Street
(Guildford) cattle market, which was held on the left side
of the street. There was a weighbridge at the bottom of North
Street (also on the left).
I can remember
some of the women of Merrow, going to the Church, dressed
in bonnets, and short capes, usually black or dark grey. Two
sisters Miss Hitchcock and Mrs Pointer always dressed that
remember when the large flintstones were dug up at Newlands
Corner and gravel was graded through a grill with varying
sizes of mesh. In those days workmen took a pride in their
work, and the flints were stacked about one foot high in a
rectangle, the sides and top were very straight and level.
Fossil hunters used to come from miles around to inspect those
piles, and my Father showed us what to look for in the shape
of Shepherd’s Crowns, and I still have a few to this
day. The stones were spread on the roads and pressed into
the surface with heavy steamrollers, which used to be parked
by the pond in Merrow, where they sucked up water for the
boiler . The driver would put the end of the hose on a shovel
to prevent taking in any mud with the water
also stopped to drink at this pond. Clandon also had such
a pond opposite the Church. Both have since been filled in,
because they got rather smelly, and were breeding places for
and cottages used to get their water from wells, again most
of these have gone. There was one for the Windgate cottages,
one between Coxhall Cottages, one inside the parlour of Hall
Place Farm, one opposite the Old Cottage Trodds Lane and one
at the rear of St Catherine's Cottages. In summer, the water
from these wells was beautifully cool, and usually we were
jokingly told to look out for frogs. Mother used to live in
Church House when young and she said that if the bucket was
not fastened well on to the hook it came off, and usually
no street lamps in Merrow, and the last one coming home from
Guildford was near the Gatehouse by the boundary of Merrow.
was a house with a Lodge and a large piece of land, just one
small corner of which was in the parish of Merrow. So the
owner had to pay two lots of rates, one to Guildford and one
Street was flanked with elm trees and that made it very dark,
except on moonlight nights, called the parish lantern, by
used to invite neighbours for whist (card) evenings, but that
seems to be a thing of the past, as is the bridge parties
of the large houses. Another thing was a musical evening where
friends played or sang music. Television kills off a lot of
the old-style family life, which is a great pity.
used to be the thing in those days. Drawings, paintings, needlework,
basket work, pen and pencil sketches, ( I have a few around,
but out of sight). Cameras have taken that over and I have
thousands of photos in colour and black and white.
to do all my own developing printing enlarging and mounting.
The largest prints 40 cm x 50 cm, but I lost my dark room,
and get the work done for me. I took a photo of the Old Rectory
before it was pulled down, and my picture was on the front
page of the Surrey Times, paper, with a write up about all
of the Parsons etc. who had lived there, before the new place
was built by the sports Ground.
I no longer
know the streets around here let alone the people who live