Magazine Cottages, Chilworth, Surrey


The cottage was one of seven, the families that lived there in the 1950's were


Miss Andrews


Mr Fred Jenkins


Mr and Mrs Talman, then Mr & Mrs Laughton and their Son Richard


Mrs Davis and her Son Jack and Daughter Betty


Mr and Mrs Taverner and their Daughter Margaret


Mr & Mrs Edwards and their Son's Roy and Alan


Mr & Mrs Selmes, their Son's Teddy, Bernard and Daughter Ann

Magazine Cottages were built around 1890 and originally formed part of the Chilworth Gunpowder Factory, the cottages were situated down a cart track which led to Old manor Farm which was owned by the Kennett family, they had a Son named Peter and a Daughter named Anne.

I can well recall that they used to keep a dairy herd and I often used to go over to the farm with either a milk jug or an empty milk bottle and buy a pint of fresh milk. I can smell the milky aroma that hung in the dairy as if it were only yesterday. I can also remember seeing the cows being walked down the lane when it was time for their milking. At one time they used to keep a pack of Hounds at the farm and the sound of the barking and howling used to drive us mad.

The lane which led down from The Dorking Road to Magazine Cottages was originally the main road to Shalford before the Railway was built in 1849, in the 1950's it was a muddy cart track and after there had been any rain large puddles would form and the ruts would fill with mud and water. At the top of the lane was The Old Manor, which in the days of my childhood during the 1950's was Doctor Gerald Paterson's Surgery.

Between the Tangley Level Crossing and the lane, were the allotments where my Dad had a plot, a small stream ran along the edge and under the lane into a pond in Dr Paterson's large garden. This stream was very handy for filling watering cans to water the plants in the allotment.

Where the lane widened out was a large red painted corrogated Iron Garage which had a large white painted sign above the large sliding doors, the black lettering stated "H.W THOMPSON & CO., ELECTRICAL & MECHANICAL ENGINEERS", Mr Harry Thompson worked in there with Mr Frank Tidy, I can remember going in there one day to try to get our wireless set repaired, when I was presented with an old typewriter to play with.

My grateful thanks to Mr George Thompson, Harry Thompson's son for contacting me with many wonderful memories of times gone by in and around Chilworth. One memory in particular has touched my heart in a big way...He recalled the occasion in February 1943 when he was with the St John Ambulance Service, being called out to No. 6 Magazine Cottages, Chilworth to assist a Mother who was having difficulties with her newly born baby boy...would you believe that the baby boy was none other than myself !!...My Mother had told me in later years that I was choking at birth...I never thought that 67 years later I would hear from the man who helped saved my life.

The track split in two just past Thompsons, the right hand fork led to the farm buildings and the back entrance to Magazine Cottages, and the left fork leading to the front way in to Magazine Cottages along a narrow path on the right side of the track to the farm gate.

Almost at the end of the track there was an Iron swing gate which we used to call "The Kissing Gate", this led to the cinder path, known locally as "The Linesteps" because it ran beside and below the railway line, then a left turn at the end took you up some wooden steps and over the railway and along the back of the gardens of the houses in New Road, as far as the Prefabs in Hornhatch Estate. I can recall collecting large lumps of coal from the embankment which fallen from the tenders of the steam trains, this used to burn well in the open fire in our front room.

Magazine Cottages, Chilworth seen from a passing train


No.6 Magazine Cottages had 3 rooms upstairs and 3 rooms downstairs, you went up a small passage to get to the back door. If you hadn't got a key you would find it high up on a ledge in the outside loo, a very cold place in the winter!

Once inside the cottage, the first room you came to was what we called the scullery, we had one of the low stone sinks with just a cold water tap, a gas stove, I can remember my Mum making Treacle Toffee in a large saucepan. There was also a gas copper for washing the clothes, we also had an old wringer, which I know that I pinched my fingers in, but only the once! There was a step up into the next room, which was known of as The Kitchen, it had one of those old fashioned kitchen ranges which was regularly blackleaded with Zebo Grate Polish, the top of it used to get red hot when we had a good fire going, there was always a kettle steaming away. We used to put the spent ashes along the back garden path.

In my younger days we still had gas lighting, with chains to pull which lit the mantles, when we had electricity laid on, we still kept the gas light fittings over the fireplace in the front room.

There was a large table in the centre of the room, we had all our meals on this table, also in this room we had an old wind up gramophone it had two doors on the front, which when opened let the sound out, then below another two doors which stored the pile of old 78 records, some I remember had music only on one side, some of the record labels had the name "Regal Zonophone". Under the lid would be a couple of tins of gramophone needles. When the records seemed to a bit more scratched than usual, we would change the needle and imagine that it sounded better.

The other form of entertainment other than boxed games was the wireless set, which worked with the aid of accumulators, and I remember them as heavy glass containers that were filled with acid, and whenever they needed recharging were taken up to Mr Thompson in his Garage up the lane, later when Thompson's closed down we had to go all the way to Shalford to Schupke's.

There was a cupboard under the stairs, but as it was so very dark, the only time I went in there was when there was a bad thunderstorm going on.

As you can imagine, the Front Room as it was always known as was only used on high days and holidays, and the fireplace was only lit during the Christmas period, and memories of the lighting of the fire using large sheets of The Surrey Ad' to cause enough draught to get a really good fire going, and then at the end of the day the unforgettable smell of red hot cinders, scorched lino and singed rugs when it was time for the embers to be carried out of the front room on a coal shovel and into the kitchen to be placed into the kitchen range.

When it was time for bed, or "up the wooden hill, or 12 steps and a few yards" as it was often said, the lefthand bedroom was Mum and Dad's, my room was the right hand one, and beyond that, down a couple of steps was a spare room, used by my Brother, Roy when he came home on leave from the Air Force, he was doing his National Service at RAF Cosford.

My Dad's job was a gardener, he used to work for Mr Slocombe at Corner Oaks, Halfpenny Lane, and also at Postford House, between Lockners Farm and Bottings Mill. He also used to do the garden for The Selmes family in Dorking Road, then later at Wonersh when they moved away from Chilworth.

After school and on Saturdays I used to do some odd jobs for Major and Mrs Poole who lived at Red Eaves, Blacksmith's Lane, they had a son called Godfrey. I used to polish the big brass door knocker that was shaped like a Lion's head. I also had to fill the coal scuttles, this gave me some pocket money. I can remember they used to have an AGA cooker in the kitchen, it had big lift-up lids on the top of it, I had never seen a cooker like that one before. I can also remember the aroma of cooking porridge that came from the kitchen on some mornings.

You have many more choices, please enjoy your nostalgic visit to Chilworth

Magazine Cottages, Chilworth

The Railway


Up the shops

Bus rides


Favourite local walks

Guildford 1968 Floods

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