Image: detail of Silk Yard, Church Hill, Woking

This display explores the rich architectural history of Woking and prominent builders in the area. It is our second display to explore this topic and expands upon the previous research of our team of Heritage volunteers by focusing on the developments of the 19th and 20th centuries.

In 1854, the London Necropolis Company and National Mausoleum Company took possession of over 2000 acres of Woking Commons. They opened a cemetery at Brookwood that year on only 400 acres. Soon after, they began selling the remainder of the land for development, especially around Woking station. Over the following century, farmers and other land owners recognised the value of their lands for housing and sold it to developers as well. As a result, a new, modern Woking grew around the station and into the surrounding districts. This created a thriving building and land development industry and the town's growth provided excellent opportunities for budding builders.

Of the large and small companies who built in Woking, this display covers: Alfred Augustus Gale, Harry Mullins, Stephen Silk, and A&J Simmons. Some of those from outside Woking are: Davies Estates and Edwin Cecil Hughes.

Acknowledgements to the Royal Institute of British Architects, Surrey History Centre, Screen Archive South East, Neil Burnett, Richard Langtree, Richard and Rosemary Christophers, and Hazel Gilmore.

Learn more in this free heritage display outside Woking's Story, our local history museum.