Guildford History

By: Ralph Ramah


Guildford was also known for its political background. As a matter of fact, two members were selected to represent Guildford at the Unreformed House of Commons. The Unreformed House of Commons can be referred to as the British House of Commons as it existed before the Reform act of 1832. The town of Guildford also carried out business mainly wool trade from the 14th to the 18th century.

Furthermore, during the year 1300, the Guild Hall may have been built. The hall still exists nowadays and is considered as a landmark of Guildford. Renovation may have been done to the hall in the year 1589 as its north end was extended. Then, during the year 1683, the Council Chamber may have been constructed. During the same year a beautiful clock may have been added to the front of the building and may still be visible through High Street. The history of Guildford became more beautiful as in the year 1619 George Abbot created the hospital in Holy Trinity. The place is now well known as Abbot's Hospital and can be considered as one of the best almshouses in England. The hospital is situated at the opposite of a well known place, the Holy Trinity Church.

Moreover, after a succession of problems, the town of Guildford regained smile with the completion of the Wey Navigation in the year 1653. The Wey Navigation refers to the navigable parts of the river Wey in Surrey. As a matter of fact, Guildford became more accessible for businesses to enter the Thames River at Weybridge by boat. Further constructions to the Navigation may have been made during the years 1764 and 1816, where finally it was led to the sea. This meant that Guilford became more reachable by people who wanted to exploit a particular market. Then the Basingstoke Canal was also built to join the Wey Navigation. This made Guildford become the centre of a range of waterways. Another town known as Farnharm also benefited form the Wey for transporting products to and from Guildford.

In addition to, there may have been severe disorder by a group of people called the Guy Riots from 1820 to 1865. These people created panic in Guildford as they armed themselves for making several assaults during the night. They took revenge from people who had crossed their way during the earlier years by damaging their property or by robbing their houses. It is belived that they even committed homicides by burning their victims in the middle of the streets. The Guy Riots created a lot of havoc in Guildford and even two police officers were killed in an attempt to stop them. But all came to an end in the year 1868 when the criminals were chased out of Guildford. After that, they were never seen again in Guildford.

More incidents followed as during the month of October 1974, bombs killed four off duty soldiers and a local in two Guildford pubs. This happened because soldiers near the barracks of Guildford were known to go these pubs frequently. Consequently, two couples of people were arrested in the year 1975. They were known as the 'Guildford Four'. These people denied their implications in the bombings and after long legal procedures were released in the year 1989.

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