A Virtual Tour of the "Power of 10" Exhibition
The title of this exhibition was suggested by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) to mark the 10th anniversary of the National Architecture Week.
The Guildford Society selected ten architects who have made a notable contribution to Guildford. Five individual architects pre 1940 and five modern partnerships. Some are internationally famous, others are less well known. They have given Guildford some dramatic buildings which make an outstanding contribution to the character of the town.
The Guildford Photographic Society then photographed many of the local buildings by these ten architects and these formed the main exhibit. Additional archive material is in black and white.
The Exhibition was opened by the Major of Guildford, on Monday 19th June 2006, in the Brew House a part of the 17th Century Guildford House Gallery. The exhibition concentrates on the Town Centre and the University and was accompanied by three lunchtime lectures and three guided walks, for this reason, there are some famous names missing from our “10”.
All of the buildings featured in the exhibition are only a short walk from the University or Town Centre. Many of them will be visited on the guided walks.
Although many ancient buildings survive today, the opening of Guildford Railway Station in 1845, signaled the end of Guildford as a Coaching Town on the road to Portsmouth, with inns, breweries and local agricultural industries.
In Victorian times the railway led to a major expansion of the population of Guildford, from around 4,000 in 1840 to 16,000 in 1900. This created a need for housing, schools and churches of all denominations. Many people, who worked in London, built large villas in Guildford. The age of the commuter had dawned.
Development continued through Edwardian times, with a spurt in housing after the Great War. The next really large expansion occurred in the 1960’s when much of the older fabric of the town was torn down and replaced by non-descript buildings. This included demolishing the old Friary Brewery. We were promised that the new development would include a town square but it never materialised. Unlike their predecessors, many of these 60’s buildings have now reached the end of their useful life and there are plans to replace the bus station and expand the Friary shopping centre to include a new town square, just 50 years late.
The University arrived in 1966. It has been a big success with student numbers growing from 2,644 in 1991 to 9,858 in 2004.
Sir George Grenfell Baines developed the original design concept for the University. He designed a “Walking Institution” with parking only on the periphery. This was in marked contrast to the “Plateglass Campuses” of the early 60s. Since then, the University has replaced many of the original buildings with spectacular new ones, such as the Austin Pearce and Duke of Kent (Battleship) buildings.
The University has outgrown its original site at Stag Hill. The immensely successful Surrey Research Park was built in Manor Park. More recently, the Post Graduate Medical School (also featured in the exhibition) was built opposite the Royal Surrey County Hospital and currently they are building a new student village.
The town is also changing with the redevelopment of the Friary and Bus Station approved and redevelopment of the Railway Station proposed.
The period covered by the exhibition, 1840 to 2005, also coincides with the development of photography. Guildford has a good supply of archive photographs, many of which are published in books on Guildford.