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Different Perspectives

Guildford from the River Wey

The River Wey
Flood Meadows
Town Bridge
St Catherine's
The Navigation
The Mills
The Working River
New Industries
Historic Buildings
Modern Buildings

River Wey Talk
Mystery Photos
Main Page

 Exhibition Section 11

Modern Buildings

In the 1960’s Scott Brownrigg & Turner designed “The Meadows” prestigious apartments overlooking the meadows upstream of Millmead. In recent years a number of apartments have been built exploiting the river view.
The Meadows

The Meadows - Photo by Shirley Graber

As the twentieth century dawned few public buildings in the town had a direct association with the river, the majority of the buildings along the river being connected to industry and transport. Onslow House was one of the few exceptions, with its distinctive conical tower acting as a gateway into the town from Onslow Bridge.

The decision in 1900, to replace the old medieval Town Bridge with a new single span iron bridge, would be the first of many planning decisions in the twentieth century that would destroy large parts of the town’s river heritage.

After the Second World War, increasing use of road transport meant that it was necessary to build a new gyratory road system centered on the river at the bottom of the High Street and North Street. This development which begun in the early 1960's, whilst helping to relieve traffic congestion, also had the effect of destroying much of the intricate web of historic domestic and commercial buildings that had grown up along the river. In addition it acted as a barrier between the town and the river.

Debenham’s also includes a riverside walk and a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the river and more recently the Odeon Cinema, Wey House and the YMCA, take advantage of their positions overlooking the river.

Debenhams Store and Riverside Restaurant - Photo by Shirley Graber

Following these major changes there has been a growing awareness of the importance of the river and its heritage as an asset to Guildford. A good example of this is conversion of the former electricity generating building into the Electric Theatre. The restaurant/bar area is particularly successful in allowing the riverside setting to be enjoyed. Other important historic riverside buildings such as, Town Mill, Stoke Mill, the Billings and Dapdune Wharf have also benefited from careful restoration and adaption to new uses.

The old warehouses and Billing’s printing works of 1856, have been refurbished as offices. The new buildings on the other side of Onslow Bridge, Wey House and the YMCA are built on the site of breweries, malting and warehouses.
The Odeon Cinema Multiplex occupies a prime site on the river opposite the Billings.

The Odeon Cinema - Photo by David Jarman

More positively the building of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Millmead, designed by John Brownrigg in 1962, was one of the first major public buildings to be built close to the river that responds to its setting.
Yvonne Arnaud

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre - Photo by David Plummer

Floodlite Friary Bridge

Floodlit underside of Friary Bridge - Photo by Veronica Barrett

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