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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
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 Exhibition Section 7

The Mills

The River Wey drops 30m (98ft) from its source to its junction with the river Thames, this together with its dependable flow, led to the building of up to 25 mills between Godalming and Weybridge. There were more mills per mile along the Wey than anywhere else in Britain.

 Flour milling is traditionally associated with watermills, but the mills frequently changed uses according to market forces. Mills along the Wey produced everything from flour, animal feedstock, paper, cloth, leather and gunpowder.

“Of old times divers cloths were made in the town of Guildford and other places within the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Southampton called Cloths of Guildford, which were of good making and good value, and did bear a great name.” from statute of Richard II 1391.

The first recorded Guildford Mill stood on an island where the White House Pub stands today. Today, between Stonebridge Quay and Stoke Lock, only three mills survive.

Shalford Mill

Shalford Mill - Photo by Hilary Barratt

Shalford Mill, now owned by the National Trust, was a corn Mill. It retains its original water-wheel and machinery. It was refurbished in 2005/6 with guided tours and public access to all floors.
Stoke Mill

Stoke Mill - Photo by Matt Page

Stoke Mill is included in the Doomsday book. It was converted to a paper mill in 1635 by Sir Richard Weston of Sutton Place. The original mill burnt down in 1863. Such was the rivalry between Stoke and Guildford that the good people of Guildford refused to yoke horses to the fire engine, causing the mill to be totally ruined. In 1866 it was replaced by a five storey brick building, the Mill closed in 1957 and the building is currently occupied by the Surrey Advertiser.
Town Mill

Town Mill - Photo by Shirley Graber

The Town Mill was a fulling mill, finishing woven cloth, as well as grinding corn and animal feedstuff. In 1701 pumps were installed to pump water up to the reservoir at Pewley Hill.

In 2006 a 35 kw hydro-electric turbine was installed to generate electricity for Guildford, reducing carbon emissions by 120 tons/year.

Hydro Electric Project - Photo by Paul Graber

Click here to go to section 8 The Working River