To celebrate #Woking day today we have found some interesting facts about our great town.
Did you know that Brookwood Cemetery in Woking is the largest in Britain? It is also a Grade I Historic Park.The 2,000 acres site was opened in 1852 and among its famous graves are Dame Rebecca West, lover of H.G. Wells; and Gottlieb Leitner.
Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, and Countess for Richmond and Derby (1443-1509) lived at what is now the ruins of Woking Palace, from 1466 to 1471. The Woking Coat of Arms is made up of extracts from the arms of past holders of the Royal Manor of Woking (now Woking Palace). The fleur-de-lis in the first and fourth quarters is taken from the Beaufort coat of arms. The Beaufort name continues to this day in Woking, in Beaufort Community Primary School in Kirkland Avenue, Goldsworth Park.
Woking has a Wellsian Martian Tripod, designed by Michael Condron, which was unveiled in April 1998. The tripod celebrates H.G. Wells’ book, The War of the Worlds, which was written in Woking. The Tripod is 7m (23′) tall. The legs are 17 cm (7″) in diameter. There are three parts of the sculpture: The Tripod, Bacteria, and the cylinder the tripods came to Earth in. The Martian is also shown advancing from Horsell Common.
Another piece of public art is a Hawker Hunter jet fighter mounted on a pole roughly ten metres tall situated outside the ‘Big Apple’ family entertainment complex. This is the last Hunter built and was used to promote the previous ‘Planets’ family entertainment complex. Originally black, the plane is now finished in all-over silver.
The modern town of Woking would not have been built without the coming of the railway.
The line was first proposed in 1830 – one of the first in the south of England – and work began in 1834. The railway was built across common land, as it was cheaper than farmland (as was the Basingstoke Canal).
The station was built on Woking Heath. This common land reached from the original town in the south, now called Old Woking. When the station first opened it was the end of the line; Basingstoke was reached in 1839 and Southampton in 1840. In 1845 the Guildford Branch Railway opened. Woking became an even more important junction fourteen years later when the line linked with Portsmouth, via Godalming and Havant.
Join in with #Woking day today to celebrate all that is great and good about the town.