Guildford Museum - Castle Arch, Quarry Street, Guildford GU1 3SX. At Guildford Museum we work with local people and organisations to collect, record and care for the borough’s heritage collections and to promote understanding, enjoyment and engagement with that heritage through access and learning for all. The museum is set in a series of historic buildings just a couple of minutes’ walk from Guildford High Street, and is full of charm and interest. Our displays take you from the prehistoric era up to the 20th century. We have regularly changing exhibitions so there’s always something new to see. Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm (last admission 4.45pm) FREE ENTRY.
Find out more about the history of the building on our website https://www.guildford.gov.uk/article/21724/History-of-the-building-
📸 Some pictures from The Spike’s roof, looking over Warren road and Guildford. The Spike is open for tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays, 10am-4pm. Or large groups can come anytime by booking:
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A Reason To Get Up's Crafty Creations had a lovely time creating this display at the Guildford Museum to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee! They also made some lovely bunting for The Guildford Institute too!
They looked at china memorabilia from previous jubilees, made and decorated their own crockery, and created some salt dough food to go with it. Make sure you pop by the museum to take a look!
Crafty Creations had lots of fun helping to create a model of Guildford High Street with Guildford Museum!
Look at how much detail they included! The model town of Guildford is on display until Saturday 7 May so make sure you pop by soon to explore for yourself.
Our fab Crafty Creations teamed up with Melanie from Guildford Museum to help with a project that the Museum are featuring in May.
They are going to set up a floor map of Guildford with the main buildings made of cardboard and recycled materials which the public will be able to help with. Melanie asked if The halow young people could help by making the first few buildings/structures to start off the display.
Everyone chose a structure and thoroughly enjoyed creating it.
We are excited to see them in place in the Museum in the near future.
ENID'S STORY - GARDEN PARTIES, NAUGHTY BOYS, STOLEN KISSES, THE BIRTH OF GUILDFORD BOYS GRAMMAR AND A TRAGEDY.
Born in Busselton in 1883, Enid was the eldest of seven children.
Her father was Frederick Drake-Brockman, who was very tall (over six foot) and very thin.
“He had the bluest eyes you ever saw and when he was annoyed about anything one eyebrow went up. He was very fastidious about his clothes, and although my mother had a washerwoman, she always used to do my father’s skirts and iron them herself.”
Her father would often confuse Enid with her twin sister Frederica (Rica). So, he would just call out “Twin!” and whoever heard it first had to go.
Enid’s other siblings were Edmund, Geoffrey and the “little ones” Deborah, Allan, and Karl.
Her mother was Grace (nee Bussell). Together with Sam Issacs, she had been hailed as a hero in the rescue of passengers and crew from the ‘Georgette’. But according to Enid she didn’t look like a heroine, she was “shortish and very beautiful”.
So beautiful in fact, that the local doctor would not attend when four-year-old Enid was injured falling down a flight of stone steps. So jealous of Grace’s beauty the doctor's wife, according to Enid, threatened to kill herself if he went!
As a surveyor (and eventually the Surveyor General), Enid’s father would be away for up to a year at a time. The family would go down to her mother’s old stamping ground at Margaret River to stay with the Bussell relatives at Ellensbrook, and later Wallcliffe House.
Because of the nature of Enid's father's work, the family rented houses and shifted often. Enid remembered a house in West Guildford called ‘The Retreat’. “It was a very old white brick bungalow with grapevines and trellises.”
It was not until Enid was in her teens, that the family built their own home in East Guildford – “A big bungalow made of galvanised iron and wood with lots of bedrooms and lots of children.”
They were a very “self-contained” family, but saying that, there was nearly always someone staying in the house. Including her mother’s sister, Violet who Enid didn’t like much because she was difficult.
“Society was very class-conscious then. You only knew the people who did the same things as you did. We knew the best people naturally. We rather fancied ourselves as being the leaders of those sorts of things.” (Enid)
Grace was considered quite the hostess, holding dinner parties, and little dances for her children on their birthdays.
“All the people played the piano in those days, so you didn’t have to hire somebody. We did the waltz, polkas, mazurkas and lancers.”
Enid also attended a lot of children’s parties at Government House and as she got older, garden parties and balls. She even made her debut there.
“I remember one of the first dresses I wore to a Government House party. It was pale cream satin, straight, with a frill around the bottom. It wasn’t very long, just below the knee, and you always wore a lovely big sash with a big bow at the back.”
Despite appearances, the family was “not frightfully well off” according to Enid, because they didn’t pay Government officers very much in those days. However they did have one servant, a cleaning woman, someone to do the laundry and grooms for her father’s horses and the children’s ponies!
The children were not spoilt though, Grace always made sure they had lots of little chores in the house. Like making their beds and helping with breakfast.
“There were no passengers on my mother’s ship ever.”
Enid would often go shopping for dresses in Perth at Shenton’s at the corner of William and Hay Streets. The trip from Guildford to Perth took about half-an-hour and the train would only run twice in a day. Once to take the men into the office and once to bring them home at night.
For a short time, Enid took the train to the convent school in Perth, then she started going to the Harper home for lessons.
The four Harper boys were “villains, perfect little thieves” according to Enid. They used to catch the train to High School (now Hale School) and dash up and down the corridors – disturbing all the “old boys” reading their newspapers on the way to the office.
Mr Harper got so many complaints about his sons behaviour on the train, that he decided to engage a tutor, and as Enid’s father had never liked his girls going to school on the train unchaperoned, he joined in with him.
And that was the start of Guildford Grammar School!
Mr Frank Bennett was the tutor (and Headmaster). He was “a wonderful teacher” but Enid was terrified of him.
“He was a short man with fair hair and very bad tempered. He was lame and used a walking stick. He’d slam everyone back and around the school with this stick.”
Lessons were taken in the billiard room at the Harpers stately home Woodbridge. In the beginning there were eight Harper children and seven little Drake-Brockmans. School started at 9am and finished at 4pm. Subjects included Latin, German, French and History. At lunchtimes the girls would nibble on sandwiches, while the boys played cricket.
According to Enid they always had a terrible lot of homework – “Mr Bennet was mad about homework.” They would do it after dinner on an old round table by the light of a large Bismark lamp.
While studying the four eldest would secretly smoke one of Enid’s father’s ci**rs. “Two puffs and hand it on.” When Grace came in with cocoa and cake at 10pm, they would be fanning madly out the tiny window, trying to get rid of the cigar smoke.
“The room would be blue with smoke, but she’d never let on that she’d noticed it. She was very sporting.”
Then tragically one day “Mr Bennett threw himself into the river and drowned himself.”
After that, Mr Harper built a school block where Guildford Grammar School stands today. It included a big classroom, two junior rooms and the usual bathrooms and lavatories. When a Mr Gillespie came along as Headmaster he got the school on its feet.
He called it ‘Guildford Grammar School’ and they stopped taking girls.
When Guildford Grammar “started properly”, there were cricket and football matches with Scotch, Hale, and Christian Brothers to watch. In the Head of the River in the those, they used to row right up to Barrack Street.
Enid became engaged while still at school when she was 16 years-old to Dr James Fergusson-Stewart.
“He used to tell me that he’d row up-river and if I could slip down after school, he’d meet me at Woodbridge landing and take me home.”
Enid’s parents didn’t like it much, but according to Enid they didn’t know half the time.
The engagement only became official when Enid was 17 and had made her debut. Then they had to wait two years after that until they were allowed to marry.
During their long engagement, the couple were often chaperoned by Enid’s twin Rica, until she “bucked” and refused to go anymore. They would go to musicals at the Theatre Royal, the races and of course the Royal Show which was then held in Guildford.
When Enid and James were married in 1902, it was described in the Western Mail as one of the prettiest weddings ever to have taken place at St Matthews Church, Guildford.
“The bride, a handsome girl, wore a well-made dress of white Duchess satin, with a tucked bolero over a blouse of fine lace. The yoke and sleeves were of lace, the trained skirt was festooned with lace and trimmed with orange blossom; a coronet of orange blossom was worn on the head. A large shower bouquet of white flowers finished a most dainty bridal toilette.”
“The bridesmaids were dressed in white Swiss muslin, inserted with lace and voluminous frills on the skirt; transparent lace yokes, and bell sleeves; becoming white feathered hats, with a knot of black velvet under the brim. They carried shower bouquets of pink and white roses, tied with pink ribbon streamers.”
Enid was destined to wear her wedding dress again, at the Centenary Ball at Government House in 1929.
Source - [Interview with Enid Fergusson-Stewart] [sound recording] / [interviewed by Shelley Gare].
Fergusson-Stewart, Enid, 1883-
Oral History | 1975.
Available at 2nd Floor Oral History Stack (Call number: OH90 Audio (Reading room))
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