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Pirbright Institute and related buildings

This section follows on from the Ash Road (South Side) page and deals with the remaining buildings on the south side of the Ash Road in our area, ie

  • The Pirbright Institute

  • Pullens Farm (demolished as the Institute expanded)

  • White Cottages (Nos 1&2)

  • The Research Station Bungalow (now demolished)


First we will look at the Pirbright Institute.


The Pirbright Institute and the associated Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health facilities next door can date its origins to 1912, when the Board of Agriculture announced plans to construct a Cattle Testing Station in what was then rural Pirbright.  Pullens Farm (which dates back several hundred years, and has its own separate section below) was the chosen site, and it was rapidly purchased by the Board from Thomas Sherman.  At the same time most of the land of Bakersgate Farm (refer below) was also purchased by the Board.

A newspaper article announcing this is shown below (on the left).  It is notable for containing plenty of comments designed to reassure the local population, which goes to show that PR was alive and well 110 years ago.  However the locals saw through the PR and reacted predictably just 2 days later, as shown in the second and third cuttings below.  

Notable among the protesters at one protest meeting was Frederick Selous, the big game hunter who was well-known throughout the country and who lived only a few hundred yards from the proposed station at Heatherside.  He drew attention to the effect it would have on Albert Faggetter at Hockford Farm (refer section above).    The Chairman of that meeting’s rather flippant conclusion is also shown below (small cutting at the bottom). 

Cattle Testing Station cutting 1912.jpg
Cattle Testing Station cutting 1912 3.jpg
Cattle Testing Station cutting 1912 2.jpg

The Board of Agriculture were forced to specify that the station would only be used for testing animals before they were exported (eg to the Union of South Africa), and not for treating disease.  But the absence of any sort of local inquiry caused great disquiet among the community.

Surprise, surprise, the local protests were ignored, no local inquiry was held, and building work soon started.  Almost exactly one year after the original announcement the Station was ready to go, and the Surrey Advertiser described the layout of the buildings (below).  We have shown next to it an early aerial photograph which illustrates many of the features described pretty clearly.  For reference, the photo was taken from the south east, and shows the Ash Road at the top of the picture, with the Testing Station to the south of it.  Pullens Farm is in the foreground, presumably disused.  I don’t think there are any traces of the buildings in this photograph today.

The Testing Station started operating in early 1914.  The initial cost (including land purchase) was £20,000 (£1.6million today).  Initially it carried out testing for tuberculosis and immunisations against red water (some sort of tick-borne disease), with cattle being kept on site for around 30 days.  The cattle would be walked from Brookwood Station to the Testing Station, stopping for a drink at Swallow Pond on the way.  Pullens Farmhouse was converted into an office and residence for the resident officer, Mr G Dixon.  

During WW1, the Testing Station acted as a temporary home for mares retired from active service and offered for sale for breeding purposes.  Apart from this, it continued with its testing and immunisation roles.  In the year to 31 March 1922 it tested 742 and immunised 146 animals. The running costs were £20,000 (£700,000 today).  Judging by newspaper reports there was general resentment about the operations of the Testing Station among breeders due to the delays and costs it had introduced into the process of exporting animals.  Several (nearly 2,000) outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease across the UK created additional complications for breeders, especially for those who had to transport their animals across long distances to reach Pirbright (eg from Scotland).

In 1923 The Union of South Africa announced that they would be introducing their own quarantine and testing processes to be followed on arrival.  All these factors, added to general economic hardship after WW1, spelt the death knell for the original idea behind the Pirbright Testing Station.  The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries announced that the station would be closed from 1 March 1924, and thus it happened.

But the Ministry quickly decided to use the station as a new station for testing of a new remedy for foot-and-mouth prevention in 1924 – very timely after the several outbreaks over the previous few years.  Cattle, sheep and pigs were subjected to the testing, but the results of the remedy were negative (ie the animals caught the disease).  

That seemed to be the end of the station, but within a few months, the Ministry decided to expand the use of the station to include wide-ranging research into foot-and-mouth disease.  Local Pirbright residents would not have been pleased by the deliberate introduction of this dreadful disease into their area, but the Ministry was at pains to emphasise that strict precautions had been taken, and so “no undue anxiety need be felt that any spread of foot-and-mouth disease will occur from any of the investigations.”  We have shown a picture of some of the testing sheds taken during the foot-and-mouth epidemics of early 1952.

To continue the story we can do no better than direct the reader to Tony Garland’s excellent history of the Institute (icon below left), which was written for Pirbright Historians in 2012.  We are very grateful to Tony for allowing us to include these notes here.  We have also shown an aerial photo of the Institute from around the time he wrote them.

In 2014, the Institute submitted a proposal to increase floorspace from 34,000 square metres to 60,000 square metres.  This met with considerable objection from local residents, not least concerning the height of the new buildings which would front the Ash Road, and the effects of the increase in local traffic which would result.  The proposal was withdrawn.

But in 2016 a revised proposal to increase floor space to 74,000 square metres was resubmitted, and this time it was approved.  The Planning Committee decided that the redevelopment as a whole was inappropriate in the Green Belt.  However they also decided that there were “very special circumstances” which outweighed any harm which would be done to the Green Belt, and therefore on balance they approved the application (subject to several conditions).  What were these “very special circumstances”?  The Committee were principally swayed by the scientific benefits of the research, which they considered to be of national and international importance. They also thought that there were economic benefits to the region in terms of increased employment floor space and additional local employment.  And so the development proceeded.

We have shown below another aerial photo of the Institute, perhaps taken in the 1970’s?  We have also included a recent map of the area, showing the land owned by the Institute outlined in blue.  Interestingly this land includes all the houses in Upper Stanford Road and Bridge Mead, either side of the Ash Road.  But it excludes the houses on Bullswater Common Road (refer section below), which have been in private ownership since 2003.  It also excludes Bakersgate, Bakersgate Gardens and Bakersgate Courtyard (each of which has its own section below).  Both the photo and the map are from planning applications by the Institute to be found on the Guildford Borough Council website (with grateful thanks to the Council).

To attempt to sum up what happened in this particular area, we have included below the 1913 OS map and today’s Google Map (with thanks to Ordnance Survey and Google) so that readers can see the changes that have happened over the years.  Hockford Farm (on the right) and Bakersgate (top) are clearly visible in both maps, and the western boundary of Pullens Farm is still the western boundary of the Institute.  But the eastern part of the Institute now includes a triangular-shaped piece of land which was previously common land.  The Hockford Sewage Treatment Works can be seen on the far right.

Pullens Farm

Much of the material below on Pullens Farm derives from the painstaking research carried out by Val Patrick, great granddaughter of Alfred Slaughter, a brother of one of the tenant farmers of Pullens Farm in the 19th century.  We are very much indebted to her for this work.

Pullens Farm no longer exists.  To get a perspective on where it was, we have shown below the 1841 Tithe Map and the present-day OS Map (with thanks to Ordnance Survey).  The orientations and sizes are slightly different to one another.

One can immediately see that the area occupied by Pullens (coloured yellow in both maps) has completely disappeared, replaced largely by the Pirbright Institute and related buildings.  We have written a section on the Pirbright Institute above.  A short road called Bridge Mead, containing some relatively recent houses, is at the extreme western tip of the old Pullens property.  Interestingly Bridge Mead appears on the 1807 and 1841 maps as a “short-cut” between the main east-west road and a track heading south to Clasford and Normandy (now a footpath, recently diverted).  In case you were wondering what the large turquoise blobs on the maps are, they show the area covered by the old Bakersgate Farm.

What of the history of Pullens Farm?  The earliest mentions of the surname Pullen in Pirbright are in 1313 and then 1343 (Robert atte Pulle).  In the 16th century there are references to Henry Polyn (1521), Wm Pullyn (1540), John Pullen (1567) and Wm Pullen (1583).  The 1548 Pirbright Manor records refer to John, William and Henry Pulleyn as having rented Pirbright properties (Hatchers and Hethers) copyhold.  But there is no mention of any Pullens Land or Farm.

The 1574 Manor records are more definite.  They state that “John Pullen holds free a tenement and certain land called Pullens lande in Pyrbright and pays per annum 4d”. Unlike other entries, there’s no mention of any previous ownership, implying that it began only recently.  For any Latin scholars reading this, the relevant text is below.

A few years later, Thomas Pullen who owned “Pullens” died in Pirbright in 1609.  Thomas left the farm to his wife, Anne, until his son Thomas reached the age of 21.  This son Thomas (1605-1681) had 5 children in the 1630’s.  One of these 5 children was William (born in 1638), who died in Pirbright in 1696.  Another was Henry (born 1633), who died in Pirbright in 1712.  Henry was a husbandman (ie farmer, but no address was given) and his will mentions 3 other Pullins:  John senior, John junior and James (Henry’s son), as well as Mary Faggetter (nee Pullen, presumably Henry’s daughter).  These are the last recorded mentions of the Pullen dynasty in Pirbright, and we assume that the family had continued to farm at Pullens Farm until then.

We then have a gap until c1762.  The Land Tax records show with reasonable certainty that Pullens was owned and farmed by John Hall in 1781.  John Hall was probably the 2nd of 3 men named John Hall to farm at Pullens, so we shall deal with them in turn below. 

John Hall I was born c1729, and married Sarah Gyles in 1749 in Pirbright.  In 1762 he was recorded as a yeoman (meaning a farmer who owned his own land), which suggests that he was already farming at Pullens (which he owned) by then.  As we might expect, Pullens is shown on the Rocque map of 1763, an extract of which is shown below (Pullens is the square shape below Bakersgate Farm).

We don’t know how or when the Hall family acquired Pullens Farm from the original Pullen family, but it must have happened sometime between 1609 and 1762.  [In fact we can trace the Halls living in Pirbright from at least 1695, which suggests neatly that the transfer happened around the 1690’s.  We do not know if this was a purchase/sale, and think it more likely that it was a result of a joining of the Pullen and Hall families via a marriage between a female Pullen and a male Hall, but we cannot find any evidence of this.]

John Hall I was one of only 10 men to qualify as “Jury-qualified freeholders and copyholders” in Pirbright at the time, and so would have been well-known in the area.  Another of these 10 men was Thomas Woods who owned Upper Mill (near the Manor House) and Lower Mill (now Heath Mill).  John Hall I and Sarah had 2 children – confusingly named John Hall II and Sarah.  John I died in 1775, aged 46 and his wife Sarah in 1778.

John Hall II was born in 1753.  He married Eleanor Woods (one of the 10 children of Thomas Woods, (who was one of the Jury-qualified freeholders and copyholders referred to in the paragraph above) in 1774.  John’s sister, Sarah, had married William Woods, one of Eleanor’s brothers, 2 years previously.  Clearly the Halls and the Woods knew each other well, and we imagine that there was also a trading relationship, whereby the Woods’s milled what the Halls grew.  

John and Eleanor had 4 children, but Eleanor died at the tragically young age of 26 in 1781.  John died in 1796, aged only 43.

John Hall III was the eldest of John and Eleanor’s children, born in 1777, and took over his father’s job of farming Pullens Farm at the age of 19.  In 1801 he married Mary Hurt (born 1778 in West End).  As far as we can tell, John and Mary had no children.  John died in 1825, aged in his forties, like his father and grandfather.    Perhaps there was something in the Hall genes causing them to die relatively young.  Or maybe it was the hard work on the farm or some other environmental factor that shortened their lives.  

John Hall in his will left everything to his wife, Mary, with no legacies to any other person (as far as we can tell, John and Mary had no children).  He named “my friend, William Collins of Pirbright” as co-executor with his wife.  William was the farmer at nearby Bullswater, and he also owned Nortons Farm in Worplesdon.
But Mary had her own plans.  The records suggest 2 alternative paths as to what happened next, and we leave readers to draw their own conclusions as to which is likely to be historically correct.

Firstly, Mary married Richard Chasmore (or Chasmoor) from Cobham 6 months after the death of her husband.  The marriage took place in Southwark, and Mary described herself as a widow, living in Southwark.  It could of course have been a completely different widow named Mary Hall who married Mr Chasmore...
Secondly, Mary immediately sold Pullens to (the same) Richard Chasmore from Cobham (who had very recently married a different Mary Hall).  

We cannot find any other trace of John Hall’s wife Mary after 1825, which leads us to think that the first alternative is what actually happened.  We will continue our story on this basis.

At any rate, by 1826, Pullens Farm was registered as being owned by Richard Chasmore (ie it was he who paid the Land Tax).  Who was Richard Chasmore?  He was born in 1788 in Worplesdon, the son of John and Elizabeth Chasmore. John Chasmore was a Worplesdon farmer, and was one of the Worplesdon Jury-qualified freeholders and copyholders (even though he appears to have been a tenant farmer, rather than a freeholder).  He may have farmed the large area around Frosburys Farm (now Frosburys Equine Supplies).

 John Chasmore’s brother, who was named Richard Chasmore (but is confusingly not the person who married Mary Hall!), lived in the Cobham area, and was a landholder of some standing until he died in 1812.  It appears that John and his family left Worplesdon and moved to Cobham soon after, presumably inheriting a fair piece of his brother Richard’s land.  John died in 1823, having produced 2 children - Richard and Elizabeth – who thus inherited much of the Chasmore fortune.  Richard and Elizabeth remained close.  It is this Richard Chasmore (we think) who married the widow Mary Hall, while Elizabeth (born in 1780) married Thomas Mason in Worplesdon in 1806 (witnessed by her father, John Chasmore).  We will meet the Masons again, in a few paragraphs actually.

In 1834, for one year, the Lord of Pirbright Manor (Henry Halsey) instituted a scheme for the relief of hardship in winter by an employers’ rebate of Poor Rate.  All employers were required to fill in  a form.  Below is the document for Richard Chasmore, showing that he employed 3 men.

 The 1841 census shows Richard and Mary Chasmore as living at Pullens, aged 50 (Richard) and 53 (Mary).  Mary Hall would have actually been 63 at this time.  In 1846, Richard bought Heathers (ie Bullswater Farm) following the death of William Collins (he who was John Hall’s friend, above).  

Mary Chasmore died in 1849, at which time her age was given as 65 (Mary Hall would have been aged 70).  The records are contradictory over the next few years, but our best instinct is that Richard was still living at Pullens Farm in 1851 (with 3 servants), describing himself as a farmer of 117 acres.  As Pullens Farm itself covered only 55 acres, he must have included the 33 acres of Bullswater Farm, as well as some other property which he owned (in Capel and in Cobham).

Richard Chasmore died in 1857.  His is the only table tomb in the churchyard, close to the lych gate. Originally it was surrounded by railings (see photo below, left), but these have now rusted and been removed (see photo right).  John Hall II’s tomb (died 1796) is on the right. The inscription on Richard Chasmore’s tomb (now almost illegible) reads “John Hall (Editor’s note:  This refers to John Halll III) died 10 Mar 1825 aged 47.   Mary Chasmor wife of John Hall died 26 Dec 1848 aged 63.   Richard Chasmor died 16 Mar 1857 aged 69”.

Pullens - R Chasmoor grave modern.jpg

Richard Chasmore’s will (in which his surname was spelt differently once more - Chasmor) specified that the Bullswater estate should be left to his nephew, Edward Mason, who was living there.  It looks as though this includes Pullens, although this lack of precision in a will of this era is surprising – usually the drafters used 20 words when 2 would have sufficed.

Thus a new chapter begins in the history of Pullens:  Ownership by the Mason family.  Edward Mason had been born in 1812 in Guildford, the son of Elizabeth, Richard Chasmore’s sister who had married Thomas Mason in 1806.  His parents died in 1841 (Thomas, in Guildford) and 1845 (Elizabeth in Woking).  They were both buried at St Mary’s Worplesdon.

In 1851, Edward was working for his uncle Richard, acting as the farmer of Bullswater Farm.  He was perhaps surprised, and probably delighted, to have been left Bullswater Farm (including Pullens Farm) in his uncle Richard’s will in 1857.  One of the first things that Edward did was to hold a sale of the livestock at Pullens.    Perhaps he had decided that he wanted to make some immediate changes, eg to devote the farm to arable purposes.

The following year, Edward married Maria Mansell (born 1824).  Maria’s father, Matthew Mansell, farmed 120 acres in Chiddingfold, so there would have been much farming talk over the dinner table when the families met up.  

Some 40 years later, one of Maria’s relatives was to live in Pirbright.  Elizabeth Mansell, who was Maria’s elder sister, had an illegitimate daughter named Margaret Mansell in 1849.  In fact Elizabeth had a total of 4 illegitimate children (via 3 different fathers), which must have caused quite some discord within the family.  Elizabeth chose to stay at Chiddingfold, (living near “The Crown” pub) but the rest of the family (ie Matthew, his wife and the other children including Maria) decided to decamp to Cobbetts Hill Farm in Pirbright possibly “to escape from the embarrassment”.


Margaret Mansell married Alfred Slaughter (one of Thomas Mansell’s sons) at Wyke in 1873.  At the time Margaret was living at Cobbetts Hill, owned by her sister, Maria Mansell (see above), suggesting that the two sides of the family had managed to remain close to each other.

After their marriage in 1873 Alfred and Margaret Slaughter lived at a farm near Sutton Park, but c1901 they moved into No 18 Pirbright Cottages.  At this time Alfred Slaughter was probably helping his father (Thomas Slaughter) at Bakersgate Farm or perhaps his brother (William Slaughter) at Pullens Farm. 

Margaret Slaughter stayed at No 18 until her death in 1928.  A photo of her is included on the No 18 Pirbright Cottages page.  All rather complicated, so here is an explanatory diagram.

Back to Pullens Farm:  Edward and Maria Mason chose to live at Pullens, rather than at Bullswater (which was occupied by farm labourers and their families).  They had 5 children.  Edward died in 1872, and Maria and 3 of her children decided to stay at Pullens Farm.  In 1881, Maria Mason described herself as “Farmer of 20 acres”, which would only have been around 30% of Pullens Farm.  She also owned some land at Cobbets Hill – presumably part of Cobbets Hill Farm.  Another of Maria’s relatives – her brother William – was farming Bullswater Farm in 1881.

Maria died in 1891, and one of her sons, John Morey Mason took over the running of the farm.  John had been born in 1862, and in 1892 married Flora Hagar Greenfield (one of the daughters of Henry Greenfield, who lived at nearby Bakersgate).  But in 1896 for some reason they decided to sell up and move to Cleygate farm in Normandy.  Both Pullens Farm and the land at Cobbets Hill were sold to Lord Pirbright at this time (one of his many property acquisitions in Pirbright).  John and Flora had no children.  John died in 1904, and Flora in 1914.  A picture of their gravestone in the churchyard of St Michaels, Pirbright is shown below.

In 1897 William and Elizabeth Slaughter started renting Pullens from Lord Pirbright.  We have devoted a special page to the Slaughter family, almost entirely written by a relative of the family, who has spent a great deal of her time researching it, and summarised the Slaughter history below.

William was the son of Thomas Slaughter, born 1823 at Russellplace Farm in Wood Street (just off Frog Grove Lane).  Thomas was the son of an earlier William Slaughter (also from Worplesdon) and his wife Jane. 

In 1846 Thomas married Eliza Hartfree.  Eliza (born 1823) was the daughter of Solomon and Eleanor Hartfree who had 8 children. The Hartfree family crop up a couple of times elsewhere on these pages:

  • Eliza’s elder brother, William Hartfree (born 1817) tended the plantation now forming part of Worplesdon Golf Course.  In early maps it was called Hartfree’s Plantation.

  • One of William Hartfree’s children, Ellen Hartfree (who was therefore a niece of Eliza) married Arthur Holdforth in 1865.  They lived at No 1, Malthouse Cottages.

During the 1850’s Thomas and Eliza Slaughter lived at The Harrow Inn, Compton, where Thomas was the publican, but he soon changed career to become a farmer.  In the 1860’s he reverted to life as a publican and moved to The Nag’s Head, near the present-day Brookwood traffic lights.  We have shown a picture of Thomas and Eliza below.

Thomas and Eliza had 11 children during the next 24 years, but sadly their eldest child, also named Eliza, died only 17 in 1865 at The Nag’s Head.  In 1867 the Slaughters moved to Bakersgate, where Thomas and his family farmed the 130 acres of Bakersgate Farm.  c1891 Thomas and Eliza moved to Frog Grove Farm, where Eliza died in 1892, followed by Thomas in 1901.

Thomas and Eliza’s 3rd son, William Slaughter, was born in 1856 at The Harrow Inn, Compton.  When he was a young boy, he moved with his family, first to the Nag’s Head (in 1864) and then to Bakersgate (in 1867).  He helped his father on Bakersgate Farm for several years, and in 1882 married Elizabeth Patrick or Partrick (who had been working as a Lady’s Maid at nearby Byron Lodge for the wife of Admiral Sir Sidney Dacres).  She was 7 months’ pregnant when she and William married.

By 1886 William and Elizabeth had moved from Bakersgate to Brook Farm in Rickford, which had recently been added to the Bridley Manor estate.  They stayed there for only 2 years before moving in 1888 to Attfield Farm on Littlefield Common.

Finally William, Elizabeth and their 7 children moved into Pullens Farm in 1897.  Having lived and worked at nearby Bakersgate a few years earlier, perhaps William liked the area and wanted to return there.  William got himself involved in local activities, sitting on Pirbright Parish Council, and acting as one of the Overseers of Smiths Charity and an Overseer of the Poor.  Below are photos of William and Elizabeth.

We have shown below 2 photos of Pullens Farm.  The picture on the left shows Pullens in the early 1900’s with Elizabeth and 2 of her daughters (L to R: Mabel and Maud).  The picture on the right shows the rear of Pullens c1922.

We have also shown a painting below of Pullens Farm pre-1912, painted by Miss Ada Long.  Comparing it with the picture above left, the house has changed little, although the creeper on the front of the house has grown significantly!

In 1909 Lady Pirbright sold Pullens at auction (see newspaper cutting below).  The successful bidder was Thomas Sherman, son of John Frost Sherman, the miller at Heath Mill.  In 1889 he had married Ann Brinkwell Mason, the daughter of Edward Mason.  In 1909 Thomas and Anne and their family had been living at Bullswater Farm, which 50 years earlier had formed part of Pullens Farm.  Presumably they wanted to keep Pullens in the family, although for some reason, he changed the name from Pullens Farm to Pirbright Farm.

But in 1912 the Board of Agriculture announced plans to construct a Cattle Testing Station in Pirbright, and Pullens Farm was the chosen site.  Immediately before the announcement, Thomas Sherman had agreed to sell Pullens to the Board of Agriculture.  His wife, Anne, must have found this a very difficult decision, as the farm had been owned by her family for at least 150 years.  As mentioned in the section above dealing with the Pirbright Institute, there was considerable local opposition to the scheme, so the decision to sell also would likely have made them the least popular people in the village, if not most of Surrey.  Thomas sold all the farm contents separately (see newspaper cutting below).  At the same time, the Board also purchased Bakersgate.

The Slaughters had to leave Pullens when it was sold in 1912 – probably very unhappy with the situation - and they moved to Lower House Farm in Cranleigh, where Elizabeth died in 1924, aged 69.  William continued to work hard as a farmer at Rowley Farm, Cranleigh, but eventually his gangrenous feet forced him to stop.  He died at Four Marks, near Alton, in 1941, aged 84.

After 1912, Pullens formed part of the Cattle Testing Station, now the Pirbright Institute (which we have described above).  However at times it was occupied by various people who may (or may not) have been employed by the Testing Station (or Institute).

  • 1918-30:  Robert and Sarah Jane Carter.  No information about them.

  • 1924-31:  Albert and Amy Tanner.  No information about them.

  • 1925-39:  George and Annie Callingham.  George (born 1884 in Wanborough) was a farm carter.  In 1901 he had been a 17 year-old living with his parents  at Frog Grove next door to 77 year-old Thomas Slaughter, whose son, William, farmed Pullens during 1897-1912.  Was this a coincidence, or was there a connection between the Slaughters and the Callinghams?  Annie was born Annie Standing in Sussex, in 1889.  After leaving Pullens, the Callinghams moved across the road to Bakers Gate Cottage, and then to No 3, Chapel Lane, where George died in 1963, and Annie in 1965.

  • 1950-60:  Various people, who stayed there only a few years at a time, including James and Margaret Goodridge, who had previously lived at No 2, White Cottage (see below).

It seems that Pullens Farm was eventually demolished in the 1960’s to make way for some more utilitarian buildings for the Institute.

White Cottages

White Cottages (Nos 1 & 2) sit on the Ash Road, just in front of the Pirbright Institute.  We think that they have always been owned by the Institute and were constructed for staff living accommodation c1920.  At first glance they appear to be older, but perhaps multiple layers of white paint can deceive the eye.  At any rate they look elegant and well-preserved.  The cottages do not appear on the 1920 OS map – but then neither does the Testing Station (which was built in 1913), so that is no real help in determining their age.  To our knowledge they are still owned by the Institute.

No 1

Percy and Selina Sage moved to No 1 White Cottage in 1920 from Woodham Lane, Addlestone, where Percy had been employed at the Veterinary Disease Research Institute recently built (c1916) in Addlestone by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Percy had been born near Maidstone in 1889, one of 12 children of a gamekeeper.  He had married Selina Littledyke (born London in 1887) in 1915 and joined the RAF in late 1918.  His reference letter from the Addlestone Veterinary Institute (appropriately written by a Mr Stockman) to the RAF in 1918 is shown below.  His offer letter to join the Cattle Testing Station as a stockman 2 years later is shown below.  This move to the Cattle Testing Station at Pirbright was something of a promotion for him, albeit a risk as at that time, as the future of the Station was in doubt (refer to the section dealing with Pirbright Institute above).  

When the Testing Station did close in 1924, he was asked to stay on and was offered the job of foreman at the newly-formed Foot-and-Mouth Research Station.
Percy and Selina had no children, and Selina died in 1943 at the age of 56.  Percy remarried in 1946 to Doris Henniker (born Ashford in 1912), who was living in Grange Road, Guildford.  They had 2 children (while Percy was in his 60’s).  At around this time, the Institute applied for permission to build a second dwelling next to White Cottage, but this was not approved.

In 1958 Percy was awarded the British Empire Medal, for his service as a Farm Bailiff at the Research Institute.  His letter of congratulations from The Queen is shown below.  [Within a week of writing this section of the site in September 2022, Queen Elizabeth sadly died].  Percy died, still living at White Cottage (No 1), in 1973.  Doris moved to Gibb’s Acre and died there in 1984.  We have shown photos from Percy and Doris’s wedding and their gravestone below.

Percy Sage Wedding 1946.jpg

In 1981, the exotically-named Archibald Tiffin and his wife Mariam were living at No 1, having previously lived at Upper Stanford, a few hundred yards away.  Archibald had been born in Hexham, Northumberland in 1918, and was a farmer (presumably helping to manage the fields owned by the Institute across the road behind Bakersgate).  He died in 1985.  Mariam (nee Wheeler, at Westerham, 1920) then moved to Farnham and died there in 1997.  They had 5 children.

By 1992, Peter Kelsey and Helen May (surname, not Christian name) were living at No 1.

We have shown a c2014 aerial view of White Cottages (centre) below.

No 2 

No 2 White Cottage was occupied initially by William and Caroline Horton and their daughter Lilian  (from c1921).  William had been born at Bramley in 1874, and in 1911 was living at Bullswater Farm.  He was a completely different William Horton to the person with the same name who had been living at No 2 Malthouse Cottages, and who moved to Westbrook c1921.  Both Williams were agricultural labourers and both moved houses in Pirbright in 1921, so it is rather confusing.

William and Caroline moved out of No 2 in 1927, going down the road to Stanford Cottages (owned by the Research Station).  But it is not at all clear who moved into No 2 after them.  In 1930, no less than 7 new names appear on the Electoral Register as living at the Cattle Testing Station.  Surely they couldn’t all have crammed into No 2?  It is likely that most of these people lived in other dwellings on the Testing Station, but we don’t know where.  Whatever the reality, the situation of several people registered as living at the Testing Station continued for a few years, with most people only staying a short time.

We do know that during 1937-39 No 2 was occupied by Alistair and Christine Graham and their family.  Alistair (born 1899 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland) described himself as “Veterinary Surgeon, Divisional Vet Inspector, Ministry of A & Fisheries”.  He had joined up and fought in the closing stages of WW1 (2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Guards), reaching the rank of 2nd Lieutenant aged only 20.  He died in Storrington in 1978.  Christine was born in 1901 in Sussex, the daughter of Colston Hale (an accountant) and his wife Lilly.  She died at Crawley in 1993.  

After WW2, Frederick & Hilda Marshall lived at No 2 during 1946-1950.  Frederick was a farm carter, born in Farnham in 1906, and Hilda had been born Hilda Simmonds in Godalming in 1904.  In 1939 they had been living nearby at Littlefield Cottages.  They had no children and in 1950 moved  a few hundred yards to Upper Stanford (also owned by the Research Station).  Frederick died there in 1973.

James and Margaret Goodridge lived at No 2 for a short while (1953 to 1955) before moving to Pullens Farm (refer above) then to Upper Stanford (like the Marshalls before them), and then to Normandy.  James (born 1913 in Colchester) was a gas fitter.  Margaret (nee Hoye) was from West Ham.  Margaret died in 1996 and James in 1999.

From 1956 William and Annie Jarvis lived at No 2, having moved from Goslings in Goose Rye Road.  They remained at No 2 until c1970.

By 1976 Ronald and Christine Fruish had replaced the Jarvises at No 2.  Ronald was born in Walton in 1933, and Christine (nee Burchett) was born in 1939.  By 2003 the Fruish’s had left No 2, moving to Guildford.  Christine died in 2003 and Ronald in 2008.

The Research Station Bungalow

The 1939 register and the Electoral Registers of the time refer to another dwelling at the Institute (then known as the Research Station).  We do not know exactly where this dwelling was.  The 1938 and 1961 OS maps show a building on the Ash Road (on the east side of the main entrance to the Institute) which could fit the bill, but this is speculation only.  There are no signs of any dwelling there now – just plain grass.  It was known simply as the Research Station Bungalow.

In 1939 it was occupied by John Stanborough, a widower born in London 1888, who was a farm labourer.  He had married Lily Wheeler in 1918, but she died in 1937.  John remarried in 1940 (to Emily Dowsett) and they remained at the bungalow until c1956, when they moved to No 13, Upper Stanford.  John died there in 1963.  

In 1943, Queenie May Dowsett (Lily’s niece) was living in the bungalow with John and Emily.  That year Queenie married Richard Newton, a soldier at Pirbright camp.  Queenie and Richard stayed in the bungalow until the end of WW2 and then moved out to Saunders Lane.

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