In the years since its foundation, the Trust has made a remarkable contribution to the preservation of the Farnham scene. It has used its influence to encourage practical conservation in many buildings, with advice and occasional grants, and expert support when needed. It has been responsible for saving many buildings which might so easily have disappeared, and which today are regarded as treasured parts of Farnham’s heritage. In addition, it has used its influence to encourage practical conservation in many other buildings, with advice and occasional grants, and expert support when needed.
As well as major projects at the Farnham Maltings, the Farnham Pottery and Daniel Hall which are described separately, the trust has also provided help and grants to a number of smaller projects.
The Cemetery Lodge, West Street, 1969
The Trust’s first project. The building had been condemned by Farnham Urban District Council (FUDC). The Trust leased the building from FUDC, restored it and let it. In 1980 further restoration work was carried out when internal dry rot was discovered. A long lease from Waverley District Council was obtained, and the Trust then sold the lease.
Church Cottages, Church Passage, 1969
The two Puginesque cottages, providing accommodation for the headmaster and headmistress of St Andrew’s School, had been condemned by FUDC. The cottages are the property of the Rector and Churchwardens of St Andrews (not the Diocese). A 30-year full repairing lease was obtained at a peppercorn rent. The Trust restored the cottages and let them, in accordance with our charitable objectives, at a low rent to people in need. The cottages are built of clunch, a material which requires specialist treatment. Around 1990, FW German & Sons were employed to reinstate a wall facing Church Passage where the clunch stone was separating from the inner layer.
In 1998 the lease was about to run out when major structural problems were discovered in the chimney wall of the cottage facing the churchyard. The Trust paid for the work, assisted by a grant from Waverley. Specialist advice was obtained from contractors working at the time on the church tower. Although the tenant and her daughter remained in the property during the renovation, the majority of their possessions had to be placed in storage. The cottages were then handed back to the church in good condition.
Tanyard House was bought by the Trust as part of the purchase for the town of the Farnham Maltings.
The last property to be restored after this purchase, Tanyard House is one of the oldest buildings in Farnham, with timbers believed to date from 1485. F.W. German & Sons were employed to carry out major structural repairs, and the building was split horizontally into two flats, which were sold on long leases. Under the terms of the lease, the Trust retained responsibility for repairs and maintenance, the costs being recharged to the tenants who also paid a ground rent.
In about 2001 the tenant of the ground floor flat purchased the Freehold of the property under Right to Buy legislation.
5 Coopers Terrace, East Street
This small cottage, in the centre of a terrace running at right angles to East Street, next to St James’s Church, was purchased in order to prevent demolition of the whole terrace. It was put in order and let at a low rent.
New Ashgate Gallery, Wagon Yard, 1985
At the time, the gallery occupied only about half the space of the present business, the remainder of the building being occupied by Collet’s Bookshop. The buildings were owned by Waverley Borough Council which had inherited them from Farnham Urban District Council which had purchased a large area of land and buildings for the purpose of creating the Wagon Yard car park. The Trust obtained a 25-year lease from Waverley at a low rent, with responsibility to extend the gallery premises into the previous bookshop, carry out restoration work, and maintain the building. The Trust then let the extended gallery to the New Ashgate Gallery Trust. In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a difficult period when the gallery was not making enough money to pay the rent, and there were recurring damp problems in the west wall.
In 1993 the gallery lease was sold back to Waverley for £32,000 to raise money for the Trust’s project at 31 Lower Church Lane.
7 Victoria Road, 1989
This cottage was bequeathed to the Trust by the owner Mrs Sylvia Corbett on condition that it was used by people living in the town centre who did not own a car. The Trust put the cottage in order and let it to two craftspeople working at the New Ashgate Gallery. In 1993 the cottage was sold for about £50,000 to raise money for the Trust’s project at 31 Lower Church Lane
1-3 Portland Terrace, Hale Road, the “Hospital Cottages”, 1990
In 1990, the three small cottages at 1-3 Portland Terrace, known as the “hospital cottages”, had been derelict for many years while the health authority was trying to get permission to put an ambulance station on the site. When the permission was eventually refused, the Trust obtained a 9-year lease on the cottages, carried out a full restoration and sub-let them to Waverley Council as accommodation for six homeless families. Unfortunately by 2000 the cottages were once again empty, having been sold to the developer of new houses on the site of the old hospital. They fell into a serious state of disrepair, but permission to demolish them was refused. The trust made an offer to buy the cottages but it was not accepted and in May 2009 they were sold to a local building contractor, Jenkins & Falvey, who restored them again to a high standard. When the work was completed in September of that year, all three cottages were let very easily and happily occupied.
31 Lower Church Lane, 1993
This building, listed Grade II, the left-hand half of a pair on the corner of the Wagon Yard car park, was owned by Waverley BC (inherited from FUDC) and had been empty for some years because Waverley could not afford the necessary restoration. The building had been the property of the Trusler family who had run a hardware shop in the front part. Two elderly sisters had remained in the house as tenants of Waverley but both had died by about 1990. Waverley transferred the property to the Trust at no cost, with a proviso that the council would receive any profit resulting from the restoration and eventual sale.
It was discovered that the rear part of the house was older than the front, and that the two parts had previously been separate. The front part had included No. 32, later split into a separate house.
The Trust converted the property into two 2-bedroom houses. Stedman & Blower were the architects, the building contractor was Arragon Ltd. The conversion was funded from the sale of other properties, plus grants from WBC (£50,000), English Heritage (about £18,000) and refund of VAT. The two houses were sold in 1995, for slightly over £100,000 each. One of the cottages was named after Richard Dufty, one of the founders of the Trust.