Although a building has been on the site of 11 West Street since the Middle Ages, the present Georgian building was built in the middle of the 18th century, originally as a gentleman’s town house, together with a brick built stable to the rear of the property, which is now the rear showroom. The house was partially converted to shop premises in approximately 1860, when the left bay of the front elevation was converted to a shop window, incorporating curved glass - typical of Victorian shop fronts. The shop was originally used by a draper and clothier until 1888 when a C. Bolland took residence and traded as a greengrocer and confectioner.
In 1905 a George William Smith commenced trading as a harness maker and saddler until his demise in 1938, when his daughters – the Misses Annie & Edith Smith - commenced trading as milliners and drapers until their demise in 1955. The shop was then sold in 1956 and has traded as an antique shop through various ownerships from that date. The premises have many interesting features and the building lends itself naturally to being a centre for antiques.
Our adjoining premises – 9 & 10 West Street have a somewhat longer history, being built as two cottages in the 16th century. They remained as such until the late 18th century when the cottages were converted into an inn called The Rose & Crown and were used as such until the end of this century. There is reference in local history records to the inn being used as a lodging house in mid-Victorian times. A Census of 1856 indicates some 25 lodgers in residence. The buildings contain a wealth of 15th century oak beams, some of which were most probably ships’ timbers salvaged from sailing ships at that time.
Apart from the alterations to the front elevation windows, the structure of the building remains effectively unchanged. There is access to attic rooms (now unused), which were used to accommodate lodgers, but with very restricted space. Prior to this the building was used as a coaching inn, as there is evidence of cut away brickwork to allow access to the rear stables. The building was first used for the selling of antiques in 1917 and apart from a period when it was occupied by Dorking Lighthouse, continues to sell antiques.
Top image photograph, West Street in Winter photograph. Supplied by courtesy of John Miller www.johnmillerphotography.com