New name, new look, same family!

Clandon Park Garden Centre and Woking Garden Centre move to one name, Edwins Garden Centre, after adored grandfather.

As the owner of two family run garden centres in Surrey, Lee Wong and his family have undertaken an exciting new rebrand inspired by his grand-father’s love of everything outdoors and his fascination with plants.

The family has owned and managed Clandon Park Garden Centre for more than 18 years. In July 2019 they acquired, from Wyevale, their Woking site which was known as Woking Garden Centre. Following the rebrand the two centres will now be named Edwins Garden Centre. “We were delighted to acquire the Egley Road, Woking site. With two garden centres we decided to give one name across both,” said Lee.

“We are very much a family business with my wife and both sets of parents fully involved in the day to day running and management of the garden centre. We wanted a family name. It was not hard to settle on ‘Edwins’, after my wonderful grandfather, my mother’s father. He had a love of nature and a fascination with plants. He shared with me his amazement at the intricacies and complexity of plants, their beauty and extraordinary artistic detail. He was my inspiration into my life around plants and a wonderful man.”

About Edwins Garden Centre

Edwins Garden Centre is to be synonymous with quality plants. Plants encompass seeds and bulbs, outdoor plants, shrubs, trees, vegetables, fruits, herbs, houseplants and all that is required to be successful planting and growing in the garden and indoors.

Our aim is to offer the Surrey communities, and visitors to the area, an enjoyable and inspiring experience shopping for garden plants and all things gardening, with outdoor living and home accessories that extend life into the garden, whatever the weather!

Our new tag line, Plant. Grow. Be Amazed, is an encouragement for all to enjoy the health and well-being benefits of getting your hands dirty in the world of plants.”

For further information:
www.edwinsgardencentre.co.uk


Fountain Centre’s Celebration of Christmas Concert

Kathryn Harries performing at Charterhouse.

The Fountain Centre team are delighted to be holding their traditional Carol Concert, hosted by patron and renowned Opera soprano Kathryn Harries and featuring special guests Surrey Hills Choir and St Edmunds Catholic Junior School Choir.

The Fountain Centre Carol Concert takes place at Holy Trinity Church at the top of Guildford High Street on Wednesday 8 December 2021 from 7pm to 9pm. Tickets are already on sale from www.thelittleboxoffice.com/fountaincentre and cost £10 each (under 12’s go free).

Holy Trinity church has full disabled access, and the ticket price includes a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. There will be a cash bar and an opportunity to purchase Fountain Centre Christmas cards and other Fountain Centre branded goods making ideal gifts.

Fountain Centre Chairman Martin Read said: “We are so excited to be getting back to real events as its been so long since we have been able to meet all our supporters and patrons face to face. The lack of events has made fundraising very difficult but the demand for our services is as high as ever so the proceeds from this event will be put to good use. Our Christmas concert is always a joy so we are really looking forward to seeing everyone again in this lovely venue.”

Details of the work of the Fountain Centre can be found at www.fountaincentre.org along with details of this event and a link to tickets.

The Fountain Centre is an independent charity established in 1998 and based at St. Lukes Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. The charity supports over 2500 cancer patients and their families as they go on their cancer journey with counselling, complimentary therapies, wellbeing, family service and more.


Christmas at Elm Nursery

Elm Nursery is a family run farm shop, children’s farm, plant nursery and cafe located in leafy Sutton Green.

This Christmas, Elm Nursery has everything you need for the festive period and for the big day. Order your free range turkey now, along with beef, lamb or game and all the trimmings. The shop has a large selection of fresh, seasonal vegetables to buy in store or to order for
Christmas dining. It really does offer stress free shopping and you will be supporting a local business too! A huge range of high quality, British grown Christmas trees will be ready to buy from the last weekend of November along with decorations and gifts.

The children’s farm at Elm Nursery is well worth a visit for animal lovers in the family! They have alpacas, goats, guinea pigs, free roaming chickens, pigs, Shetland ponies and a friendly donkey called Applejack. Food to feed the chickens is available to buy in the farm shop. It is an ideal venue for a low key morning or afternoon out for young and pre-school children, without the pressure of a day trip. Entrance to the farm is £4 per person and under 2’s are free.

From Sat 4th – Thurs 23rd December, there will be festive scenes on the farm. Father Christmas usually parks his sleigh for safekeeping until Christmas Eve. The sleigh is perfect for little helpers to sit in (and a fab family photo opportunity!). The farm is open every day from 10am – 3.30pm (last entry 3pm). No need to book.

Elm Farm Café has been newly refurbished and is open under new management for brunch, light lunches, home-made quiches, soups and cakes. Fresh coffee and other hot drinks are on the menu too. The café is open Tues – Sun, 9.00am – 3.30pm (closed Mondays) open every day during school holidays.

Sutton Green Road, Sutton Green, Guildford, Surrey, GU22 0ES.
Telephone: 01483 755559
Website: elmnursery.co.uk
Facebook: @elmnurseryfarm
Instagram: @elmnursery


Guildford Lions' 'Firework Fiesta' to go ahead this year.

After the cancellation of the fireworks in 2020 due to the lockdown restrictions it’s great to see that the Guildford Lions Firework Fiesta will be going ahead this year.

Guildford Lions are delighted to confirm our annual fireworks display WILL take place this year, on Saturday 6th November at Stoke Park, albeit with a number of changes.

To ensure the evening remains as safe as possible we have decided to make some radical changes which can be summarised as follows:

  1. Due to the current concerns and uncertainties it is with real regret we must confirm that there will not be any torchlight procession this year. Our concerns centre on the lack of available space for social distancing.
  2. The fireworks display on Stoke Park will still go ahead as the size of the park will allow people to socially distance if they so wish.
  3. To offset the loss of the torchlight procession we will be introducing live music for the first time. This will feature Blurasis an award winning band who cover songs by a host of artists including Blur, Oasis, Coldplay and many more.
  4. Peter Gordon will again be our MC.
  5. Again, for the first time the event will be an all ticket affair and contactless only. Gates will open at 5.00pm, the music will be at 6.00pm & 7.30pm with the fireworks at 8.30pm.
  6. Tickets will cost £10 per adult with children under 16, accompanied by their parents, free. Tickets will be available via www.seetickets.com – early bird ticket sales will be starting shortly priced at £8.00.
  7. There will be a full licensed bar, a real ale marquee and a gin bar by Pub of the Year The Star Inn, Godalming plus delicious hot food by Mandira’s Kitchen.
  8. Free parking will again be available at the Spectrum and The Guildford College with disabled parking available at the Guildford High School on London Road.

It will be wonderful to once again host such a wonderful community event and as ever ALL profits from the evening will be used to support our clubs welfare fund and also the Guildford Sea Scouts. For more information please visit our website www.guildfordlions.com or our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/GuildfordLionsClub/


Chai on the patio

Last year Stoughton Pages spoke to Mandira Sarkar, founder and inspiration behind Mandira’s Kitchen based at Silent Pool. We learnt about (and sampled a few of) the fantastic authentic Indian meals that they produce and sell frozen from their converted cowshed in the Surrey Hills. Alongside the meals the team at MK also offer hands on cookery lessons, spice tours and bespoke catering in between sampling the gin and wine from their neighbours!

Well, Mandira and her dedicated team haven’t been standing still whilst in lockdown and have been creating new experiences as well as new recipes and have now launched their ‘Chai On The Patio’ offering.

This new addition to Mandira’s Kitchen provides the most delicious spot to enjoy fabulous Indian street food. Beautifully positioned, they have five tables of six which can be booked for slots of one hour (or more) where you can catch up with family & friends over some delicious food and drink. Each 1 hour slot costs £20 and is fully redeemable against any purchases you make on your visit.

They have an exciting street food menu – which you can order at the time of your booking, plus you can always add more dishes when you get there.

Walk-ins are welcome, but booking is advisable especially for busy times and weekends. The menu is also designed to be a takeaway should you wish to enjoy elsewhere.

Masala chai is a tea beverage made by boiling black tea in milk and water with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices. Originating in India, the beverage is traditionally prepared as a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves.

Talking to Mandira she clearly has missed the freedom recently to visit home but we are fortunate that she is happy to recreate the taste of home here to share with us. “Summer seems to have passed us by but I still consider myself so lucky to be in beautiful Burpham during these uncertain times. We have the ancient Medieval town with every modern amenity within walking distance as well as the stunning Surrey hills on our doorstep too – the best of both worlds. Not being able to travel to India to see my family and eat at our favourite restaurants, I have tried to recreate many of my favourite dishes and here is one to share with you. Perfect with a cup of chai or a glass of wine or gin or beer…

Recipe: Mandira’s easy to make pakoras

Ingredients (makes 15 medium sized pakoras):

To make these delicious morsels you will need:

  • 2 large red onions sliced
  • A bag of baby spinach, chopped
  • Approx. 2 heaped tablespoons of gram flour (besan)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of rice flour (optional – can substitute with self raising flour if you want)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 level tsp chilli powder
  • 1 finely sliced green chilli
  • 1 tsp of coriander seeds, roughly ground – you need to be able to bite into these
  • Oil (enough to cover your pan to the depth of an inch)
  • Cold water (alternatively you can use beer)

Method:

  1. Tip all the ingredients, except the water (or beer) and oil into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add about 3 tbsp water (or beer) to start with and gently try and bring together. The mixture should hold but not get too thick or doughy – the secret to light fluffy pakoras is not too much gram flour. If you find you need a little more binding then add gram flour and if it is too dry add a tiny bit more water (or beer).
  3. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  4. Heat oil – about an inch to cover the pan. A wok is usually good but a heavy bottom frying pan also does the job.
  5. Once the oil is smoking reduce the heat and then gently spoon a tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil. Careful to regulate the temperature, if it’s too hot it will remain raw inside and burn outside – too cold and you get greasy pakoras. Should take about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve hot with ketchup or a mint and yoghurt sauce.

Mint and Yoghurt Sauce

Blend together 1 clove of garlic, half a cup of mint leaves, salt and ½ cup of Greek yoghurt. Serve chilled with pakoras.

About Mandira

Burpham resident, Mandira is the owner (general dogsbody) of Mandira’s Kitchen. MK are a wholly woman led business operating out of a 400 year old converted cowshed overlooking the beautiful Silent Pool. They create award winning Indian food offering authentic homestyle freezer meals, bespoke catering, Indian picnics, hands on cookery lesson and spice tours. Mandira’s Kitchen now offer an authentic street food cafe option on their patio which is a fabulous way to spend some time with friends and family.


Booking is now open for Surrey’s annual multi-arts festival

Guildford Fringe Festival will return from 2 – 25 July 2021 with a jam-packed line-up of cultural delights after last year’s event was sadly cancelled due to Covid-related restrictions. Booking is now open at GuildfordFringeFestival.com for more than 60 arts events, with further acts to be added to the programme.

Set up by Managing Director Nick Wyschna in 2013, Guildford’s largest independent multi-arts festival is an open-access celebration featuring theatre, comedy, poetry, music, visual arts, family-friendly shows, talks and free events.

Festival venues this year include Clandon Wood Nature Reserve, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, The Back Room of the Star Inn, The Keep Pub, The Guildhall and the historic town centre of Guildford.

Left Wing Conspiracy Theorist with Dyspraxia: The Back Room, Star Inn, 5th July, 9:00pm–10:00pm.

Gag House Comedy Superstars kick off the Festival at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre on 2 July delivering some of the UK’s best stand-up comedy, with headliner Rich Hall. The weeks to follow offer the chance for audiences to catch familiar faces, local talent, new writing and perennial classics.

Booking is now open at GuildfordFringeFestival.com for more than 60 arts events, with further acts to be added to the programme.

Highlights of this year’s Free Fringe include an al fresco performance of Opera on the Balcony outside the Guildhall, Guildford’s Rock Choir, Surrey Fringe Chorus and Colour with Guildford in Bloom.

Rock Choir Day: Town centre, 11th July 11:00am–4:00pm.

Nick Wyschna, Managing Director of Guildford Fringe Festival, said: “It feels great to be talking about Guildford Fringe Festival once again after having to cancel it in 2020. It’s been a tough year but let’s focus on the positives. We were fortunate enough to be awarded a Cultural Recovery Grant from Arts Council England which gives us a blanket of security when it comes to planning. Throughout July, audiences can be immersed in theatrical energy whatever events they choose to come and see. The participating artists, producers and venues have had a tough year – come and celebrate with them and support the arts at the same time. As well as ACE, I would like to thank Chapters Financial, Guildford Borough Council, Experience Guildford, Guildford Arts and Churchmill Accountants for sponsoring this year’s Guildford Fringe Festival and for helping us put Guildford back on the map as a cultural hub.”

Bex’s Chainsaw Moussaka: The Keep Pub, 9th July, 7:30pm–8:30pm.

Visit GuildfordFringeFestival.com for the full line-up and to book tickets. The Box Office phone number is 01483 361101. During the Festival, the Fringe Team will be at The Star Inn, Quarry Street, 7 days a week, from 6-7pm, where they will run a Box Office for all Festival events and be happy to have a chat.


Prostate PSA blood test event: Calling all men over 40 years old

Register online for our PSA testing. A simple 5 minute blood test.

Every 45 minutes a man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 11,000 deaths per year.

Our qualified phlebotomists will ensure your safety by following our Covid19 hygiene policy and wearing appropriate PPE.

Saturday 17th July 2021
10.30 am – 2.00 pm

Guildford Fire Station
Ladymead, Guildford, GU1 1DL

Parking onsite is limited, please park at the sports centre or Ladymead Retail Park.

No queues. Online booking only, instructions on our website cancertestingsouth.org or scan the QR code above and follow the instructions.

Our PSA testing is always available

May we serve your community, your club, factory or store?

May we visit your village or town and work with you to find indications of prostate cancer in those who have failed to take advantage of the government’s scheme to test men over 50? The test is a simple blood test taken by a professional phlebotomist.

Many younger men are refused tests to their detriment or are simply unaware that prostate cancer can have few symptoms. That is why we promote testing from age 40.

90% of men who have their prostate cancer detected early are cured.

Black men are particularly at risk at the earlier age as well as men with a known family history of cancer.

We are always keen to improve our service. Your suggestions will be taken seriously and if we agree then they may be included in our developing work. Please arrange to book yourself a test. Check on the state of your prostate health. Do it now – don’t wait!

How to register & book for this event

Please log into:

cts.mypsatests.org.uk

  • Click on ‘Register’ and input personal information including email address and password.
  • After your registration has been confirmed, choose ‘Event’ and select the appropriate venue that you wish to visit.
  • Click on ‘Log On’ and select ‘Book My Place’ and follow the instructions.

Important: it is essential that you then proceed through this stage and finish up with an instruction (in red) asking you to print-off an A4 appointment page.

Your registration will mean that you can login directly to future events.

Please bring your appointment page with you to the event. It is needed to accompany your actual blood sample to the laboratory.

Problem booking a slot? Email HELP via info@cancertestingsouth.org

Our Mission Statement

The detection work of Cancer Testing South is driven by a passion to find early indications of prostate cancer and to also lead to the uncovering of other frequently overlooked cancers through testing and awareness.

We aim to learn, educate and use knowledge, to reduce death from prostate and other diseases and cancers that regularly respond to early intervention.

CTS Registered Charity number 1191738


Yvonne Arnaud Theatre announces Autumn 2021 Season

Clare Bloomer (Maggie Thatcher) & Martin Jarvis (Ted Heath) star in new political comedy Maggie and Ted (12th to 16th October).

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre has an exciting autumn season planned!

If you need a laugh after the past 18 months there’s comedy aplenty, including the latest production from the creators of The Play That Goes Wrong, Groan Ups (20 to 25 Sep); Agatha Christie-inspired romp, Crimes in Egypt (8 & 9 Sep); and evenings with Miriam Margolyes, David Suchet, Andy Hamilton and Arthur Smith and more.

A stand out production of the season is new political comedy Maggie and Ted (12 to 16 Oct), starring Martin Jarvis and Clare Bloomer. Shining a light on the relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Ted Heath, this uproariously funny play comes to Guildford only, direct from a sell-out West End debut.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (18 to 23 Oct).

Are thrillers more your thing? If so, you’re in luck! The most scandalous political thriller of the year, Dead Lies (2 to 6 Nov), stars Clive Mantle, Harriet Thorpe, Kimberley Wyatt and more. There’s also ghost stories galore, with a gripping new adaptation of American classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (18 to 23 Oct), starring Wendi Peters and Bill Ward; and terrifying new spine-chiller When Darkness Falls (28 to 30 Sep).

Families can enjoy a delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ award-winning picture book, What the Ladybird Heard (5 & 6 Oct) packed full of live music and puppetry. The theatre’s much-loved panto will also return (3 Dec to 9 Jan) for lashings of slapstick silliness for all aged 5 to 105!

Much-loved panto will return (3 Dec to 9 Jan) for lashings of slapstick silliness for all aged 5 to 105!

Other season highlights include Being Mr Wickham, with Adrian Lukis as Pride and Prejudice’s most roguish gentleman (28 to 30 Oct); Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s iconic musical, Tell Me On A Sunday (16 to 20 Nov), starring Jodie Prenger; and Olivier Award-winning Ian McDiarmid in the world premiere of Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table (9 to 13 Nov).

As well as Main House productions, the Yvonne Arnaud team are thrilled to bring performance back to the Mill Studio after a long period of closure. There’s a diverse programme on offer,
including the acclaimed Paines Plough Theatre’s Sessions (30 Oct), and award-winning Who Cares (23 Oct) from Lung Theatre, as well as a delightfully festive recreation of Charles Dickens’ famous performance of A Christmas Carol, performed by John O’Connor, in the lead up to Christmas (20 to 24 Dec).

To find out more or to keep up to date with the latest news, visit www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk or sign up to the theatre’s mailing list and social media channels.


Lewis Carroll: Guildford’s Links to Wonderland

By Alex Rose

As Alice embarked on her journey through the looking glass, Carroll began his life in Guildford, the place that may have partially inspired ‘Looking-Glass House’, the fictional parallel of ‘Wonderland’ from the famous sequel, ‘Through The Looking Glass’. So, how was the children’s author of ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’ impacted by Guildford?

Behind the picturesque Guildford castle, and its beautiful grounds, Castle Hill boasts the famous grade two listed building, The Chestnuts, acquired in 1868 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (more famously known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll) for his six sisters. By then, he had already written his first successful book, ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’, and that same year he would begin writing its sequel, ‘Through The Looking Glass’.

Born on January 27, 1832, in Daresbury, Cheshire, he and his ten siblings grew up in isolated villages in the English countryside with their father, Reverand Charles Dodgson, and mother, Frances Jane Lutwidge. As the eldest boy of the family, he was skilled at entertaining himself and his brothers and sisters, making up a number of games and telling imaginative stories. He attended Christ Church, Oxford and graduated in 1854 with degrees in mathematics and classics. He was also a keen photographer, notably shooting pictures of actress Ellen Terry and poet Alfred Tennyson. After graduating, he stayed at Christ Church, and became a lecturer, teaching mathematics – a position he had sought. Although taking deacon’s orders in 1861, Dodgson was never ordained a priest, as his stammer made preaching difficult.

If you take a walk through the castle grounds today, you might notice the locally famous statue of Alice in the moment she enters through the looking glass, reaching out towards the ruins of Guildford Castle.

Due to this stammer – which he referred to as his ‘hesitation’ – and his position in the family, with eight younger siblings, he found it easier to talk to children, three of which were the children of Henry George Liddell, Christ Church’s dean. The Liddell children – Lorina, Edith and Alice – held an important place in his affections. They were the only children at Christ Church whilst he tutored there. On July 4, 1862, he and his friend, Robinson Duckworth, took a boat from Oxford to Godstow along the Thames and picnicked on the bank. This is where Dodgson first recounted the story of ‘Alice’s adventures underground’, revealing the story of a little girl called Alice who fell down a rabbit hole and travelled into a fantasy world.

One of Lewis Carroll’s own illustrations of Alice from ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.

The story was partially based on a picnic taken by the same party around two weeks earlier, when they all got caught in the rain. Both Alice and Duckworth remarked on how improved this story was from his others, and Alice went as far as to plead with Dodgson to write it out. Not only did he handwrite it, he also illustrated it and presented it to her for Christmas in 1864. Within a year he had published it under the title of ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’.

Other marks of his links to Guildford are the March Hare pub near Guildford Castle, and The Mad Hatter hat shop.

While Dodgson lived in Oxford, he often visited his family in Guildford. Where he not only enjoyed holidaying, but also fully took part in local life. In many ways, Guildford was his perfect second home, even allowing a quick journey to parts of London he frequented. He became good friends with the headmaster of the local royal grammar school, and the banker who lived next door. He was often called upon to preach at St Mary’s
Church on Quarry street, which was, and still is, the oldest building in the town.

A photograph of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) later in life.

Another of Dodgson’s pastimes was to take leisurely walks around the castle grounds, where it is thought that he was inspired to write ‘The Hunting Of The Snark’.

If you take a similar walk through the castle grounds today, you might notice the locally famous statue of Alice in the moment she enters through the looking glass, reaching out towards the ruins of Guildford Castle. The statue, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ sits in the Alice Garden, just behind The Chestnuts. It was sculpted in 1990 by Jeanne Argent to memorialise Lewis Carroll and his famous sequel, ‘Through The Looking Glass’, which he wrote in Guilford within the year of procuring the family home. At the start of the book, Alice travels through the looking glass on the fireplace mantel, and finds a very different world, similar to how Dodgson and his family must have experienced a large change when moving to Guildford.

Statue of Alice in the moment she enters through the looking glass. Sculpted in 1990 by Jeanne Argent.

Any visitor to Guildford would notice Carrolll’s impact woven through the town, including two statues, one previously mentioned, and one on the bank of the river Wey. This second statue was sculpted by local artist Edwin Russell in 1984 and depicts the two sisters from the book – Alice watching as the white rabbit leaps towards the rabbit hole. Other marks of his links to Guildford are the March Hare pub near Guildford Castle, and The Mad Hatter hat shop.

Lewis Carroll is buried in The Mount cemetery, Guildford, where you can still find his grave today, under a pine tree to the left of the chapel.

Sadly, on January 14, 1898, Dodgson died of Pneumonia after a bout of influenza. He passed away at The Chestnuts, two weeks away from turning 66 years old, and was buried in The Mount cemetery, where you can still find his grave today, under a pine tree to the left of the chapel.

Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) is buried in The Mount cemetery, Guildford, where you can still find his grave today.

Carroll’s remarkable imagination and nonsensical style has entertained generations of readers and influenced pop culture in countless ways, and Alice’s stories continue to shape the world from their spiritual home in the town of Guildford.


Alan Turing: The New Face of the £50 Note

By Alex Rose

Many people know Alan Turing’s story, but did you know that he lived in Guildford? As the new £50 notes featuring Turing begin to roll out, let’s take a look at his life and ties to the Guildford area.

On the 23rd of June, Alan Turing’s birthday, the new polymer £50 note entered circulation. The design on the note honours Turing’s revolutionary work at Bletchley Park in the second world war in decrypting Nazi Germany’s Enigma machine and pioneering the field of study that would eventually develop computers. So, how and why has his life been celebrated in the newest banknote?

Born in 1912 in London, English mathematician Alan Turing grew up in Guildford and later attended King’s College, Cambridge and earned a degree in mathematics. He also attended Princeton University, USA, where he obtained his PhD. Aside from his remarkable talents in mathematics, science and cryptography, he was an Olympic level runner, completing a number of marathons and running great distances every day. He grew up very self-reliant and didn’t fit in with fellow students, although he was greatly affected by the death of his close friend Christopher Morcom, with whom he worked together on scientific ideas. This was his first close friendship, and the sudden loss was devastating.

The design on the new £50 note honours Turing’s revolutionary work at Bletchley Park in the second world war in decrypting Nazi Germany’s Enigma machine and pioneering the field of study that would eventually develop computers.

Alan wanted to believe that Christopher’s spirit lived on, which inspired the foundation of Turing’s later work involving a strong interest in the mind. This later manifested in his concept of the universal machine, which could solve any mathematical problem, much like the human brain. This idea eventually evolved into modern day computers.

Bletchley Park was shrouded in the highest levels of secrecy during World War II and beyond, as it housed those whose job it was to intercept enemy radio signals, decode them and deliver the intelligence to the military and government. They recruited those with the strongest problem-solving skills by attracting candidates using cryptic crossword puzzles. On the 4th of September 1939, Turing and a handful of other mathematicians, linguists and chess champions were recruited into Bletchley park and he soon became the head of the Naval Enigma Team, working in Hut 8. Their job was to decipher the daily communications intercepted from Nazi Germany and their allies encrypted through the use of the Enigma machine. This device allowed complex message encoding which changed on a daily basis. Although the ever-changing code was initially thought impossible to crack, Turing led the team responsible for analysing the enciphered messages, which held critical information of secret Nazi military operations.

While others in his team attempted to break the code using traditional means, Turing soon realised that only a machine would be able to compute the vast number of possible combinations in the time required. He and his colleague Gordon Welchman designed and built the Bombe, an electro-mechanical device used to successfully break the enigma codes. Vast amounts of priceless information about enemy operations were gained through the use of this machine, which shortened the war by an estimated two years, saving countless lives.

A replica of the Bombe.
The reverse of the new polymer £50 note showing Turing, some of his calculations and a depiction of the Bombe.

The reverse of the new £50 note, released on the 23rd of June 2021 features a design composed of a picture of Alan Turing – based on the photo owned by the National Portrait Gallery – as well as images of a matrix table, binary code, Bombe technical drawings and a mathematical formula. It also features Turing’s signature, taken from the signature book on display at Bletchley Park Trust. The note itself retains its deep red colour and, as ever, the queen’s face.

The quote on the new £50 note was taken from an interview, where Turing said, “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

His life in Guildford is attested to by the blue plaque at 22 Ennismore Avenue (although it was number eight when he lived there), where his parents moved from London to raise him and his brother in 1927. His family would regularly visit the nearby Stoke Park, which they lived next to, by going on long walks there, and at the North Downs. Alan would also go on to use Stoke Park as a frequent running spot. Astronomy interested him when he lived here, and he found that the Guildford skies were excellent for stargazing. John Turing, Alan’s brother, even married at St John’s Stoke Church. After his parents separated, his father relocated to London, whilst his mother stayed in Guildford, moving to Epsom Road and then South Hill, where Alan would visit, going on long walks with her, where they discussed his work. A statue of Turing was raised on the Surrey University campus to memorialise him in 2004.

The plaque on the house originally owned by Turing’s parents.
Alan Turing’s statue at the University of Surrey in Guildford (surrounded by COVID measures).

Needless to say, without Turing, we wouldn’t have modern computers. He founded an entire field of study and saved the lives of many thousands in the war. Turing died in 1954 by suicide, after being sentenced to hormone therapy – by the same government he helped to win a war – to ‘cure’ his homosexuality. He was cremated at Woking Crematorium, and his ashes were spread where his father’s had been. In 2013, the queen signed a royal pardon for Turing’s conviction. The quote on the new £50 note was taken from an interview, where he said, “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

Alan Turing was shaped, in part, by his life in Guildford, and went on to achieve great things, which have impacted all of us. I believe this is something that we can all feel connected to and proud of.