Commemoration of the Railway coming to Haslemere in 1859
For the full story please download the Brochure below.
It can be seen from the map, by 1851 the region had an extensive but strategically incoherent railway network. Portsmouth, the country’s principal naval port, had two routes from London: Waterloo to Gosport via Basingstoke, and London Bridge to Portsmouth via Brighton. The planned route via Chichester now terminated at Godalming, with no funds to continue. As the forthcoming Crimean War (1853-56) was to prove, a more direct route was critical to the national interest.
Against this background and renewed investor appetite, the Portsmouth Railway was authorised on 8 July 1853 to build from just north of the Godalming terminus to Havant via Witley, Haslemere and Petersfield; it would be 32 miles long and the capital was to be £400,000.
Work got underway fairly quickly, proceeding at a slower than planned rate due to regular funding challenges. By 1855 around 200 “navvies” were lodging in Haslemere, swelling the population by 40 per cent.
Haslemere Station opening c.1903