Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Knight's butcher and poulterer, Godstone

Ghost signs are rarely found in locations as idyllic as the one below (even if all the traffic passing through the charming little village of Godstone in Surrey can be quite nightmarish).

The vast village green, with cricket ground and pond, is surrounded by some well-preserved historic buildings, including a row of 18th century houses.

In the 19th century a tent porch hood as well as horizontal shutters were added to the house on the left. Was it already a butcher's shop when this happened? A picture taken in 1898 shows the front porch but there is nothing to indicate that a butcher's had moved in yet. By then the brick façade had not been painted white and there was no sign either on the façade itself or hanging from it.

Butcher & Poulterer
Est. 1591

Did the origins of this business really go as far as 1591? The oldest reference I could find dates from 1908. That year the partnership between Robert George Knight and William Sandiford, who carried on business as butchers in Caterham and Godstone under the name "R. G. Knight" came to an end. A later testimony mentions that Knight's was trading from the shop in front of the village pond by the mid-20th century.
In 1990 locals could still buy their meat and poultry there as a picture from that year illustrates. However, since then, Knight's closed down and the house is now home to a clothes shop. After witessing the disappearance of the "Refreshments" ghost sign in Oxted earlier on Sunday, it was rather reassuring to see that the current owners had decided it was worth keeping Knight's sign.

Location: High Street, Godstone, Surrey / Pictures taken in March 2012

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