The Historic Footbridge of Shere

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1866 Ink Drawing of the original lattice designed footbridge

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A ) have an ink drawing of the original Shere footbridge with the inscription at the bottom right of the drawing which reads:
"Bridge across High Street, Shere, and Mr Bray's garden, Shere, 1866 - HC" - this original was created by Sir Henry Cole (Resident of Shere, Inventor of the Christmas Card and FOUNDER OF the V&A Museum).

Sir Henry Cole was also a keen photographer and one of the earliest photo's of Shere Village can be viewed HERE, taken in 1850.

READ MORE ABOUT SIR HENRY COLE, including photos of his home (Seaforth Cottage in Gomshall Lane), the history of the Christmas Card and more on the V&A Museum.


Photo's in year chronological order (oldest date first)

Late 1880s

A wooden footbridge was initially built at the spot at some point between 1825 and 1840 to link the ornamental garden and the kitchen gardens of the Bray Estate.

There has never been public access on it. When this bridge became unstable in 1911, it was replaced with another more robust design, until it eventually got taken down in 2010

"The Victorian Bray family would walk to church across the bridge. I remember standing on it and loving the view across the village," added Mrs Bray. 

"I think the last time anyone stood on it must be about five years ago, it was always very good for putting banners up on"

"It’s been there for 99 years and as a village it has done us proud."

A spokesman for Guildford Borough Council said: "The bridge is not listed, but it is an important feature within Shere Conservation Area.

"Conservation Area Consent for the wholesale removal of such a structure would normally be required, but its removal has been agreed for public safety.

"We will liase with the owners of the land and bridge to seek full repair and reinstatement of this much regarded feature."


CLICK TO VIEW Magnified photo - photo © Shere Museum


Victorian Lady, standing under the bridge


Photo taken in August/September 1892 - You can just make out a boy and a girl standing under the bridge on the right.

CLICK to view a magnified version


1892 Village photos - All photo's have now been scanned and are here for you all to enjoy or Click on the photo album above.


Note its light, ornate design - CLICK TO VIEW





Bridge detail Bridge detail TEAS Bridge detail





Pre-1911 footbridge and car


This photo held in the Shere Museum, shows the detail of the first built footbridge.

CLICK TO VIEW Magnified photo - photo © Shere Museum


The bridge became unstable in 1911, it was replaced with the one that many of us remember today and remained in place for 99 years. This footbridge is celebrated below.

Footbridge, Shere, 1911-2010


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Harry Mason,
Estate Carpenter and Joiner

The WI Scrapbook gives us some information on the Bridge and who built it - Mr. Harry Mason  


Harry Mason - Born April 1864.
He was 47yrs old in 1911, when he built the bridge.

After some research on Harry, we have the following census documents,
Click each document below to view a larger image

Harry Mason - 1871 census - VIEW Harry Mason - 1881 census - VIEW
Harry Mason - 1891 census - VIEW Harry Mason 1889 marriage certificate - VIEW
Harry Mason - 1901 census - VIEW Harry Mason - 1911 census - VIEW

Harry and Emily Mason's son, Fredrick William Mason was listed as the Church Organist in the 1911 census, aged 19, so the family were very much part of the community.

Harry died in January 1944, aged 79 at Orchard Cottage

Story continues lower down on this page, view 1944 section below


1911 ledger entry

Bray expenditure balance sheet - Note fifth entry down:
"New Bridge over Road" - £32.00


1911 Postcard - August 14th 1911

Exciting update - Is this the first ever photograph of the new bridge?

The New Bridge, Upper Street, Shere
A sincere thank you goes to Gill Hicks for sharing this card with us all.

The postmark clearly shows that the card was date stamped:
SHERE 7.30 PM AUG 14 11 (1911) - see detail below - We know that the bridge was built in that same year, so narrowing down the time period anywhere between January to July - The hunt continues...


Rear of postcard - Click HERE or on the images above, for more detail


Footbridge, Shere, 1920s

Footbridge, Shere, 1938

Footbridge, Shere, 1938


Footbridge, Shere, 1940s

Upper Street - The Iconic Footbridge photo © Mr. Wilmut



Harry Mason - Parish Magazine - March 1944

View PDF of the magazine

For those of you who can't access PDF files, here is the relevant passage on page 2 of te magazine:

By the death of Mr. Harry Mason, on February 29th*, Shere
loses a faithful friend and a good citizen. He was 79, and had been in failing health  for several years. He was for very many years a choirman and bellringer. He was a man of upright character, and a loving husband and father, and we offer our sympathy to his family. His familiar and kindly presence among us will be sadly missed. R.I.P.

* The magazine printed the date wrong, it was January 29th as per the Death certificate.

Harry died in January 1944, aged 79 at Orchard Cottage (next to the Old Prison in Lower Street - Now 1 Orchard Road).
Above image: Part copy of Harry's Death Certificate - in respect to any of the family relatives who may still be alive, the full death certificate was and will not be published on this page. We would love to hear from anyone who may be related to Harry.

Harry and Emily Mason's son, Fredrick William Mason was listed as the Church Organist in the 1911 census, aged 19, so the family were very much part of the community.

In 1904, Harry and Emily had a double-family sadness when their son, Leonard (b. 1894) died aged 9 in 1904. In that same year Harry's father, Charles (b.1826 Albury) passed away aged 78.

Here is a short family tree for Harry Mason



Footbridge, Shere, 1950

Photo copyright, Francis Frith


Country Life Magazine


Shere Village and the A25 Road bypass scheme - 1953

Featured in 'The Sphere' - 1953
Note: Trying to locate the original article, will update the above image asap - Note the bottom left hand photo.


Press cutting - Unsure as to the date of this - anyone any ideas?



1960s Postcard




Photo taken from the bridge towards the village centre - February 1967

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The footbridge decorated for the Shere and Gomshall VE Day Anniversary Celebrations

Front / Rear cover Inside pages


Surrey Advertiser - 19th May 1995


©photo Rookery Nook


Footbridge, Shere, 2004

©2004 photo by Helen at Purplespace (Flickr) - VIEW Colourisation by Tristan 2016 - VIEW


photo © and purchasing






Photo copyright, Christopher Lee Marsh (2005)

The iconic bridge so brilliantly captured by Shere photographer, Christopher Marsh in 2005.
There are only 25 limited Edition photo's (Print Size : 295 x 435 mm - Frame Size : 610 x 740 mm Enquiries from treacle (Middle Street, Shere)


2006 - Parish Magazine

Parish Magazine - June 2006 Page 24 - READ



2009 - Google Street View

Entering Shere on Upper Street - VIEW Entering Shere on Upper Street - VIEW
Leaving Shere on Upper Street - VIEW Leaving Shere on Upper Street - VIEW



2010 - October

NEWS ARTICLE: Historic but 'unsafe' bridge in Shere taken down

October 22, 2010

A HISTORIC footbridge running over a village road was removed this week after it was deemed unsafe by the local council.

The wooden bridge above Upper Street in Shere was taken down by Lampards on Tuesday morning (October 19) as the support structure for it appeared to be falling apart.


A spokesman for Guildford Borough Council said: "The bridge is not listed, but it is an important feature within Shere Conservation Area.

"Conservation Area Consent for the wholesale removal of such a structure would normally be required, but its removal has been agreed for public safety.

"We will liase with the owners of the land and bridge to seek full repair and reinstatement of this much regarded feature."


Tuesday October 19th 2010 - photo credit

The Shere Parish Council Minutes held on 22nd November 2010 noted: 10/115 Removal of the bridge over Upper Street, Shere – the Clerk reported that Shere Manor Estate had received several offers of help regarding the possibility of renewing and replacing the bridge. However, the first step in the process is for talks to be held with the Conservation Department officers of Guildford Borough Council. It had been noted that, in general, traffic was driving faster along Upper Street since the bridge had been removed. Mr Davey stated that Shere Museum was investigating the possibility of a link between the bridge and the Lutyens Trust. If one could be found then there might be a possibility of a
grant being available.
VIEW SOURCE - Shere Parish Council



2010 - November

The November issue of Parish Magazine features
"End of the road for the Upper Street bridge?"



2010 - Parish Magazine - December

Renewed hope for Upper Street Bridge

Parish Magazine - December 2010 Page 21 - READ


2011 - Parish Magazine - March

Progress Report on Upper Street Bridge

Parish Magazine - March 2011 Page 24 - READ



2012 - Parish Magazine - November What's the future for an Upper Street bridge?

Double-spread feature in the November 2012 Parish Magazine


Back page of the Parish Mag - VIEW



2012 - Parish Magazine - July

Upper Street bridge: the next steps

Parish Magazine - March 2011 Page 28 - READ



2015 - July


August 2015 Parish Magazine
Committee formed to press ahead with an Upper Street Bridge



8th September 2015

Group formed to restore famous 104-year-old Shere wooden bridge

Phil Warren with Maureen May and the 1911 wooden bridge that there are wishing to restore and reinstate

The Shere Bridge Restoration project was formed to rebuild the wooden structure, with hopes to use two large oaks for the structure

A new group has formed in Shere in an attempt to restore one of the village’s iconic landmarks.

A wooden bridge was erected in 1911 in Shere, which spanned Upper Street from the A25, replacing an earlier structure.

It linked the split gardens of the Bray estate, but had to be dismantled in October 2010 due to being deemed unsafe.

Parts of the bridge have survived, including the centre span which has the date carved on it. Now villagers have started the Shere Bridge Restoration project, with the view of rebuilding the wooden structure.

“For many there is now a large gap on the skyline, and over the years the question of a replacement bridge has been frequently discussed but the problem of cost and responsibility needs addressing,” a spokesman for the group said.

“In 2014 two large oaks came down in the winter gales, and they were generously offered to Shere Parish Council for a new bridge.

“Earlier this year the chairman of the parish council, Roy Davey, invited interested locals to form a committee to look into the possibilities, and at an open meeting six volunteers came forward.

“The project has been named Shere Bridge Restoration. A chairman, Phil Warren, appointed, and an outline strategy formulated.

“The bridge was such an icon that the committee hopes the public will join our community in supporting such a positive project.

“In practical terms a feasibility plan and outline costs are needed, before a design is discussed in detail, though of course there will be no shortage of opinions on that score.”

The group has said the project is in its early days, as the wood from the fallen tree is still green. Planning and highway matters also need addressing, and the group is appealing for skilled and interested volunteers to come forward, including those with engineering skills, to help with a feasibility study. ©2015 getsurrey




Friday 4th September 2015 - Newspaper version



December 2015 -

Children's book aims to raise awareness of iconic bridge restoration project

Beautifully written story by Maureen May with lovely illustrations by Maggie Kyriacou.

An illustrated children's book has been created to raise awareness of the plight of a group of villagers' bid to save a former iconic bridge.

Back in August, a committee was formed with the aim of restoring what is considered to be one of Shere's most enduring landmarks.

©2015 getsurrey



December 2015 -

Parish Magazine

Parish Magazine - December 2015 Page 29 - READ



Guildford Borough Council Character Appraisal

Interesting inclusion in the Guildford Borough Council's,
Shere Conservation Area
Study and Character Appraisal

Page 8:

"Half way up Upper Street is a timber bridge that spans the road and forms a local landmark. This was a former pedestrian link from the new Manor House to the Old Kitchen Garden. The bridge that exists today was built in 1911 and replaced an earlier rustic bridge. It is currently in need of extensive repair and is highlighted as a potential enhancement project."



SketchUp - Footbridge Model



Above: General View of the bridge.


Above: Underside showing metal braces cut (and bolted) into the lower part of the newel posts. (Some timber members omitted)

Special thanks to Tim for all the hard work in creating the above four views of the Shere footbridge using SketchUp to generate the model.

The current estimate (April 2016) to exactly replicate the bridge in oak as per the Sketchup model above is £25,000 + VAT .
This figure was put together by professional oakwrights and the quote is for designing, fabricating and erecting the bridge. Longer oak posts will be used as the supports.



January 2016



May 2016

Original resting place before the move


Friday 10th June 2016

The on-line Surrey Advertiser reports:

Plans to restore historic Shere bridge stalled after year-long campaign.

Residents of Shere came together last year with the aim of restoring the village’s 105-year-old bridge but the project has stalled.

Shere villagers are working to restore an iconic bridge

A fragile iconic bridge which a group of villagers are on a mission to restore has been moved to a temporary resting place.

Residents got together last year in Shere in an attempted to refurbish the wooden bridge which was erected in 1911 in the village.

It spanned Upper Street from the A25 and replaced an earlier structure, but was dismantled in 2010 after it was deemed to be unsafe.

The group is attempting to reinstate the bridge through the Shere Bridge Restoration project with the parts that have survived, which includes the centre span which has the date carved on it.

“We have been endeavouring to reinstate the old bridge over Upper Street for the past several months,” a spokesman for the project said.

“However, due to various difficulties, we are unable to do this in the short term.

“An action plan has been created to prevent further deterioration of the old bridge and to help raise funds for the renovation and storage of the framework until a final resting place can be found.”

The bridge was moved on Wednesday (June 8) ahead of the village’s street party on June 12 and the Shere open gardens event on June 26.

At the end of the month, repairs to the framework will be made, then it will be dismantled, boxed up and stored.

“It was touch and go as the fragile framework took its precarious journey to its temporary resting place, a few hundred yards, taking two hours and 30 minutes,” the spokesman said after the operation was completed.

“All thanks to Byron whose magnificent driving expertise and Christian’s cool head made it possible.”

To help with the project, an illustrated book was created to raise awareness of the group’s aim, and featured a fairy-tale for children about a group of animals who help save the bridge

‘Please Save the Bridge’ is available to buy in Shere shops, and will be available at the street party and open garden events.

Visit the website to read the story


Photos of the bridge move

All photos are now available to view










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