Guildford, Surrey

In 1868, Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) leased The Chestnuts, 3 Castle Hill, off Quarry Street, Guildford, about 20 miles SW of London. This was on behalf of his sisters as he was the oldest brother and hence head of the family after his father's death. His six unmarried sisters lived there until 1919, along with other relatives, sometimes to the extent that some of them had to be put into nearby lodgings and/or friends houses. Carroll himself sometimes had to stay at the White Lion. He visited The Chestnuts regularly from 1868 (averaging perhaps 50 nights per year) and he even voted locally. In his later years, when his stammer had improved, Carroll sometimes preached at St Mary's Church at the corner of Quarry Street and Mill Lane. A good deal of his later work was done or contemplated here; in particular, in July 1874, he was walking in the hills when the line For the Snark was a Boojum, you see popped into his head and eventually led to the poem. He stayed here on his retirement in 1897. He died here in 1898 (1932 plaque on the gatepost) . He is buried near the mortuary chapel in the Old Mount Cemetery, off Old Farnham Road across the river.

There are some Carrollian mementoes in the Guildford Museum, Castle Arch, Quarry Street, close to Castle Hill. These include various toys belonging to the family and examples of the Looking Glass Box and the Wonderland Stamp Case. In the adjacent room of old toys is a zoetrope that belonged to the family. As one goes up Castle Hill, past the Castle grounds, there is an detached part of the grounds to the right with a statue of Alice passing through the looking-glass.

In the Millmead park is a bronze of Alice watching the White Rabbit.

The family of Alan Turing (1912-1954) lived at 5 Ennismore Avenue, Guildford, from 1927.

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An extract from The Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles created by David Singmaster

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