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The Rodboro Buildings

This pub a is former car factory.

1–10 Bridge Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4RY
This pub was built in 1900 as a car factory and extended soon after. It became home to the Rodboro Boot and Shoe Company in 1919. The company left in 1928, but the premises has been known ever since as The Rodboro Buildings.

Built in 1900 for the car manufacturer Dennis, this is possibly the world's first purpose-built car factory. 

The firm's showrooms were on the ground floor, with its various workshops accommodated on the floors above.

 

The title page of a 1904 sales brochure for Dennis Brothers Limited.



An illustration of the Dennis Hansom.

The sale price in 1904 for this two-cylinder powered car was five hundred guineas.

A photograph of the Dennis Factory Rodboro Buildings, Onslow Street.

In the 1902 issue of The Gentleman’s Journal it was described as “one of the handsomest buildings in Surrey”.

A photograph and text about John Dennis.

The text reads: He left his native Devon in 1894 and moved to Guildford. Then aged 23 he worked for a firm of ironmongers and built and sold bicycles in his spare time. This venture proved unsuccessful and within one year or arriving in Guildford he set up The Universal Athletic Stores in Guildford High Street, building Speed Queen and Speed King bicycles for ladies and gentlemen. In 1898 John’s business produced its first motorised vehicle. While John was putting this single cylinder tricycle through its paces down Guildford High Street, he was apprehended and fined 20 shillings for “driving furiously at 16mph!”.

A photograph and text about Raymond Dennis.



External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk