infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 51.3162
longitude= -0.561
official_name= Woking

static_image_caption=Woking Town Square
population = 62,796
shire_district= Woking
shire_county = Surrey
region= South East England
constituency_westminster= Woking
post_town= WOKING
postcode_district = GU21, GU22
postcode_area= GU
dial_code= 01483
os_grid_reference= TQ003584
london_distance=23 miles (37 km) NE

Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, England. It functions as a dormitory town of the London commuter belt and is located 23 miles (37 km) south west of Charing Cross in central London. Woking town itself, excluding the surrounding district, has a population of 62,796, [ [http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/sccwebsite/sccwspublications.nsf/591f7dda55aad72a80256c670041a50d/1c602ea59c869c9180256e600054b26c/$FILE/Town%20populations.pdf Surrey County Council census data] ] and the civil parish, which covers part of the urban area inclusive of Sheerwater and Knaphill, has a population of 30,403. It should be noted that this population should not be confused with the local government district (the borough of Woking), which has an approximate population of 90,700 (2006 estimate).

Woking also plays a role in literature: it is the town in which the Martians first land in H. G. Wells' science fiction novel "The War of the Worlds". It also features in Douglas Adams's "The Meaning of Liff", as the word for when you go to the kitchen but forget why. [Douglas Adams, 'The Deeper Meaning of Liff', London: Pan Books/Faber & Faber, 1992, p. 109.]

Twin towns

* Rastatt in Germany
* Amstelveen in the Netherlands
* Le Plessis-Robinson in France [
* italy molise in italy [http://www.woking.gov.uk/woking/twinning Woking borough twin town info]


Though Woking's earliest written appearance is in Domesday Book, it is mentioned as the site of a monastery in an 8th century context, as "Wochingas". In Domesday Book it appears as "Wochinges", being held in 1086 by King William the Conqueror, Walter FitzOther, constable of Windsor Castle, and Ansgot and Godfrey from Osbern FitzOsbern, then bishop of Exeter.

Modern Woking formed around the railway station, built over 150 years ago at the junction between lines to London, the south coast, and the south-west of England, and the private railway to Brookwood Cemetery, which was developed by the London Necropolis Company as an overflow burial ground for London's dead. As a result, the original settlement became known as "Old Woking". Later, Woking was home to the first crematorium in the United Kingdom (St Johns), and the first mosque in the UK (on Oriental Road). The Shah Jahan Mosque was commissioned by Shahjehan, Begum of Bhopal (1868-1901), one of the four female Muslim rulers of Bhopal who reigned between 1819 and 1926 giving rise to the town's significant Asian community.

The War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells, based in Horsell common in Woking is an early science fiction novel which describes an invasion of England by aliens from Mars. It is one of the earliest and best-known depictions of an alien invasion of Earth and has influenced many others, as well as spawning several films and radio dramas and a television series based on the story. The 1938 radio broadcast caused public outcry against the episode, as many listeners believed that an actual Martian invasion was in progress, a notable example of mass hysteria.


The constituency of Woking has historically been a Conservative party safe seat, with the Liberal Democrats the principal opposition in the last two general elections. Its current Member of Parliament is Humfrey Malins, who has a majority of around 6,500. The borough council is currently run by the Conservatives. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2007/councils/html/43um.stm 2007 local election results] ]


Woking has a modern shopping centre called The Peacocks and an older shopping area, Wolsey Place. [ [http://www.wolseyplace.co.uk/ Wolsey Place web site] ]

The main area for evening entertainment is around Chertsey Road [ [http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=500738&y=158860&z=1&sv=500750,158750&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf Map showing Chertsey Road] ] which contains restaurants serving a number of cuisines and there are also numerous bars and pubs. The Ambassadors cinemas [http://www.theambassadors.com/woking/ Web site for the Ambassadors cinemas and New Victoria Theatre] ] and New Victoria Theatre can be accessed via the top floor of The Peacocks.

Woking has indoor swimming pools, "Pool in the Park", [ [http://www.woking.gov.uk/leisuretourism/leisurecentreandpoolhome/pool/ Pool in the Park web site] ] and a separate leisure centre. Outdoor facilities include a skatepark, tennis courts, five-a-side football pitches, a cricket pitch (during the summer), bowling greens, a crazy golf course, and a children's adventure playground. These leisure facilities are all located within the attractively landscaped Woking Park [ [http://www.woking.gov.uk/leisure/recreation/venues Woking Park web site] ] near to the town centre. Woking also has the largest public library in Surrey.

The scene at St Peter's Church, Old Woking is an inspiration for many local artists, as is another local beauty spot at the lock at St John's Lye. [ [http://www.surreyartists.co.uk/aaw/websites/surreyartists/david_drury_2.htm (a)] [http://www.surreyartists.co.uk/aaw/websites/surreyartists/david_drury_3.htm (b)] Two sites on David Drury, a local artist]

Woking is home to a new arts and heritage centre called 'The Lightbox' [ [http://www.thelightbox.org.uk/ The Lightbox website] ] . The modern structure, located next to the Basingstoke Canal, was designed by architects Marks Barfield [ Marks Barfield - Lightbox architects [http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/sep/23/communities.architecture The Guardian newspaper] ] , the architects of the London Eye.

There is also a Hawker Hunter jet fighter painted silver and mounted on a pole roughly ten metres tall outside the 'Big Apple' family entertainment complex. This was used to promote the previous 'Planets' family entertainment complex, designed to look like a space craft, and has never been removed. However, originally the craft was black with various logos and livery on it. These were removed when the Planets complex was taken over.

Energy policy

:"See related article: Energy policy of the United Kingdom

Woking council is one of country's leaders in adopting greener energy technologies. Several combined heat and power stations provide district heating and electricity, and electricity is also provided by a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and solar cells dispersed throughout the borough. These are linked via an innovative private electricity distribution system operating completely off the public power grid.

In order to do this the local government laid new power lines to all locations on the Woking sustainable community energy system (due to Department of Trade and Industry regulations). Should the public power grid fail, central Woking would continue to have an energy supply.cite news|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/renewable/Story/0,2763,1131002,00.html|title= Woking shines in providing renewable energy|first=Paul|last=Brown|publisher=The Guardian|date=2004-01-26]

The cost for providing this is approximately UK£0.01/kWh less than for public electricity. It has been reported that the borough saves UK£974,000 a year in energy costs if the installation costs are ignored. By March 2004 the initiatives had also cut the borough's carbon emissions by 17.24%, and those of the council by 77.4%. [ [http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=5234 London Climate Change Authority Press Release] ]

Woking Station Canopy, which was approved by Woking Councillors in March 2004, was built in 2007. It is equipped with photovoltaic cells to collect sunlight and convert it into energy. [ [http://www.woking.gov.uk/news/archive?item=000044FD9112.C0A801C2.00004C3D.001C Woking government news "Final stage of the canopy to Albion Way"] ]

On Friday 23rd March 2007, Prince Charles opened a climate change exhibition in Woking. The exhibition, which is a joint venture by Business in the Community and BCSC and endorsed by the Climate Group, featured display stands with information on issues like recycling, energy use, transport, waste reduction and food sources. He also inspected work on the Albion Square canopy. After the launch, the prince took lunch at Auberge. He then gave a speech to introduce Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, which was being viewed by local business leaders.



Woking railway station is situated on the Alton Line, Portsmouth Direct Line, South Western Main Line and West of England Main Line. Accordingly, there are frequent trains to and from London Waterloo (via Clapham Junction), a journey taking approximately half an hour. There is also the twice hourly Waterloo/Woking stopping service that calls at many stations between Waterloo and Woking.

A canopy has been built between the station and the main shopping area of the town. It stretches from the railway station entrance (town - platform 1 - side) to Albion House and includes landscaping of the area which, along with the canopy, creates a new entrance to the town from the railway station. [ [http://www.woking.gov.uk/news/archive?item=000044FD9112.C0A801C2.00004C3D.001C Woking borough press release] ]


Woking is accessible from M25 motorway, M3 Motorway & the A3.

A320, the main access road, passing through the centre of town connects to the M25 junction 11 to Woking's north and to the A3 to its south at Guildford. M3 Motorway Junction 3 connects to Woking either via Chobham (B3046) or A322 & A324.


A RailAir coach service connects Woking and London Heathrow airport. The service runs approximately every 30 minutes from the railway station main entrance to the airport bus station and terminal 5. Gatwick Airport can be accessed via Guildford railway station or Clapham Junction.

The bus services in Woking are mainly operated by Arriva, Countryliner and Travel Surrey. The main bus terminal is just outside the station and provides services to Byfleet and West Byfleet, Camberley, Guildford, Kingston, Ripley and Staines.

The Bustler community transport service operates in and around Woking, serving people with a transportation disadvantage. [ [http://www.wokingbustler.org.uk/ Woking Bustler web site] ]


Woking has several suburban districts including :-
Horsell, Hook Heath, Mount Hermon, Barnsbury, Maybury, Sheerwater, Goldsworth Park, St Johns, Pyrford, Kingfield, Westfield, Ridgway and Old Woking. The adjacent village of Knaphill is often considered outer suburbs of Woking. Old Woking is cited as a separate village. Mayford and Sutton Green are to the south on the border between Woking and Guildford


Football:Woking has a non-League football club, Woking F.C., that competes in the Nationwide Conference (tier 5). The origin of the club's nickname, the "Cards", is disputed. One attractive proposal is that the name was acquired because Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, after whom the smaller of the two shopping centres is named, was staying with King Henry VIII at Woking Palace (the remains of which can be seen near the River Wey at Old Woking) when he heard he had been made a cardinal by Pope Leo X in 1515. A more prosaic alternative is that the Cards are so named because of the cardinal red in one half of their home strip. It is interesting to note that this colour was chosen because of the town's link to Cardinal Wolsey.

Rugby:Woking has a rugby union club [ [http://www.wokingrugby.com Woking RFC] ] that competes in Surrey League 3 (Level 11).

The local senior club Chobham Rugby Club [ [http://www.chobham-rugby.co.uk Chobham Rugby] ] has 6 senior teams, the 1st XV, 2nd XV (Cannons), 3rd XV, 4th XV (Devils), 5th XV (Crusaders)& Veterans (Martyrs).

The 1st XV play in London Division 2 South (Level 6), finishing third in their first season at this level (07/08). All four other senior teams play in the John O'Neil and Partners Surrey Reverse leagues. The Devils won their league cup in the 2006/7 season. Chobham won London 3SW in 2006/07.

There is also a large junior and mini section with many County and Divisional players. One of the products of the youth system, Dan Frazier, has just signed with NEC Harlequins at 18.

Woking Hockey Club [ [http://www.wokinghc.com/ Woking Hockey Club] ] women's first XI compete in the English Hockey League Women's League 1 (tier 2); the men's first XI compete in a regional league. The club has two AstroTurf pitches at a clubhouse based in Goldsworth Park.

Cricket:Woking also has a number of cricket clubs including Old Woking CC, Woking & Horsell CC, and Westfield CC.

Motor Racing:The McLaren Formula One motor racing team is based near to the town, as is Räikkönen Robertson Racing, begun by Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen.

Korfball:Woking Korfball Club] has been active for 25 years [ [http://www.wokingkorfball.co.uk/ Woking Korfball Club] ] , training and playing in the Woking area. It operates in the London league, challenging for titles every season and with 2 or 3 teams of players appearing regularly for the club. In the Season 2007/2008 Woking was second in the London & District Korball Association's Senior Premier League.

Thai Boxing:Woking has two Muay Thai (or Thai Boxing) clubs one of which uses Woking Leisure Centre while the other has its own premises.


Primary Schools

Infant and junior schools in the area include: Goldsworth Primary School, Hoe Bridge School, Knaphill Junior School, Knaphill Lower School, Horsell CofE Aided Junior School, Horsell Village School, The Prins Willem-Alexander school (Dutch private primary school), St Hugh of Lincoln Catholic Primary School, St. Dunstan's Catholic Primary School, Barnsbury Primary and Infant School, Westfield Primary School, The Hermitage Junior School, Sythwood Primary School and The Oaktree School, Beaufort Primary School and St John's Primary School.

econdary Schools

Secondary schools in the area include: Bishop David Brown School , St. John the Baptist School, St Andrew's School The Winston Churchill School, and Woking High School.

Other Schools

Woking College is located in Old Woking and provides post-16 education.

There are also private sector schools. There are several private preparatory schools in Woking: Hoe Bridge(lads), St Andrew's, Greenfield, Oakfield School and Ripley Court are all mixed, while Halstead School is girls only.

Peer Productions, a large theatre company, is based at the Woking Youth Arts Centre in Knaphill. It provides dramatic education for students of all ages.

Woking is also home to the Tante Marie cookery school [ [http://www.tantemarie.co.uk/location.htm Tante Marie location] ] , the UK's oldest established professional cookery school [ [http://www.tantemarie.co.uk/faqs.htm Tante Marie - The UK's oldest professional cookery school] ] . According to the Woking News and Mail, it has now been bought by famous chef Gordon Ramsey who intends to set up his own catering college.


Woking comes under Surrey PCT (Primary Care Trust), administered and run by NHS. Group of GP's together with Woking Community hospital [ [http://www.woking.nhs.uk/intranet/Woking-PCG/Local-Serv/index.htm List of GP's & Woking Community hospital] ] serves the local resident's primary healthcare needs. Specialist hospitals near by are St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey (for A&E) and Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.

For Private healthcare needs, Nuffield Hospital [ [http://www.nuffieldhospitals.org.uk/az_hospital_home.asp?hid=43 Nuffield Hospitals, Woking Community hospital] ] mainly serves Woking's local residents.

Woking used to have its own hospital with maternity and A&E amongst other departments. Woking Victoria Hospital [ [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/searches/subjectView.asp?ID=O107344 Listed in the National Archives] ] was situated on the corner of Victoria Way and Chobham Road, right by the Basingstoke Canal, from 1950 until the mid-80's.

Notable residents

Woking was home to author H.G. Wells, who had the Martians in "The War of the Worlds" land on Horsell Common, close to the town centre. There is a large sculpture of a (Wellsian) Martian Fighting Machine in the town centre commemorating Woking's fictional destruction.

The English composer Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) lived and died in Woking.

The Jam are from Woking, and its singer/songwriter Paul Weller (who later, together with Mick Talbot, formed The Style Council) was born there in 1958. The song "A Town Called Malice" was written about WokingFact|date=February 2007, and Weller's 1995 solo album, "Stanley Road", is named after the street in which he was born and lived. [ [http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=500831&y=158997&z=1&sv=500750,158750&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf Map with Stanley Road indicated] ]

Kazuo Ishiguro studied at Woking Grammar School. [cite web
title = Hall of fame
publisher = Woking Borough Council
url = http://www.woking.gov.uk/woking/people/halloffame
accessdate = 2008-05-21

Other notable people who were born in Woking include: Ian Ogilvy, actor, 1943; Ron Dennis, CEO/Chairman of the McLaren Group, 1947; Liz Lynne, Liberal Democrat politician, 1948; Rick Parfitt, guitarist for Status Quo, 1948; Brian Hooper, Olympic pole vaulter; Douglas Pearce, founding Neofolk musician behind Death In June and Crisis (band), 1956; Carl R May, sociologist, 1960Fact|date=May 2008; Susie Dent, a lexicographer and the dictionary expert on "Countdown"1964; The Times journalist, Andy Heath (1981) and Harry Hill, comedian, 1964. Matt Willis; band member of Busted and winner of "I'm A Celebrity..." lived in Woking attending Woking High School. Whilst Peter Davison from (Doctor Who) attended The Winston Churchill School (Woking). [cite web
title = Hall of fame
publisher = Woking Borough Council
url = http://www.woking.gov.uk/woking/people/halloffame
accessdate = 2008-05-21

The Spice Girls started their careers at a Knaphill-based studio after being picked from an audition of hundreds in June 1994. Peter Gabriel, who founded the rock group Genesis and went on to become a renowned solo artist, lived in Chobham and went to St Andrews School in Horsell in the 50's and 60's.


Douglas Adams describes Woking in The Deeper Meaning of Liff (ptcbl. vb.) as::"Standing in the kitchen wondering what you came in here for."

Emergency services

Woking is served by these emergency services:
*Surrey Police.
*South East Coast Ambulance Service as of 1 July 2006, is the local NHS Ambulance Services Trust. The Surrey Ambulance Service, Sussex, and Kent Ambulance services have all merged, and have now ceased to exist.
*Surrey Fire & Rescue Service.
**2 x Water Tender Ladder

See also

* Brookwood Cemetery, Woking
*Horsell Village, Woking
*Goldsworth Park estate, Woking
*Knaphill Village, Woking
*Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
*Woking, Alberta


Further reading

* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/interviews/story/0,,1516676,00.html Guardian article: Woking to teach London to be a world leader in tackling climate change]

External links

* [http://www.woking.gov.uk/woking Woking Borough Council]
* [http://www.wokingcommunity.org.uk/ Woking] - Information Site
* [http://www.surreyproperty.com/woking-aerial-photographs.html Aerial photographs of Woking]
* [http://www.wokingsurrey.com/gallery/c1.html Photographs of Woking]

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