Open Plaques
United Kingdom

Guildford

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3660078041_3eabb37484_sP. G. Wodehouse brown plaque in GuildfordAuthor and humourist P. G. Wodehouse was born here on October 15th 1881
6823335067_d0b3619419_sAlan Turing blue plaque in GuildfordThe family home of Alan Turing (1912-1954) founder of computer science
6823299713_60f0ed0cd2_sCharcoal Barn Baptist chapel plaque in GuildfordCastle Square Guildford was founded around AD 500 and remained a small settlement, although there was a royal residence here by the reign of Alfred the Great, some 400 years later. In the 16th century the town was enlarged as a commercial and defensive centre. A rampart and boundary ditch were dug to enclose an area north and south of what became the High Street. The southern town ditch ran here, along the line of what is now Castle Street and Sydenham Road. A mint was set up to strike silver pennies. Only seventy towns in England had their own mints, and possession of one indicates that Guildford was a 'borough' - a town owned directly by the king. Soon after 1066 William the Conqueror imposed control on his new kingdom by constructing castles in the main centres of population. Guildford's was a typical Norman castle, with a flat-topped mound or "motte" and a bailey or outer area, enclosed by a rampart and ditch. At first the defences and buildings would have been of timber, but were later rebuilt (at least partly) in stone. The great tower (or keep) was built in the 12th century from the rusty Bargate stone from the hills south of Godalming. The original outer gate of the castle may well have stood opposite here, at the main entrance to the Castle Grounds. Tunsgate, the street leading to the High Street through the arch of the former Cornmarket, was once the passageway leading through the Tun Inn. It was widened in the 1930s to take motor traffic. Until 1954 the 'Charcoal Barn' Baptist chapel stood on this spot. The green lawn across Castle Street was the site of the earliest civic swimming baths in England, built in 1889 and demolished in 1971.
6829007753_707137cced_splaque № 8692 in GuildfordTunsgate Arch There have probably been markets held in Guildford since Saxon times. Markets are one of the features which distinguish a town from a village, and were an essential part of rural life. Farmers from the countryside around would bring their produce into Guildford for sale, and then buy other goods. There were three markets each week: for corn, for cattle and a general market for food and household goods. The street beyond is called Tunsgate. In old Guildford "gate" meant passage or alleyway, and this one used to run through the now vanished Tuns Inn. There was never a market square and for much of Guildford's history the markets were held in the High Street. Sacks of grain need cover from the rain, however, and the cornmarket was held in the front part of the Guildhall. As more space became needed, a wooden canopy was built in front of the Tun Inn opposite. In 1818 the inn was demolished and the present archway built, with columns in the style of a Tuscan temple. The cornmarket occupied the space under the arch, with a court room for the annual assizes at the rear. Look for Guildford's coat of arms in the pediment facing the High Street. Notice behind it the sword of justice (referring to the law court) and a horn of plenty (for the cornmarket). Growing corn was the most profitable kind of farming in the Guildford area. Wheat for flour, barley for brewing beer and oats for animal food would be displayed for sale under this arch. The corn porters, who carried the sacks, would take a pint of grain from each one as a market toll. the scoops they used can still be seen in the Guildhall. The money from selling the toll went to the Corporation. In 1901 sales of corn moved to Woodbridge Road (where it ended in about 1970). This building was used by the Corporation until 1937, when the two middle columns was moved apart to build a road through to the street behind. In 1992 this road was filled in and the steps replaced. The coat of arms of Guildford and of its twin town Freiburg were set in to the pavement under the arch.
6823475855_651f61f76b_splaque № 8701 in GuildfordThe Wey & Godalming Navigations Sir Richard Weston wished to make the River Wey navigable between Guildford and the Thames. He had already experimented with locks and irrigation channels on his estate at Sutton Place, north of Guildford. In 1651, an Act of Parliament empowered a group of men led by Weston to carry out the work. Although it proceeded rapidly, the project went over the budget and there were many disputes about the finances. Despite these troubles the Navigation was finished by 1653 and was an immediate success. The Wey Navigation reached as far as the Town Wharf, just downstream of the bridge. In 1760 another Act of Parliament was obtained for a navigation upstream to Godalming. The Godalming extension involved enlarging the centre arch of Guildford's Town Bridge and dredging out the ford alongside it to allow the barges to pass. Millmead Lock was built here in 1762 to raise barges to the millstream, embanked above the natural level of the river. The principal cargoes carried were timber, coal and corn. Many other goods were carried, notably gunpwder from the mills at Chilworth and chalk from the nearby quarries for lime. The arrival of the railway in 1845 began the decline of the Wey and Godalming Navigations, but they continued to carry commercial cargoes until 1969. The navigations were presented to the National Trust by their last owner, Harry Stevens, and while no longer carrying cargo are much used by pleasure craft.
6823543915_4619e430cc_splaque № 8703 in GuildfordTown Wharf [full inscription unknown]
6829029587_6a3a3b5811_splaque № 8702 in GuildfordThis bridge was reconstructed by Surrey County Council using the original stonework and cast iron components and was formally opened by the Mayor of Guildford Councillor Jack Patrick JP Councillor T.R.L. Waring Chairman S.C.C. Guildford Area Partnership Highways Sub-Committee. 11th November 1985 - J.W. Melrose C.Eng F.I.C.E. County Engineer - French Kier Construction Ltd. Contractor
6823459279_9b722f59ab_splaque № 8700 in GuildfordThe Town Mills There was probably a water mill on this site before the Norman conquest, though the Domesday Book is silent on this. A town the size of Guildford would certainly have needed a regular supply of flour. By the later Middle Ages the mills included a fulling mill, in which locally-made woollen cloth was hammered to produce a smooth surface. In 1624 Henry Smith, a generous benefactor to Surrey, gave the mills in trust, the income going to support the poor of Guildford. In 1701 pumps were installed in the mill to supply the town with water, which was pumped up hollowed-out elm logs to a reservoir at the bottom of Pewley Hill. in 1770 the eastern part of the mills was handsomely rebuilt in brick. The western part however was simply repaired until 1851 when it was rebuilt as a two-bay extension. This followed the 1770 style so closely that it is hard to distinguish the join. The population of London was growing rapidly and Guildford, with its important corn market and river communication, was well placed to supply the metropolis. By the 1890s local milling had declined and the mills were bought by Guildford Corporation to become a water works. In the 1960s the building was taken over by the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and remains one of the town's most impressive industrial monuments.
6823593835_b34456cd75_splaque № 8706 in GuildfordQuakers Acre The Society of Friends, or 'Quakers' as they were generally known, became established in Guildford during the 1650s, when Oliver Cromwell ruled following the Civil Wars. They suffered persecution after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 but in 1672 this was relaxed. The Guildford Quakers, who had previously met in each other's homes, now felt it time to acquire a Meeting House and burial ground. In 1673 they acquired a house and a plot of land at the North Street end of the inn-yard of the Crown (now the NatWest Bank). A new meeting house was built on a site across the street in 1805 and this garden was used simply as a cemetery until it was given to the town in 1927. Nearby, the 'Speakers' Tree' had become a recognised place for public oratory. The opportunity was taken to dedicate a memorial to G. F. Watts (1817-1904), a prominent local artist who had lived and worked at Compton. Another memorial commemorates the victims of the pub bombings of 5th October 1974. Paul Craig, William Forsyth, Anne Hamilton, John Hunter and Caroline Slater were killed in the Horse & Groom across the street (now a shop). The building with the short clock tower, now public conveniences, is the former fire station of 1872. On the opposite corner of Ward Street is a bank. This was opened in 1881 as a temperance hotel. It did not thrive and in 1891 its upper floors were incorporated into the Guildford Institute, which had been built next door in Ward Street.
6823443077_370a5960e9_splaque № 8698 in GuildfordGuildford Dispensary 1859-1866 From 1859 to 1866 this building housed the Guildford Dispensary providing medical care for the poor of the town and was the immediate forerunner of the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
6823422077_a04d62db45_splaque № 8697 in GuildfordGuildford Museum Around 1630, next to the medieval gateway of Guildford Castle, Francis Carter built a 'hall-and-crosswings' house, including two fine fireplaces. Later, the house became divided into several tenements and was bought by Guildford Corporation in 1885. In 1898 it was restored to its original form to be the headquarters of the Surrey Archaeological Society. The Society had been founded in 1854 in response to a growing interest in archaeology. It began to acquire antiquities, and in 1898 was able to display them in a permanent museum. A purpose-built gallery was added in 1911, designed by the local architect Ralph Neville. Since 1937, the museum has been run by Guildford Borough Council, though it remains the home of the Surrey Archaeological Society. As a consequence, the museum houses the principal archaeological displays for the county. These include the Stone Age, Iron Age, Roman and medieval objects from the local area. Of especial note are Roman priests' head-dresses, pagan Saxon grave goods and medieval floor tiles. The local history displays cover local trades, industries and social history, including Victorian childhood. there are special displays on Lewis Carroll and Gertrude Jekyll, the garden designer and cottage life collector. A specialist collection of needlework covers sewing techniques such as samplers, patchwork, dress accessories, baby clothes, smocks and lace. There is also a collection of needlework tools.
6829017527_e518a296b4_splaque № 8699 in GuildfordSt. Mary's Church St Mary's Church is the oldest surviving building in Guildford and is almost certainly the original church of the town. The Saxon settlers became Christians during the 7th century and there was probably at first a wooden church on this site. The church would have been rebuilt in stone in late Saxon times: the present stone tower being all that survives of this building. In about 1120, King Henry I gave St Mary's to the Canons of Merton Priory, who held it until the Reformation. Two transepts were added to the north and south of the tower. Around 1140, the chancel was reconstructed and two side chapels with rounded or apsidal ends added on either side. Later in the 12th century narrow aisles were added, a pillared arcade being opened in the walls of the nave. Early in the 13th century the chancel and the side chapels were remodelled in the current 'Early English' style, with ribbed vaulting. In the mid 13th century the aisles were extended to their present size, and the north doorway made. Essentially, St. Mary's church has changed little since then, though later in the Middle Ages windows were added or replaced and the roofs renewed. The Reformation in Tudor times saw the painted internal walls whitewashed and the stained glass replaced with plain, in accord with the simpler Protestant services. The chancel was shortened in 1825 to widen Quarry Street - it is said to allow George IV's coach to pass more easily from Windsor to Brighton. The Victorian age saw a return to medieval church practices and in this spirit St Mary's was restored in the early 1860s. Fortunately this work was done with a light hand and most of the medieval building was untouched. St Mary's function as a place of worship continues today as it has for over a thousand years.
6736691135_33e3a63555_splaque № 8716 in GuildfordQuarry Street/Rosemary Alley Quarry Street was formerly the main road south to Horsham until Millbrook was built below it in 1961. Originally South Street, it became known as Quarry Street in Georgian times because it led to the great chalk pits just outside the town. The chalk was mainly used for lime, which was used as a fertiliser and in building mortar. Before Stuart times, most of the houses in Guildford were built of timber. The great oak woodlands which covered part of Surrey provided excellent building material and many late medieval and Tudor timber houses survive today. This house, 53 Quarry Street, dates from the early 17th century and has the characteristic 'jetty' - the upper floor projecting beyond the ground floor wall. The ceiling timbers inside still retain their original painted decoration. Opposite you can see two other timber-framed houses flanking what is now called Rosemary Alley - once an open drain that ran to the river. The timber-framed houses of Rosemary Alley lean together. St. Mary's Church is the oldest in Guildford. The central tower is late Saxon, dating from about 1050. Re-buildings and extensions over the next 200 years gave the church its present form. The east end - the chancel - used to extend further into the street, making a very narrow passage. It was shortened to its present length in 1825 to allow - it is said - George IV to travel in his coach more easily from Windsor to Brighton.
Nophotosqrplaque № 8717 in GuildfordOld House [full inscription unknown]
6823569667_007e7f1a28_splaque № 8704 in GuildfordGuildford The town of Guildford lies in the gap where the river Wey cuts through the chalk ridge of the North Downs. The main routes in West Surrey converged to cross the river, over the ford on the site of the old town bridge. It was to this spot that the first Saxon migrants came in about the year AD500, to settle at Gyldeforda - "the golden ford". The coat of arms of Guildford include the wavy lines that represent the ford. In the mid 600s, these pagan Saxons became Christians and St. Mary's Church nearby in Quarry Street has a late Saxon tower. In the Middle ages Guildford thrived as a centre for the wool trade. Lying halfway between London and the South Coast, it was well placed for trade. Although small throughout the Middle Ages, Guildford was a prosperous town having the status of a borough from the 10th century and was recognised by Henry III as the county town of Surrey. As a centre of the local road network, Guildford had a large number of inns and public houses. Opposite, White Lion Walk marks the site of the great White Lion coaching inn, demolished in 1957. Nearby, The Star was the base for most of the 'carriers' in Georgian and Victorian times. These men would transport goods to and from the outlying villages. Both The Star and the building facing it have the distinctive 'jetty', where the upper storey projects beyond the ground floor. Both date from the late Elizabethan period. The granite setts (not cobbles) have been a feature of Guildford High Street since 1869.
6823520673_e46731edaf_splaque № 8705 in GuildfordAngel Hotel The Angel is the only survivor of Guildford's many famous coaching inns. Situated half-way on the two day journey between London and the south coast ports, Guildford became an overnight stopping place for travellers. In 1636 the poet John Taylor wrote of Guildford, "This towne hath very fine inns and good entertainment at the tavernes, the Angell, the Crowne, the White Hart and the Lyon". The Angel has been an inn at least since Henry VIII's time. Its Tudor timber-framing is visible behind the frontage added in 1820 at the height of the stagecoach era. A "Posting House" was where a traveller in a hurry could swap a tired horse for a fresh one. You could leave your horse to be looked after at "Livery Stables". The coming of the turnpikes in the 18th century revolutionised road transport. These were privatised main roads, where tolls were paid at gates and the income used to maintain a good road surface. The Portsmouth Road was turnpiked in 1749 and the road over the Hog's Back to Southampton in 1758. This enable coaches to complete the journey in one day and travellers no longer needed to spend the night in Guildford. The Royal Mail was carried at first on horseback by boys who "posted" - that is, they changed their tired horses for fresh ones every ten or twelve miles. (We still refer to the mail as "the post".) In 1784 the mail began to be sent by coach and the early part of the last century saw a boom in the coaching trade. However, the coming of the railway to Guildford in 1845 saw the disappearance of the coaches almost overnight. Not only was the train faster and more comfortable, it was far cheaper. One by one the town's High Street inns closed and became shops. Now only the Angel remains.
6829038807_5251a0ee81_splaque № 8707 in GuildfordHoly Trinity Church The present brick building stands on the site of an earlier church, which may have had its origins in late Saxon times. the first records of Holy Trinity is in the 12th century, when it belonged to the Augustinian canons of Merton Priory. By the later Middle Ages, Holy Trinity had become the foremost of Guildford's three parish churched. It is here that Henry Norbridge, Mayor of Guildford, was buried in 1512. He left land to the south of the town the rent of which would pay for a 'chantry' - that is, for prayers to be said for his soul. This land to this day is known The Chantries. In 1540 Sir Richard Weston of Sutton Place built his chantry chapel on the south side of the church in a chequered pattern of flint and stone; this is the only part of the earlier church which survives. Both chantries were closed down in 1548 at the time of the Reformation. The Latin tag below the clock dial means 'The hours fly and are reckoned to our account'. George Abbot, a Guildfordian who became Archbishop of Canterbury and who built the magnificent 'Hospital' or old people's home across the street, was buried in Holy Trinity in a magnificent tomb in 1633. However, by Georgian times the church had been allowed to fall into disrepair and in 1740 the central tower fell, destroying most of the ancient building. The present church was completed in 1763, designed in the Palladian style by the architect James Horne. Much of the work was paid for by the Onslow family of Clandon Park, whose crest can be seen over the clock face. In 1888, the church was extended at the east end. This involved removing a great deal of earth - and burials. This was piled up to form an L-shaped mound in the churchyard behind. When the diocese of Guildford was formed in 1927, Holy Trinity acted as the pro-cathedral until the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit was consecrated on Stag Hill in 1961. Dates and monograms of benefactors can be seen in the wrought iron railings.
6736639379_747d12255c_splaque № 8708 in GuildfordThe Royal Grammar School The Royal Grammar School was founded by Robert Beckingham (a London merchant and probably a native of Guildford) who died in 1509 and whose will left property to set up a free school in Guildford. The school was established in 1512 alongside the castle until, in 1552, it was re-endowed out of former charity lands by King Edward VI. This site was acquired by the Corporation and construction of a new school was begun in 1555. It consisted of a schoolroom on the south and two houses for the Schoolmaster and his Usher on the west and east respectively. A screen wall with a gallery above was added to the street side, thus completing a quadrangle. The work was completed in 1586. Grammar School boys are recorded as playing "creckett" in about 1550 and this has often been thought to be the first reference to the game. Grammar meant essentially Latin and the boys were taught to read, write and speak it. It was the language not only of the classics and the learned professions but also the religious books that were such an important part of Tudor education. In its first hundred years the shcool produced two Lord Mayors of London and five bishops, one of whom was George Abbot, who became Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Abbot provided Guilldford with an almshouse, the Hospital of the Blessed Trinity, a few hundred yards to the west of the school. John Parkhurst, Bishop of Norwich, left his Latin books to the school in 1575, and they remain, attached by iron chains to the shelves in the gallery. At first, teaching was free but, as the endowments proved increasingly inadequate, later schoolmasters took in fee-payers. the school's fortunes fluctuated in the 18th and 19th centuries until it was completely re-organised in 1889. In the twenty years that followed, science classrooms and a gymnasium were added behind the original Old Building. The New Building across the street was opened in 1965.
6823626963_b2a5a344a8_sBlue plaque № 8710 in GuildfordGuildford House Guildford House, now the town's art gallery, is a rare example of a Restoration town house. John Child, a wealthy London attorney, began its construction in 1660, incorporating parts of an existing timber-framed building. It uses classical features in the style made fashionable by Inigo Jones. John Child has been born in 1629, the son of a Buckinghamshire gentleman, and rose to prominence in Guildford, where he served as mayor in 1676, 1681 and 1691. The house seems to have been built in two phases, the first in the early 1660s and then in the 1680s. The magnificent staircase belongs to this latter phase, and echoes the work of the great wood-carver Grinling Gibbons. The plaster ceilings, panelling and elaborate window ironwork all indicate that this was a house of a gentleman of taste and wealth. In 1736 the Childs sold the house to the Martyr family. They, too, were lawyers and were known as the hereditary Town Clerks of Guildford. The Martyrs made several alterations to the house, including the panelling in the first-floor front room. This was known as the Sheriff's Parlour (now the Powell Room), where the Martyrs entertained the Sheriff of Surrey. and the judges when the assizes were held in Guildford. It may also have been the Martyrs who clad the rear of the house with 'mathematical' tiles, which give the impression of brickwork. The house became a shop in 1841. The entrance steps were removed and bay windows inserted at street level. Passing through several owners, it became Nuthall's Restaurant in 1930. The Guildford Corporation bought it for use as an art gallery, which opened in 1957.
6823609057_d4f06b66d1_splaque № 8718 in GuildfordGuildford Old Bank Established 1765 This building was altered and extended in 1899 when the old front was retained at the special request of H.R.H. the Princess Louise Marchioness of Lorne and the Rt. Honble the Viscount Midleton Lord Lieutenant of Surrey on behalf of The old Guildford Society.
6736641721_f190617970_sWest's Picture Palace film cell plaque in GuildfordOn this site stood Guildford's first Cinema West's Picture Palace Opened in the Constitutional Hall 8th September 1909
6823502125_ea2deb7159_sCharles Seymour blue plaque in GuildfordSomerset House Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (1662-1748), was known as the 'Proud Duke'. He would often stay overnight in Guildford when travelling between London and his seat at Petworth. It is said that his irascible nature led him to quarrel with every inn-keeper in the town. Eventually he decided to buy his own house, just outside borough boundary. It is a good example of the contemporary Queen Anne style, with fine brickwork and a gable and entrance steps in the Dutch manner. It was extensively refurbished in 1847, but remained a private house until the 1920s, when shop fronts were knocked through the street frontage on either side of the entrance steps. The upper High Street has had various names in the past, most notably Spital Street. This was short for Hospital Street, and referred to an ancient leper hospital which stood at the junction of the London and Epsom Roads until the 1840s. An alderman's wife, Mrs Quittenton, considered the name improper and in 1901 led a successful campaign to have it changed to 'Upper High Street'. In 1961 it was formally included in the High Street, and all the addresses were renumbered. Across the street, the north side has been almost entirely rebuilt from 1931 onwards, in order to widen the roadway for motor traffic.
6739017651_f749ce7ca3_sJohn Russell blue plaque in GuildfordBirthplace of John Russell, R.A. 1745-1806 artist
12884243245_520eeef712_sDaphne Frances Jackson blue plaque in GuildfordDaphne Frances Jackson OBE, 1936-1991, Britain's first female professor of physics, lived at this address 1972-1991.
6823394361_194a5ca197_sHenry III of England plaque in GuildfordCastle Arch Guildford Castle was probably founded soon after 1066, with the prominent "motte" on which the keep now stands and the "bailey" to one side enclosed by a ditch and a wall. The original bailey ditch extended into this area. The gate you see in front of you was constructed in 1256 by John of Gloucester, King Henry III's master mason. At this time Henry was lavishing a great deal of money on buildings in the bailey, making it one of the most luxurious royal residences in England. On either side of the gateway can be seen the grooved in which the portcullis slid. In the gardens opposite can be seen remains of this great palace. The standing walls are probably part of the private quarters built for the young prince Edward - later Edward I - in 1246. Excavations have revealed the foundations of other palace buildings beneath the present garden. In 1630 the northern gate tower was adapted as the end wall of this house. Clad in bricks with tile-hanging on the upper storeys, it is of the hall-and-crosswings plan characteristic of the local style. It was built by Francis Carter, who had acquired the castle from James I in 1610 and had attempted at first to live in the keep. Since 1898 it has been Guildford Museum.
6823374165_736139deb1_sHenry III of England plaque in GuildfordGuildford Palace The ruins you can see nearby are the remains of what was once one of the most luxurious royal residences in England. Guildford Castle was probably founded by William the Conqueror soon after 1066, with its prominent "motte" or mound with "bailey" to one side, enclosed by a ditch and a wall. The original bailey ditch seems to have run near the spot where you are now standing, until it was filled in when the bailey was extended to Quarry Street in about 1200. Here in the bailey there would originally have been timber buildings to house the garrison. These would have been replaced with stone during the 12th century and subsequently Henry III lavished a great deal of money on buildings and decorations here. The ruin to your right may well have been the King's Great Chamber, his private quarters when staying at Guildford. We know from Exchequer records that the chamber was panelled with wood, there was glass in the windows and the ceiling was decorated with moons and stars. The king had his own chapel nearby, as did the queen. Henry's wife, Eleanor of Provence, was a highly cultured woman who introduced colonnaded gardens and tiled pavements at Guildford. The life of the castle revolved around the Great Hall, which probably lay where the Victorian brick houses now stand. Nearby buildings would have accommodated the royal children, the officials, courtiers and servants who attended the royal family. After Henry III's death in 1272 the palace buildings were used less frequently and eventually allowed to fall into decay.
8676306254_26a21ee8a0_sBlue plaque № 12434 in GuildfordThe statue of Alice, her sister and the white rabbit celebrates Guildford's connection with Lewis Carroll. It depicts the opening scene of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and was made by the local sculpture Edwin Russell in 1984. It stands on what once was an island called "Westnye" or later "Bennets Island". A channel once ran where the roadway is now, which served as the millstream for Artington Mill, which stood where the White House is now. The riverside meadow belonging to this mill was known as Millmead. The mill closed in the 17th. century and the stream was filled in during the 18th. The name of the island is commemorated in Westnye Gardens, which has an interesting sundial. on this side of St. Nicholas Church is the glass wall of the Parish Room built in 1977. There is a memorial to Dr. John Monsell, Rector of St. Nicholas and author of such hymns as "Fight The Good Fight", who died in 1875 during the building of the present Church. Below the old bridge can be seen the sandy riverbed that may have inspired the town's Saxon name, Gyldaford - "the Golden Ford". Until the 1960's Moon's timber yard stood there, across the river. In the flood of 1900, planks floating downstream became jammed under the arches of the ancient bridge and the pressure of water caused the stonework to collapse. A single arch iron bridge was built in 1902.
NophotosqrMalcolm Saville blue plaque in GuildfordMalcolm Saville [full inscription unknown]

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