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Guildford is the county town of Surrey, England as well as being one of Surrey's 11 boroughs. Being on very sandy area, Guildford is probably named after a golden ford over the River Wey which existed in Saxon times.

Alfred Atheling[?], son of King Ethelred II, had been living in Normandy during the Danish invasion of Saxon England. After Canute died, in around 1040, he returned to England where he was met and entertained in Guildford by the Earl Godwine who handed him to Harold Harefoot's men who blinded and mutilated him, so that he died not long afterward.

There is a 12th century Norman castle, which was built as an overnight resting place as the southernmost point of the Windsor hunting park. It was visited on several occasions by King John and King Henry III. Today only the keep remains and the rest of the grounds are a pleasant public garden.

From the 14th century to the 18th century the town prospered with the wool trade.

On October 5, 1974, bombs planted by IRA terrorists went off in two Guildford pubs, killing five. The subsequently arrested suspects, to become known as the Guildford Four[?], were convicted and sentenced to prison. They were released in 1989 when it was made clear that the conviction had been based on false evidence, so the four were in fact innocent.

Statue of Archbishop George Abbot in Guildford High St
In the 21st century Guildford is a typical modern English town, with shopping malls with the standard national and international shops present. It also has the usual traffic problems of most British towns. There are two railway stations which provide a convenient link to London for commuters, the main line station also connects to Portsmouth, Reading, Epsom and Gatwick airport[?]. There is a small museum in the town centre and a nationally successful sports centre in Stoke park which is home to the Guildford Flames Ice hockey team.

In 2002, Guildford's application to be granted the status of a city was unsuccessful, losing out to Preston, the only English town being formally recognised as a city as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Politically Guildford is thought of as a traditional "Conservative" constituency. However the last election of the 20th century returned a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament.

The dialling code is 01483.

For leisure: Guildford has the Spectrum Leisure Centre which is a national prizewinning sports centre (pools, ice rink, bowls, atheltics track as well as general halls); The Civic Hall, a council run auditorium used amongst other things for concerts (pop, classical and comedy); The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre[?] which often previews West End shows etc.

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