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Marvels of the month

Charles Green c.1826-1886 (ref: 3770/1)

Every week, a wide assortment of archive documents and local studies material from a variety of sources passes through our doors to join the six miles of records in our strongrooms. Behind the scenes, we work closely with the records, diligently cataloguing, cleaning, conserving and packaging them so that they can be made available to the public. It's work that we thoroughly enjoy, and everyone here has a tale to tell: whether it's the story behind a favourite book, the background to an unusual collection, or how we repaired a very fragile document.

Each month, the Surrey Heritage teams showcase their own particular "Marvels of the Month". 

This month, to celebrate National Gardening Week, 14-20 April, we celebrate the records of the nursery gardens of Surrey and unearth the story of a noted Victorian garden, its owner and gardener.

March marvels

In March, we charted the conservation and cataloguing of 147 boxes of auction records, and, for International Women's Day, revealed the rise and fall of 18th century actress, poet and feminist writer, Mary Robinson.

February marvels

In February, we discovered how 19th century artists portrayed the churches of Surrey, and examined how digital archives can be preserved for the future.


In January, Holocaust Memorial Day commemorated the millions of people killed in the Holocaust, through Nazi persecution and in subsequent genocides. We also remembered those who were able to escape oppression and make a new life for themselves in this country.

The Marvels of the Month will resume in February 2014.

December marvels

In December, we consulted a 17th century Almanack, unearthed a medieval bronze seal matrix, and revealed the rich content of provincial newspapers.

November marvels

In November, as part of the Explore Your Archive campaign, we celebrated County Hall's 120th anniversary, discovered the role of Farnham in the Civil War, and learned how to protect records from light damage.

October marvels

In October, we celebrated the remarkable story of Cesar Picton for Black History Month, uncovered the origins of officer training in Farnham, and discovered the best way to display memorabilia. 

September marvels

In September, we looked inside the remarkable scrapbook of a WWI soldier, learned how large maps are repaired by our conservation team, and enjoyed some of the beautiful bookplates in our local studies library.

August marvels

In August, we celebrated the nurseries that supplied the gardens of Surrey, delved into the history of paper conservation, and revealed the man behind a seminal survey of Surrey churches.

July marvels

In July, we celebrated the life of Farnham writer, George Sturt, discovered how the art of bookbinding evolved over time, and glimpsed inside the 'gastronomic' diaries of housekeeper, Elizabeth Davis.

June marvels

In June, for World Refugee Awareness Month, we celebrated a refugee charity founded in Woking, and discovered how a Huguenot refugee's skills advanced glassmaking in Surrey and Sussex; and our Conservation team offered valuable advice on removing fasteners to minimise damage to documents.

May marvels

In May, we offered valuable advice on caring for your old photographs, revealed the men behind the making of a map, and discovered the story behind a 'Tyburn Ticket'.

April marvels

In April, we reminisce about school dinners (fondly or otherwise!), learn how localised lamination can rescue badly damaged rate books, and browse a beautifully illustrated builder's merchant catalogue.

March marvels

In March, we shuddered at accounts of plague-ridden Guildford, revealed the role of parchment in Court Rolls, and endeavoured to demystify archaic legal jargon.

February marvels

We celebrated 'Your Paintings' and a literary connection, highlighted the historical significance of seals, and discovered an affectionate side to Surrey politician, Henry Goulburn.

January marvels

For the New Year, we celebrated the achievements of Surrey astronomer, Richard Carrington, share Thomas Holloway's fascination with the Franklin expedition, and discover how deacidification can help extend the life of a document.

December marvels

We groan under the weight of Sir William More's Christmas lists, shiver at the Surrey snows of 1927, and trace the origins and treatment of fragile tracings.

November marvels

We uncover the dramas and scandals surrounding Moor Park, Farnham, highlight the Boer War photographs of the Queen's Royal West Surreys, and delve behind the scenes of our conservation studio.

October marvels

We highlight the works of novelist, playwright and screenwriter, R C Sherriff, explore the collection of taxes in 14th century Surrey, and give recommendations for effective, long-term preservation of records.

September marvels

We examine our often overlooked Surrey journals, explore the ancient ceremony of swan upping and offer valuable advice on caring for your precious documents.

August marvels

A rare letter chronicling the build up to the Wars of the Roses, the destructive nature of an ink made from oak apples, and the value of town and village guides for tracing the history of our communities.

July marvels

A rather unusual sporting organisation, one of our impressive photographic collections, and a badly damaged volume of mental hospital case notes.

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  • Updated: 30 May 2013
  • Jill Hyams
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