Mapping Surrey’s LGBTQ+ history

Celebrate Pride Month using the new Surrey LGBTQ+ Heritage map

LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer/Questioning+) histories are embedded in the buildings and landscapes all around us. Mapping these sites gives us an important insight into the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ communities past and present.

The Historic Environment Record and Surrey History Centre have created an online map to capture these important sites and connections. Visit the map to discover trailblazing Surrey LGBTQ+ people, as well as current and historic meeting places and spaces.

Here are five highlights from the map.

The Mount, Guildford – grave of Edward Carpenter and George Merrill

Edward Carpenter was a social and political reformer who is considered as the founding father of gay rights in England. Carpenter and his partner, George Merrill, lived openly together in Guildford, declaring the people 'charming and friendly'.

Ennismore Avenue, Guildford – blue plaque on Alan Turing's parent's house

Described as the father of the modern computer, Alan Turing OBE, FRS is most famous for breaking the German Enigma encoder during World War II. His contributions to logic, mathematics and artificial intelligence have laid the foundation for computer science today.

Brooklands racetrack – Roberta Cowell

Roberta Cowell was the UK's first Trans woman, transitioning between 1948 and 1951. Cowell lived and worked in Surrey, racing and engineering cars across the county at Brooklands, Chobham, Lightwater, Camberley and Egham.

Runnymede – The Juror's sculpture

Hew Locke's artwork to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta touches on the injustice of sexual discrimination. It features twelve bronze chairs representing key moments in the struggle for freedom and equal rights.

Runnymede – Gwen Lally's Runnymede Pageant of 1934

Pageant master and 'male impersonator' Gwen Lally OBE promoted amateur drama that enabled women. Having started her career with the Merstham Women's Insitute, she returned to Surrey in 1934 to produce the Runnymede Pageant.

Help us map the past

If you can help us map more LGBTQ+ heritage in Surrey, we would love to hear from you!

You can contact Surrey History Centre on 01483 518737 or email

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