Heritage events

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Talks and events

Colours - Free drop in family activities

Tuesday 16 August to Friday 26 August during normal opening hours at Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6ND.

Come along to Surrey History Centre and explore the colours in our collection. Make a suncatcher, create your own rainbow, colour in and other free craft activities. Parents/Guardians are responsible for supervising their children. Buggy friendly and accessible building with free parking on site as well as baby change facilities.

Where there's a will

Wednesday 7 September, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Zoom

Whilst there is no getting around the fact that not everyone left wills, they can still be a wonderful resource for genealogical research and provide a fascinating window into our ancestors' past. This talk looks at wills and probate records – primarily to establish what type of records they are, where they might be found and most importantly, what can they tell a keen family and local historian.

  • Tickets: £5.
  • Please book a place online. You will then be sent the Zoom joining information with your unique password.

A Burden on the Parish: sources for the history of Poor Relief in Surrey

Wednesday 21 September, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Zoom

This talk discusses the range of sources for the history of poor relief in Surrey from the sixteenth century to the eve of the Second World War. Parish records, family papers, quarter sessions records, charity and business papers, early printed sources and even illustrations can all provide vivid insights into the plight of the poor and the duties of those responsible for helping them.

  • Tickets: £5.
  • Please book a place online. You will then be sent the Zoom joining information with your unique password.

The Book That Changed My Life

Wednesday 5 October, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Zoom

This talk tells the story of how the purchase of an anonymous pocket diary in a London bookshop led Julian Pooley to discover extensive and previously unknown archives of John Nichols (1745-1826). Nichols was one of Georgian London's most prominent printers and a leading antiquary whose History and Antiquities of the Town and County of Leicester 4 vols (1795-1815) transformed the way that English local history was written and illustrated. For three generations he and his family edited and printed the Gentleman's Magazine. The vast archive of family and business papers which he and his successors accumulated inspired his granddaughter to form her own collection of autograph letters, augmented by exchange with other collectors and by purchases in the London and Paris salerooms. This internationally significant collection, which includes many documents relating to Surrey, is now part of the 20,000 Nichols papers calendared and accessible via the Nichols Archive Database which is available via appointment at Surrey History Centre.

  • Tickets: £5.
  • Please book a place online. You will then be sent the Zoom joining information with your unique password.
  • Please note, this talk was previously given at the Surrey History Trust AGM in 2021.

John Evelyn in Surrey

Wednesday 26 October, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Zoom

The talk discusses the diarist, virtuoso and horticulturalist John Evelyn (1620-1706), born in Surrey to a family made wealthy through the early English gunpowder industry. Evelyn's diary, covering c.1643-1706, is what now makes him famous, and since its first publication by William Bray, the Surrey antiquary, in the early 19th century, it has been a key source for 17th century scholars and local historians of Surrey.

  • Tickets: £5.
  • Please book a place online. You will then be sent the Zoom joining information with your unique password.

Surrey History Trust presents 'The second editions are the ones to have'; revising the Pevsner Architectural Guide to Surrey by Charles O'Brien

Wednesday 2 November, refreshments from 6.30pm, talk to start at 7pm to 8.30pm. In person at Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND and streamed live on Zoom.

The first edition of the Buildings of England volume for Surrey was published in 1962, co-authored by Nikolaus Pevsner and Ian Nairn. In November 2022 the first fully revised edition since 1971 will be published. Its author Charles O'Brien is the series editor of the Pevsner Architectural Guides and has revisited every part of the county and hundreds of buildings to bring the guide up to date and expand its coverage. He has researched, edited and written several volumes in the series since 1997 and will talk about the history of the series and the tasks of revision as well as some discoveries that have come to light in the course of research.

The Pevsner Architectural Guides, were begun in 1951 by the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-83) with the aim of providing an up-to-date portable guide to the most significant buildings in every part of the country, suitable for both general reader and specialist. Each volume provides an introductory overview of the architecture of the area, followed by a descriptive gazetteer arranged alphabetically by place. Whilst cathedrals and their furnishings, great country houses and their parks form the grand set pieces, the books demonstrate the enjoyable diversity of architecture in the British Isles in accounts of rural churches and farmsteads, Victorian public buildings and industrial monuments.

  • Tickets: £5.
  • Please book a place online. Please note there are two booking forms, one form for the in person talk at Surrey History Centre and one form for the streamed Zoom event. If the Zoom event is booked, you will be sent the Zoom joining information with your unique password shortly afterwards.

In the Shadow of the Great War: Surrey 1914 to 1922

Wednesday 9 November, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Zoom

This talk will explore how Surrey's people and communities responded to the unprecedented challenge of the first global war between industrialised nations.

  • Tickets: £5.
  • Please book a place online. You will then be sent the Zoom joining information with your unique password.

Artists, Antiquaries and Collectors: illustrations of Georgian Surrey collected by Robert Barclay of Bury Hill, Dorking, c.1800 to 1825

Wednesday 23 November, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Zoom

The late eighteenth century witnessed a craze among antiquaries and gentlemen collectors for collecting engravings and portraits to bind into published works of local history. Robert Barclay's collection of over 2000 prints, watercolours and drawings, compiled to illustrate his copy of Manning and Bray's History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey (1804-1814) includes over 500 original watercolours of Surrey buildings by John and Edward Hassell, John Carter and Henry de Cort, which reflect the opposing contemporary tastes for picturesque views and antiquarian precision.

  • Tickets: £5.
  • Please book a place online. You will then be sent the Zoom joining information with your unique password.

Displays at Surrey History Centre

Dialect and Heritage Project

From Tuesday 9 August in the foyer of Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6ND.

The Dialect and Heritage Project is a collaborative project between the School of English at the University of Leeds, Leeds University Special Collections and five partner museums across the country, including the Weald and Downland Living Museum in Singleton, West Sussex. This project is made possible by National Lottery players through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Based on the material held in the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture, in particular the Survey of English Dialects, this project aims to celebrate dialect in all of its forms. The Survey of English Dialects was completed in the 1950s and 1960s by a team of researchers based at the University of Leeds. The team covered over 300 locations, asking over 1,300 questions. Of these 300 locations, five are in Surrey: Walton-on-the-Hill, East Clandon, Coldharbour, Outwood and Thursley.

Learn more about the material from the survey and take part in our own Great Big Dialect Hunt at Surrey History Centre this summer.

Recorded talks to purchase

If you missed one of our online talks, why not purchase the talk recording to view in your own time?

The talks available are:

  • Aladdin's Cave: Some Major Family and Estate Archives in Surrey History Centre
  • Corsets and Cameras
  • Sir William More of Loseley
  • Who Do You Think They Were? Discovering the Lives and Experiences of our Ancestors
  • Fashion and Folly
  • Planting Ideas: Sources for the History of Gardening in Surrey.
  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Sources for the History of Surrey's Mental Hospitals, 1700 to c.1990
  • Portrait of a Surrey town between the wars: the photographic archive of Sidney Francis
  • From Punishment to Pride: LGBTQ+ archives at Surrey History Centre
  • James Henry Pullen (1835 to 1916) and the Royal Earlswood Asylum for Idiots, Redhill
  • The Book That Changed My Life
  • The Portable Antiquities Scheme in Surrey
  • Richard III: A Drama in Three Acts
  • To the Manor Born: An Introduction to Manorial Records for Family Historians
  • The Changing Face of Nursing: Black Nurses in Surrey Hospitals
  • The Gentleman's Magazine: A Panorama of Georgian Surrey for Family and Local Historians
  • Netherne c. 1955: A Surrey Psychiatric Hospital in Focus
  • The Most Wretched Man in the World: The Life and Loves of the 5th Viscount Midleton
  • Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join our Zoom? Reflections on the Lewis Carroll archives, on the 150th anniversary of 'Alice through the Looking Glass'
  • What did you do after the war, Grandad? – 1918 to1925: de-mob, jobs, pensions, PTSD and the British Legion
  • Land of my Father's Fathers: Tracing your Welsh ancestors
  • A 'great' amongst Victorian architects? Royal Holloway's W H Crossland
  • Gertrude Jekyll, Gardener and Craftswoman
  • Let the Road Rise to Meet You: Tracing Your Irish Ancestors

Most talk descriptions can be found on our Talks and Tours page. Each talk consists of a 45 minute to an hour illustrated presentation followed by questions asked during the live talk. You can also email us with any questions you may have after the talk and we will pass them on to the speaker to answer. Price £5. To purchase a recording please visit the Surrey Heritage Shop. Please note talks may contain references to historical legal terminology, sexual practices and crimes, used in the historical context but which some viewers may find offensive.

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