Heritage events

Surrey Heritage online activities

2021 Online Talks on Zoom

14 April, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Fashion and Folly

This talk focuses on the alarming and bizarre things that people have done over the years to enhance their beauty and be regarded as fashionable. It may surprise you to know just how dangerous our ancestors' clothes and makeup were and the extraordinary lengths they were prepared to go to just be al la mode. Let this be a cautionary warning from history!

Tickets £5. Please book a place online. After payment has been received you will be emailed a unique link and password to attend the talk on Zoom.

28 April, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Planting Ideas: Sources for the History of Gardening in Surrey

This illustrated talk explores the wide range of sources held by Surrey History Centre that can be used to study the history of Surrey's gardens – ordnance survey maps, tithe and enclosure maps, charity records, deeds, estate plans, sale particulars, family papers, photograph albums, business and society records, watercolours and engravings can all be used to uncover the history of garden design, planting and the skills of Surrey's gardeners over some seven centuries.

Tickets £5. Please book a place online. After payment has been received you will be emailed a unique link and password to attend the talk on Zoom.

12 May, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Sources for the History of Surrey's Mental Hospitals, 1700 - c.1990. A talk for Mental Health Awareness Week, 2021

Was your ancestor in a Surrey asylum? This talk traces the history of the care of the mentally ill and mentally handicapped in Surrey from the 18th century through to the 1990s. Using the records of Surrey's earliest private asylums, county institutions at Springfield, Brookwood and Netherne, charitable foundations like Royal Earlswood and Holloway Sanatorium and the 'Epsom Cluster' of Horton, Long Grove, The Manor, St Ebba's and West Park, it tells the story of mental health care in Surrey, uses medical records to uncover the hidden stories of patients and the care regime they experienced and draws on photographs, and other records rescued when these vast hospitals finally closed to explore daily life in a psychiatric institution over the course of three centuries.

Tickets £5. Please book a place online. After payment has been received you will be emailed a unique link and password to attend the talk on Zoom.

26 May, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on Portrait of a Surrey town between the wars: the photographic archive of Sidney Francis

Jill Hyams and Jane Lewis share fascinating stories of people, places, events and activities captured by a Surrey photographer in the interwar years. Learn more about their discoveries and the value of photographs in researching your own family history.

Tickets £5. Please book a place online. After payment has been received you will be emailed a unique link and password to attend the talk on Zoom.

9 June, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on From Punishment to Pride: LGBTQ+ archives at Surrey History Centre

Surrey has a rich and remarkable LGBTQ+ history. Join us to learn more about the Surrey connections of some famous and not-so-famous LGBTQ+ lives, including Dame Ethel Smyth, Edward Carpenter, E.M. Forster, Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney, Harry Daley, and Alan Turing, to name just a few. Discover why we raise awareness of this often little-known area of Surrey's past, and how our collections help to reveal important stories from 18th century punishment to 21st century Pride.

Tickets £5. Please book a place online. After payment has been received you will be emailed a unique link and password to attend the talk on Zoom.

23 June, 5.30pm to 6.45pm on James Henry Pullen (1835-1916) and the 'Royal Earlswood Asylum for Idiots', Redhill. A talk for Disability Awareness Week, 2021

Dr Andrew Reed's pioneering 'Asylum for Idiots' was founded in Highgate in 1847 and moved to its permanent home, the Royal Earlswood Asylum Redhill, in 1855. The charity aimed 'to take the Idiot and Imbecile under its care, [and] by skilful and earnest application of the best means in his education, to prepare him, as far as possible, for the duties and enjoyments of life'. James Henry Pullen, very deaf and unable to communicate easily, was admitted in 1850. He became known as an 'idiot savant' for his extraordinary skills as an artist, craftsman and modelmaker. This talk uses the surviving archives of Earlswood Asylum to explore its early history and the life and work of its most famous patient. In doing so, it provides a template of typical records that can be used to research the lives of patients in a Victorian institution.

Tickets £5. Please book a place online. After payment has been received you will be emailed a unique link and password to attend the talk on Zoom.


Children's activities

Make an Egg Box Bug

  • Here at Surrey History Centre, we look after old books, newspapers and letters. We have to be careful to look after our collections and make sure no bugs get into our store.
  • Discover the ways we do this and get creative with our egg box bug craft video on Exploring Surrey's Past.

Make a Wind Sock

  • Here in Surrey we used to have a lot of windmills. See photos from our collection and learn more about them whilst making a wind sock in our latest YouTube video.

We also have more children's craft videos on our YouTube channel.


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