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Heritage events

Holocaust Memorial Day - Refugees in 'a remote corner of Surrey'

Thursday 2 - Friday 31 January

  • Free display in foyer during normal opening hours.
  • Before and during the Second World War, the people of Surrey demonstrated remarkable compassion and team spirit in helping refugees who had escaped Nazi oppression. As well as some remarkable individuals (often themselves exiles) who helped their fellow refugees, a number of refugee committees were organised across the county. Our foyer display throughout January explores the work of one of these groups, the Dorking and District Committee for Refugees from Central Europe.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Visit the dedicated Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 web page on Exploring Surrey's Past.

Uncrowned Queen - The Fateful Life of Margaret Beaufort, Tudor Matriarch. A talk by Dr Nicola Tallis

Saturday 25 January, 2pm - 3.30pm

  • Dr Nicola Tallis will reveal the life of an extraordinarily ambitious and devoted woman who risked everything to ultimately found the Tudor dynasty.
  • During the bloody and uncertain days of the Wars of the Roses, Margaret Beaufort was married to the half brother of the Lancastrian king Henry VI. A year later she endured a traumatic birth that brought her and her son close to death. She was just thirteen years old.
  • As the battle for royal supremacy raged between the houses of Lancaster and York, Margaret, who was descended from Edward III and thus a critical threat, was forced to give up her son - she would be separated from him for fourteen years. But few could match Margaret for her boundless determination and steely courage. Surrounded by enemies and conspiracies in the enemy Yorkist court, Margaret remained steadfast, only just escaping the headman's axes as she plotted to overthrow Richard III in her efforts to secure her son the throne.
  • Against all odds, in 1485 Henry Tudor was victorious on the battlefield at Bosworth. Through Margaret's royal blood Henry was crowned Henry VII, King of England, and Margaret became the most powerful woman in England - Queen in all but name.
  • Dr Nicola Tallis is a British historian who has worked as a curator, researcher and lecturer. Author of previous books: 'Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey' and 'Elizabeth's Rival: The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester', Uncrowned Queen: The Fateful Life of Margaret Beaufort, Matriarch is her latest publication. Graduating from Bath Spa University with a first class History degree, she completed a MA in Public History at Royal Holloway College, University of London and has a PhD from the University of Winchester. She has previously lectured at the University of Winchester and worked with Historic Royal Palaces and the National Trust.
  • Tickets: £6. In partnership with Friends of Woking Palace.
  • This talk is now fully booked.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) History Month - Poetry, Prose and Plays: E.M. Forster and friends

Wednesday 5 - Saturday 29 February

  • Free display in foyer during normal opening hours.
  • This year's LGBT History Month national theme is 'Poetry, Prose and Plays', marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Surrey author E.M. Forster who is widely regarded as one of the greatest British writers of the 20th century. Our display celebrates Forster's life, sexuality and Surrey connections, including his great friend, the poet and author JR Ackerley, and his one-time lover, author Harry Daley, of Dorking.
  • You can also discover more about the prolific and witty Surrey author, Beverley Nichols, who lived in Ashtead and had a passion for gardens and cats.
  • LGBT History Month takes place every year in February and celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community. This is an opportunity to learn more about the histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Surrey and elsewhere.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.

Woking's Forgotten Benefactor: The Story of William Hamilton and his Family. A talk by Richard Langtree

Saturday 8 February, 2pm - 3.30pm

  • William Frederic Tucker Hamilton was the last but one survivor of a branch of the Hamilton clan. His Hamilton line can be traced back to the 13th century but this story starts around 1650 with William's great-great-great grandfather John.
  • From Scotland to Sweden, Canada, America, Ireland, France, Holland, London, the Grand Tour to Italy, Woking and Cromer. The family had a distinguished military history, suffering a kidnap and ransom by native Canadian Indians, injury in action, praise from General Wolfe, one was a Governor in Nova Scotia, one a Knight, one held in favour by the Scottish Royal Family and through marriage had links with a Governor of Bermuda, a director of the East India Company, William Booth the founder of The Salvation Army and the friendship of the Duke of Wellington. The family was influential, and wealthy. William, though and to some extent his father, broke the family mould of military involvement and making money to become a Clergyman and spent his wealth for the benefit of others, especially in the new town of Woking in the late Victorian and early Edwardian period.
  • Richard Langtree was born in Woking in 1948. He joined Weymanns the coach builder in Addlestone as a draughtsman, when he left Goldsworth School (now the site of Surrey History Centre). He then worked for a Woking based company Neu Engineering for 12 years and later joined the family business Woking Glass Works. Now retired he enjoys Woking History Society and volunteering at the Lightbox where he is involved with local history.
  • Tickets: £5.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

'Oscar – A Life'. A talk by Matthew Sturgis for Surrey History Trust

Saturday 15 February, 2pm – 3.30pm

  • Join us as part of LGBT History Month to hear Matthew Sturgis discuss his acclaimed biography of Oscar Wilde and his links with Surrey. Matthew Sturgis is a writer with a deep knowledge of the late Victorian cultural world. He is the author of acclaimed biographies of Aubrey Beardsley and Walter Sickert, as well as Passionate Attitudes: The English Decadence of the 1890s. He has contributed book reviews to the TLS, art criticism to Harpers & Queen and football reports to the Independent on Sunday. Oscar: A Life is nominated for The Wolfson History Prize 2019.
  • Tickets: £10. Surrey History Trust Members: £5.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

Amazing Archaeology - Free Half Term Activities

Tuesday 18 - Saturday 22 February during normal opening hours

  • Learn more about archaeology and discover what it's like to become an archaeologist with our free drop in family activities! Design your own Greek pot, make a brooch to wear, complete the puzzle pots and enjoy colouring in.
  • Parents/guardians are responsible for supervising their children.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND during normal opening hours.

Chancery Records for Family and Local History. A talk by Susan T. Moore

Wednesday 26 February, 2pm – 3.30pm

  • The talk will introduce those who are new to Chancery records to the wonders and riches of these records, with tales from the records, and a practical guide on how to find and interpret them. These records can confirm relationships for as many as 4 generations and they can give a personal insight onto the characters of your ancestors. Where else would you learn that:
    • "Barbara goes up and down to persons' houses like a beggar"
    • "James is a poor idle drunken fellow and his children are naked and starving"
    • "Edward was a very odd sort of person"
    • "John was damned for a stingy niggardly fellow by Edward". Not all cases will be as colourful as this, but this is a source that you ignore at your peril!
  • After graduating from the University of St Andrews, Susan T. Moore has spent her working life in archives and libraries carrying out historical and genealogical research for clients, and now specialises in Chancery Proceedings and other legal records, particularly those in the period 1500 to 1800. Her clients include those writing biographies, local histories, or house histories, lawyers, churches, bodies such as the National Trust, and of course genealogists and family historians.
  • Susan is the author of "Family Feuds - An Introduction to Chancery Proceedings" and "Tracing Your Family History in the Courts of Equity". Susan is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a trustee of the British Association for Local History and an accredited member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA. Susan is also a member of the Friends of the National Archives, Society of Genealogists, Archives for London, Community of Specialist Researchers, and many family and local history societies.
  • Tickets: £5.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

'The Lives of Tudor Women'. A talk by Dr Elizabeth Norton

Saturday 7 March, 2pm - 3.30pm

  • On the eve of International Women's Day join us to learn more about women in the Tudor period.
  • The turbulent Tudor age never fails to capture the imagination. But what was it actually like to be a woman during this period? This was a time when death in infancy or during childbirth was rife; when marriage was usually a legal contract, not a matter for love, and the education of women was minimal at best. Yet the Tudor century was dominated by powerful and characterful women in a way that no era had been before. Join historian, Dr Elizabeth Norton, as she discusses the lives lived, or endured, by Tudor women from all levels of society.
  • Tickets: £5.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

Six Week Family History Course

Fridays (10am - 1pm): 20 March, 27 March, 3 April, 17 April, 24 April, 1 May

  • Run by professional genealogists and archivists this 6 week course will cover all you need to know to enhance your research as well as providing many tips of the trade. There will be opportunities to handle original historical documents, navigate online resources and importantly discover how and where to find less-known genealogical sources in a small, comfortable workshop environment.
    • 1) An introduction to family history - 20 March
    • 2) Crofts, Castles, Trades and Professions - 27 March
    • 3) Schools and Workhouses - 3 April
    • 4) Fighting Talk: An Introduction to Military Records - 17 April
    • 5) Mad, Bad and Sometimes Sad - 24 April
    • 6) Moving On: Immigration, Emigration & Transportation - 1 May
  • Tickets: £80 - booked as a complete 6 week course
  • Full course information (pdf)
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

Surrey Local History Committee presents: Poverty "You have the poor with you always"

Saturday 21 March, 9.55am - 3.30pm

  • Surrey Local History Committee, a Committee of Surrey Archaeological Society presents:
    • 9.30 am Registration
    • 9.55 am Welcome Gerry Moss Chairman of Surrey Local History Committee
    • 10.00 am Catherine Ferguson (Research Associate, University of Cambridge)
      Those that "pinch and suffer want". The treatment of the poor in post-Restoration Surrey: a tapestry of local variation
    • 10.40 am Coffee or tea
    • 11.10 am Judy Hill (Freelance lecturer and researcher)
      Rethinking the Old Poor Law once seen as profligate, extravagant and grievously flawed in 1834. Fact or fiction?
    • 11.50 am Paul Carter (Principal Records Specialist, The National Archives)
      ".. consequently a question thus arises whether I am, or not, to Starve?" Lives and Letters of the Nineteenth Century Poor
    • 12.30 pm Lunch (coffee or tea available)
    • 1.55 pm Presentation of the Gravett Award
    • 2.00 pm Viv Bennet (Charlotteville Jubilee Trust, The Spike, Guildford)
      More Than Oliver Twist – Stories of Inmates at Guildford Workhouse in 1881
    • 2.40 pm Martin Stilwell (Volunteer Researcher at Surrey History Centre)
      Quality housing for deserving workers. Building high quality council housing for the ex-servicemen and workers of Surrey after WW1
    • 3.20 pm Discussion and Closing remarks
    • 3.30 pm Close.
  • Tickets £15 includes refreshments (Coffee or tea are included, please make your own arrangements for lunch).
  • Please book a place online via the Surrey Archaeology Society website.

Family History Online

Saturday 28 March, 10am - 12.30pm

  • A workshop devoted to tips and techniques for exploring your family history using the many and varied sources available online. In addition to learning more about the large commercial websites such as Ancestry.com and Find My Past, we will also include information on using the Family Search website and hopefully introduce you to many wonderful free websites. We will also touch on how to share your information online and keep it secure.
  • Tickets: £15 includes refreshments.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

A Palaeography Primer: get started reading old handwriting

Thursday 7 May and Thursday 14 May, 10am - 12.30pm

  • A two week course for beginners in reading older handwriting, or those who want to refresh their knowledge. Working in detail through some examples from the 16th century (Secretary hand) to the early 18th century, we will discuss techniques for deciphering, interpreting the records and reference books. Including guidance on abbreviations, numerals and understanding Old Style dates.
  • £30 booked as a two week course, includes refreshments.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

Netherne, c.1960 – A Surrey Mental Hospital in Focus

Saturday 16 May, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

  • A free talk by Julian Pooley for Mental Health Awareness Week and Living Well In Woking
  • Netherne Mental Hospital, Coulsdon was opened by Surrey County Council in 1909. Initially accommodating 960 patients, by 1950 numbers had increased to 2,000. The hospital closed in 1994. The surviving archive, now preserved at Surrey History Centre, includes 19,500 patient case files and c.10,000 photographs taken c.1960, exploring all aspects of the hospital's life. From the wards to the airing courts; the art therapy unit to the operating table, these vivid images provide a rare glimpse of daily life inside a Surrey psychiatric hospital, allowing us to take a tour of the hospital on a typical day at what was a turning point in its history.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Tickets are free but please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

Keeping it in the Family: a Four Week Course Reading and Interpreting Legal Records of Inheritance for Genealogy

Thursdays (10am - 12.30pm), 4 June, 11 June, 18 June and 25 June

  • With special reference to the handwriting of examples from before 1800, this course introduces the use of title deeds, wills and manorial records for family history.
    • Week 1: Discusses marriage settlements, deeds of arrangement between families to provide for the couple during their lives and for the inheritance of their heirs. We look at a deed and introduce some techniques of palaeography
    • Week 2: Discusses wills and where to find them, with a detailed look at reading one in 16th century Secretary Hand.
    • Weeks 3 and 4: Discuss manorial records, which document inheritance by tenants even where they may have been too poor to make a will. We start with some 18th century examples and introduce how to extract and interpret information from court rolls. In the last week we look at the use of Latin in 17th century examples
  • £60 - booked as a complete 4 week course, includes refreshments.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

Return to the Manor: an Intermediate Course in Reading and Interpreting Manorial Records

Thursdays (10am - 12.30pm), 1 October, 8 October, 15 October and 22 October

  • This palaeography course would suit local and family historians who would like to extend their understanding of manorial records, including those who have already attended 'Keeping it in the Family'. We will include study of records written in Latin (although prior knowledge of the language is not required), and we will look at examples of Medieval to Early Modern handwriting (mainly Secretary Hand). Over the sessions we accumulate knowledge of the language and formulas of manorial records.
    • Week 1: includes 17th century English palaeography examples and some Latin in transcription
    • Week 2: includes mediaeval palaeography (rental) and some Latin in transcription
    • Week 3: includes detailed study of an original court record in English and some Latin in transcription.
    • Week 4: includes a detailed study of an original court record in Latin.
  • £60 - booked as a complete 4 week course, includes refreshments.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.
  • Please book a place online, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.

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