Skip to main content

Heritage events

Wet and Windy - Free Half Term Activities

  • Tuesday 13 February to Saturday 17 February during normal opening hours.
  • Join us at the Surrey History Centre to discover the ways we have used wind and water for energy throughout the years with our free arts and crafts family drop in activities. Make your own windmill and watermill, take the quiz and much more!
  • Parents/Guardians are responsible for supervising their children.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.

Running Wild: the lives of Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney

  • Free display in foyer from Thursday 1 February to Wednesday 28 February during normal opening hours.
  • Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney made a unique contribution to popular culture in the 1920s and 1930s as music hall, variety and revue entertainers, and later actors on stage and screen. From entertaining troops during the First World War, to mixing with the Bohemian Set in Effingham, Gwen and Norah were household names, singing popular love songs of the day and living together openly in an on and off stage partnership.
  • This display, jointly created by Behind the Lines theatre company and Effingham Local History Group, details Gwen and Norah's fascinating lives and careers, friends, and lovers, and their circle of relationships, including their Surrey connections.
  • Their act was original, quirky and musically extremely accomplished. For many years they were fearless in their refusal to conform to social expectations. in the 1930s, this fascinating story charts their rise to fame, their personal and professional relationship, and their wide social circle. They were independent, talented and ambitious and it is fitting that they should be remembered and celebrated as LGBT icons for LGBT History Month.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.

A Cup of LGBT History

  • Thursday 22 February , 6.30pm - 9pm
  • Join Surrey Heritage and Outline, Surrey's LGBT organisation for a cup of LGBT history to celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) History Month. As well as free coffee and cake there will be talks about popular 1920s and 1930s music hall performers Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney from Behind the Lines Theatre Group, Surrey History Centre and Outline.
  • Surrey Heritage will also be showcasing historical LGBT documents from our archives (which are housed in 6 miles of shelving in our strongrooms!). There will be relevant displays and an LGBT film on loop from the Independent Cinema Office.
  • Learn about our Heritage Lottery Funded projects 'Surrey in the Great War' and 'The March of the Women' and experts will be on hand for any family history help and advice.
  • We will also be joined by a whole host of Surrey community organisations with information displays and stands: Surrey and Borders Partnership, Phoenix Cultural Centre, Surrey Libraries, Surrey Police LGBT+, Fostering and Adoption Service, GMB Union Southern Region and Woking Community Play Association.
  • Free, no booking required.
  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND.

Exploring Surrey's Past 10th Anniversary

  • Wednesday 28 February, 5pm - 7pm.
  • Join us to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Surrey Heritage's flagship website Exploring Surrey's Past.
  • We'll highlight key pages showcasing the diverse range of themes covered online and also share stories of how the website has brought people together and provided a vital resource for Surrey's history.
  • Free, refreshments provided.
  • RSVP: shs@surreycc.gov.uk.

The Delights and Dismays of Historical Biography

  • Saturday 10 March, 2pm - 3.30pm.
  • Talk with Jenny Uglow.
  • Jenny Uglow will discuss the challenges of historical biography, and her own experience of writing lives of subjects from the past - from Charles II and William Hogarth to Elizabeth Gaskell and, most recently Edward Lear - and considers the role of group biographies, like her work on the Lunar Society, and on the people of Britain during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • 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.
  • A Surrey History Trust event in support of Surrey Heritage.

Storage and Packaging Workshop

  • Thursday 15 March, 10am - 1pm.
  • Join Surrey Heritage's Senior Document Assistant for an informative and practical workshop aimed at anyone wishing to learn more about caring for their archive. The workshop will include basic solutions and techniques which anyone will be able to tailor to their own collection.
  • The workshop will also cover:
    • Storage
    • Handling
    • Cleaning
    • Packaging
  • Please bring a paperback book with you to use during the session.
  • £30 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.

Hearts and Minds: the Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote

  • Saturday 24 March, 11am - 12.30pm.
  • Talk with Jane Robinson.
  • Drawn from diaries, letters and unpublished accounts, Hearts and Minds is the remarkable story of the Great Pilgrimage, a six-week protest march involving thousands of women which helped turn the tide in the long campaign for Votes for Women. As we celebrate the centenary of the vote with our March of the Women suffrage project, Jane Robinson sets the story of the march - which passed through Surrey - against the colourful background of the whole campaign.
  • Jane is a full-time author and lecturer who specialises in social history through women's eyes. Hearts and Minds is her tenth book, following the critically acclaimed Bluestockings and A Force to be Reckoned With. She grew up in North Yorkshire; read English at Somerville College, Oxford, then worked for ten years in the antiquarian book trade before leaving to bring up a family and to write. Her abiding passion has been book-collecting, ever since being banned from the local library at the age of seven for using a jam tart as a bookmark!
  • This event has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.
  • 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.
  • Jane will be selling and signing copies of Hearts and Minds on the day, price £20.00. Please bring the exact money or cheque.

Pets in the Archives - Display and Talk

  • Free display in foyer from Tuesday 3 April to Saturday 28 April during normal opening hours.
  • Today almost half of British homes contain at least one companion animal. A recent survey found that eighty-nine percent of owners considered them to be part of the family. Although people have had pets for hundreds of years, the pet-keeping relationship as we know it today didn't emerge until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • A team of historians from Royal Holloway and Manchester Universities are working on the first large-scale research project on the history of pets in British family life. They are investigating how pets were bought and sold, how they were cared for, and why they came to play such a key role in British family life. Pet shops as we know them first emerged in the late nineteenth century, and gradually became an established part of the British high street. There were also big changes in the kind of pets that people kept – squirrels, hedgehogs and British birds were Victorian favourites. Dogs were always popular, though, as today, there were changing fashions for breeds.
  • There was a dramatic growth in the popularity of cats as pets from the early twentieth century, with an increase in pedigree varieties like Persians and Siamese encouraged by specialist breeders and cat shows.
  • The researchers are using local archives and record offices in Hampshire, Surrey, and the London Borough of Wandsworth. Delving into diaries, photographs, and personal papers they've been finding out how and why some local residents acquired, cared for, played with, and loved their animal companions in the past. The results will be shown in the pop up display and discussed in the talk.
  • On Saturday 28 April at 2pm Lesley Hoskins from Royal Holloway University will be giving a 45-minute talk on Pets and their People, 1850-1950. Afterwards audience members are invited to share their own histories of pets in the past.
  • 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.
  • More details about the project can be found online.

Surrey Local History Committee Annual Symposium - The Changing Roles of Women

  • Saturday 21 April, 9.30am - 4pm
  • Surrey Local History Committee, a committee of Surrey Archaeological Society presents:
    • 9.30am Registration
    • 9.55am Chairman's introductory remarks
    • 10am Ros Black, local author and speaker
      Duxhurst, Lady Henry Somerset's Farm Colony for Inebriate Women
    • 10.40am Coffee and tea
    • 11.10am Carol Brown, Guildford Museum
      Surrey Women in the First World War
    • 11.50am A selection of short films from the Surrey History Centre's collection.
    • 12pm Linda Oliver, Archivist, Surrey Federation of Women's Institutes
      The History of the WI in Surrey
    • 12.40pm Lunch
    • 1.40pm Introduction to the afternoons session
    • 1.45pm Dr. Christopher Wiley, Senior Lecturer in Music, University of Surrey
      Dame Ethel Smyth, Ground-breaking Composer, Writer, and Suffragette'
    • 2.45pm Tea
    • 2.55pm Presentation of the Gravett Award
    • 3.00pm Holly Parsons, Project Officer, Surrey History Centre
      The March of the Women: Surrey's Road to the Vote
    • 3.40pm Chairman's closing remarks and close
  • Tickets: £12.
  • 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. It is advisable to book early as places are limited.
  • Morning and afternoon refreshments are included. Please make your own arrangements for lunch. It is recommended to bring a packed lunch as there are no cafes near the Surrey History Centre

Fighting Proud: The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars

  • Saturday 12 May, 2pm - 3.30pm.
  • Talk with Stephen Bourne.
  • Stephen Bourne presents an engaging and informative talk about some of the gay men who are featured in his latest book, Fighting Proud – The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars. In this astonishing new history of wartime Britain, Stephen unearths the fascinating stories of the gay men who served in the armed forces and on the Home Front. He brings to light the great and previously unrecognised contribution they made to the war effort. Among those featured are the Battle of Britain hero Ian Gleed, bandleader Ken 'Snakehips' Johnson, PC Harry Daley and Noel Coward. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.
  • 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.

Suffrage & the Arts: Past and Present

  • Saturday 19 May, 10am -1pm.
  • Mary Watts: Artist, Diarist, Suffragist - Lucy Ella Rose, Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Surrey. The 80th anniversary of Mary Watts's death coincides with the suffrage centenary this year. Drawing on her new book, Suffragist Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word and Image, Lucy's talk reveals Mary's little-known, yet central role, in the women's suffrage campaign in Surrey. A pioneering suffragist and President of the Godalming Branch of the NUWSS, Mary was a leading figure in local suffrage networks and also part of a much wider women's movement that paved the way for feminism.
  • Mary Branson, artist - New Dawn: Making a Monument (installation of the Suffrage window at the Houses of Parliament). Following a six month residency researching the archives of the Suffrage movement New Dawn, a contemporary light sculpture by local artist Mary Branson was unveiled in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament. Celebrating all the individuals involved, viewers of the artwork stand in the footsteps of the women and men who came to Parliament to fight for women's right to the vote. Mary will speak about the residency, her research and development of this breathtaking artwork.
    • Programme
    • 10am-11am Dr Lucy Ella Rose, Lecturer in Victorian Literature, University of Surrey – Mary Watts
    • 11am-11.30am Coffee break
    • 11.30am-12.15am Mary Branson, Artist – New Dawn: Making a Monument
    • Q&A and round up
  • This event has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.
  • 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.
  • Lucy Ella Rose is Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Surrey and presents and publishes on Victorian literature, art, culture and feminism. Her collaborative doctoral award from the University of Surrey and Watts Gallery supported her research on neglected women in nineteenth-century creative partnerships. Lucy has worked extensively on the Mary Watts archive at Watts Gallery, Compton, and assisted the transcription of her diaries, revealing her pioneering role in the women's suffrage movement in Surrey. She has recently published her first book with Edinburgh University Press, Suffragist Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word and Image.
  • Mary Branson lives in Surrey and works out of a small studio in the countryside and in March 2014 became Artist in Residence at the Houses of Parliament, researching the archives of the Suffrage movement, with a brief to produce a proposal for a new permanent artwork for the Palace of Westminster. Mary is a practising artist of 16 years specialising in creating conceptual large scale installations, using sculpture, light and sound. Using familiar objects and materials, and experimenting with scale, light, colour and multiplicity, she form news environments that are stimulating, playful, and questioning of the existing polemics concerning art and the space it inhabits. Her projects can encompass elements of performance, photography, film and sound as forms of documentation. She also produces smaller scale works in glass, ceramics and print available on her website.
  • An online discount voucher for Lucy's new book Suffragist Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word and Image, will be available on the day. Mary will have limited edition New Dawn hand pulled prints to sell at £300 (for the suite of 8). Please bring cash or cheques on the day as no card payment facilities will be available.

Six Week Family History Course

  • Autumn 2018 (Fridays, 10am–1pm): 14 September, 21 September, 28 September, 5 October, 12 October, 19 October.
  • 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.
  • £80 – booked as a complete 6 week course.
  • 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.
  • Family History full course information (PDF).

Surrey Heritage Newsletter

Did you know we have a monthly newsletter? Find out the latest news, events and displays taking place at the Surrey History Centre by subscribing to our free newsletter.

Files available to download

Top