Surrey History Centre

Surrey History Centre
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Surrey History Centre collects and rescues archives and printed materials relating to Surrey's past and present, so that they can tell the story of the County and its people to future generations. We can help you discover your family history
learn about famous Surrey people, buildings, businesses and organisations
trace the history of your house, street, town or community
or research a school or university project. We are based in Woking, where you can consult original documents which date from the 12th century to the present day and refer to our collections of printed books, local newspapers, directories, maps, ephemera and illustrations.
Throughout the year, we host lots of events and exhibitions details of which can be found on our website -

Venue Type:

Archive, Library

Opening hours

Normal opening hours:

Monday - Closed
Tuesday - 9.30am - 5pm
Wednesday - 10.15am - 5pm
Thursday - 9.30am - 5pm
Friday - 9.30am - 5pm
Saturday - 9.30am - 4pm

Closed Mon Sun & bank holiday weekend Sat

Admission charges


Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Learning to fly

Learning to Fly: A display of poetry about World War I by local people with a vision impairment

  • 1 — 31 January 2018 *on now

This autumn Guildford Museum worked with Arts Partnership Surrey and Sight For Surrey on a poetry project as part of the ‘Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers’ archive project. Local people with a vision impairment had the opportunity to find out about the experience of Surrey people in World War I, handle original artefacts and listen to inspiring stories. The sessions were led by professional poet Talia Randall who helped participants create several different types of poems based on the history they had discovered. Participants also joined together for a special session with students from the vision impairment unit at Woking High School.

The haikus (a type of short poem) created by the participants are now available for visitors to enjoy in the Discovery Lounge at Guildford Museum. They are available in audio, large print and Braille formats.

The final poems, along with those written as part of other projects across Surrey, will also provide inspiration for a piece of sound art to go on display at Brooklands Museum in 2018.


Guildford Museum
Guildford Museum, Castle Arch


Free entry to Guildford Museum

Open Monday to Saturday 11am to 5pm (last entry 4.45pm)


Farrar and Blaney

Running Wild: the lives of Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney

  • 31 January — 28 February 2018

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.



Wet and Windy - Free Half Term Activities

  • 13 — 17 February 2018

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!

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 7-10
  • 5-6



Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
A People Uncounted

The untold story of the Roma Holocaust

  • 27 January 2018 11:15am-1pm

This full-length (99 mins) feature film has been nominated for/won five awards internationally since it was made in 2012. Its UK premiere was held at the headquarters of Amnesty International in 2015. Members of Surrey Gypsy Traveller Communities Forum ( attended this, and the Forum has since bought the right to show the film to public audiences free of charge in the UK. Entry is restricted to adults because of the harrowing nature of the content.

‘A People Uncounted’ tells the story of the Roma, commonly referred to as Gypsies - people who have been both romanticised and vilified in popular culture. The Roma have endured centuries of intolerance and persecution in Europe, most notably the Holocaust genocide where an estimated 500,000 were murdered. This film documents their culturally rich yet often difficult lives, and demonstrates how their present state has been deeply shaped by the tragedies of the past.

Filmed in 11 countries and featuring dozens of Roma - including Holocaust survivors, historians, activists and musicians – ‘A People Uncounted’ brings the Romany history to life through the rich interplay of their poetry, music, and compelling first-hand accounts. As ethnic intolerance flares up in Europe, this film sheds light on this unique culture while presenting the Roma tale as emblematic of the world’s legacy of racism and genocide.

Closer to home, this film presents a powerful and thought-provoking challenge to what the Commission for Racial Equality has described as ‘The last acceptable form of racism’ in our own country. This is particularly significant in Surrey, which has one of the largest Romany Gypsy and Traveller populations in the UK.

Here is a link to the five minute film made with and for Gypsies and Travellers in Surrey to explain about ‘Brighter Futures’: The Surrey Gypsy Traveller Communities Forum strategy to deliver equality of life chances for the children of their communities

Suitable for

  • 18+
Family History

Six Week Family History Course

  • 9 February — 16 March 2018

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.
More details online.


£80 – booked as a complete 6 week course. Please book a place online at, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.



A Cup of LGBT History

  • 22 February 2018 6:30-9pm

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, 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.
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+ plus more to be confirmed!
Free, no booking required.


Free, no need to book


Jenny Uglow

The Delights and Dismays of Historical Biography

  • 10 March 2018 2-3:30pm

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.

A Surrey History Trust event in support of Surrey Heritage.


Tickets £10.

Please book a place online at, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.



Storage and Packaging Workshop

  • 15 March 2018 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:

Please bring a paperback book with you to use during the session.


£30 includes refreshments.

Please book a place online at, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.


Jane Robinson

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

  • 24 March 2018 11am-12:30pm

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.

Jane will be selling and signing copies of Hearts and Minds on the day, price £20.00. Please bring the exact money or cheque.


This event has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.

Jane will be selling and signing copies of Hearts and Minds on the day, price £20.00. Please bring the exact money or cheque.

Please book a place online at, in person at Surrey History Centre or any Surrey Library or phone 01483 518737.


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.
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Journey’s End: RC Sherriff Learning Resource for KS4 English and History and Drama

The RC Sherriff learning resource is based on the archives of Surrey author and playwright, RC Sherriff (1896–1975), whose First World War experiences led him to write the highly successful play Journey’s End. This free online resource is for secondary schools was funded by the HLF as part of our project 'To Journey's End and Beyond: the life and legacy of RC Sherriff'. It incorporates the three collections of Sherriff’s papers held at Surrey History Centre in Woking, which are now fully catalogued and accessible. The resource, featuring letters from the trenches, photographs and video, and a copyright-free script for a specially commissioned drama based on Sherriff's experiences, will enable teachers of KS4 English and History to involve Sherriff’s extraordinary story in their World War One, literature, creative writing, or drama lesson plans.


  • This online learning resource was created by Surrey History Centre as HLF as part of our project 'To Journey's End and Beyond: the life and legacy of RC Sherriff'

How to obtain

The online resource is free and available to all.

Surrey History Centre
130 Goldsworth Road
GU21 6ND




01483 518737

01483 518737


01483 518738

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.