A Few Famous and Interesting People in Victorian Surrey

  • Isabella Beeton grew up and married in Epsom. Mrs Beeton was famous for her book on how to run a Victorian household called ‘The Book of Household Management’ which was published in 1861.
  • Lucy Broadwood, born on 9th August 1858 into the famous family of piano manufacturers, was a passionate collector of folk-songs and one of a group of Victorian songhunters who fuelled a revival of interest in England’s traditional music.
  • Richard Carrington, built Redhill Observatory on Furze Hill in 1852.He identified solar flares and devised a system for sequential numbering of complete rotations of the sun that is still in use today.
  • Charles Dickens was one of the most popular authors of the Victorian era. He lived for several years in Dorking where he wrote The Pickwick Papers, the novel that first made him famous.
  • Charles Lutwidge Dodgson also known as Lewis Carroll rented a house in Guildford in 1868 for his 6 unmarried sisters. He didn’t live there and often stayed elsewhere when visiting. By this time he had already written the successful book of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland‘ and in 1871 he wrote the second Alice book, ‘Through the Looking Glass’.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer, medical doctor who created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887. He built a house, Undershaw, at Hindhead in 1897.
  • Charles Green, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and Head Gardener for William Wilson Saunders at Hillfield, Reigate.
  • Thomas Holloway was a Victorian entrepreneur who became a millionaire through marketing pills and ointments globally. He was inspired by his wife Jane Holloway to built Royal Holloway College, back then a women-only college.
  • Sir Robert Hunter, cofounder of the National Trust and resident of Haslemere.
  • Gertrude Jekyll was one of the greatest of all English garden designers, whose ideas and influences are still felt today. Yet though she described herself as an ‘artist-gardener’ she could as easily have laid claim to being a painter, an embroiderer, an interior designer, an author or a photographer.
  • John Henry Knight lived in Farnham. He invented the first petrol powered motor vehicle.
  • Ada Lovelace is regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a ‘computing machine’ and the first computer programmer.
  • The Lushington Family of Cobham, Ockham and Pyrford were a well-connected Victorian family.
  • James Henry Pullen was described in his day as the Genius of Earlswood as he was a highly talented artist, craftsman and model maker who flourished whilst being looked after at the Royal Earlswood Asylum, Redhill.
  • William Wilson Saunders, Entomologist and Botanist and owner of Hillfield, Reigate. A member of the Linnean Society from 1833, and its Treasurer from 1861 to 1873. A founding member of the Entomological Society and President (1841-2 and 1856-7) and a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Zoological Society, as well as a vice president of the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • George Sturt, Wheelwright and Author (pseudonym George Bourne) of Farnham.
  • Miss Rachel Warren, daughter of a prosperous coal merchant, George Alfred Warren, whose business supplied fuel to Epsom.
  • Mary Seton Fraser Watts, designer, artist, author, joint founder of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and founder of the Compton Potters’ Arts Guild.
  • George Frederic Watts was a painter and sculptor. He famously said “I paint ideas, not things“.
  • H G Wells is one of the nation’s greatest science fiction writers. He moved to Woking in 1895 writing The War of the Worlds using the Horsell Common the location for this Martian invasion.
  • Many Surrey men and women were involved in the campaign for women’s right to vote (suffrage) ,for and against, a few are listed below, more can be found on the March of the Women suffrage biographies page.
  • Lady Betty Balfour was a member of the women’s suffragist campaign and her family, political and social connections made her perfectly placed to assist the movement in many ways. She lived at ‘Fisher’s Hill’, Woking, and was Woking’s first female elected councillor in 1919.
  • Emmeline and Frederick Pethick Lawrence suffrage campaigners.
  • Margaretta ‘Etta’ Lemon was Anti-Suffragist and co-founder of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Find out more about Surrey people by visiting the A to Z of People page.

Links to related pages

Link to the Victorians page
Link to the Victorian Activities page
Link to the Life in Victorian Times page
Link to the Victorian Childhood page
Link to the Victorian Industry and Technology page
Link to the Victorian Crime and Punishment page