Share your experiences of life during Shutdown

March 26, 20202:49 pmLeave a Comment

Your Surrey COVID19 Journal

These are challenging and exceptional times. Few, if any of us will have experienced such a seismic shift in our daily lives in so short a time. Within just a few days and weeks long-laid plans have been postponed or cancelled, pubs, restaurants, shops, churches, sporting and leisure activities have been closed or suspended and the closure of schools, universities and many workplaces means that the majority of us are stoically continuing our education and daily work in isolation at home. Shopping for food and household supplies is now more of a challenge than a chore.

Surrey History Centre will of course preserve the official record of how Surrey County Council, Districts, Boroughs and parish authorities have mobilised to manage throughout the pandemic, but what about you? How is the present crisis impacting upon your daily life? What are your thoughts, feelings and concerns at this time of uncertainty and lockdown? How are you coping mentally and physically, how are you reacting to the increasing restrictions upon your daily and familiar routines? Has illness affected you or your family and friends?

We would like to invite you to keep a diary of your thoughts, experiences and challenges during these exceptional times and to deposit them for historical preservation with Surrey History Centre when the pandemic has passed and daily life has returned to some normality. Your personal record will be a valuable and fascinating historical source for future generations, helping them to understand and appreciate what we are all experiencing today. Your diaries will be invaluable to future historians who want to see behind the official record. As many of you will know, when doing family or local history research it is the personal stories behind the facts and figures that really bring our ancestors and the past to life.

Your diary can be in any format that you wish it to be – a written account, a sound or video recording, a series of drawings chronicling your life and feelings: the way in which you keep it is up to you. It can be long or short, a daily record or weekly reflection – all we ask is that it is an honest reflection of your emotions and that you share it with us at Surrey History Centre so that it can become part of the county’s memory, curated and preserved by us for future generations.

We are hoping that people of all ages and communities across the county will take part and would especially encourage children to submit their diaries as part of an activity with a parent or guardian. It could even form the basis of a group activity undertaken by your school online as a virtual classroom activity.

If you prefer, you can anonymise your diary to maintain your privacy, but it would be helpful to know gender, age and the name of your town or village or even simply the first part of your postcode. You can express your wishes about this when you decide the time is right to share your diary with us.

You can deliver your diary to us in person (when we reopen), post it to us, or submit it by email or image transfer software.

If you have any questions, please contact us at: [email protected].
Or write to us at Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6ND

Listen to Julian Pooley from Surrey History Centre talking to Jon Andrews at Radio Woking about the call for people to share experiences of life during Shutdown.

Thank you.

Your photographs of life during the shutdown in Surrey

Leslie Road, Dorking, image courtesy of Di Stiff

Leslie Road, Dorking, image courtesy of Di Stiff

Across Surrey there are visual indications of how life has changed during these exceptional times, with notices in shop windows of queuing etiquette, to social distancing whilst out for daily exercise around our towns and villages. Where they can safely be taken, we would like your photographs reflecting the experiences and challenges of living during the Coronavirus crisis to be added to the archive at Surrey History Centre, for historical preservation.

Witley, image courtesy of Rob Poulton

Witley, image courtesy of
Rob Poulton

Take your photograph, keep a record of what you have photographed, together with when and where it was taken. Send your images to us by post to Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, GU21 6ND, or email them to us at [email protected]. You can also deliver your photographs to us in person (when we reopen). Don’t forget to include your name and contact details, in case we need to get back to you. Where we receive duplicates we will keep the best quality image and a final selection will be made from all images submitted. With copyright, we would be grateful if we could use images for non-commercial purposes and would ask those submitting to give us permission for this.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].

During the COVID 19 Lockdown Surrey Heritage continued to work in new and exciting ways. Watch this short video to see some of the things we were doing.


Click for advice from Surrey County Council on 5 things you can do to help yourself and your community stay safe.

Written by ESP Admin

5 thoughts on “Share your experiences of life during Shutdown”

  1. Ishrat Ahmad says:

    It would be really useful for the woman and children who use our small centre.
    It is Liaise Women Centre based in the grounds of Maybury centre in Board School Rd Woking
    Please send us some more details about how to record these critical days in other languages and basic English for those who are learning the language.
    We are a very small charity and work with women and children including vulnerable ones as well
    We are working mostly (but not only )with users of south Asian origin who need empowering and confidence building.
    This project will certainly ,we think might help them express and articulate their feelings.
    Please let us know if you think it would be suitable for our organisation.
    Best wishes
    Ishrat Ahmad
    Support Worker
    Liaise Women Centre
    Board School Rd
    Woking

    1. ESP Admin says:

      Fantastic, many thanks for getting in touch. A member of the archive team will be in touch with you soon.

  2. Hi there,
    I saw a post on Bagshot village Facebook page regarding a diary of life in lockdown. I have embarked on a project during the lockdown. I have been taking photos of people at their doorsteps, from a distance. I am a wedding photographer and for obvious reasons I cannot work at the moment. So I decided to go round the village on my daily walk documenting the life of other families at their doorstep. I have captured a couple on their Ruby Wedding Anniversary, birthdays, pregnancies, and a couple who were due to get married at the begging of April. I have also documented the Covid related signs in shops, the empty M3 and High Street. I am wondering if these images would be of use to you?

  3. Joan Bagnall says:

    I have been amazed at the changes in our neighbourhood (Send Marsh) since the shut down. I walk with my husband on a regular basis and now use it as our daily exercise. I have taken photographs of empty roads at 11am on a Saturday morning.The roads are so quiet now that you can usually cross safely if you lookout for cyclists. I am sure that people who had long since abandoned cycles in their sheds have reclaimed them into service and have been out enjoying the sunshine. Other walkers happily step aside or cross the road so that we may pass with the required two metre distance between us. They then say ‘thank you’ and ‘Good morning’. Everyone smiles.
    Our walks have been brightened by the many painted stones which the children of Send and Ripley have been placing all over the neighbourhood – on walls and fence posts, road signs and under hedges. The walks take much longer now as i have to photograph all the new ones as they appear.
    The weekly Thursday doorstep clap for the NHS is special and it is good to see so many people outside sharing their support for our precious NHS. It feels as if the crisis may be healing the rifts in society and families caused by Brexit

  4. T Watson says:

    I work in the care industry and am very proud of our NHS but then they’ve always deserved our heartfelt thanks. I really do hope that, post COVID-19 crisis, people still regard our NHS with high esteem because they have suffered intolerable abuse prior to this pandemic.

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