Historic Surrey

historic county

Since 1889 there have been some major changes in the administrative boundaries of the county of Surrey. This affects the records held on Exploring Surreys Past.

  • Until 1889 the ancient county of Surrey extended as far north as the Thames and as far east as Rotherhithe.
  • In 1889 the County of London was created, and the areas of the modern London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth were removed from Surrey. The records of these areas are held either by the London Metropolitan Archives Opens in New Window or by the local boroughs, but the Surrey History Centre holds pre-1889 Quarter Sessions records for this area.
  • Also in 1889, Croydon was made into a county borough exempt from county administration. Croydon became a London borough in 1965, and most Croydon records are held by the Croydon Local Studies Library and Archives. New window
  • In 1965 more of Surrey was lost to London, with the creation of the London boroughs of Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and an expanded Croydon. For these areas, records are held by the local boroughs (either in their archives or local studies libraries) or the Surrey History Centre. The London Metropolitan Archives Opens in New Window may also have some material.
  • In 1965 Staines and Sunbury were transferred from Middlesex to Surrey. In 1974 these areas became the new district of Spelthorne. Most records relating to the former Middlesex area are held by the London Metropolitan Archives Opens in New Window.

The above map depicts these major changes. However it should be noted that there have also been several minor changes to the Surrey boundary over the years and these are not shown.

If you have an enquiry relating to one of the areas which came into Surrey or has left it, please contact us to check whether we can help.

Click the links below to see the catalogues for parish registers from areas which are no longer part of the county but are held at the Surrey History Centre:

Click here for a complete list of the parish registers held at the Surrey History Centre.

Click here to view a selection of images of historic Surrey painted by John Hassell.

Surrey Rootsweb Mailing List is a forum for anyone interested in researching genealogy and local history in the historic County of Surrey. The forum welcomes newcomers with an interest in any part of  the ancient County of Surrey including those places administered as London Boroughs eg. Croydon, Kingston, Camberwell, Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, Newington, Southwark, Lambeth, Battersea and Wandsworth. Click here to find out more.

7 thoughts on “Historic Surrey”

  1. martin says:

    Good afternoon
    I am currently deep into my family research and am currently stuck.
    I wonder if you could help me by letting me know if Camberley has always been in the county of Surrey.
    Many thanks Martin

  2. June Salmon says:

    I am writing a novel set in Surrey during the early 19th century and am trying to discover the location of Assembly Rooms used during that time. Is anyone able to supply any information to this effect or to point me in the direction of any useful literature?

    Many thanks in advance for your help.

  3. Steve Cripps says:

    I am carrying out research into alterations to properties post 1905 within a mile radius of TW15 3AE, with particular emphasis on (a) any development that has occurred beyond the original building line, (b) considered development of any blocks of flats, (c) where more than one house has been built on a single plot and finally (d), to identify all locations/addresses/businesses subject to commercial use with particular emphases on hotels,pubs,restaurants and off licences. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

  4. Kate Kenworthy says:

    Having done some research into my family history, a significant number of them were employed at Fuller’s Earth in Redhill. Would anyone happen to know more about what conditions were like for workers or be able to point me in a direction where I might be able to find out more please?

    1. Steve White says:


      I have seen a couple of items in Redhill Library that should be able to help. I suggest you contact the local history volunteers at the library when the opening hours get back to normal.

      Try their email – [email protected] nb. REDHILL Local And Family History Group hence 3 L’s in Redhill


  5. Linda Hinton says:

    I was born in South Norwood in 1955. Was I born in Surrey or South London?

    1. John Saunders says:

      If the area is now in Lambeth- London. If now in Croydon- Surrey.

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