Surrey Heritage Local Studies Collection

The Surrey History Centre in Woking houses the county’s extensive local studies reference library of books, periodicals, newspapers, directories, prints and drawings, postcards, photographs and maps. Numbering over 120,000 items, the collection covers every aspect of Surrey, past and present and is available to all visitors to the Centre, free of charge, in a modern, purpose-built searchroom.

A broad range of subjects are covered, ranging from landscape gardens and great houses to mental asylums and orphanages; from the building of the M25 to the restoration of canals; from the Epsom Derby to illegal bare-knuckle boxing matches; from World War 2 pillboxes to Roman villas; floods and hurricanes to dragonflies and even the Surrey puma!

Finding out what we hold couldn’t be simpler; the majority of items are listed on either the Surrey Libraries online catalogue,  or browse around on this website using the ‘Search All Records’ box on the right

Enquiries about any aspect of Surrey life and landscape are welcomed and the Surrey History Centre staff are happy to advise on using the collections.

Contact details; Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 6ND

Tel: 01483 518737
E-mail: [email protected]

Examples of items in the Local Studies Collection

An early map of Surrey from Elizabethan times, with a detail showing a beacon on the Hogs Back that would have been lit when the Spanish Armada threatened the south coast.

'Surriae Comitatus'  Surrey History Centre reference M/150

‘Surriae Comitatus’
Surrey History Centre reference M/150

From 'Surriae Comitatus' showing the Beacon Surrey History Centre reference M/150

From ‘Surriae Comitatus’ showing the Beacon
Surrey History Centre reference M/150

‘Surriae Comitatus…’ by William Smith [so-called ‘Anonymous’ series]. Description: ‘Map of Surrey showing towns, villages, hamlets, rivers, bridges, hills, roads and beacons’. It is one of a collection of twelve county maps drawn by William Smith and believed to have been engraved by Jodocus Hondius in Amsterdam in 1602-3; no further counties were produced and it is thought that Hondius abandoned the project in favour of working on Saxton’s atlas.. About 1650 the plates came into the possession of Peter Stent and John Overton. This map was published by them c.1665.

Surrey History Centre reference 942.06.

Surrey History Centre reference 942.06.

A 17th century pamphlet detailing events as they happened in the English Civil War.

“[A ]true relation of the late hurliburly at Kingston upon Thames on wednesday the 12th of Jauua [sic] caused by Collonell Lundsford and the rest of his company…”, (London : 1642).

Surrey History Centre reference 942.2EWE.

Surrey History Centre reference 942.2EWE.

Another pamphlet from 1681 shows the popular prejudices and fears of witchcraft.

Surrey History Centre reference 942.2EWE.

Surrey History Centre reference 942.2EWE.

“Strange and wonderful news from Yowel in Surry : giving a true and just account of one Elizabeth Burgess, who was most strangely bewitched…”
(J. Clark, at the Bible and Harp, 1681).

Other illustrations range from a rare 1690 watercolour by Johannes Kip showing a birds eye view of More Park in Farnham to postcards of World War 1 army camps and aerial photographs of the county.

Newspapers, periodicals and directories– Surrey Bottle Collectors  Magazine / Surrey Advertiser 1914 / Guildford Almanack.

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