Surrey has a long history of receiving and welcoming refugees, from Huguenots escaping persecution in the 16th century to displaced persons from the two World Wars. Local newspapers held at Surrey History Centre contain a wealth of information about the reception of Belgian refugees in Surrey during the First World War.
In 1938, Surrey villages, including Albury and Holmbury St Mary, housed over 100 displaced men, women and children from the Sudetenland. The Spectator appealed for clothes or money for these Sudeten refugees and, within a week, £120 had been donated by its readers.
In the 1930s and 1940s, a number of schools and homes, including Stoatley Rough in Haslemere and Weir Courtney in Lingfield, were opened to accommodate Jewish children escaping Nazi oppression. More information can be found here: Kindertransport and Stoatley Rough School.
Read how one man commemorated the wartime discovery made about his childhood home in the village of Rowledge.
To learn more about those who were able to escape oppression and make a new life for themselves in this country, read about Surrey as a place of refuge.
Refugee charity, The Ockenden Venture, was founded in Woking in the 1950s, and is best known for helping children from German DP camps and Vietnamese boat people escaping the Communist régime. Read more about how this small organisation helped hundreds of refugees. See Surrey Heritage’s online HLF project exhibition about Ockenden.