This page provides a brief overview of Surrey Heritage.

Surrey Heritage Main Page


A first exploration of Surrey County Council’s online heritage resources can be a confusing series of encounters with entities variously named Surrey Heritage, Surrey History Centre and Exploring Surrey’s Past, each one providing links to the others but not offering much enlightenment about their inter-relationships.

Surrey Heritage is one of the (currently) seven Directorates of SCC with the mission of bringing together SCC’s “expertise in caring for and promoting the county’s past” and enabling people “to discover, investigate and protect the county’s archaeology, historic buildings, written heritage and artefacts”.

The principal components of Surrey Heritage are:

• Surrey History Centre (in Woking)

• Heritage Conservation Team

• Surrey Country Archaeological Unit

• Surrey’s Historic Environment Record

• Exploring Surrey’s Past

all of which are based at the Surrey History Centre. Their roles are outlined in this leaflet:

introductory leaflet about Surrey Heritage

Exploring Surrey’s Past

Exploring Surrey’s Past home page

As seen above, Exploring Surrey’s Past is a component of Surrey Heritage. It is a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and serves as a portal intended to facilitate learning and discovery using the historical and archaeological resources of Surrey Heritage and also those of other collections in the county. The ESP website provides various methods of accessing these resources. Firstly, there is a top-level search box with both basic and advanced options, the search ranging over all the collections available. Secondly, there is the ESP Pages hierarchy which can be explored level by level by clicking the tree-expansion nodes displayed there. Thirdly, there are some specialized projects which have been assembled by the ESP team, including a very extensive study Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers.

The ESP home page is shown here –>

The ESP search box can be seen at the top.

Beneath this is the main menu. This has a Collections tab which brings into view a listing of the many collections around the county whose catalogues are searched by the ESP search engine.

The People, Places, Times and Themes tabs in the top menu take one to a different interface, shown next, which displays the Pages hierarchy.

The Pages hierarchy is shown here –>

The hierarchy resides in the side bar. Here, the Content node has been clicked to expand it to the next level, offering People, Places, Times and Themes. These can be expanded in turn  – for instance, one can expand People and then expand a further node for, say, Musicians. The Themes node expands to several dozen themes such as Schools, Hospitals, Crime, Maps and Refugees. At the leaf nodes of this tree one finds the source material.

The amount of material ultimately delved out from these explorations is variable: in some cases it is quite sparse but for others very extensive. Altogether ESP is a commendable project making the underlying collections interesting and more readily interpretable. 

Scrolling further down the ESP home page brings other facilities into view, including the one seen here on the left. This gives links to the three main Surrey Heritage Projects developed so far: the one already mentioned for the Great War; a study of the playright R C Sherriff; and a study of suffrage in Surrey. They are all very extensive and informative.