Beyond the County Record Offices
Some of the treasures of the Museum Library are on display at the Surrey History Centre from 2nd March to 30th April, part of an exhibition to publicise the existence of interesting archive collections to be found in the South-East,
in institutions other than the County Record Offices.
Collections from six organisations were catalogued last year in a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, part of the National Archives drive to make guides to the fascinating records of England’s history available to researchers throughout the world by publishing them on the World Wide Web. Godalming Museum was the ‘lead body’, organising the project and providing office space for the archivists during the setting up of the exhibition. The other project partners were the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, the Royal Logistic Corps Museum at Deepcut, the Watts Gallery at Compton, Royal Holloway College at Egham, and the Tolkien Society.
The items which the Museum chose to have listed were the old deeds and volumes of notes and transcripts collected and produced throughout his long life by Percy Woods (1842-1922), son of an old Godalming family and an assiduous researcher into the area’s history. There are nearly 400 deeds and associated papers, many from the 17th century, some dating back to Tudor times. They relate to property in many places in Surrey and adjoining counties, but are principally rich in information about the parishes of Chiddingfold, Godalming, Thursley and Witley. The notes and transcripts, filling 59 huge bound volumes and a further 100 notebooks and folders, take us through records of the Godalming ‘Hundred’, including Haslemere and Cranleigh, back to 1066 and beyond, including the will of Alfred the Great.
The exhibits to be seen at the Surrey History Centre include something from each institution, so it is a hugely varied display. Percy Woods’ notes share the space with a Bronze Age spear head, letters commenting on French and American politics in the nineteenth century, photographs of soldiers learning to drive without the aid of motor vehicles, examples of the fascinating ‘fanzines’ collected by the Tolkien Society, and sketches and a model for G.F. Watts’s statue ‘Physical energy’.
Details of the exhibition can be found on the events pages on the Surrey History Service web-site (http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/surreyhistoryservice).
The Percy Woods Collection can be consulted in the Museum Library (open 1-4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday), where a database gives detailed access to Woods’ notes, indexed by persons’ names and occupations, and by place names.
Downstairs in the exhibition room:
'Pubs, Breweries and Bottles'
Tracing the history of over 80 pubs and 14 breweries recorded in John Janaways' latest book, 'Godalming and Farncombe Pubs and Breweries'.
More details in Exhibitions and events