The archive and articles were originally 'housed' on the www.heritagewalks.org website, but in 2015 with the weekly addition of articles submitted to the Woking Advertiser, it was decided that a dedicated site to Woking's History was required.
The aims of this site are several, and it was always envisaged that it would take some time for it to be complete (if that is possible with a subject such as history).
Perhaps the most important element of this site is to include pages of research and sources on Woking’s history so that anyone with an interest in the area can have access to my ‘archive’ of local material and memorabilia. Whilst there are obviously many items in my collection awaiting scanning and uploading to this site, I hope what has been achieved so far will be of use to those interested in Woking's history.
As you will see the archive has been divided into several ‘Districts’ for ease of access (Woking Town Centre, Walton Road Area & Sheerwater; Maybury Hill, Heathside and Mount Hermon; Old Woking, Kingfield & Westfield; Mayford, Sutton Green & Bridley; Brookwood & Knaphill; St Johns & Hook Heath; Goldsworth & Goldsworth Park; Horsell & Woodham; and Byfleet, West Byfleet & Pyrford) - with a section on documents issued or connected to local government (Woking Urban District Council; Woking Borough Council; Surrey County Council; etc); Local Guidebooks and Directories; and Woking in General.
I have also added a link to a list of books, booklets and journals I hold in my 'library' on the history of Woking and Surrey in general, and it is envisaged that at some later date there may also be a section listing some of the maps I hold as well.
My other aim is to put on-line some of the notes and illustrations that have been submitted for publication over the years to various publications, notably the Woking Informer (from June 2010 to December 2012) and the Woking Advertiser (from January 2013 to July 2019) I intend to continue to post to this site (from time to time) articles for my series on Woking’s Chronological History started in January 2014 for the Woking Advertiser.
That series looks at the Woking area from prehistoric times to the present day, with sections on the Geology & Geography of Woking; the Prehistory (Stone Age, Bronze Age; Iron Age & Roman occupation), and then onto historical times including notes on the Anglo-Saxon period, Woking at the time of Domesday, Early Medieval Times, the Tudors and much more. With so much information available for more recent times, the articles from the 1870's onwards are increasingly based around stories on a year by year basis.
Obviously space in the newspaper was limited and not everything I sent could be printed every week. It is also the case that new material will come to light after an item has been printed, so this website offers the opportunity for that (and other work) to be added at a later date.
The artciles on 'Woking's War of the Worlds' were designed to accompany my Guided Heritage Walks celebrating 150 years since the birth of H G Wells (in 1866). Each chapter of his famous science-fiction book is illustrated with contemporary photographs and maps, as well as some of the original drawings from the Victorian Pearsons Magazine (where The War of the Worlds was first published in 1896, before being released in book form in 1898).
With the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, my walks, talks and displays were postponed, and I found the time to research and write up the history of my home in Old Woking. This new section on 'Old Woking History' will begin with notes on the history of my home (its previous owners and occupiers), as well as that of some of my neighbouring properties, before eventually going on to cover the history of the wider Old Woking area.
Another page has now been added looking at the History of Old Woking in general - starting by defining where exactly 'Old Woking' begins and ends (geographically and geologically, as well as historically.
I would like to point out that as well as writing the articles and leading the Heritage Walks I also give talks to private groups or societies (and occasionally to the general public). If you are the booking secretary for a local group, you may like to know some of the talks that I do (although to be honest just about any subject to do with local history on the area is possible, given enough notice). I should point out that unless asked not to, all talks will be illustrated and that I will bring along my own laptop and projector (and screen if required) for the presentation. The most popular talks include A Brief History of Woking; The Industrial History of Woking; and Woking in the 1950's, 60's and 70's; as well as talks based on the books contained on the heritagewalks.org website - such as Wells, Woking & the Real War of the Worlds; An Illustrated History of Woking Town Centre and the various villages covered by the self-guided heritage walks. Please note that due to work commitments, I am only able to give talks/walks at the weekend or in the evenings and I do make a charge for the service. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Occasionally I will also be invited to put on a display of local history at a village fete or fair. The display will usually consist of a stall of at least some of the publications on the heritagewalks.org website, together with any maps, old photographs or other memorabilia I hold on the area. Again please email email@example.com for more details.
Some people have asked if my walks, or indeed this site, are 'official' in any way - the answer is that almost everything I do is very much 'unofficial' and independent of any organisation, authority or public body.
In the past I have stated that “if you find this website of interest please feel free to tell anyone its address, but please do not place a ‘link’ to it from any other site”, but I now appreciate that this is an unreasonable request to make, so if you wish to add this site (and/or our sister site www.heritagewalks.org) to your list of 'links', please let me know.
As I say, this site is free and independent of any organisation or authority and I want it to remain (and be seen to remain) that way. Any comments or views expressed on this site should not be taken to be the views of any company or organisation that I may be associated with.
If you have any constructive comments to make about the site, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org although I cannot guarantee that I will make any alterations or even be able to reply straight away.