History of the Guildford Society

Located in southern England, in Surrey, Guilford is home to a whole host of amazing historical wonders. Historians attribute its location to the existence of a gap in the North Downs where the River Wey was forded. Featuring beautiful and preserved listed buildings, as well as the medieval Guildford Castle, surrounded by gardens and stunning views from its square tower, the town is also home to the Guildford house – which is a 17th-century townhouse with a gallery located inside. Additionally, there is also a manor house with a walled garden.

Formed in 1896 as a branch of SPAB for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, The Guildford Society has been operating for over a century. After a short start in life, the society was disbanded in 1902. Nevertheless, it has engaged in several campaigns and is credited with saving the Georgian red-brick facade of Guildford Old Bank. The Guildford Society was established in its present form in 1935.

Historian and author Russell Chamberlain was commissioned by The Guildford Society to help celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1985. His book “Guildford: Town Under Siege” reflects on the Society’s journey, looking back over the previous 25 years from that point.

Heritage Open Days are England’s biggest festival of culture and history. It brings together over 2000 local people and organisations each year, as well as thousands of volunteers. Taking place in September, the event is a celebration of the power of community, culture and history. Established in 1994, The Heritage Open Days allowed free access to a selection of interesting and renowned buildings in Guildford.

The Society joined the technology age in 2004 by launching their first website, making it easier for the community to engage and have access to the society’s events and initiatives.

The Civic Voice, one of the biggest social movements in England, is a national charity that prides itself on making places more attractive, enjoyable, and distinctive. It initially took over The Civic Trust, which was established in 1957. They are the umbrella organisation for hundreds of Civic Societies, including The Guildford Society.

After a challenging start, The Guildford Society is now a registered, independent charity characterised by its high levels of knowledge and expertise. The society is committed to ensuring the beautiful attractiveness and future of Guildford is preserved, keeping in line with the high standards of architecture and development.

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