The Spike Heritage Centre, Guildford, Surrey

The Spike Heritage Centre was built on the edge of Guildford in 1838 to house the poor and those who were sick, infirm or destitute. Such buildings were common in towns and villages following the introduction of the Poor Law Amendment Act and were a big feature of Edwardian England, offering a more structured way of life for many. In 1905 a Casual’s Ward was added for ‘undesirables’ who proved a disruption to the established routines of the Workhouse – with their ‘dirty clothes, coarse behaviour and crude language’. Sounds draconian, doesn’t it, but that’s how they did things in those days and for anyone interested in social history and reform it’s well worth a visit. You can see a working cell and the Casual’s Ward, and get a glimpse of how life was here, accentuated with sounds and smells that make it all the more realistic. There’s an Exhibition Room too, and though there’s no café, visitors are welcome to picnic in the Tramp Master’s Garden. Groups welcome.

Open:  Sat & Tues 10.00 am-3.00 pm
T: 01483 598420      All information correct at the time of writing.

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