Bourne Society Website

Local History of East Surrey

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Welcome to the Bourne Society

THE BOURNE SOCIETY is a local history society that was formed in 1956 and takes its name from the intermittent streams that follow the lines of the A22 and A23 roads in East Surrey, meeting at Purley to flow northward into the River Wandle. The Society celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2006.

The aims of the Society - England’s largest local history society - are to extend the knowledge of local history in Caterham, Chaldon, Chelsham, Chipstead, Coulsdon, Farleigh, Godstone, Kenley, Purley, Sanderstead, Warlingham, Whyteleafe and Woldingham, and to ensure the preservation of records and other objects of historical interest.

Below you will find a taste of the publications and other activities of the Society that will help you to understand what we have to offer and illustrate possible avenues for pursuing local history research in the area.


Local History Records - Vol 81 - November 2014


All Bourne Society Members now receive a copy of the Society's quarterly production known as the "Local History Records". This journal is packed with short articles of interest to the local historian as well as items of news, forthcoming events, recent group activities, contact details etc.


St Lawrence's Hospital Staff War Memorial


Here is a photograph of the memorial as it was on the wall of the chapel at St. Lawrence’s Hospital. The larger top part is commemorating those staff of the hospital who died in World War 1 and the smaller bottom part commemorates those who died in World War 2.

Do YOU know what happened to the smaller bottom part?


Book of Days

In 1864 Scottish author Robert Chambers published what has become known as The Chambers Book of Days (actually entitled "The Book of Days: A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities in Connection with the Calendar, Including Anecdote, Biography, & History, Curiosities of Literature and Oddities of Human Life and Character"). This was a work in two large volumes that listed, for each day of the calendar, the saints connected to that day as well as famous persons being born or dying on that day. Some people were then described in more detailed articles to stimulate the interest of the reader. Since that time many Books of Days have been published down the years and in 1995 John D. Matthews produced a work for the Bourne Society along similar lines.


Rectors of Coulsdon Surrey


This 145 page, A4, book, copiously illustrated, gives an entertaining and informative account of the incumbents of St John the Evangelist, Old Coulsdon, from 1224–1950 with biographical and background historical details, together with similar information on the clergy of eight parishes ‘devolved’ from Old Coulsdon, 1871–1950.

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