Borders of Surrey - where are we and where is London these days?

PUBLISHED: 08:09 02 February 2012 | UPDATED: 10:04 14 April 2015

Borders of Surrey - the changing face of our county

Borders of Surrey - the changing face of our county

Much debate surrounds the borders of Surrey and we regularly hear from readers, both inside and outside the current administrative county, who are proud to call this leafy segment of England home. To clarify the subject, we thought Surrey History Centre's Julian Pooley might be the man to clear up the debate...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2008


"We collect for the present administrative county, as it is now," he says. "But the records we have often go into the historic parts of Surrey that are now parts of London or have been lost to Berkshire and Sussex.

"Before 1889, when the Surrey County Council was established, the whole county was run by justices of the peace who met quarterly. We have their records going back to the 1660s, a fantastic record of how the county was run by these incredibly important people. And of course in those days, the county was right up to the Thames to Rotherhide and Barnes and what have you. The justices had jurisdiction over petty crimes and so from 1660 right through to the mid-19th century we've got records of all the petty crimes committed in the slums of South London, which are a fascinating read.

"We get a lot of Australians, for example, researching their family history, who find that their ancestors were transported for stealing washing off someone's line or whatever in Bermondsey. Well, it may be part of London now but it was Surrey then, so we've got all the records. It's certainly a hazy area."


Key Surrey border changes:

  • The London boroughs of Lambeth, Wandsworth and Southwark were considered part of Surrey until 1889;
  • Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Sutton, Barnes and Richmond - all now reclassified as part of Greater London - were still included under the Surrey umbrella until 1965 (Surrey Life magazine's readership still includes most of these areas);
  • Just to confuse the issue further, Surrey County Council still sits at Kingston upon Thames.
  • Surrey is now divided into the 11 districts and boroughs of Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Waverley and Woking

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