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Facts

SURREY

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FUN FACTS

Surrey is the 35th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Surrey has the 12th highest population in England.
Surrey is in 13th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. It is said that at the end of his reign, Henry VIII owned over 50 palaces and none of them were used by Airbnb. Seriously it may seem a lot but he also had a staff of over 1,000 people. Many of his palaces were scattered around England as Henry liked to travel and, when he did, he needed somewhere grand to stay. However, his favourite palace was Hampton Court in Surrey.

    Originally the palace was built for Thomas Wolsey who was Henry's chief adviser. After a while Wolsey fell out of favour and, trying to get back in the King's good books, he gifted him the palace. This didn't work and Wolsey was removed from office. He travelled to York but was arrested and ordered back to London. He would almost certainly have been beheaded but, luckily for him, died at Leicester on the way back.

    Along with St James's Palace, Hampton Court Palace is the only other remaining palace of the 50 or so that Henry owned. It is well worth a visit but please don't get lost in the maze. I'm not coming looking for you.

  3. Surrey Eats
  4. These nice little cakes are known as Maids of Honour Tarts and as they are also known as Richmond Maids of Honour and Richmond is in Surrey, this is where they belong. There is a story that King Henry VIII, while staying at Hampton Court Palace, also in Surrey, saw some of the Queen's maids of honour eating some cakes and he demanded to taste one. He found them absolutely delicious and named them after the maids. As his future wife, Anne Boleyn, was a maid of honour he might have been trying to impress her.

    There is, so I found out, a tea room in Kew, also in Surrey, called " The Original Maids of Honour" which was set up specifically to sell these tarts way back in the 18th century.

  5. Surrey VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Surrey in the last 100 years:-
    Warwick Davis (Actor/Presenter), Julie Andrews (Actor), Tim Vine (Comedian), Michaela Strachan (TV Presenter), James Cracknell (Olympic Gold Medalist ‐Rowing), Delia Smith (Cook/TV Presenter), Joanna Rowsell (Olympic Gold Medalist ‐ Cycling).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. Surrey, or at least parts of it, has several sculptures relating to the works of famous authors. In August 1868 a young man came to Guildford in Surrey to look for a home for his six unmarried sisters. His father had died two months earlier and he was now the head of the family. He eventually bought The Chestnuts, just next to the ruins of Guildford Castle. He made many visits to Guildford over the years and would, in January 1898, die there.

    The young man's name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson but you may know him better as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. It is said that he wrote the second book during a stay in Guildford in 1871. There is now an "Alice" trail in and around Guildford and a set of sculptures mark the way. The one shown here is at the start of the trail and shows Alice and her sister sitting reading a book as the White Rabbit scurries by.

    Meanwhile, in nearby Woking, there is a sculpture of a seven metre tall Martian tripod which was unveiled in 1998. This chrome electropolished stainless steel piece of art, designed by Michael Condron, is in honour of H.G.Wells who lived in the town.

    H.G.Wells was a writer of Science Fiction and his most famous novel, The War of the Worlds, tells how Woking was reduced to ashes by Martians and their heat rays.

    Many people will say that Wells, who wrote about the atom bomb, the tank, the aeroplane and the internet long before they were invented, was the first science fiction writer in the English language. In fact, Woking has the slogan "Woking - where modern science fiction took off".

    Other novels by Wells include The Invisible Man, The Time Machine and The First Men in the Moon.

    Wells dies in London in 1946, aged 79. In his novel The World Set Free, he imagined an "atomic bomb" of terrifying power that would be dropped from aeroplanes. This was quite amazing, considering the book was written in 1913, well before the atomic bomb was invented and at a time when aeroplanes had not been used in a military fashion.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. The Derby is the richest flat, as opposed to over jumps, horse race in Britain. It is run for three-year-old colts and fillies. It takes place on the first Saturday of June each year over a distance of one mile, four furlongs and 6 yards or 2,420 metres. It was first run in 1780 on a course on Epsom Downs in Surrey. Nowadays it is run on the Epsom Downs Racecourse. The original race was sponsored by the Earl of Derby, hence the name. One of his horses won in 1787. Between 1915 and 1918 and again from 1940 to 1945, the Derby was run at Newmarket in Suffolk. In 1931, the Derby became the world's first outdoor sporting event to be televised.

    But none of the above are why I have put this here. This is because of the race in 1913, a time when women in England were fighting to get the vote. These women were known as suffragettes. One women who was a part of this fight was Emily Davison. She was arrested nine times, went on a hunger strike seven times and was force-fed on forty-nine separate occasions.

    In simple facts, on 4th June 1913, during the running of the Derby at Epsom, Emily Davison, who was standing at Tattenham Corner, the final bend before the finishing straight, walked out in front of the King's horse, was hit by the horse and died of her injuries four days later. Both horse and jockey survived.

    However there is still some doubt as to why she did what she did. She told no one beforehand of her intentions. She had two suffragettes flags with her. She also had a ticket to a dance later that day and her diary with appointments for the following week. It is possible that she wanted to drape a suffragette flag around the neck of the King's horse. Although the horses were travelling at around 35 mph, each jockey wore the distinctive colours of their horse's owner. The inquest into her death stated "that Miss Emily Wilding Davison died of fracture of the base of the skull, caused by being accidentally knocked down by a horse through wilfully rushing on to the racecourse on Epsom Downs during the progress of the race for the Derby; death was due to misadventure" Therefore it was not thought that she deliberately threw herself under the King's horse as is often said.

    As with so many events in history we may never know what Emily Davison was trying to do except it is almost certain she was trying to draw attention to the suffragette movement. All we can say today is that it happened during the Derby at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. I'm afraid my memories here are going to be very brief. Surrey is not on the coast, not part of my previous journeys and my only memories are of playing rugby and cricket there in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Rugby was not my favourite sport but at school I found it preferable to rowing (I couldn't then swim) or cross country running which seemed pointless. So I played rugby for five years and then, after I left, played for the old boys for a season. During these six years I suffered delayed concussion after one game, dislocated a shoulder in another, tore all the ligaments and broke a bone in a ankle in a seven-a-side game and suffered temporary paralysis after being squashed in a scrum where I shouldn't have been playing (I liked being on the wing ‐ it was quieter). Our opening fixture was usually at Reigate in Surrey or against St John's School in Leatherhead, also luckily in Surrey. Don't remember them at all.

    Cricket was different. I only broke four fingers in an eight year career and I do remember playing cricket, again for the old boys of my school, at a beautiful ground in Oxshott in Surrey. Lovely setting and very nice people. Sorry, but that's it.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The nightingale is best known for its song which often consists of a series of quick high and low notes that are rich in quality. Very few birds can match them. They are slightly larger than robins and have a fairly plain brown and white appearance. They have pink legs and have a thin brown and yellow beak. They eat insects.

    Nightingales arrive in April and will sing until early June. They leave again in early August. In England they are mainly found in the south east. They are quite shy and often hide in bushes or grassland.

    Nightingales are about 16 cms in length, have a wingspan of about 25 cms and weigh between 17 and 24 grams. There was a very famous song during WWII called "A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square". Go on, YouTube it.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Surrey check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020