The Spike Heritage Centre (Guildford)

RESEARCH VOLUNTEER - updated 9th July 2019



To assist with research for the “More Than Oliver Twist” Arts Council England funded subject specialist network project.


Relation to Workhouse Network Objective:

The Workhouse Network aims to enable museums to enter into beneficial partnerships and give them the tools to maintain these relationships; to build confidence in the museum workforce to successfully develop and disseminate historic welfare research; to increase public engagement with welfare histories. The Research Volunteer will assist with these objectives by researching and uncovering pauper narratives for the pilot project “More Than Oliver Twist”, to be included in a physical and digital pauper histories exhibition.



May include the following:

  • To dedicate at least 1 morning a week to researching the histories of individuals recorded in   the 1881 census as residing at the workhouse in question;
  • To use a range of resources, including but not limited to the local archives, MH12 at the National Archives, FindMyPast/Ancestry, FreeBMD, newspaper archives and your local workhouse archive. This may necessitate signing up to your local library;
  • To attend the Networking Event on 11th September;
  • To work with your Regional Mentor to interpret and develop the research to form well-written case-studies;
  • To attend regular training sessions and progress meetings to discuss the development of your research;


Skills required:

  • Patience and commitment
  • Secure and reliable internet availability at home
  • Research skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to take and respond to feedback
  • Communication skills


Training provided:

  1. All training provided by Nottingham Trent University, delivered on site at the respective workhouse by the Regional Mentors.
  2. Training to cover - Research overview: aims, methods; Poor Law Records at the National Archives; Local Poor Law Records; Record linkage: from “records” to family histories; Writing history/making history: interpretation and the writing of history.

Mission Statement

To promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Charlotteville and the neighbourhood (hereinafter called ‘the area of benefit’) without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, race or of political or religious or other opinions, by associating together the said inhabitants and the local authorities, voluntary and other organisation in a common effort to advance education and provide facilities in the interest of social welfare for recreation and other leisure-time occupation with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.

To establish or secure the establishment of a Community Centre and to maintain the same, whether alone or in co-operation with any local statutory authority or other person or body in furtherance of these objects.