The Spike Heritage Centre (Guildford)

RESEARCH VOLUNTEER - updated 30.03.2022

Spike Lives Family History Project researchers: The Spike is the community centre and the preserved casual ward of the former Guildford Union Workhouse in Charlotteville, Guildford. Spike Lives is a heritage research project that is chronicling the lives of inmates living in the Guildford Union Workhouse during the 1881 census - and those lives are fascinating!

247 individuals, aged from one month to 96 years. Vagrants, criminals, labourers, gardeners, domestics, laundresses, unemployed or unemployable, schoolchildren, ill, incapacitated...

How had they ended up there? Why had they fallen on hard times? What’s their backstory? What happened next?

The Spike is welcoming volunteers to help complete its project. All it asks is that you have experience of family history research with access to the Surrey History Centre and / or to Ancestry or Find My Past, etc, and can write a good story.

The Spike is putting a website ( to record the findings and tell the stories of these people and the lives they led. . 

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.