The Spike Heritage Centre (Guildford)


The popularity of the Heritage Centre (in Guildford) means that we need an increasing number of Tour Guides to show visitors around this Edwardian vagrants’ ward which was part of a Victorian workhouse, explaining the purpose of the building, it’s architecture and the social history behind it’s development and use.

As a volunteer you will start by ‘shadowing’ an existing guide and be given a transcript of a typical tour. We encourage our guides to add their own personality to the tours.

You will also have the opportunity, if you wish, to contribute to ongoing research, adding to the information given to our visitors.

In addition to the general tours every month, we also have typically three group tours and these can involve 10 to 50 visitors at a time. The times and dates vary and usually include refreshments and a discussion at the end of the tour.

Tour Guides are also called on to help with school visits, working in association with Education Assistants.

If you have an interest in social history, old buildings and their uses and local heritage then full training will be given as a guide and additional training is offered including First Aid and Fire Safety Courses.

Hours are flexible and most volunteers commit to a morning or afternoon once or twice a month. All hours are open to negotiation and based around opening times which are

Tuesday and Saturday   10am to 1pm and 1pm to 4pm

We provide refreshments, out of pocket expenses and free parking.

We also open by pre arrangement for group bookings almost any day of the year and at any time between 8am and 8pm

If you are interested or have any queries please contact us by clicking the 'Sign Up' button.


Mission Statement

The Spike Heritage Centre is one of the few buildings remaining from Guildford's Workhouse in the Poor Law era, which housed the forgotten classes of Victorian England.  The Vagrants and Casual Ward, known as The Spike was built in 1906 to house vagrants and low paid workers.  After the Poor Laws ended in 1929, it continued as a night hostel until the mid 1960s. The NHS took over the site becoming St Lukes Hospital, operational until the mid 1990s when the new Royal Surrey hospital was opened.  The majority of the workhouse site was redeveloped, but due to the efforts of local campaigners, the Casual Ward was saved and remains as a historic building with lots of stories to tell. Individual visitors and groups are welcome to explore this unique building with guides providing the insight about how the poor were treated in a bygone age.