Famous People of Surrey

Steeped in history, it's little wonder that Surrey, inspires and attract some of history’s best.

Discover some of Surrey's Famous people (past and present)

Lewis Carroll is buried in The Mount Cemetery in Guildford town centre.  He died on 14 January 1896, aged 66.

Eric Clapton was born in the village of Ripley.

PG Wodehouse (1881-1975) was born here in 1881 at 1 Vale Place, Epsom Road  Guildford and was christened at   St Nicolas church (his mother was visiting friends in Guildford when she unexpectedly gave birth).  He lived here for 2 weeks.  P G Wodehouse is best known and loved as the creator of Bertie Wooster and his faithful manservant Jeeves.

HG Wells (1866-1946) wrote War of the Worlds whilst he was living in Woking.  HG Well and his wife used to take trips on cycles exploring the country lanes.  The Wheels of Chance, The War of the Worlds (1898), The Invisible Man (1897) and the opening chapters of Love and Mr Lewisham (1900), were all written during his 18 months stay at Woking. 
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was born in Godalming, his father taught at nearby Charterhouse School.The family lived in Compton. Huxley loved to cycle in the Surrey Hills, especially around Hindhead and the Devil's Punchbowl. His best known novel is Brave New World (1932). Huxley spent his later years in California, where he died in 1963. In 1971, the ashes of Aldous Huxley were returned to England and interred in the family grave at the Watts Cemetery, Compton, near Guildford

Beatrix Potter had a holiday home in the Surrey Hills hamlet of Woodcote.

EH Shepherd “the Man who drew Pooh” lived in Guildford when drawing this famous bear.  He left the original pictures to the University of Surrey.

Barnes-Wallis designed his “bouncing bomb”, made famous during the Dambuster Raids of World War II, whilst living in Effingham.

William Cobbett (1762-1835), farmer, pamphleteer, radical, social commentator, started out in life as a crow-scarer and ploughboy. As an assiduous student he mastered French, rhetoric, geometry, logic and fortifications. Cobbet was the original publisher of Hansard, a guide to Parliamentary proceedings, then known simply as the Register.  William Cobbett is best known for his Rural Rides (1830). His social observations and commentary, extracted from the Register, are the best insight we have today to social conditions during his lifetime.  Cobbett was born in Farnham, 

Guildford’s most famous son was a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, who built Abbots Hospital Alms House as a gift to the people of Guildford.

Alan Turing, who broke the Enigma Code during World War 2, lived at 22 Ennismore Avenue, Guildford. There is a statue of him in the main square at the University of Surrey. There is a blue plaque on his parents house at 22, Ennismore Avenue, Guildford.

Boris Karloff was cremated at Guildford Crematorium.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes novels, lived at a house called Undershaw on the A3 in Hindhead and wrote his novel ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles while living there from 1897 to 1907. The house was a hotel and restaurant until 2004, but is now in a state of disrepair.

Admiral Sir James Stirling – the founding father of Western Australia married a girl from Guildford and was buried here.

A mathematician called William Oughtred 1575 – 1660 lived at Shalford then took a living at the rectory in Albury.  He was initially an astronomer who worked with John Napier who invented logarithms. William Oughtred invented the slide rule in 1622.  In 1660 he was buried in Albury old church which is part of the Albury estate and there is a memorial plaque in the church.  

Playwright George Bernard Shaw lived at a house called ‘Blen Cathra’ in Hindhead, Surrey, now St. Edmund’s.

Peter Gabriel originally founded the rock group Genesis and went on to become a renowned solo artist, including writing all the music to the Millennium Festival at the Dome. He lived in Chobham and went to St Andrews school in Horsell in the 50's and 60's.

Cricketing twins, Sir Alec and Eric Bedser, who played for Surrey and England, live in Horsell, and it is rumoured that they first played cricket against the wall of the Bleak House pub.

John Paul Getty, American oil tycoon and recluse, was the recent occupier of Sutton Place, the 16th Century manor house just north of Guildford.

 Lady Emma Hamilton, lover of Lord Nelson, used to live in Pyrford, near Woking

Jack Phillips - Jack Phillips was the telegraph operator who stayed at his post sending distress signals on board the Titantic.

Gertrude Jekyll - One of the most well known garden designers of her time, she spent much of her life in Surrey and is buried in St John's churchyard at Busbridge.  Gertrude Jekyll has been credited with wholly or partly designing over 400 gardens in the United Kingdom.  She was the first woman to be awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest award for British horticulturists.  The National Trust recently purchased the last home of Gertrude Jekyll, Munstead Wood, near Godalming.   The Trust are now working with the community and partners to develop plans on the best way to open the property to visitors in the future.

You can learn more about Surrey's folklore and fiction

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