Summer at Dorking Museum
The team at Dorking Museum is looking forward to a summer of warmer weather and relative freedom from the restrictions of recent months. The upcoming programme includes indoor, outdoor – and underground – events, with something for everyone!
Special exhibition: Forster@50
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of the writer E M Forster, best remembered for his novels but also a prominent political and environmental activist and resident of Abinger Hammer for over 20 years, Dorking Museum will provide the chance to learn more about this prolific writer this summer. Exploring his life locally, the local cultural and charitable initiatives he took part in, his famous local associates and the impact of the area on his novels, the special exhibition will run until early September 2021.
Summer Family Activity: Fun and Games of Yesteryear
Photo : Fun and Games family activity (c) Lisa Geelhood
The Museum’s family activity this summer features Fun and Games of Yesteryear. Visit the Museum for some good old-fashioned fun and discover what games people used to play in years gone by. Wooden board games, like bagatelle or shove ha’penny, noughts and crosses or tangram and others will be available to play during museum hours until 28th August and free with normal admission. (Subject to any change of Covid restrictions).
Having been closed since 2019 because of the pandemic, July saw the long-awaited re-opening of one of Dorking’s most historic tourist attractions. Under Dorking’s busy streets lie the 17th century South Street Caves complete with graffiti carved into the walls, the oldest dating back to 1666. The caves themselves are thought to be even older, with well shafts possibly Medieval in origin. Within the tunnels, the wine vaults have 19th century brick wine bins capable of storing around 700 bottles. A series of staircases, galleries and chambers lead down to the ‘Mystery Chamber’, 50 feet below street level and possibly used in the late 17th century for political, criminal or religious gatherings.
A visit to Dorking Caves is one you will not forget. Tours last 45 minutes, with the August open day on Saturday August 28th, with tours at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm.
Details and booking through www.dorkingmuseum.org.uk/south-street-caves. Tours are also bookable by appointment for any group or organisation, family or friends – please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a date.
Walking in Dorking
Above ground, the Museum offers a popular programme of guided walks in the town and surrounds – join a scheduled walk or organise a group walk with family or friends at a time to suit you. Scheduled dates for August include The Deepdene Trail on Tuesday 10th and Sunday 15th and Betchworth Castle on Sunday 22nd. Both offer exclusive access to features not normally open to the public.
In the town, a Mayflower 400 Walk (Dorking in the time of William Mullins), is taking place on Sunday 1st August and a walk combining highlights of the Mayflower and Hidden Dorking itineraries, on Tuesday 3rd. All these walks start at 2pm and take 90 minutes. Please see the website for details and booking, for dates of other scheduled walks and for group bookings: www.dorkingmuseum.org/guided-walks-around-dorking.
Lonesome Lodge Live!
On September 5th, Dorking Museum is offering a unique charity fundraiser in conjunction with the charity Yes to Life: a guided walk to explore the rediscovered site of a wealthy gentleman architect’s idyllic and lavish retreat in the Tillingbourne Valley and to hear its fascinating story. The walk, much of it on private land, will be led by Robin Daly, one of the authors of the recent book ‘Lonesome Lodge: A lost Palladian villa’. Numbers are limited and only a few places remain. Check the Museum website for availability and details of the walk or to buy a copy of the book: https://dorkingmuseum.org.uk/lonesome-lodge-walk.
Undated pen, ink and wash drawing of Lonesome Lodge, c.1820 (Surrey History Collection, Barclay Collection
The Museum’s permanent exhibition continues to celebrate the history of the town and surrounding villages, exploring local themes from the age of the dinosaurs through the medieval marketplace, the Mayflower pilgrims, the great estates, local commerce, sport and leisure activities, two world wars, the women’s suffrage movement, the music of Vaughan Williams, the elegance of Wedgwood china, the development of synthetic penicillin, and so much more.
Dorking Museum is at 62 West Street, Dorking RH4 1BS and open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-4pm. Visit www.dorkingmuseum.org.uk for more information or call 01306 876591.