To mark the end of these project activities and forge the way for more we celebrated at the Lightbox in Woking with creative workshops and Surrey inspired cocktails- Woking Woo Woo, Surrey on the beach and Devils Punch Bowl ( although we never got round to making that one).

We had turntable tutorials  and built a photo booth from cardboard that ended up looking more like a submarine that you had to climb in to have your photo taken.


New future heritage opportunities and projects such as history cooking workshops and archaeological digging will be coming up with Surrey History Centre soon so watch this space!



Painshill Park is an 18th century landscape park in Cobham and was designed and created between 1738 and 1773 by the Hon. Charles Hamilton. Some of the site used to be a settlement in the iron age. In tribute to this we started our day by created cave style drawings using a range of natural materials from the park and local area. We used mud, terracotta, swans feathers, charcoal, chalk and water using methods of spreading and etching, splattering and drawing to create images of animals from Surrey.

Making a fire.

We went out into the park and collected silver birch twigs and branches for our fire. The Silver Birch wood has oils in it which makes it easy to set a alight. In our search we came across some wild garlic too that has very strong smelling leaves. We started our fire by laying the twigs in a square and lighting some cotton wool in the middle with a sparker. It took us four attempts as we had to dry the wood out.

Here’s foster carer Anike on how she made a fire when she was younger. Fire

Sticks for cooking

Once we got going we toasted some marshmallows by making out our sticks from a lime tree. You pull off a twig ( has to be green inside to stop it from burning away in the fire) and peel off the bark and stick your marshmallow on the end. It works best to toast it in the warm embers rather than the fire to avoid a sugar fire ball!

Making Charcoal

We made our charcoal from willow which we peeled and broke into small 3 inch sticks. These went into a metal can ( you can use a baked bean tin can) and put it into the fire. It takes an hour or two to cook and you should have fully blackened sticks by the end. These can be used as charcoal sticks for drawing or broken down with a pestel and mortar or we used a half a coconut shell and a pine cone! You can add water to this powder to create a paint to use with the feather as a brush or get your hands and fingers nice and dirty!

Adam lives and works at the park and here we tells us how to make charcoal.

Making charcoal 1

Charles Hamilton who designed the park was an interesting man who travelled the world and often came back to recreate the things he’d seen in other countries. The park is therefore dotted with interesting follies, a vineyard and a crystal grotto! we met Dave Smith hiding in the grotto who has been volunteering at the park for twenty years. He tells us about the park and the grotto. Dave Smith- history of the Grotto

Where scones originate from in the UK and Ireland is widely debated but we know that the recipes vary according to region and have been around for . Baking scones is closely tied to heritage baking in that people normally follow recipes that have been passed down the family.

The Oxford English dictionary reports that the first mention of the word was in 1513. The word scone derives perhaps from the Middle Dutch schoonbrood (fine white bread), from schoon (pure, clean) and brood (bread). The word scone may also derive from the Gaelic term “sgonn” meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful. The Middle Low German term “Schönbrot” meaning fine bread may also have played a role in the origination of this word. Or, perhaps, the word is based on the town of Scone, Scotland.

We made irish scones as requested by a participant who’s carer is Irish and used a recipe with buttermilk. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a go! Remember there was a strict etiquette relating to tea time in the past. Here’s how you were expected to prepare your scones: split horizontally with knife, curd and cream is placed on plate. Use the knife to put cream/curd on each bite. Eat with fingers neatly. We just scoffed ours while they were hot out of the oven!

We made jars of lemon curd to go with our scones. Fruits curds in 19th and 20th century England home made lemon curd was served with bread or scones at afternoon tea as an alternative to jam and was used in cakes, tarts and  pastries. It was often made in smaller batches as it didn’t keep as long as jam.

We used peelers and graters to zest the lemons to release all the tasty essential oils but in the early 18th century they would have used a sugar loaf. This was a rough slab or cone of sugar which you could rub the lemon on to get to the insides. Due to time we did the cheat microwave method but with excellent results!

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Reigate is a historic market town in Surrey which is famed for its ‘caves’ which are in fact sand mines. We were taken on a tour by Ross from the Wealden Cave and Mine Society to explore the Tunnel Caves.  The castle mound overlooking Reigate town centre is composed of soft sandstone and has been mined over several centuries. The sandstone is very soft so it was suitable for making glass, building material and lining pub floors!

The caves have had many uses throughout the years. We explored its mining history and techniques and it’s time as a bunker during world war II up to the present day. They have examples of old WWII bomb shelters in the caves and audio to help you imagine what it would be like to experience a bomb raid. It felt pretty claustrophobic!

Exploring the caves you can see the presence of past inhabitants and visitors from the graffiti like engravings in the walls. Images of heads copied from pennies and some of pagan like symbols and cave paintingexamples done as part of an old BBC documentary.

Reigate’s road tunnel above the caves is Britain’s oldest but it dates only to 1824. It shortened the London and Brighton route which had a toll gate at its south end. This was before the coming of the railways when people rode around on Stage Coaches. Prince Regent regularly used this route to visit his unlawful wife in Brighton.

You can learn more about the caves and see how to join a tour on their website .

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We enjoyed another history cooking workshop, this time we looked at a Tudor recipe for Jumbles- a biscuit tied into a knot. The name jumble comes from ’gemmel’, a twin finger ring, because the early jumbles were often in the form of two interlaced rings. We tried tudor knots and twists along with more personal shapes of letters and smiley faces and spiced them according to our individual tastes. Jumbles are particularly delicious when served with Maderia or a sweet wine, as they were at Georgian and early Victorian card parties. We made hot spiced apple to accompany ours to try and replicate mulled cider.

Tudors liked food with a lot of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and mace. When Queen Elizabeth was on the throne sugar was a very popular food, it was very fashionable to have black teeth. People used to blacken their teeth to look rich enough to afford sugar if they weren’t! We selected spices to use from mixed spice, ground clove, ground ginger,  ground nutmeg and flavouring of almond essence and sprinkled them with sugar after they came out the oven.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try yourself

1-1/2oz (40g) salted butter

1 tablespoon milk or water

4 oz (1 15g) caster sugar

1 tablespoon caraway seed (optional, we used mixed spice, nutmeg, ginger and clove)

2 eggs

8 oz (230g) plain flour

1. Beat the butter and milk, add the sugar, and cream them together.

2. Beat the eggs and add then add the caraway and flour to make a soft dough.

3. Knead the dough on a floured board and make it into about 15 simple knots, twists or rings.

4. Put them on a buttered baking sheet.

5. Bake in the oven (180’c, 350’F, gas mark 4) for 15-20 minutes. When they are golden, remove them from the oven and put them on a wire rack to cool.

Hot spiced apple drink

Carton of Apple juice- cloudy is best


Cinnamon stick or ground spices used for the biscuits

Tbs of honey or sugar to sweeten

Shave the peel off the orange and place all ingredients in a pan and gently heat until hot but be careful not to boil.

Ladel into mugs and enjoy!

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Everyone was keen to make a curry at Karibu Community Home in Epsom. Using the archives at Surrey History Centre we searched for the oldest curry recipe we could find. We found out that curry first came to Britain in 1741 and we found a recipe for a ‘How to make Currey another way’ from 1774 to follow. We had to spend some time rewriting it as the handwriting was difficult to read quickly while we cooked.Image

The first recipes were very mild, using more herbs than spices such as coriander seeds, salt, peppercorns and lemon juice so we added a these to this recipe.  By the 19th Century ginger, cayenne, cumin and fenugreek started to be used in curry powders.

The wealthy and well travelled often used to bring indian chefs to live with them and cook authentic indian food for them. Queen Victoria made curry very fashionable and she had Indian staff who cooked her indian food everyday. She had a elaborate banqueting hall constructed for her by an architect of the Punjab in 1890-91 at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, with every surface ornately embellished.

Here’s our recipe!


Chicken, shallots, white onions, red chilli, coriander seeds, turmeric, black peppercorns, mustard seeds.

V curry option- courgettes, butternut squash, onions, shallots, red and yellow peppers, carrots.


  • Crush a tbs of all the spices and juice of a lemon in a pestle and mortar until powdery
  • Fry the the spice mix in a tbs of butter/ oil with the chopped onions and shallots
  • Add the chopped chicken or vegetables
  • Add a cup of water or vegetable stock
  • Put the lid on the pan and leave it to simmer for 20 minutes or when the vegetables are cooked.

We enjoyed it with boiled rice and accompanying chapatis we customised with spices to match each persons taste and cooked this in a hot frying pan with a small dash of oil.

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A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priory House in Reigate and its gardens, now known as Priory Park were founded in the Augustinian Period (1235- 1536) William de Warenne, the sixth Earl of Surrey, founded Reigate Priory for the Augustinian Canons who worshipped and worked here for 300 years. it was later adapted to become a fine Tudor house after Henry III dissolved the priory. The priory house has had many esteemed owners who contributed different features to the building and park, for more information on its past owners click here. Since 1974 the priory became owned by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council who turned it into a public park and was restored in 2007-8 where a pavilion and skate park have been added. It was a pretty wet day when we went on our visit but didn’t turn for the worst like it did in 1927…

‘Christmas day 1927 roads were awash after days of unceasing rain and it seemed inevitable that serious flooding would follow. What happened next took people by surprise, as the light faded the temperature dropped and the rain turned to sleet and then to snow. By midnight savage winds whipped over the North Downs driving the snow into deep drifts. On Boxing Day morning, Surrey awoke to an incredible winter scene. Icy blasts of wind whistled down as horizontal snow brought white –out conditions across the county, piling snow into drifts of up to 20 feet on the road over the Surrey hills. The following day, December 27th, unveiled a county gripped by the worst Arctic conditions known to it’s residents. Villages were marooned for over a week.’

Watch this video from a documentary on the history of Priory Park to hear a man’s experience of being allowed to skate on the frozen lake.

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