The DBRG was founded in 1970 by Joan Harding who was a librarian by profession and a member of Surrey Archaeological Society. Starting in Charlwood where buildings were at risk from the expansion of Gatwick airport, Joan became involved in recording these buildings before it was too late. Soon she and her team extended to the whole of Surrey and beyond.
Joan was a formidable and determined woman with a natural aptitude for understanding buildings, their origins and later development. Her enthusiasm and encouragement to new members to measure, draw and make notes led to thousands of buildings being recorded throughout Surrey.
Before the days of word processing and databases, Joan created a wonderful archive of reports and drawings to help us all understand Surrey’s historic buildings.
Joan died in 2004 but her work is continuing, using this archive and adding to it. We analyse and compare details to establish a chronology of architectural features in Surrey. If you would like to help us do this by joining as a member (membership) or making a donation (donate now), we would welcome that.
If you are the owner of an old house in Surrey and would like a copy of any report the DBRG has produced, click here. If you are an architectural history researcher and would like access to our archives at the Surrey History Centre, please contact our Chairman, Martin Higgins (contact us).