The Bourne Society is a local history society based in north-east Surrey, England. Formed in 1956, it takes its name from the intermittent streams that can appear close to the lines of the A22 and A23 roads during prolonged heavy rainfall, and which meet in Purley to flow northward into the River Wandle.
The objects of the Society are to extend the knowledge of local history in Caterham, Chaldon, Chelsham, Chipstead, Coulsdon, Farleigh, Godstone, Kenley, Purley, Sanderstead, Whyteleafe, Warlingham and Woldingham, and to ensure the preservation of records and objects of historical interest.
The Society began with a core of a dozen or so fully active members. There are now around 1,500 and the Society is considered to be the largest local history society in the UK.
The Society is able to help newcomers satisfy their curiosity about the area, and to stimulate residents to search out further information. Through its publications, visits, speakers, meetings, placement of plaques, and archaeological work, the Society seeks to place the area in an historical perspective.
The Bourne Society is a registered charity, and as well as general work it has active special-interest groups in pub history and landscape history. Regular outings, including day tours and an annual ‘Heritage Tour’ are arranged, together with members’ forums, group meetings and other events. A wide range of publications is produced, including the Society’s journal, Local History Records, which is sent free to all members three times per year.
See the “Contact Us” page for details of how to get in touch with the Society.
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