Surrey Industrial History Group Surrey Defences Survey

Pillbox about to be demolished in Farnham

The Surrey Defences Survey was started in 1989 to attempt to record all defensive sites remaining within the county. The initial drive was to record second world war sites of which it is estimated there are around 2,000 in Surrey ranging from pillboxes to anti-tank ditches and resistance hideouts.

This work is still not even half completed, and it seems amazing that such a recent period in our history is so poorly documented. The challenge was taken up in 1995 by the Council for British Archaeology as their 50th. anniversary project with a completion date nationally of around 2000.

Pillbox on the site of the Surrey Institute of Art and Design student village before demolition to make way for new development. This 'box is now remembered by a commemorative plaque.

Again this proved over optimistic and the project continues today as the Imperial War Museum sponsored Defence of Britain Survey, to which the Surrey Defences Survey reports its findings. However even this survey is to stop in March 2002. It is hoped that the results will become available over the web, and that more data can still be added to the findings.

Much new information has come to light during our survey and the whole ethos behind the 1940 stop lines has been re-examined as a result.

With the limited number of volunteer surveyors we currently have, an end date cannot be set for the WW2 survey. However new volunteers are always welcome and if you are interested in helping please email the survey co-ordinator at

Our long term aim, once the WW2 survey has been completed, is to extend the project to cover all periods of our history. This aim will only be realised with more active surveyors, so please do get in touch if you are interested.

Spigot mortar launch pit in Farnham Park

In the meantime, our findings so far can be accessed by clicking on the links below. Each reference refers to the 10km grid square covered by the information. This reference can be discovered by looking at an Ordnance Survey map. If you are interested in the area around National Grid Reference SU836457 then the appropriate 10km grid square is SU84.

Archaeologists excavating a spigot mortar (Blacker Bombard) launch pit in Farnham Park. The site was only discovered when the steel 'pin' (centre top of 'thimble') caught on a mowing machine.

The listing below is in two parts: for example "TQ04" is a short list version for that square while "TQ04db" is the full database listing. Each list has an explanation of the abbreviations used for the types at its head.

If you know of any sites which are not listed here, we would be very pleased to hear from you.

Area Short
TQ04 Shalford
TQ04 TQ04db
TQ14 Westcott
TQ14 TQ14db
TQ24 Betchworth
TQ24 TQ24db
TQ34 Smallfield
Blindley Heath
TQ34 TQ34db

The Surrey Defences Survey is an initiative of the Surrey Industrial History Group (SIHG), itself a group of the Surrey Archaeological Society. For more information on SIHG please visit our main website.

Pillbox being demolished with explosives

How many have already met their maker without being recorded? This pillbox, in Farnham Park, was demolished with explosives c.1960 during a trial by Surrey County Council to attempt the total removal or these unwanted wartime reminders from the county's landscape.

Did you know that Surrey, a land-locked county, sports a sea wall? On Hankley Common, between Elstead and Thursley, is a replica of part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall built for training in the run-up to D-Day. For more information visit the "A Sea Wall in Surrey?" website.