Archive Item of the Week: The beginning of a Special Relationship

Welcome to Archive item of the week:  where we delve into Guildford Cathedral Archives to highlight some of the unique items within the collection.

This week: A special relationship.  Our People’s Cathedral Archivist delves into the archive to explore the special relationship between the Cathedral and the University of Surrey.


Guildford Cathedral sits on the beautiful location of Stag Hill in Guildford which provides it with a commanding view over the surrounding landscape but if you are not familiar with Guildford or the Cathedral you may not be aware of our close neighbour – the University of Surrey.


Work on Guildford Cathedral was started in 1936 once the winning design by Sir Edward Maufe was selected – please see our previous blog to learn more about this.  And at the time the Cathedral was the only large scale development planned for Stag Hill.  Unfortunately due to the onset of the Second World War building work had to be stopped and work did not re-start again until 1954.

Fast forward to 1964 when decisions were being made to relocate Battersea College of Technology, which had outgrown its original location in Battersea.  A search was started to find suitable location and Guildford was one of the options.



Within the Cathedral Archives we have an interesting glimpse into the debates about the suggested location of the new University of Surrey – which was to be on Stag Hill next to the Cathedral.


We have initial letters from Guildford Borough Council and the proposed University of Surrey about the potential move to Stag Hill and the implications for the Cathedral, as well as original plans detailing the plans for the University Campus and its location in relation to the Cathedral boundary.



We also have a fascinating insight into the architect Sir Edward’s Maufe’s opinion on the location and the impact it would have on his vision for the Cathedral.


Ultimately the Stag Hill site was chosen for the University of Surrey and building work was begun on the campus.  Ever since Guildford Cathedral and the University of Surrey have been neighbours with a special relationship – leading to the Cathedral being the location of the University Graduations.