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Visiting the University of Surrey and Guildford Cathedral: a magnificent setting in Guildford, England

Updated on October 29, 2014
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
University of Surrey Campus View from the main eastern entrance towards the top of Stag Hill and Guildford Cathedral tower.
University of Surrey Campus View from the main eastern entrance towards the top of Stag Hill and Guildford Cathedral tower. | Source
University of Surrey and Guildford Cathedral
University of Surrey and Guildford Cathedral | Source
Map location of Guildford, Surrey, England
Map location of Guildford, Surrey, England | Source

Stag Hill, an impressive location for a scholarly institution and a cathedral

Acquiring what was often referred to as a 'greenfield' site, the University received its charter in 1966, but emerged from a 19th century institution of learning, previously known as Battersea Polytechnic.

For the University, the choice of Stag Hill (a former, royal hunting ground), in Surrey's county town of Guildford, placed it adjacent to the city's Cathedral, a striking building which dominates the surrounding area.

Some history and features of the Cathedral

In 1927, the Anglican Diocese of Guildford was created. Guildford Cathedral, known in full as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Spirit, was built in between the years 1936 and 1961; the intervention of World War Two caused delay in its completion plans.

The Cathedral's architect was Sir Edward Maufe (1883-1974), who used mainly brick in an otherwise 'traditional' design, in styles which have been described as a combination of Curvilinear Gothic and Art Deco. Architect Maufe was also known for work on the Royal Chapel of All Saints, at Royal Lodge, Windsor, and the Air Forces' Memorial, Runnymede, and other distinctions.

In 1992, the University commemorated its Silver Jubilee, when a service of thanksgiving, attended by HM The Queen, was held at the adjacent Cathedral.

Scholarly distinction at the University

Research distinction has been achieved in various facilities of the University, including at the Surrey Research Park and the Surrey Space Centre. Sir Alec Issigonis (1906-1988), designer of the Morris Minor and Mini automobiles, was an alumnus of the University's predecessor, Battersea Polytechnic. The Centre for Translation Studies leads scholarship in its field, having been founded by Professor Peter Newmark (1915-2011). Several of the university's faculty are Fellows of the Royal Society. Contributing Enigma codebreaker Henryk Zyglaski (1908-1978) taught mathematical statistics at the University. Other alumni include High Court Judge Dame Linda Dobbs (1951-), Leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young (1941-), and many other distinguished achievers.

The University of Surrey's Chancellor is HRH The Duke of Kent.

Also worth seeing

In Guildford itself, the castle and Holy Trinity Church are significant landmarks. The High Street is picturesque.

Mickleham , Surrey (distance: 21 kilometres); near Box Hill, St Michael's parish churchyard contains the grave-site of Viscount Bennett (1870-1947) who as The Right Honourable Richard Bennett, served as Prime Minister of Canada from 1930 to 1935.

Windsor , Berkshire (distance: 40 kilometres) is famous for its Medieval castle, a residence of HM The Queen.


How to get there : United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Distance from Heathrow Airport to Guildford is 40 kilometres. A regular bus link exists between Heathrow Airport and Woking, a short rail distance from Guildford. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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