The Guildford Town Guides were originally established over 30 years ago. In 1984 Matthew Alexander, Curator of Guildford Museum, started a series of courses on Guildford History. The courses were supplemented by a set of notes on various Guildford topics. At the end of the course, Matthew suggested forming a team of town guides. Marjorie Williams assisted by Eric Morgan was the first leader of the group which started giving tours to tourists and school parties that year (1984). Over the years they have provided a welcome to literally tens of thousands of people and helped promote the town. Initially under the control of the Guildford Tourist Information Centre, it was not long before the guides took over organising the walks themselves.
Marjorie Williams OBE, and Eric Morgan played a vital role in developing and running the guided walks. The success of the guides today is a tribute to their devotion to the town and to the guides.
The role of the guides
The guides today are an independent group of over 20 individuals, taking people on approximately 160 walks each year. They cater for all tastes: local schools, community groups from Surrey and further afield, tourists visiting the town, foreign students coming to study at the University of Surrey and many more.
Guildford still has such an interesting town centre with many a tale to tell of great deeds, scandals and disasters. The guides are regularly developing new walks such as the Alan Turing and Leading Lights walks. These have uncovered aspects of Guildford which are interesting and unexpected.
The guides contribute to a number of the town’s events, such as Heritage Open Days, Guildford Walkfest and Guildford Summer Festival. Heritage Open Days weekend is by far our busiest time of the year.
In 2019 Guildford Town Guides were honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2019, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in UK.