Dorking 1914 – First World War Exhibition

Dorking 1914

Dorking, like all other towns, villages and cities all over the world is commemorating the Centenary of the First World War this year.

Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment leaving Dorking after mobilisation -  5 Aug 1914

Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment leaving Dorking after mobilisation – 5 Aug 1914


Recruitment Poster

Degenhardt Letter

Dorking Museum’s exhibition will focus on what went on in this area when War broke out.  It covers the town and surrounding villages and their experience of the early months of the war. There is a particular focus on recruitment and enlisting – and asking the question, ‘was enlistment really voluntary?’




We have panels on the issues that affected the people of Dorking in the first few months of the war. From the anti-German feeling around Dorking, that caused the owner of Degenhardts store on South Street to have to write to the Dorking Advertiser explaining although he had a Germanic name – he was English by birth and not to boycott his shop to news that the local football team could only continue to play of they gave all their receipts to the Prince of Wales relief fund.

Football team

The exhibition will feature display panels in the Museum’s temporary exhibition space but will also spill in to all areas of the permanent exhibition, showing how the war affected all aspects of town life.

Outside the museum, there will be recruitment posters and biographies of some of the town’s major recruiters and those who enlisted.

John Lee Steere

John Lee-Steere

Local artefacts from the period will be on display, including personal items from John Lee- Steere of Jayes Park, Ockley who was killed in November 1914, just a couple of hours after he had finished a letter home. The letter will be on display alongside photographs of John. The full transcripts of the letters and an account of John Lee-Steere’s time in France can be read here.




Dorking in 1914 opened at Dorking Museum on 24th July 2014 and ran through to 6th December 2014

For more information on the contents of the Exhibition, please click on each link.

Dorking 1914 – Last Days of Peace

Dorking 1914 – The Week Before The War

Dorking 1914 – A Volunteer Army?

Dorking in 1914 – Urban District Council

These smaller pieces of information are placed all over the Museum.

 We have a dedicated First World War loan box for use in schools. Please have a look here for more details.