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Duxhurst – Lady Henry Somerset’s farm colony for inebriate women

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Monday, 27 June, 2016
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


In her day, Lady Henry Somerset was compared to Florence Nightingale. She topped a poll of readers of the London Evening News as the person they would most like as the first female Prime Minister.  By the 1890s, she was travelling the world in her capacity as president of the British Women’s Temperance Association.

In 1894 she founded Duxhurst as a village for the care of inebriate women of all classes. Indeed, the site (just 3 miles south of Reigate) was specifically chosen because there was already a manor house there. This meant the project could get up and running quickly as a refuge for the rich and famous of the time, including several aristocratic ladies and music hall stars, who could afford to pay for their treatment.

But Lady Henry Somerset’s plans involved all sectors of society. She had built a collection of thatched cottages arranged in a horseshoe around a village green. Each housed 6 – 8 women, many of whom came from very rough backgrounds. The village had a hospital, where each new patient was assessed. There were laundries, workshops, a dairy farm, gardens, greenhouses, lavender fields – even a pottery. For Lady Henry Somerset believed that the women should be usefully occupied, but in a setting as far removed from their previous life as possible.

Our very popular speaker for this talk is Ros Black who has researched Lady Henry Somerset and written 3 books on her and other amazing women of the Temperance Movement.

Duxhurst is one of those lost stories of Surrey.  Ros will tell us about the site, the community which evolved there and much more about Lady Henry Somerset.  This will be a fascinating evening for us to discover The Lost Village of Duxhurst

This venue should be suitable for those with mobility issues. The talk is unlikely to be of interest to children.

The Surrey Hills Society member’s ticket price for this event is £6.50 which includes refreshments on arrival.  The non-members price is £8.00.

Booking is essential.  If you would like to join us, please complete and return the attached slip to arrive at Warren Farm Barns before Tuesday 21st June 2016.


 For further details and enquiries, contact us at info@surreyhillssociety.org or on mobile 07530 949302.