The Atherstone Cup

Woking History Society aims to make an annual award, the Atherstone Cup, for a piece of original research on an historic aspect of the Woking area. Usually this is for an essay of about 7000 words, though other forms are possible.

How to enter
The Atherstone Cup is for a piece of original research on a historic aspect of the Woking area.  To expand on this – we have recently sought to explain what this means and in broad rules are as follows:
  1. The entry must be a single original work on an aspect of history directly relevant to the Woking area, normally around 7000 words, although entries of photographs, interactive materials, or in other media of similar extent are also welcome. 
  2. Preferably entries should be submitted in machine-readable form by e-mail or on disk, but typed entries will still be allowed. 
  3. Alternatively, published work of a similar extent may be submitted, but it must have been published since 1 November of the year before the entry is made (eg for the 2016  award it must have been published since 1 November 2015)
  4. It may be a work of co-operation by more than one author.
  5. Entries may be submitted direct by members of the Society, or a member of the Society may nominate (with the candidate’s knowledge and agreement) an entry from a member of the Society or from a non-member who lives or has lived, worked or studied in the Woking area.
  6. The entries will be considered by an independent historian outside the society and to that end the entrant’s name should not appear on the text to be sent to him.  He will make a recommendation to the Committee as to whether the award should be made, shared or no award made.
  7. The closing date for submissions for the 2017 award is 31 October 2017

All entries are likely to appear in the newsletter and several have been published.
Remember that we do not aspire to attract entries from serious professional historians but ordinary members with a particular interest.
If you would like to enter, or have any enquiries, or wish to nominate an entrant, please email the Society on

Previous entries
Previous entrants have taken an aspect of local history in which they are interested and the cup competition has given them the encouragement to do a little research to expand on their subject.  Researching these days does not have to be onerous or time consuming as we are lucky to have the Surrey History Centre in our Borough and there is always the internet.

Over the years, entries have covered a wide variety of subjects such as

The Bisley tramway
The residents of Sutton and where they lived in 1851
Timber trade in Woking
Martinsyde Ltd
Early history of Brookwood Cemetery
Sir Samuel Morton Peto
Birch Farm, Horsell
Wheatsheaf Close, Horsell
Development of East Horsell
Reliance: the working life of a Wey Navigation barge
The Darwin/Wedgwood Woking connection
A small plot of land in Horsell. The History of Horsell Wharf.
Old Woking - a History through Documents
Puerperal Insanity in Brookwood Asylum 1867-1900

The origins of the award
The Cup was first awarded in 1989 when George Atherstone, our then Treasurer, presented it in memory of his wife, Irene, who had been one of the founder committee members of the Society.  George and Irene came to Mayford about 1962 and as soon as the Society was founded she took an enthusiastic part in excavations, running the Society’s library, measuring buildings for the Society and the Domestic Buildings Research Group.  Her recording of Birch Cottage, Horsell, appeared in our newsletter in the month after her death in Jan 1988.  She was also an enthusiastic member of Surrey Archaeological Society from 1972, being finds supervisor for the nine years of the training excavation at Sutton Park and distributing that society’s newsletter.

George arrived in Southampton from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on 3 Dec 1939 as a young man keen to help the war effort and became a pilot in the RAF, being awarded an MBE for bringing home a crippled Wellington bomber on one engine.  He continued flying after the war as a pilot with British Airways and some time before 1950, when he arrived in Southampton again from South Africa he had married Irene.   The Mayford History Society has often been a family affair, and by 1976 George had become Hon Treasurer, serving in that role until 1990, even though he and Irene had moved to Abinger in 1984.  After being widowed he moved first to Holmbury St Mary, and for the last ten years of his life to Cornwall, where he enjoyed sailing until his last years, before his death in Feb 2003.

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