About US

Who We Are

Spike Lives is a heritage research project that chronicles the lives of inmates found living in the Guildford Union Workhouse during the 1881 census. Spike Lives continues the work of the More than Oliver Twist project – which researched the lives of hundreds of workhouse inmates from across six workhouse sites.

Our dedicated team of researchers each investigated a page of the census and are still hard at work writing up their findings in the form of fully referenced biographies.

This site will soon be publishing a complete database of all the lives we researched. For the family historian there will be links to the reference material we used.

We will also publish a handpicked collection of specimen biographies, showcasing the stories of a few extraordinary characters.

This project has brought museums, heritage organisations and archives together in the sharing of welfare history. We hope that this collection will:

  • Promote learning and understanding surrounding welfare history
  • Offer researchers easy access to detailed records
  • Help family historians learn more about their heritage.
You can contact us at
         01483 598 420

The Spike Heritage Centre offers guided tours which present a unique opportunity to discover what life was like in the Guildford Union Workhouse.  Further information and a teacher’s resource pack can be obtained at www.guildfordspike.co.uk.