Surrey county council has started an investigation into the county’s gay history after the charity Gay Surrey donated its archives to the Surrey Historical Centre.

Volunteers are to spend the next few months working through approximately five million records, dating back to the 12th century, in order to find evidence of gay life.

They are aiming to put an exhibition together on the county’s hidden history, in time for LGBT history month in February.

Interesting stories from the past are being uncovered through the investigation, such as that of Edward, the second son of the first Earl of Onslow, who was banished to France in 1781 following a gay scandal.

The charity, Gay Surrey, has been going for four years now and endeavours to provide a community for the LGBT residents in the county

Di Stiff, an archivist for the Surrey History Centre, told the BBC that the exhibition is “really is a chance for them to say this is our community as well”.

Anyone wishing to get involve with Gay Surrey or LGBT History Month should call the charity’s chairman Gino Meriano on 07971 277609.

Alternatively, they can call Di Stiff on 01483 518737 or email di.stiff@surreycc.gov.uk.