SIHG grew out of an adult education course on industrial archaeology held at the University of Surrey in 1975. It differs from other groups in the Surrey Archaeological Society (SyAS) in that, because of the nature of SIHG's activity, it is not necessary to belong to SyAS in order to become a member of SIHG.
The SIHG hold regular talks over the winter period, has a quarterly newsletter and produces occasional publications.
Members of the group have interests in all types of industrial history from mills, mines, and manufacturing; to railways, canals and hop kilns. While Surrey was not a major player in the development of trains and boats, it was at the forefront of aviation and automobile development. Early examples of glassmaking and iron working can also be found in Surrey as well as rural crafts such as charcoal burning and broom making. Before the introduction of the railway every town had its brewery and lime kilns and brickworks were a common sight in the countryside.
While all historical periods are studied the Industrial Revolution is probably of most interest. During the late 18th and 19thcentury the introduction of steam power transformed England from an agricultural to an industrial nation.
SIHG is a founder member of the South East Region Industrial Archaeology Conference (SERIAC) and is affiliated to the national Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA).