THIS photograph from the late Ken Gosling’s collection shows the end of an era for Farnham – for this is the last meeting of the Farnham Urban District Council.

And it has suddenly become very topical, with Surrey County Council leader Tim Oliver proposing a beefed up town council this week as part of his plan to replace Surrey’s borough and district councils with a single unitary authority (see this week’s Herald).

As the caption explains: “This marks the conclusion of the urban authority before being absorbed into Waverley District (later Borough) Council, following local government reorganisation.

“Pictured in this group, taken at the last meeting on March 26, 1974, and including urban council officers and the council chaplain, are (standing) from the left: Canon Donald Gray, Ron Lancaster (deputy clerk), John Mason (clerk to the council), Arthur Hurdle (chairman), Ken Chandler (vice-chairman), Peter Youldon (engineer and surveyor), Rex Batt (treasurer).

“Seated: Shirley Burr, Jennifer Chorley, Peter Broom, Bertram Wilson, Philip Davies, Denis Collett, Geoffrey Sentance, Marie King-Hele, Frank Cordier, Frank Goolding, Zora Bransby-Williams, John Curtis, Sir John Verney, Major General Robert Stephen and Harry Lawrence.

“Councillors absent when the photograph was taken were Lt Col Morgan Bransby-Williams, Lendon Barrow and JK Bouckley.”

For a while after this event the town didn’t have its own council, being deemed too large to have a parish council and too small to warrant becoming a borough.

Its interests at Waverley were represented by a ‘consultative committee’ for a time until this was allowed parish council status.

Thankfully today Farnham, the largest settlement in Waverley, is once again looked after by its own town council.