15th April 2009 - preserved for ever more!
Since the last entry in this blog there have been two significant achievements which are worthy of a mention. Firstly, in February the site topped 100,000 hits since its launch in just over 18 months which is amazing, and testament to the many photos, memories and information that many people have been kind enough to share with the site, and continue to send in.
Secondly, in November last year the Historic Farnborough site was selected by the British Library's Web Archive project to be included in their project and was included as of March. The British Library describes the project as follows:
"The UK Web Archive is a corpus of websites selected by leading UK institutions for their historical, social and cultural significance in the UK, for the benefit of researchers. Snapshots of each title, known as instances, are taken at suitable intervals. The archive is free to view and has already collected over 4,000 selected websites since it was set up in mid-2005."
So, all of the information that is published to the site, thanks to the contributions from many people, will be stored in a permanent archive - even if the site itself was no longer in existence. It's encouraging to know that some of Farnborough's history really will be available for all to see for a long time yet!
29 May 2008 - 1000-up!
Well, it's been a while since the last blog, but today marks the 1000th image of Farnborough being added to the site in less than a year, with images spanning 1842 to 2008. This month also saw the number of hits to the site pass 50,000 with more than 11,500 visitors. Without the generous contributions from both local people and those from as far as the US and Canada who have links with Farnborough none of this would have been possible - so thanks to you all!
Incidentally, the 1000th image added to the site marks Concorde's final flight at Farnborough from 2000 which is pertinent given that the 2008 Farnborough Airshow is just round the corner, along with the centenary of Samuel Cody's first powered flight from the town.
If you have any photos, memories or other information from past airshows - or this year's once it's happened - it would be great to feature it on the site. You can send them directly from the submission form on the site.
7 March 2008 - Civic Society up and running
The first meeting of the Farnborough Civic Society met in January and has since met again in February. A web site for the society is shortly to be setup, but in the meantime it's good to see that the town's historical heritage, listed buildings and Hampshire treasures, and key landmarks were high on the agenda.
With all of the changes that are taking place in the town, and the recent threats to South Farnborough's conservation area it's good to see a society which will aim to ensure a local voice representing local people is heard when considering development in our community. Further, as the society develops a group purely focused on historical issues has been formed. If you want to get involved you can contact David Clifford (Wellington House, 40 Avenue Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 7BL) and more details on this and the Civic Society's web site will appear here shortly.
And for all of those who are into social networking or bookmarking sites a Historic Farnborough group now exists on MySpace at http://groups.myspace.com/historicfarnborough - so if MySpace is your thing you can sign-up and submit photos, memories and information directly to the group.
Finally, loads of great information and photos have been sent to the site in the seven months since the site started and at the end of February the number of hits had topped 35,000 with nearly 8,000 visits which has been great. There are still a number of parts of the site where old photos are being sought both for locations and buildings that still exist or have vanished over the years. Take a look at the list of what the site is still 'looking for', and if you've got any photos or information about these then it would be great to be able to share it on the site.
17 December 2007 - Facebooked!
With social bookmarking sites becoming ever more popular Historic Farnborough now has its own network page on Facebook, thanks to Clive Molyneux who kindly setup the page. So, if you want to share any thoughts on issues relating to Farnborough's past, or on something that you've seen on the Historic Farnborough site iself, why not join the group and post your thoughts.
The network can be accessed at http://soton.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6907700962 and you will have to register with Facebook if you're not already a member. However, if Facebook isn't your favoured social networking site there are plenty of others available - see the list of some of these at the bottom of each page on this site.
It is also good news that South Farnborough's conservation area is set to be maintained by Rushmoor Borough Council (see the recent report in the Farnborough News). And with this in mind plans are afoot for the creation of a civic society in Farnborough, also reported recently in the local press. It will be interesting to see how this initiative develops and what influence such a group might have. This might just be determined by how many people are able to support it, so awareness will be important. Developers always complain that they're being victimised when they redevelop a site, but I think it is more of an issue of exploring all of the options surrounding sites of local interest, and to ensure that developments are sympathetic to the local area and the non-financial value of certain sites isn't overlooked. Hopefully a civic society can bring a measured and collaborative approach to proposed developments. Not all redevelopment is bad, and I don't think many people will mourn the loss of Queensmead for example. But clearly some sites are worth maintaining.
6th November 2007 - Banged up!
Whilst out in the town the other day I was sorry to see that yet another high-profile building had been boarded-up. In this case it was Ferneberga House, the site of the old Town Hall, on Guildford Road West. And whilst this building, which was built in 1897, has Grade II listed building status it is a sad indictment of the state that some of Farnborough's most notable landmarks have fallen into.
You can then add to this list a number of other buildings which are currently boarded up, and some which were and have recently been demolished, notably on the site behind the Clockhouse overlooking the Farnborough Road junction with Union Street where the house is no more. Courtbourn on Albert Road has also been boarded up for some time after improvements to it were not undertaken, and the former RAF quarters on Farnborough Road, now concealed by a wall of trees, have also been derelict for some time. None of these have listed building status and could become subject to redevelopment and eventual demolition.
And even Ferneberga House is not entirely safe if it doesn't meet the current Council policies on listed buildings which state: "The Council will not grant listed building consent for the demolition, or partial demolition, of a listed building, unless it is satisfied that every practical effort has been made to retain it, or that it is not worthy of retention".
Let's hope that someone can find a use for all of these buildings (see below) and demonstrate their "worth" so they are not lost along with the many other locations that are now gone from Farnborough!
Former RAF quarters
Derelict buildings - Farnborough Rd
Farnborough Road/Union Street junction site
25th September 2007
When adding the new site stats feature to the homepage I was slightly amazed to see that the number of images of Farnborough's history on the site had topped 500! The photos range from 1866 through to the present day, and even include some personal shots of some of the damage from yesterday's freak tornado on Fernhill Road! Thankfully no-one was hurt. If you have any others of the tornado we'd be happy to receive them.
The site has also been faring well in terms of media coverage following the mention in the Surrey Hants Star with a mention in the Farnborough Mail in early September, mentions in Local History Magazine and The History Magazine, and an item in the recently issued November issue of the national Family History Monthly magazine. The site is also due to get mentioned in the November issues of the national magazines Practical Family History and Family Tree magazine, and should also be featured in November's edition of Arena, Rushmoor Borough Council's newsletter. The coverage and interest has been really pleasing, and all contributions to the site have been gratefully received.
Further features that will hopefully be coming soon include recent permission to scan a street map of Farnborough from the early 1970s - how things have changed in just 35 years! Also hopefully coming shortly are some shots of buildings on the old RAE site from the late 90s courtesy of English Heritage and efforts are being made to get permission to reproduce some aerial shots of the area taken by the RAF. When this has all been collected (fingers crossed on all those permissions!) it will be available from the site - so keep an eye out for it!
31 August 2007
A new local history book has just been published by local historian Jo Gosney charting the history of Knellwood. Further details are available on this site including how you can buy a copy.
On other things, the Concept Building is now officially no more with the entire structure flattened, with Queensmead not far behind, and only artists impressions available of what will replace it (See the Concept 2000 and Queensmead redevelopment pages for the latest photo updates). Will the flats planned for the Concept 2000 site enhance this spot more than its predecessor once did? In the Worst eyesores poll on this site the Concept Building has only received 2 votes out of nearly 100 so despite some negative publicity maybe locals liked this building more than they ever owned up to! But, judging by current results, Queensmead won't be so missed!
Finally, August has seen more than 8,000 hits to the site, over 1,500 visits or visitors, and lots of new photos and information (with more still to come when I get the chance!) which has been really pleasing. Don't forget, if you have any photos or memories from any period, or have friends or relatives who you think would like to contribute, then please do so from the form on this site. Thanks again.
13 August 2007
Would you like to see your memories and photos of old Farnborough featured in a book? Historic Farnborough has teamed up with Mike Swaddling, a local writer, who has been asked to produce a book for a national publisher, called Farnborough Memories. He is looking for people who have recollections of all aspects of everyday life in Farnborough, North Camp and Cove between 1920 and 1980. It involves nothing more than him coming to your home and recording whatever you want to contribute.
If you are interested, give Mike a ring on 01276 509153 and leave a message, or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Historic Farnborough is not being paid for this collaboration and this remains a non-commercial web site.
4 August 2007
The site has really taken off as awarness has increased. A mention in the Surrey Hants Star - 'Not so long ago' - on 2nd August has helped get the site known locally with more than 2000 hits since then and nearly 350 new visitors, and the site now featuring well over 300 photos of Farnborough through the ages.
And some the locations of visitors have been interesting to see with visitors viewing from the UK, Ireland, Mauritius, Luxembourg, Nigeria, USA, France, Finland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, and Belgium which is great to see.
Please share the link to this site with anyone you think might be interested and hopefully we can uncover more about Farnborough's history to go with the new Memories and Family Histories submissions we've had.
There are more to follow shortly so keep an eye on the site!
30 July 2007
Well, the site's been running for just over a month now and I'm still contacting local organisations and societies for their help with content and links. And, I've been pleasantly surprised at how willing people have been to help.
Contributions have been received from the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra, Farnborough Camera Club, St. Michael's Abbey, Aldershot and District Bus Interest Group, Nick Lewis Photography, and Aldershot Military Museum to name a few. All assistance has been gratefully received.
In this first month as I get things up and running and try and increase awareness the site has still had 175 visitors and over 1200 hits which is a great start.
Thanks to you all!