1 August 2012

Celebrating Fifty Years of the Kingston upon Thames Society

2012 is the fiftieth anniversary of the Kingston upon Thames Society and we celebrated it with, what else?, an afternoon tea party.

We had cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, glasses of bubbly and more cake than it was sensible to eat. But that is not what I wanted to write about. The celebration included this display, excellently prepared by Committee member George Rome Innes, which brilliantly summarised the Society's history.

The story starts in the top left corner with a proposal fifty years ago to build a central ring-road through the historical town centre. The Society was formed then to fight the proposals and we are all glad that this is a fight that they won.

What I especially like is that George has identified the same three purposes of the Society that I have, though we use different words. He has rows of photographs showing buildings that have been saved, things the Society has produced to inform residents about their heritage and things that have been improved.

Below this are pictures of buildings that gone. A harsh reminder of what has been lost and a spur to keep the Society going for another fifty years.

The bottom half of the display (you can only see part of it here) shows the buildings that will be open to the public in September as part of the Society's Heritage Open Days. This is part of the Society's programme of activities to engage the public with the heritage around them. The more that we appreciate what we have now, the more that we are likely to fight to keep it. And that is what the Society is all about.

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