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News, October 2019

Members of the Farnham Visitors Forum recently met at the Mercure Bush Hotel in Farnham where the General Manager Olav Schuetz explained that they were currently undergoing a gradual refurbishment, due to be completed in March 2020.

Andrew Lodge, Chairman, welcomed the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Pat Evans, and the Mayor of Waverley, Cllr Mary Foryszewski. Members updated the group as follows: 

The Farnham Maltings had celebrated their 50th anniversary in May which had been a great success with over 2,500 people visiting, 4% of whom had never been to the Maltings before. 

The Farnham Museum reported having a successful Summer, particularly the Heritage Open Days. Two exhibition rooms have been redeveloped with a further one planned. 

Alan Gavaghan, Chairman of the Farnham Society, updated members on town centre developments/planning progress.

Sue Farrow reported on the Heritage Open Days this year which enjoyed good weather and 3,500 visits were recorded. Peter Bridgeman talked to the group about plaques in the town, of which there are 50. It was suggested to set up a working group to sort through them and organise them into different categories. 

The 2019 Walking Festival had proven very popular with many walks being oversubscribed. As a result monthly walks had been established and next year there will be even more walks planned for the festival which will be taking place between 16th May and 7th June. 

5 new postcards have been produced of the Castle which are available to buy at the Castle and the Museum. The Castle website is due to be operational by the end of the year. A history of the Castle is about to be printed. 

Anne Sassin-Allen has been working on the Hidden Heritage project, bringing to light the archaeology of the town. There are five categories: Stone Age Farnham, Late Prehistoric Farnham, Roman Farnham, Saxon Farnham and Medieval Farnham. Leaflets are available and are on the website. 

Farnham Town Council are soon to be holding a strategy day to discuss topics such as air quality, climate change and pedestrianisation. Single use plastics are being phased out at Farnham TC and an electric vehicle has been purchased for the Farnham In Bloom watering. A budget will be available for tourism, playgrounds, signage etc and bodies can apply for funding for strategic projects. Oliver Cluskey reported successful Gin and Food festivals. 

Rebecca Skeels had successfully obtained a £50,000 grant from the Arts Council. Farnham is waiting to find out whether it has been given World Craft City status by the Arts Council. This would be a huge benefit to tourism. Norma Corkish announced that a sculpture reflecting the craft history of the town will be erected in the Ashgate Gallery forecourt in the Spring. 

Hilary Burroughs advised that the Antiques Warehouse will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year and is very popular with TV programmes, most recently Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.

Pam Taylor from the Farnham & District Museum Society advertised the society’s latest publication in 4 volumes “The Town of Farnham” by Pat Heather describing each plot in the development of the town. 

Chris Shepheard mentioned ‘Peeps in the Past’ and how people often asking for back copies of the Farnham Herald. The Herald is in the process of launching a community project involving the Surrey History Centre and members of local historical societies plus museums in the Herald’s circulation area to digitise them and make them available online. 

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