2015 Previous meetings

19th November 2014, talk by Shaan Butters on her new history of Kingston, “That Famous Place”

Kingston is lucky in having a comprehensive history of its existence from Stone Age to the present, written not by a local enthusiast but by a professional with a proper regard for records and references. She will give us a behind the scenes account of the the book and the difficulties she encountered in threading a continuous narrative from the sources.

15th October 2014, talk by St. George on the proposed Ashdown Road car park development

Malcolm Wood of St Georges, the developers involved in The Old Post Office site and Ashdown Road car park, together with architects John Thompson and Partners told us how their plans are shaping.

17th September 2014, Kingston in London but not run by London

Tony Arbour is the London Assembly Member for Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow and a Councillor in Richmond. He was a senior lecturer and Honorary Visiting Fellow at Kingston University Business School and a former Governor of the University.

16th July 2014 – Surbiton, the development of a railway town

David Kennedy, a member of the Committee of the Kingston upon Thames Society and active researcher on the history of the Borough, told us about the history of Surbiton.

Tradition has it that Thomas Pooley was a Cornishman who settled in Kingston upon Thames where he owned several malthouses. Furthermore, it is believed that when a station of the London and Southampton Railway was established in 1838, close to the present Surbiton Station, Pooley borrowed money to build an adjacent new town for wealthy people who worked in London but wished to live in the Surrey countryside. It is also believed that Pooley’s development, which was never fully realised because of his bankruptcy, formed the nucleus of modern Surbiton and that he originated the idea of commuting.

The talk, which was based on new research on original records, traced Pooley’s life, challenged some of the aforementioned traditions and analysed the failure of his enterprise.

18th June 2014 – Planning in the Royal Borough

Viv Evans, the recently appointed Head of Planning and Transport at the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, will give his first impressions of the challenges facing the Borough and his assessment of the options open to it.

21th May 2014 – Kingston University Town House

Sean Woulfe, Director of Estates Delivery at Kingston University, spoke on the plans for the new Town House.

He gave a presentation on the initial design concepts for a transformational new building in a high-profile location on Kingston University’s main campus on Penrhyn Road.

19th March 2014 – Cycling in Kingston

The virtues and vices of cyclists and cycling can ignite a more heated discussion than any other in Kingston at present. With strong opinions on both side it seems, clear that an armed truce is not a viable option for the well-being of the future of Kingston. On one hand there are strong calls to increase cycling facilities to improve access to town centres, reduce traffic and encourage healthier lifestyles. On the other there are complaints of cyclists jumping red-lights and mixing badly with pedestrians on shared paths.

A lively debate was had and, to be provocative, the conclusion was reached that promoting cycling in a good idea but neither motorists nor pedestrians were prepared to make any sacrifices to allow this.

19th February 2014 – New Kingston Quaker Centre

Summer 2014 sees the opening of a new green building for Kingston Quakers on Fairfield East. The building is interesting for its architecture and attention to green issues.

We will have three speakers; Graham Torr, Quaker, on the history of the move from Eden Street and the vicissitudes on the way, John Langley, architect, Tectus Architecture, on the design and Guy Butler, Total Construction, on strategies to balance the green ethos with practicalities of construction.

See the Kingston Quakers website for more details about the new centre.

15th January 2014 – Marketing Kingston’s Markets

Our speaker at January’s Public Meeting, following the AGM, was James Kennedy, Commercial and Marketing Director of Kingstonfirst, who told us about the new promotion activities for Kingston’s markets. He also took lots of questions and we had a long and interesting discussion.

All of Kingston’s markets are being brought under one brand. This look-and-feel will be used mostly for Kingston’s Ancient Market and Kingston’s Monday Market but will be extended to other special events, such as the night markets. The look that they have gone for reflects the chalkboards used by many of the traders. A new website is being developed to promote the markets and this will have a piece on each of the traders that will include a short video.

Kingstonfirst want to make the Ancient Market a cultural and creative space, making it the heart of Kingston again. They hope to be able to use the Memorial Gardens ocassionally as well but only if they get approval from the British Legion.

James’ talk was very interesting and very well received as the level of questions and comments showed. Kingstonfirst have clear and realistic plans for developing Kingston’s markets and the Society is supports them in this.