The Surrey Hills Society visit Farnham for their AGM

What a treat we were in for, with the 2023 AGM of the Surrey Hills Society being held in Farnham in the far west of the County.

Quite a few of our members said they had never been to Farnham before and were quite amazed at what a vibrant and interesting place it was.

We were welcomed by the Mayor, Cllr Alan Earwaker, while Iain Lynch, the Farnham Town Clerk gave an interesting talk on the famous people associated with Farnham including English radical, journalist and politician, William Cobbett (1763 – 1835), who is well known in Surrey for his book “Rural Rides”.

Other famous residents included, rugby player, Jonny Wilkinson CBE (1974 – ), car and motorbike racer, Mike Hawthorn (1929- 1959) and John Henry Knight (1847- 1917), who is believed to have designed the first ever petrol car driven on a roads.

There are too many to all mention here but included Charles Ernest Borelli (1813-1950) who was clock maker to Royalty, author Jonathon Swift, and Augustus Montague Toplady (1740 – 1778) – cleric and author of the hymn, ‘Rock of Ages’.

The Town Clerk also highlighted that Farnham was awarded UNESCO Craft Town in recent years, in recognition of its long creative history, which included famous Victorian potter, Absolom Harris (1837 – 1927). Well known for his green owls and other pottery glazed, in a particular deep green colour, it is known as ‘Farnham Greenware’.


To bring us up to current times, Farnham is, these days very proud to have Prof Magdalena Odundo OBE (1950 – ) as their Vice Chancellor of the University of the Creative Arts based in Farnham. She is an internationally renowned ceramicist and her work has fetched the highest price for any living ceramists in the world to date.

The event was held at the historic Bush Hotel in central Farnham. An old coaching inn, it has recently been refurbished and provided the most wonderful buffet lunch for our members- probably our best AGM lunch ever! To take a closer look at

After lunch we were treated to tour of this charming Georgian town by Farnham Town Guides. Even our Coordinator and local resident, Lesley Crofts said she learnt some new facts about her town. There is lots more information about this surprising town on the Town Council website at


Many have fed back that this was the best AGM they have been to and Farnham was definitely a delightful surprise. A huge thank you to Farnham Town Council for hosting us and giving us such a welcome.

What a brilliant Council! What a wonderful town! Seems to be something going on every week, including this month which is Craft Month. See for more details.






Chris Howard, President Surrey Hills Society




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