For nearly 34 years
from 1973
until August 2007
the Leatherhead Society
was both the town's
Amenity/Civic Society
and its
Residents' Association.
LEATHERHEAD SOCIETY LOGO The above logo was designed by John Jamieson
and adopted by the Society in 1992.
 
The Society was founded by Philip Naughton in 1973 "from the ashes of the Leatherhead Residents' Association" [Leatherhead Society News, No. 1, June 1975].
 
At an Extraordinary General Meeting on 6th August 2007 the Society resolved to change its name to incorporate the word "Residents" in its title and to merge with the recently formed Leatherhead Residents' Association.

We at Toilemimi are grateful to Mrs Hilary Porter, the last Chairman of the Leatherhead Society, for passing to us copies of the Society's newsletters from its first in 1975 until its last in 2007. We feel that these are important sources of information about the very considerable changes that affected Leatherhead during those 34 years: in 1973 there was no M25 separating Leatherhead from Ashtead, neither Leret Way nor the Swan Centre had been build, the Prince of Wales still stood on Lower Fairfield Road and the High Street was still open to two-way traffic; by 2007, we had the M25, Leret Way had replaced Lower Fairfield Road and caused the demolition of many buildings including the Prince of Wales public house, the Swan Centre had been built and the High Street, having once been predestrianized, was open to one way traffic in evenings and early morning. We intend, therefore, to digitize all these newsletters to make them available online.

A residents' association is association an organization of people who live in the same area, established in order to improve conditions for people living there. Before 1973 Leatherhead had had a such an organization. However, we do not know when the pre-1973 Leatherhead Residents' Association was founded or, indeed, anything about it. We would be interested if anyone has information,

It would appear that by 1973 the Residents' Association was moribund and Philip Naughton reformed it, renaming it "The Leatherhead Society" with two purposes:

It will be seen from the Newsletters that the Society was soon interesting itself in the sorts of things that civic societies were involved with, e.g. campaigning for high standards of planning of new buildings or traffic schemes, the conservation of historic buildings, and the improvement of the environment. In 1991 the Leatherhead Society amended its constitution and became a registered group of the Civic Trust; it continued to be registered with the Civic Trust until August 2007.

For a few years before 2007, there were requests from some members, including some on the Committee, for the Society to change its name to the "Leatherhead Residents' Association." When, following a recommendation of the "Leatherhead Tomorrow" report in January 2006, moves were made to set up a separate Leatherhead Residents' Association, many were confused. Talks took place between the Society and those setting up the new Association and before the end of 2007 the Society changed its name and the two groups merged. At the time, the Civic Trust was in trouble and the merged Association did not register with it. The Civic Trust went into administration in 2009; when Civic Voice was launched in April 2010, some of us hoped the Association would register with it, but that was not to be.

Although the Leatherhead Society was founded in 1973, it did not publish its first newsletter until June 1975. Early in 1975, probably February (the letter is undated), Philip Naughton, the Society's founder and first Chairman sent a letter to members; whether there were any previous letters from the Chairman, we do not know. We have included this letter with the Newsletters from 1970s.

1970s Newletters1980s Newletters1990s Newletters2000s Newletters

We are sorry we can find no copy of No. 11