Meet ‘Parabola’……..

London Road_5_2b


….otherwise known as the ‘Council Offices’ and more recently part of a sheltered housing complex.

When Camberley was ‘young’ it was still, administratively, part of Farnham and didn’t have much control over its own affairs.  By the late 19th century when had been just a settlement of shops and ‘services’ around the military establishments of the RMA and Staff College had become an urban sprawl in need of some serious ‘tender loving care’.

In January 1895 a group of the local ‘great and good’ held an inaugural meeting of the ‘Frimley Urban District Council’ (Frimley being the overall parish – Camberley didn’t exist as a parish in its own right until later).   Meetings seem to have been held in halls and hotels and the members had to deal with some serious health issues before dealing with anything else.

By 1903 however they had time to consider building a proper set of offices and a competition was held for the design.  The plot was already occupied by ‘Blairmore’ and the new building was actually in the front garden.  There was some suggestion of keeping the original house and using it but that seems to have gone by the board.  Possibly it was more sensible to make additional office space readily accessible from the main building?

The competition was won by the Poulter brothers, local architect sons of a Bagshot lawyer and property developer.  The story of Harry Reginald and Briant Alfred was a fascinating one and I believe that at least one local historian has a book waiting to be published.

This design ‘Parabola’ was a winner in more ways than one as it launched their careers and was lauded in the architectural press, I believe.

The actual building was built by William Watson and opened by Thomas Forwood of Frimhurst (Chairman of the Council)  in 1906.  It continued in use until the late 1980s when the Borough (now called Surrey Heath Borough Council, after a re-organisation) moved to the current premises in Knoll Road.


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