The History of the Trust

The Trust was founded by Sir John Verney, Bt., and Richard Dufty CBE, DLitt, FSA, two men of imagination and vision who had between them considerable expert knowledge of the town and its buildings.

Architect Michael Blower, now President of the Trust, served as a member of a working party led by John Verney which had the task of identifying the many Farnham buildings of historical or architectural importance which had been missed when the statutory list had been introduced in 1947.

At the time, the concept of conservation was becoming increasingly popular, in reaction to postwar trends which saw widespread demolition of older buildings, and replacement with modern buildings often perceived as much less attractive. They saw that although the more important buildings were being given the protection of Listed status, numerous smaller old buildings, which contributed a great deal to the character of the street scene but were less highly regarded, were being swept away. They therefore set up the Farnham Trust with the particular aim of saving such buildings, restoring them and returning them in good condition for use by the community.

The Farnham (Building Preservation) Trust Limited was incorporated as a Company on 17th October 1968. It was one of the first building preservation trusts to be set up in this country, setting an example which has been followed by many other trusts in subsequent years.

The Farnham Trust is mainly self-funding, operating where possible on the principle of “rolling capital”, acquiring properties, refurbishing them and selling them with the aim of rescuing treatened buildings which form part of the local heritage and returning them to the community with a viable use.

The Trust has no regular source of income other than that generated by projects and we gratefully acknowledge valuable grant assistance with past projects provided by English Heritage, the Pilgrim Trust and Waverley Borough Council. In the 1990s, the sale of a property in Farnham which had been bequeathed to the Trust allowed us to build up some capital reserves which were used in the restoration of the Farnham Pottery.