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The History of Elmbridge Borough Council
The concept of local government started with the creation of County Councils under the first Local Government Act in 1888. Soon after, the Local Government Act of 1894 provided for smaller units of local government within the County Council framework, most of which were Parish Councils, but, District Councils also emerged.
Urban District of Esher and the Dittons
One of these councils was the Urban District of Esher and the Dittons which held its first ever meeting on 6th May 1895. It comprised three wards, each with six members (councillors) and was based at Brabant Villa on the Portsmouth Road in Esher. By the end of that first year, the council had expanded, with Claygate becoming a separate ward, creating three more councillors.
Move to Sandown House
Twenty four years later, in 1919, the number of Claygate councillors doubled, bringing the total to 24. The council now had to seek new premises. In 1923 the council bought Sandown House for £4000. It was officially opened on 6th February 1924 and was home to the Council for the following 50 years.
Esher Urban District Council
In 1933, the Esher and Dittons Urban District Council, Urban District of East and West Molesey and the parishes of Cobham and Stoke D'Abernon, including Oxshott, merged to form the Esher Urban District Council. This council had eight wards and was served by 33 councillors.
Elmbridge Borough Council
The early 1970s brought more local government re-organisation, when it was recommended that Walton and Weybridge and Esher should merge. As a result, Elmbridge Borough Council, as we now know it, was born on 1st April 1974. The new Coat of Arms was formed out of symbols taken from all the boroughs towns and villages, with the simple motto "Dum Defluant Amnes" meaning "Till the rivers cease to flow".
One result of this merger was that there were now two civic centres in use neither of which were big enough for all the new staff. It was decided in the 1980s that staff and services should be centralised and so this new Civic Centre was built, at a cost of £18 million, and opened in December 1991.
So, that brings us to where we are today - one of 11 borough councils in Surrey, who together with Surrey County Council provide local government services to more than one million people. Elmbridge covers an area of 23,803 acres and looks after more than 124,000 people.