The evening followed the same pattern as last year by commencing with a meeting on Ethelburt Avenue improvement, chaired by Godfrey Collyer. He outlined all the work that had been done following the survey of opinion in Autumn 2003. This included getting costings for surfacing and dust suppression treatment and undertaking a traffic and a speed survey. The average speed of traffic was 15 mph. He said the cost of a public consultation on stopping up the road either at one end or the middle would be £3000.

The AGM agreed that the annual subscription would remain at £3 per household and for Ethelburt Avenue residents the Improvement Fund contribution would also remain at £30. The chairman thanked departing Committee members including Claire Buckley and Nicky Evans who was formerly secretary and latterly vice-chairman but has now moved from the area.

Following the formal business, Margaret Matthews from the Hawthorn’s Wildlife Association (also a local resident) gave an informative talk on “Southampton Common, Past and Present.” We learnt of the importance of the Common for the town’s water supply, with its streams, lakes and reservoirs. The Cowherd’s Public House started as the house of the cowherd who looked after the commoners cows for the day. The Common was the site of the gallows and the last public execution in Southampton was in 1785. In Victorian times the Common was developed into a park with a race track.

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