Today those of us driving through Farnham seem plagued by almost continual roadworks interrupting our steady progress.

We tend to think of this as a relatively recently arrived phenomenon. However, this photograph from the Herald Archive taken in February 1954 shows it is nothing new and perhaps then the works were even more major.

The scene is Castle Street, adjacent to the end of Long Garden Walk. A bus is squeezing between two large excavations that have been made to lay a drainage pipe to join the main sewer passing down the centre of the street.

As usual, the reason this is needed is because of new development in the town, not just replacement of worn-out infrastructure. The development in question is the building of William Kingham’s large new wholesale distribution warehouse and offices in the Hart.

At the time this must have been one of the largest buildings in the town centre. 

It survived until the 1980s when it, too, was swept away during the Lion and Lamb Yard development and its site is now occupied largely by the Waitrose store.

The most striking aspect of this photograph, though, must be the fact normal town life is going on so close to these major works with seemingly no fencing in sight.

Today, things would be very different and would undoubtedly involve lots of safety barriers and probably the total closure of the road. The only nod to safety here is the police constable on duty by the cement mixer.

Perhaps today’s safety precautions are what makes such a big disruption to normal life when work is under way and not, in fact, the roadworks themselves.