On the 9th February 1970, the new Bourne Hall opened its doors to the public and a team of librarians, led by John Dent, set about providing a modern, efficient information service with the best technology available (i.e. card indexes). One of these indexes covered the subjects which had featured in the local newspapers: this has survived the changes of forty years, and is presented here as an insight into yesterday's current affairs (or tomorrow's local history). The index obviously started with the best of intentions, and continued to be updated for several years, but after John Dent died in August 1972, there was less enthusiasm for records of this sort, and although entries continued to be made for another year or so, indexing came to an end in early 1974.
John Dent c.1972 Image courtesy of Epsom and Ewell Local and Family History Centre
Here you can find local artists and authors, the changing face of cinemas and pubs, plans for what was to become NESCOT, the arrival of comprehensive schools, and the refusal to depart of the Gypsies. Bourne Hall and its surroundings feature prominently, as might be expected; the Green Belt was a concern, as was the battle to keep Epsom & Ewell out of Greater London. Bypasses and one-way streets are often mentioned, as is Ringway 3 - part of the girdle of A roads around the London area, later to be supplemented by the M25. St. Mary's had the bells rehung, Nonsuch park acquired obelisks to mark out the Palace site, and Ewell West won a prize for Best-Kept Station.