Jack Williams wrote about the start of the Parish Council in Hungerford:
"In 1994 I wrote a short history of the Hungerford Parish Council, which celebrated 100 years of its history. The research was undertaken with enthusiasm and I
was given assistance by Paul Cable in its publication, by Jean Hutchins, who transformed my handwriting into readable typescript and Stewart Hofgartner and David Holtby, who covered cost
Please therefore make the journey back to 1894; the whole nation was engaged in the process of electing councils and I have press cuttings covering the
parishes of Thatcham, Chieveley, Inkpen, Midgham, Bradfield, Woolhampton and Ashmansworth. In the larger places there was great excitement, but nowhere more than in Hungerford.
So many people were nominated to serve as councillors, and so many wanted to vote, that it was the equal of any parliamentary election!
This first election was to have been by show of hands. Out of the 601 people eligible to vote, some 441 attended the Town Hall - completely filled the
A contemporary report stated that "Men without a seat stood at the back of the Corn Exchange, shuffled their feet and smoked their pipes as the evening
The date was Tuesday December 14th 1894, and whilst the meeting had none of the ancient ceremony associated with Hocktide, it captured the imagination of
Hungerford's townspeople in a quite unique way.
A Chairman, Mr Morse Coulter was elected and over 40 original nomination papers were handed in and after a lengthy scrutiny this was reduced to 28 acceptable
The original Parish Council was to consist of only 11 members and as the initial instruction was to elect by show of hands, the attempt to elect that evening
was a practical impossibility.
The 601 eligible voters had been thoroughly vetted, but sad to say there was only one lady present and so no member of the fair sex was
nominated to stand for the Council. As all the seats in the room were taken, there was a large crowd at the back, who smoked their pipes and shuffled their feet and it is wonderful to try
and imagine the scene. The excitement in Hungerford stemmed from the romantic history of the Feoffees of the Town and Manor and from the mystery of the "Vestry Meeting," which
consisted of a few "officials," called overseers, it was an office that could not be refused and by an act of Elizabeth I, they were always substantial householders. So in 1894
the town's people decided that democracy was now to come to our town."