Nostalgia by Robert Heaven

CIRENCESTER, like most towns, has a long history of civic governance, dating back to the Roman times.

A lot has happened since the Romans sat around the Forum making decisions about taxes and law and order.

The latter day Concilium Plebis, (aka the Council), did all this and more if you include the housing estates they owned and managed where many of us grew up.

The present day council appears to have originated around 1876 with the “Cirencester Local Board”.

In my day, I don’t recall even knowing the name of any of the councillors.

Unlike today, when councillors are just as likely to knock on your door for a chat or sell you a nice new Ciren Calendar from a stall in the Market Place.

I don’t ever remember there being a Mayor and it’s not surprising since looking at the council website, I see that Ciren didn’t actually have one until 1971 when Cyril Staite was elected.

He was followed by 22 others including the barber from Watermoor who cut my hair as a child - Mr Dick Sharp (1982-1985).

I last remember seeing Richard “Dick” Sharp wearing a big gold chain at a parade through the Market Place in the 1980’s.

Not having seen him since childhood haircuts and being teased by him with his noisy clippers, I couldn’t quite see at the time how a person would progress from cutting hair to sitting on a dais in the Market Place while the Glorious Gloucesters paraded past.

I don’t remember much about civic activities as a boy, although of course there were such things,mainly men at the carnival and parades in suits and wearing gold chains - and bowler hats.

In the 1960s and 70s there was a definite feeling sense of “them and us” around and perhaps we needed a name for the “them” - so we called them “Toffs”.