In the 1830s, before the rise of Redhill, the town of Reigate was already a prosperous market town that had been in existence for some seven centuries and was at the centre of the old manor that bore its name.

The manor was divided into two main parts, the Old Town, which was Reigate itself, and the Foreign, which was the remainder of the 6,000-acre manor.

There was no council then, the affairs of the manor being conducted by the lord of the manor or others on his behalf. The parish shared a similar boundary with the manor, its officials doing their work in bodies known as vestries.

On October 4, 1837, Queen Victoria stopped at the White Hart in Bell Street on route to Brighton. A triumphal arch was erected by Reigate's citizens to mark her passage through their town.

Twenty-six years later, in 1863, Queen Victoria signed the charter of incorporation to create the borough of Reigate, transferring power from the lord of the manor to the mayor, aldermen and councillors of the new town council.

This ushered in a new way of conducting civic affairs, with all council members being accountable to the electorate at elections instead of the lord of the manor holding power and passing it to his heirs.

lArticle and picture courtesy of Alan Moore, author of A History of Redhill volumes 1 and 2,