It is great to see Farnham's Gostrey Meadow so much more used since the pandemic. It seems the isolation helped put people back in touch with, and more appreciative of, their local open spaces.
Today the meadow is in use almost every weekend in the summer for an event as well as informal use by individuals and families on a daily basis, even when the weather isn’t particularly great.
Perhaps it’s too easy to think this amount of use is a relatively new thing but that really isn’t the case. Back in the 1950s it was used for lots of events, including celebrations of the coronation and community singing, drama productions and many more.
However, perhaps this Herald Archive photograph from May 1955 shows a more unusual event but fortunately not something that was being performed “in anger”.
The event was a demonstration by the local branch of the St John Ambulance Brigade, then based in West Street opposite The Jolly Sailor, of first aid life-saving techniques.
The lady, watched closely by a young bystander, is practising the Holger Nielsen method of artificial respiration, though whether the body is real or dummy isn’t terribly clear.
Today techniques have moved on with more recently mouth-to-mouth resuscitation being the recognised method as part of CPR. Thankfully that is supported by many publicly-accessible defibrillators but currently I’m not aware one within the meadow itself (the nearest are at the Maltings and in Farnham Town Council).