This year sees the 50th anniversary of the publication of a book commissioned to mark a significant moment in Alton’s history.

The Story of Alton was written by Charles W Hawkins and published in 1973 to commemorate the forthcoming demise of the Alton Urban Council, which was to be replaced by Alton Town Council under the reorganisation of local government the following year.

The book was described by the Alton Herald as “an extremely comprehensive record of the town’s history compiled with painstaking attention to detail and an inherent love for his subject by a most knowledgeable local historian.”

Commissioned by the urban council, which had been in operation since the 1880s, it included a chapter on that authority contributed by the then-urban council clerk Mr EN Ings.

Complete with black-and-white illustrations and a dust cover featuring a scene of blacksmiths at work, The Story of Alton was launched in time for Christmas. It was available in hardback for just £1.50 – considerably less than the prized copies now fetch online!