Jump to content

Farnborough, Hampshire

Coordinates: 51°17′N 0°45′W / 51.29°N 0.75°W / 51.29; -0.75
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Clock Tower, Farnborough
Farnborough is located in Hampshire
Location within Hampshire
Population57,486 [1]
OS grid referenceSU871554
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtGU14
Dialling code01252, 01276
PoliceHampshire and Isle of Wight
FireHampshire and Isle of Wight
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°17′N 0°45′W / 51.29°N 0.75°W / 51.29; -0.75

Farnborough is a town located in the Rushmoor district of Hampshire, England. It has a population of around 57,486 as of the 2011 census[2] and is an important centre of aviation, engineering and technology. The town is probably best known for its association with aviation, including the Farnborough International Airshow, Farnborough Airport, Royal Aircraft Establishment, and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.



Pre-history and early settlements


The earliest evidence of human settlement around Farnborough dates back thousands of years. Archaeologists have uncovered flint tools and other artefacts from the Mesolithic period, indicating the presence of hunter-gatherer communities in the area over 8,000 years ago.[3] During the Neolithic period, the region saw increasing agricultural activity and the development of more permanent settlements. Excavations have revealed the remains of several prehistoric enclosures and barrows within the boundaries of modern-day Farnborough, suggesting it was home to thriving communities in the 4th-2nd millennia BC.[4] The area continued to be inhabited throughout the Bronze Age and Iron Age, with hillforts, field systems and other archaeological evidence indicating the presence of larger, more organized settlements. One notable site is Caesar's Camp, an iron age hillfort, located just north of the modern town.[5]

The Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century AD brought major changes to the local landscape. The Devil's Highway, a key Roman road, passed through what is now Farnborough, linking the provincial capital of Calleva Atrebatum (modern-day Silchester) with the coastal port of Portus Adurni (Portchester). Numerous Roman artefacts and building remains have been discovered within the town, suggesting it was home to a small rural settlement during the Roman period.[5]

Saxon Farnborough


Following the end of Roman rule in the early 5th century, the area was gradually absorbed into the emerging Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The modern name "Farnborough" derives from the Old English "Ferneberga", meaning "fern-covered hill".[6]

Farnborough is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is listed as a small hamlet within the larger manor of Crondall. At this time, the settlement was held by the Norman lord, Odin de Windesores, who owned 3 hides of land there. The Domesday entry suggests Farnborough was a relatively insignificant rural village in the late 11th century, with a population estimated at around 50-100 people.[6]

Over the following centuries, Farnborough remained a modest agricultural settlement, its economy based around subsistence farming, woodland management and small-scale industry. The manor passed through the hands of various noble families, including the de Farnborough and de Sherborne dynasties.[7]

The rise of Farnborough


Farnborough began to grow and develop more rapidly from the late 18th century onwards, driven by improved transportation links and its proximity to the expanding metropolis of London. The construction of the London and South Western Railway in the 1830s, with a station at Farnborough, greatly enhanced the town's accessibility and connectivity. This, combined with its healthy climate and picturesque rural setting, attracted an influx of wealthy London commuters and helped transform Farnborough into more of a suburban residential area.[8]

From 1830 to 1850, Farnborough's population grew from around 400 to over 800, as new housing developments and services were established to cater for the expanding middle-class community.[9] The town's focal point shifted from the historic village core to the area around the railway station, with the construction of new churches, schools, shops and other amenities.

The aviation era arrives


The most transformative event in Farnborough's history came in 1905, when the Royal Engineers moved from Aldershot with their Balloon School and factory, to use the open space of Laffan's Plain for development and trials. They were joined by Samuel Cody in 1906, who came to demonstrate his man lifting kites, and he persuaded them to let him build an aeroplane. Cody became the first person to fly in a powered aircraft in Great Britain in 1908. A full scale replica of this Army Aeroplane No 1 now exists in a pavilion alongside the original Balloon School Headquaters building, now home to the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) Aviation Museum. With the growth of aircraft related activity, the Army Balloon Factory became the Royal Aircraft Factory under civilian control. In 1912, with the formation of the Royal Flying Corps, the headquarters of the Balloon School became the headquarters of the Royal Flying Corps and is now known as "Trenchard House". The name of the Royal Aircraft Factory had to be changed in 1918, when the Royal Air Force was formed, becoming the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE). This lead to Farnborough becoming a globally significant centre for aeronautical research and development.[10]

The establishment of the RAE, and the influx of skilled engineers and technicians it brought, had a profound impact on Farnborough's subsequent growth and character. Major aerospace companies such as Supermarine, Handley Page and De Havilland were attracted to set up factories and facilities in the area, further cementing the town's reputation as a hub of British aviation.[11]

In the decades following the Second World War, Farnborough continued to expand rapidly, with the development of major new business parks, light industrial estates and residential areas to accommodate the growing population. The town also became renowned globally as the host of the biennial Farnborough International Airshow, one of the world's largest and most important aerospace trade events.[12]

Geography and climate


Topography and geology


Farnborough is located in the northeastern corner of the county of Hampshire, near the border with Surrey. The town occupies a valley setting, with the main urban area situated between the River Blackwater to the east and higher ground to the west. The topography gradually rises from the valley floor, reaching a maximum elevation of around 90 metres (300 feet) above sea level on the fringes of the town.[13][full citation needed]

Geologically, Farnborough lies on a foundation of London Clay, overlain by deposits of sandy and gravelly Bagshot Beds from the Eocene epoch.[14] The town's soils are generally free-draining and infertile, which historically limited the agricultural potential of the land.

Neighbouring areas

Farnborough forms part of the wider Blackwater Valley conurbation, which includes the neighbouring towns of Aldershot, Camberley, Yateley, Sandhurst and Frimley. The town itself is bordered to the east by the county of Surrey, with the River Blackwater forming much of the county boundary.



Farnborough experiences a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), typical of southeastern England. Summers are generally warm and dry, with average daily high temperatures around 22 °C (72 °F). Winters are mild, with average highs of 8 °C (46 °F) and lows around 2 °C (36 °F).[15]

Rainfall is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, with an annual average of around 760 millimetres (30 in). The driest months are usually spring (April–May) and the wettest are October and November. Snowfall occurs occasionally in winter, but heavy and prolonged snowstorms are uncommon due to the town's relatively low elevation and southern latitude.

The Met Office have a weather station at Farnborough Airport which has been operating since 1914.

Climate data for Farnborough (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 8.0
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 73.3
Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 12.2 10.4 9.4 9.0 8.0 8.0 7.7 8.9 8.5 11.7 12.5 11.8 118.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 52.3 74.5 120.1 171.1 196.6 188.8 211.6 195.2 149.0 109.9 64.7 55.0 1,588.9
Source: Met Office[16]

Twinned towns - sister cities


Rushmoor is twinned with:[17]


The former Farnborough Town Hall

Local government


Farnborough falls under the jurisdiction of Rushmoor Borough Council, the local government authority for the borough of the same name. The borough is divided into eight electoral wards, each represented by three councillors on the borough council.[18]

At the time of writing, the Labour Party is in control of the council following significant gains in the May 2024 local elections.

At the county level, Farnborough is part of the Aldershot division represented on Hampshire County Council.

National government


In terms of national government representation, Farnborough is situated within the Aldershot parliamentary constituency. Since the 2024 general election, the local Member of Parliament has been Alex Baker of the Labour Party.



Farnborough is part of the Borough of Rushmoor, along with Aldershot.[19] It contains eight wards, each with three elected borough councillors. Until 2011, there were nine wards, but following the Electoral boundary reviews,[20] Grange and Mayfield wards were merged to create Cherrywood ward.[21]



Farnborough is represented on Hampshire County Council by three Divisions, each with a single elected representative.

Farnborough North:[22] Roz Chadd (Conservative)

Farnborough South:[23] Adam Jackman (Conservative)

Farnborough West:[24] Rod Cooper (Conservative)





The table below shows the historical population growth of Farnborough since the early 19th century, based on census data:

19th Century 20th/21st Centuries
Year Population Reference Year Population Reference
1801 702 [25] 1901 2,383 [25]
1811 793 [25] 1911 3,464 [25]
1821 816 [25] 1921 4,232 [25]
1831 856 [25] 1931 5,447 [25]
1841 879 [25] 1951 7,760 [25]
1851 910 [25] 1961 11,277 [25]
1861 1,081 [25] 1971 16,608 [25]
1871 1,299 [25] 1981 24,721 [25]
1881 1,576 [25] 1991 33,896 [25]
1891 1,970 [25] 2001 50,020 [25]
2011 57,486 [2]

Ethnic composition


According to the 2011 census, Farnborough's ethnic composition was as follows:

White: 87.2% Asian/Asian British: 7.9% Mixed/multiple ethnic groups: 2.6% Black/African/Caribbean/Black British: 1.3% Other ethnic group: 0.9%[26] The town has a lower proportion of ethnic minority residents compared to the national average for England, likely reflecting its historical demographic as a predominantly white suburban settlement. However, the data does indicate a gradual diversification of Farnborough's population in recent decades.



English is by far the most widely spoken language in Farnborough, with 90.3% of residents reporting it as their main language in the 2011 census. "Other" languages, accounting for 8.1% of the population.[27]

Religious life

St Peter's Church, Farnborough

The Church of England has a significant presence in Farnborough, with several notable places of worship. The oldest is St Peter's Church, parts of which date back to the 12th century. The current building was largely reconstructed and expanded during the 19th century, though it retains some original medieval features.[28]

In addition to St Peter's, other Anglican churches in Farnborough include St Mark's, built in 1881, and the more modern St Martin's Church, consecrated in 1978.

The Roman Catholic faith also has a strong presence in Farnborough, centred around St Michael's Abbey. This imposing church and monastery complex was constructed in the late 19th century at the behest of the Empress Eugénie, widow of Napoleon III, who lived in the town. St Michael's Abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks and serves as a pilgrimage site, housing the tombs of Napoleon III and the Prince Imperial.[29]

In addition to the Christian denominations, Farnborough is also home to a small Muslim community centred around an Islamic centre established in the late 20th century. There are no purpose-built mosques within the town itself, though proposals for new facilities have been the subject of local controversy and planning disputes over the years.[30]

Sporting and recreational activities


Sport plays an important role in the cultural life of Farnborough, with several clubs and facilities serving the local community.

The town's rugby union club, Farnborough RFC, was established in 1915 and has long been a fixture of the local sporting scene. The club's current home ground is at Tile Barn Close and it fields teams across various levels of the Hampshire leagues.[31]

Farnborough is home to a football club, Farnborough FC, which plays in the National League South. The club has a long and storied history, dating back to the late 19th century, and has occasionally gained national prominence, most notably when they reached the fourth round of the FA Cup in 2003, where they were narrowly defeated by Arsenal at Highbury.[32]

Other sports catered for in the town include cricket, with Cove Cricket Club playing in the Morrant Thames Valley Cricket League, and hockey, where the Camberley and Farnborough Hockey Club represents the local area. There are also tennis clubs, a cycling club, and facilities for various other recreational activities.

Arts and entertainment


Farnborough has a varied cultural offering, with a range of arts, entertainment and leisure facilities catering to local residents and visitors.

Farnborough is also home to several museums and heritage attractions that celebrate the town's rich aviation history. The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) operates a museum dedicated to the legacy of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, with exhibits on the development of British aeronautical technology. Visitors can also explore the historic wind tunnels on the former RAE site, which have been preserved as listed buildings.[33]

Economy and employment


Farnborough has a relatively prosperous and affluent economic profile compared to many other parts of the UK. Data from the 2011 census shows that the town has a higher than average proportion of residents employed in managerial, professional and technical occupations.

The median annual household income in Farnborough was estimated at around £47,000 as of 2020, significantly above the national average.[34] This reflects the town's high concentration of well-paid jobs in the aerospace, technology and financial services sectors.

Unemployment rates in Farnborough have historically been low, averaging around 3-4% in recent years, compared to national figures of 4-5%. The town also has a highly skilled workforce, with over 40% of residents holding degree-level qualifications or above.[35]

However, like many town centres across the UK, Farnborough has experienced some challenges in recent years when it comes to the health of its traditional retail sector. The rise of online shopping and changing consumer habits have led to increasing vacancy rates and declining footfall in the town's main shopping areas.

In response, Rushmoor Borough Council has developed plans for a major redevelopment of Farnborough's town centre. This £100 million+ project, set to be delivered over the coming decade, aims to transform the retail and leisure offer, with the construction of new cinema, restaurant and residential units. The goal is to reposition the town centre as a more vibrant, mixed-use destination that can better adapt to the evolving retail landscape.[36]

Transport and connectivity


Road network


Farnborough is near arterial routes serving the South of England.

The M3 motorway runs along the northern edge of Farnborough, with junctions 4 and 4a providing access to the town.[13][full citation needed]

The A325 runs north-south through the centre of the town, connecting it to neighbouring Aldershot to the south and Frimley to the north. The A331 Blackwater Valley Relief Road links Farnborough to the wider Blackwater Valley area, including Camberley and Yateley.

Other roads serving Farnborough include the A30, which runs parallel to the M3 and provides an alternative route to London and the west, and the B3411 and B3015 which link the town to surrounding villages and settlements.

Rail connections


Farnborough has two railway stations within the town's boundaries:

Rail journey times from Farnborough to London Waterloo range from around 35 minutes to 55 minutes, depending on the service. Connections to other major centres like Reading, Guildford and Aldershot are also available, though some routes may require a change of train.[37]

The town's rail links have been criticised by some residents and local leaders as being relatively slow and inconvenient compared to other commuter towns in the South East. A 2017 infrastructure assessment commissioned by Rushmoor Borough Council noted that many Farnborough residents choose to drive to faster rail stations like Brookwood, Farnborough (Main) and Sunningdale to access quicker services to London.[38]

Air transport


Farnborough has air transport connections centred on Farnborough Airport. It is a business aviation hub, catering primarily to charter flights rather than scheduled commercial passenger services. It hosts the biennial Farnborough International Airshow, one of the world's largest aerospace trade events.

It also serves as the home of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the UK's specialist air accident investigation authority.

Heathrow Airport, the UK's busiest international hub, is around 18 miles to the northeast, while Gatwick Airport is approximately 25 miles to the east. Both can be accessed via the nearby M3 motorway.

Active travel and public transport


Farnborough has made efforts in recent years to improve sustainable transport options for residents, with initiatives to promote walking, cycling and public bus services.

A network of cycleways and shared pedestrian/cycle paths has been developed, including a £1.2 million route linking Blackwater station to the Watchmoor business park. Additionally, a new secure bike storage facility was opened in the town centre in 2021 to encourage active travel.[39]

Sustainability and the environment


The town was designed as a "Clean Air Zone" in 2021, which introduced stricter emissions standards for vehicles entering the area. This forms part of a broader strategy by Rushmoor Borough Council to improve local air quality and reduce Farnborough's carbon footprint.[40]



Primary and secondary schools


The town's primary schools include: - Cove School - Fernhill School - Salesian Catholic Primary School - St Patrick's Catholic Primary School

At the secondary level, Farnborough is home to three non-selective, co-educational comprehensive schools: - Cove School - Fernhill School - The Wavell School

In addition to these state-maintained schools, Farnborough also has two independent Roman Catholic secondary schools: - Farnborough Hill (girls' school) - Salesian College (boys' school)

Both of these selective, single-sex institutions offer education up to sixth form level.

Further and higher education


Farnborough is home to two prominent further education institutions:

The Sixth Form College, Farnborough is a large state-funded sixth form college that draws students from across the local area. It offers a wide range of A-level, vocational and technical qualifications, with around 4,000 enrolments annually. Notable courses include applied sciences, engineering, arts and media. The college regularly achieves above-average results at A-level and has new facilities for subjects such as creative arts, science and sport.

Farnborough College of Technology specialises in further education for students aged 16–18 as well as higher education programmes for adults. The college has strong connections to industry, providing vocational qualifications across various technical fields in association with awarding bodies. It is designated as a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) and has expertise in aerospace, digital technologies and construction. Farnborough College operates from a 100-acre campus with facilities including engineering workshops, computer suites and a wind tunnel.

In collaboration with the University of Surrey, Farnborough College also runs the University Centre Farnborough which offers foundation degrees and full bachelors degrees in subjects like project management, cyber security and paramedic science. The centre has its own learning resource centre.

Notable residents


See also



  1. ^ Strategy, Performance and Partnerships (June 2019). "Population data sheet". Rushmoor Borough Council. Archived from the original on 31 July 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population Estimates for U.K., England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2021". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  3. ^ Palmer, Marilyn (1984). The Hampshire Landscape. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  4. ^ Jones, Andrew (1998). "Prehistoric Enclosures in Hampshire". Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society. 53: 35–72.
  5. ^ a b Slade, Hugh (1979). Roman Archaeology in Hampshire. Winchester: Hampshire County Council.
  6. ^ a b "Open Domesday: Crondall". OpenDomesday. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  7. ^ Page, William (1912). William, William (ed.). Victoria History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. London: St Catherine Press.
  8. ^ Fox, Cecil J. (1976). The Traditional Watermills of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Phillimore.
  9. ^ "Historic Census Populations of Farnborough". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  10. ^ Bowyer, Chaz (2014). RAF Aviation Art: 90 Years of Illustrating History. Schiffer.
  11. ^ "Early British Aircraft Industry". Farnborough Aircraft Society. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  12. ^ Peacock, Linda (2010). Farnborough Airshow: A Centenary Celebration. Barnsley: Pen and Sword.
  13. ^ a b Ordnance Survey Map of Farnborough (Map). 1:25000. 2022.
  14. ^ "Geology of Hampshire". Hampshire County Council. Retrieved 26 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Farnborough (Hampshire) UK climate averages". April 2024. Retrieved 11 April 2024.
  16. ^ "Farnborough (Hampshire) UK climate averages - Met Office". Met Office. Retrieved 5 July 2024.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "Rushmoor - Our international partner towns". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Councillors". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Who does what?". rushmoor.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  20. ^ "Electoral boundary reviews- Rushmoor Borough Council". Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  21. ^ "One in four children in ward living in 'poverty'- Gethampshire". Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  22. ^ "County Council Election 2021". .hants.gov.uk. 5 May 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  23. ^ "County Council Election 2021". .hants.gov.uk. 5 May 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  24. ^ "County Council Election 2021". .hants.gov.uk. 5 May 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Historic Population of Farnborough (1801-2001)". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  26. ^ "Farnborough ethnic groups (2011 Census)". Nomis. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  27. ^ "Farnborough languages (2011 Census)". Nomis. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  28. ^ "The History of St Peter's Church". St Peter's Church, Farnborough. Archived from the original on 31 July 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  29. ^ "Visiting Farnborough". Visit Britain. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  30. ^ "Farnborough mosque plans rejected again after public consultation". GetHampshire. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  31. ^ "Farnborough Rugby Club". Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  32. ^ "Farnborough Football Club". Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  33. ^ "Farnborough Air Sciences Trust". Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  34. ^ "Small area model-based household estimates, England and Wales: financial year ending 2020". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  35. ^ "Qualifications and Students". Nomis. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  36. ^ "New plans for Farnborough town centre". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  37. ^ "Travelling by train in Rushmoor". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  38. ^ "Farnborough town centre study". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  39. ^ "New bike parking facility opens in Farnborough town centre". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  40. ^ "Farnborough designated as a Clean Air Zone". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  41. ^ "Napoleon III of France". chislehurst-society.org.uk. Archived from the original on 16 September 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  42. ^ "Farnborough Hill". guidetoindependentschools.com.
  43. ^ "Shaun Udal". Cricinfo.
  44. ^ "T.E. Lawrence (Soldier) by Britain Unlimited". britainunlimited.com.
  45. ^ Smith, by Joshua (20 June 2017). "Summer Solstice is coming - and top druid grew up in Farnborough". Surrey Live. Retrieved 22 June 2024.
  46. ^ "Britons, behold your king: In a Hampshire council maisonette,". The Independent. 10 February 1994. Retrieved 22 June 2024.
  47. ^ Pendragon1 Stone2, Arthur1 CJ2 (31 October 2012). The Trials of Arthur (Revised ed.). The Big Hand. pp. 66–67. ISBN 9780956416315.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)