Logo explained

Alton Chamber Roundel Alton Chamber of Commerce & Industry has an interesting logo that tells the tale of Alton’s history. We are not sure when the design was made, but we certainly understand the relevance of the four graphics within the roundel…
ACCI Logo explained - cog The gear wheel represents industry. In past times, Alton had its own iron foundry (now Alton Community Centre), a tannery, three water mills, a windmill and three large breweries, not to mention many other smaller ‘manufactories’. Compared to other areas, Alton’s history centres more on agriculture, but as the list above shows, agriculture involves quite a bit of industry. Today Alton has quite a bit of light industry, but has lost the battery works and paper mill that were prevalent in the 20th century. Alton also used to be well-known for its large prosthetic limb manufacturer, Vessa, since absorbed into Ortho Europe and now gone. We also had a number of oil wells in the local area, but as of August 2016, these have ceased operation due to falling oil prices. We Still have ATC Lasham up the road (repairing airliners), but sadly there isn’t much heavy industry left in the area.
ACCI Logo explained - hop If you don’t recognise this plant, these are the flowers of the hop plant, best known as a flavouring for beer. Sadly Alton ceased to be a brewing town in 2015 when the big Molson Coors brewery shut. Up until then, it is not uncommon for the smell of brewing to waft over Alton, but hops had ceased to be grown locally some time ago. Photographs of old show fields full of the tall hop poles and the Gypsies and other migrant workers who used to visit each year to help with the harvest. This part of Alton’s life has disappeared, but in modern times we have gained a micro brewery in nearby Four Marks which has established itself amongst real ale drinkers in the area.
ACCI Logo explained wheat The sheaf of wheat is perhaps the most evocative image of the countryside of old. Sheafs like this were made by hand in the days when the corn was cut with a scythe. They were once to be seen in the fields grouped together into a stook (12 sheaves) ready to be threshed. There were still people cutting cereal crops with scythes in the 1930s, so they are not as far gone as you might think. Alton once had a weekly cattle market, as well as a fowl market, but they are long gone. Although hops are no longer grown locally, Alton’s agriculture includes cereal crops, livestock (mainly sheep and beef-stock) and lavender. The latter was taken up by a local farmer who could no longer sell hops. Mechanisation of agriculture has changed villages into dormitory outposts, but the farming industry still contributes a lot to our local economy. The real difference is that there is now an almost complete separation in the lives of those who work the land and town-dwellers. Alton once had a reputation as being a rather work-a-day town, but having lost its agricultural connections, it is having to reinvent itself to compete in the supermarket age.
ACCI Logo explained - church This spire is that of St Lawrence Church. As well as being a market town, Alton is an old church town dating back to Saxon times. The church is of architectural interest, including its rather smart clock dating from 1890. However, St. Lawrence has an unusual and somewhat unsavory claim to fame for its role in the English Civil War. In 1643 Alton was host to a garrison of Royalist infantry and cavalry commanded by Colonel Boles – they built earthwork defences in the churchyard.  On 13th December 1643 Sir William Waller led a parliamentarian sneek attack in the early hours of the morning which soon led to a gun battle. The Royalists were eventually pushed back into the church, forming a makeshift barricade with dead horses, and were defeated. Boles refused to surrender and was killed, but was lauded for his bravery. Waller’s forces took over 500 men prisoner.  It took another three years for the parliamentarians to depose the king, but the Battle of Alton remains one of the significant battles in the area. Alton has held a number of reenactment events to mark the battle, most recently in 2000, 2006 and 2015.
ACCI Logo explained - 1909 The phrase ‘est 1909’ was added to the Chamber’s logo in 2009 to record 100 years of our existence. For many years we were not sure exactly which year the Chamber was founded – we have a member of Alton Golf Club, Jeremy Neate, to thank for finding the year.  In his research into the history of the golf club, he found a newspaper article reporting our first meeting (see also the History page). This date means that the Chamber of Commerce is one of the oldest organisations in Alton.