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It was in 1930 that businesses in Gillingham first started holding organised meetings and by 9 July 1930 The Gillingham Chamber of Trade was formed and Evan B Down of Oake, Woods & Co (the bacon factory) was elected as the first president with a committee of 12. The purpose of which was to promote the business interests of the town, a principle that holds fast today.
The Chamber of Trade of those early days was active; members, all important businessmen from the town. Issues that needed addressing were not so different then, opening hours for the shops on the High Street; affordable housing for the working classes; and the unattractive electricity poles erected to assist a new electricity supply. A subsidiary was also created; The Gillingham Chamber of Trade Plate Glass Association which took a small annual payment from High Street businesses to cover the cost of the risk of a broken shop window; saving local retailers paying a premium to insurance companies.
Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry is one of the largest in North Dorset and currently has approximately 100 members. It has become a key player in the redevelopment of the town’s commercial and industrial base and supports the British Chamber of Commerce’s approach to town centre development.
The AGM is held in May and we encourage members to attend to promote ideas and suggestions. Local and National Government consult Chambers on almost every aspect of town life, which can only be to the advantage of the town. We have also represented the town at a number of meetings and seminars concerned with development and help for businesses in the area.