Before 1835, Freemen existed in many boroughs as a constituent part of the Corporation. Freemen enjoyed special rights, dependent on local customs, including rights of pasturage on corporate land and exemptions from certain tolls and dues.
Since the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, borough councils have continued to be given the power to appoint Freemen, but the law has gradually reduced the privileges associated with that office.
The Local Government Act of 1972 introduced a major change in the powers and structures of local authorities. Borough councils can designate persons of distinction and persons who have rendered eminent services, as Freemen of the Borough. This is usually carried out at a specially convened meeting of the whole council, which includes a ceremony where an illuminated scroll is usually presented to the recipient.
In the situation where a regiment or RAF station is admitted as a Freeman, tradition also allows the military unit to parade in the town with fixed bayonets, a regimental band playing, as well as colours flying.
'The Freedom' is the highest tribute that a borough can bestow, and although in modern times it is an honour only and confers no legal rights, Honorary Freemen are invariably invited to take part in all important ceremonial occasions in the borough.
1979 - William Darrell Charles JP
1981 - George Hooper Esq1987 - Oswald Garvin MBE JP1987 - Ernest Lloyd Ing JP1990 - Simon Gelberg Esq2006 - Edwin Hales Esq2006 - Alfred Langley Esq2006 - Albert Tyrrell MBE JP2007 - Kenneth Guy Esq2007 - Michael Craxton Esq2007 - David Brough Esq2012 - Natasha Baker MBE2014 - Josephine Barrett JP2014 - Paul Harmsworth2014 - Shirley Harper-O'Neill2014 - John Major2014 - Wing Commander (Ret'd) Edna Partridge CVO OBE AE DL2014 - David Payne2014 - Jill Rhodes JP2014 - David Routledge MBE2018 - George Cooper2018 - Catherine Dann2018 - Mohammed Khursheed2022 - Sir Raymond Puddifoot MBE 2022 - Jean Palmer OBE
1960 - Royal Air Force Uxbridge
2000 - Royal Air Force Northolt2007 - 47 (Middlesex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron