• From August 18, 2006

Despite being situated on the Thames with some of London’s lowest unemployment and crime rates and some of the country’s best schools, Kingston still only came in as the 110th best place to live in the UK.

Residents of the Royal Borough were casting an envious eye on neighbouring Elmbridge, which was named the UK’s top spot to live in the first annual Quality of Life Survey.

The survey, sponsored by Halifax bank, ranked Kingston lower even than neighbours Richmond, Runnymede and Spelthorne.

The figures were based on factors like employment rates, owner occupation, traffic flows, burglary rates, annual sunshine hours, percentage of people in good health, size of living space and teenagers with five or more A to C grade GCSEs.

But despite the fact Kingston was the third best London borough, coming in behind Harrow and Richmond, it was apparently far better to be living out of the capital.

Kingston town centre manager Graham McNally questioned the lowly position.

He said: “Instinctively it feels wrong.

“Everything I know about the borough makes that statement seem wrong, we can’t be 110th.

“You could pick it apart piece by piece. We are the safest London borough and we know in terms of some health indicators that Kingston is top in the country.

“The housing may be something to do with the number of flats, but we also have large houses in Kingston, Surbiton and New Malden.”

Indicators were broken down into six main categories and authorities then gave marks out of 10 to each council in the UK.

Elmbridge scored a whopping 39.8 points out of 60, compared to Kingston’s 35.6 and 36.9 in Richmond.

Secretary of Esher residents’ association Joan Leifer said she was thrilled to find out Elmbridge had been confirmed as the best place to live in the UK.

She said: “It just confirms what we all think anyway.

“Elmbridge is a fantastic place to live and we are delighted this survey has confirmed this.

“The borough is very green, but we also have everything we could want from a major town.

“It only takes 30 minutes by train to travel into central London and Gatwick and Heathrow are only 20 minutes away by car.

“We also have great leisure facilities such as the Vera Fletcher Hall theatre in Thames Ditton.”

  • From August 10, 2006

AN ENDANGERED squirrel monkey returned to Chessington World of Adventures after being kidnapped failed to reintegrate with his troop.

Sponge Bob was stolen in July, 2006 and was found by children in Clapham a week later.

But after his rescue the females in his group rejected him and he had to be moved to Battersea Zoo.

  • From August 9, 1991

A large Iron Age hut was discovered in Tolworth. Builders found the remains of a 10m wide wattle and daub hut, which dated back to 200BC, at a site in Alpine Avenue.

Archaeologists said the hut was only the latest in a string of significant historical discoveries in the borough. An ancient village had been unearthed in Old Malden just a few months before.

  • From August 11, 1966

A CHAUFFEUR-driven Rolls-Royce carrying members of the Beatles was caught speeding in Bushy Park.

The car clocked a speed of 48mph as passengers Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon attempted to escape a Mini full of teenage girls that was following them.

The Rolls was owned by Mr Lennon, who lived in St George’s Hill, Weybridge at the time.