Bedford Park Society Celebrates Fifty Years

Looks back on half a century of protecting the world’s first garden suburb

This year the Bedford Park Society looks back on half a century of protecting the world’s first garden suburb.

Special celebratory projects include the installation of a specially-designed information sign on the triangle of land in front of the church hall to welcome visitors, the publication of a new book, Bedford Park Pictures From the Past, and a members’ garden party in September. Since it was founded in 1963 in response to threatened demolition and inappropriate developments, the Society has successfully protected the amenities of the first garden suburb.

lithograph of St Michael and All Angels church, painted from Acton Green by Frank Hamilton Jackson. This was one of a series of chromolithographs commissioned in 1881 from local artists by Bedford Park’s founder, Jonathan Carr, to publicise his new development.

Peter Murray, the Society’s deputy chairman commented: “If Jonathan Carr, the estate’s developer, were to return to Bedford Park today he would find that it still reflects the quality and beauty of his original concept. In the main, houses that have been restored retain the details, materials and form as designed by Edward Godwin, Richard Norman Shaw and Maurice B Adams.

“For half a century the Society has managed the difficult balance between retaining original features of houses and permitting the sort of alterations that suit our way of life today. The extent to which we have succeeded is reflected in the popularity of the area and the mixed blessing of astronomical house prices.”

Woodstock Road , taken by local resident Ellen Rooney for the 2010 revised edition of “Bedford Park – the first garden suburb”. Originally written by the Society’s co-founder, the late Tom Greeves, this new edition featured modern colour photos to complement the black and white ones taken by Tom in the 1970s.

In 1967, shortly after its formation, the Society achieved Grade II listing for 356 properties, and in 1970 persuaded the London boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow to each declare their respective halves of Bedford Park a conservation area.

Its most ambitious project was the creation in 2002 of a log book for every listed house. Each book ­ which is passed from owner to owner ­ details the individual property¹s history, gives background on how Bedford Park was developed, and explains how to maintain the building. No other amenity society has attempted such a scheme and the Society is proud of its pioneering work.

Other notable successes include a green plaque scheme to commemorate important former residents and the landscaping of the triangle of land to the west of the church hall, which won a Civic Trust award in 1983.

Bedford Park was developed as the world’s first garden suburb between 1875 and 1886 on just under 100 acres of land near Turnham Green station on the borders of Acton and Chiswick. At its core are some 360 Grade II listed houses, designed by such eminent Victorian architects as Richard Norman Shaw, Edward W Godwin, Maurice B Adams, and Edward John May.

The Bedford Park Society was founded by Tom Greeves and Harry Taylor in 1963 in response to threatened demolition and inappropriate developments. In 1967 it achieved Grade II listing for 356 properties, and by 1970 it had persuaded the London boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow to each declare its respective half of Bedford Park a conservation area.

The Society, which has some 500 members, monitors planning applications in both boroughs with the aim of conserving the neighbourhood¹s buildings and green spaces and protecting them from inappropriate development.

For further information visit the Society’s web-site www.bedfordpark.org.uk,


April 27, 2013


 

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