Our Legacy To Future Generations

Bedford Park Society lecture by Philip Venning

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Philip Venning, secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), will be giving this year’s Betjeman Lecture organised by The Bedford Park Society.

Entitled, Our Legacy To Future Generations, it will take place at St Michael and All Angels Church, Bath Road, W4, on November 26th at 8.00pm.

Tickets, on sale at the door, cost £6.50, with all proceeds going to the Care Parkinson’s Trust as Sir John Betjeman suffered from Parkinson’s Disease.

This year’s lecture is doubly appropriate as Sir John Betjeman was not only the Bedford Park Society’s first patron, but also a long-standing SPAB committee member.

As a poet and conservationist , Sir John would doubtless approve of Philip Venning’s question: what are we handing down to those who come after us?

SPAB hit the headlines this summer when Prince Charles resigned as its patron, following a dispute over his forward to The old house repair book, which was supported by SPAB.

The Prince felt that any alternations or additions to old buildings should be in the same style, while SPAB argued that a modern approach could be equally appropriate as long as it was sympathetic to the original.

SPAB was founded in 1877 by William Morris, who was closely associated with Jonathan Carr and his first garden suburb in Bedford Park.

Bedford Park was developed as the world’s first garden suburb between 1875 and 1886 on 24 acres of land near Turnham Green station on the borders of Acton and Chiswick, West London. At its core are some 460 Grade II listed houses, designed by such eminent Victorian architects as Richard Norman Shaw and E W Godwin.

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 some 460 properties, and by 1970 it had persuaded the London boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow to each declare their half of Bedford Park an outstanding conservation area.

The Society, which has some 500 members, monitors planning applications in both boroughs with the aim of protecting the neighbourhood’s buildings and green spaces.

November 13, 2009