The Exhibition That Saved Bedford Park

Fascinating exhibition highlights key moments in the history of the area

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This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the exhibition by the Bedford Park Society - the critical moment in 1967 when the architectural heritage of Bedford Park was saved from demolition and decay. The events of 1967, which resulted in the listing of Bedford Park buildings and the subsequent creation of the Conservation Area, will be celebrated as part of the Bedford Park Festival Golden Jubilee.

A fascinating exhibition, curated by Dr David Budworth MBE, the Bedford Park Society’s Historical Adviser, highlighting key aspects of the history of Bedford Park, is on display from Saturday 10-16th June in St Michael & All Angels Church, alongside the Summer Exhibition.

The Bedford Park Society was formed in 1963 by two local residents: Harry Taylor, a community activists and Tom Greeves, conservationist and architect, with John Betjeman the Society’s first patron. They were horrified by the rash of demolitions and inappropriate development in the neighbourhood and decided to act after a large Norman Shaw house in Bedford Road was replaced by a yellow-brick, flat-roofed old people’s home – the antithesis of the suburb’s steep roofs, red tiles and gables. Although the Society grew to 200 members in its first year, Greeves was aware that the only real protection for Bedford Park lay in statutory listing for the buildings.

The breakthrough came with an exhibition staged in the Vicarage as part of the first Bedford Park Festival in 1967, showing the history of Bedford Park and the dangers it faced.

“The Exhibition that Saved Bedford Park” recalls the context and content of the 1967 exhibition, illustrates the problems facing Bedford Park at that time, the positive results stemming from the events of 1967 and some of the issues still facing the suburb today.

image of Jonathan Carr aged 19, who founded Bedford Park

The exhibition features an exciting new find: a photograph of Jonathan Thomas Carr (1845-1915), the founder of Bedford Park, at the age of 19. Until now the only known image of Carr has been the relief portrait on the memorial attached to St Michael and All Angels.

The exhibition is open from 12.00am - 6.00pm each day and admission is free.

For further information about the Society email:

June 7, 2017


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