Bedford Park Society
Images above: Houses in The Avenue and Addison Grove. All photographs on this page by Ellen Rooney
Bedford Park Society – Preserving an Ideal
The Bedford Park Society was founded in 1963 up when a local conservationist, Architect Tom Greeves, and community activist Harry Taylor met and decided they needed to act to save the garden suburb. They were both horrified by a rash of demolition and inappropriate development in the neighbourhood and desperately wanted to protect its character.
The turning point was the 1967 Bedford Park Festival, when the Society organised an exhibition in the vicarage to highlight the history of Bedford Park and the dangers it faced. One visitor was a Ministry of Housing & Local Government inspector, who was so impressed he recommended the Grade II listing of 356 buildings. This success was consolidated when Conservation Areas were declared by the boroughs of Ealing (1969) and Hounslow (1970), who administer the two halves of Bedford Park. These areas have since been expanded to take in more non-listed houses.
Images above: Stained glass windows in houses in Woodstock Rd
Conserving architectural detail
It is thanks to the efforts of the Bedford Park Society that Bedford Park has retained so much of its original charm and remains such a popular and pleasant place to live. The Society continues to work to preserve and enhance the character of the estate through its advice on the buildings, their setting, maintenance and appropriate development, while recognising that residents should be able to enjoy homes appropriate for modern living.
In addition to this core activity, the Society tackles a wide variety of issues on behalf of everyone in the entire Bedford Park community, which include the area bounded by Abinger Road, Whellock/Speldhurst Roads, St Albans Avenue and South Parade/Bath Road, plus Roman Road, Lonsdale Road, Gainsborough Road and Flanders Road.
Incorporating modern life
Responding to issues that are important to local residents, the Society’s remit includes trees, street lighting and furniture, roads and pavements, parking and traffic schemes, waste and recycling. It is also involved in public transport issues and supports campaigns against changes that might adversely affect Bedford Park. The Society joined forces with the Bedford Park Community Group in 2017, bringing fresh support and perspective and enabling it to tackle a broad range of issues more effectively and to continue to modernise and improve the way its works.
One of the Society’s core principles is to build a greater sense of community among residents and organise social events, meetings and lectures (including the flagship Betjeman Lecture each year), which all provide opportunities for people to get to know their neighbours and socialise, as well as to find out more about the estate and its history.
All residents are encouraged to become members to support the Society’s work.
Thanks to Kate Bowes of the Bedford Park Society.
Read more about the history of Bedford Park and how it came to be build as the fist Garden Suburb.
Read about poet laureate John Betjeman’s involvement in the Battle for Bedford Park.
Read more about some of Bedford Park’s most famous historical figures.