Support the Barham Park petition,
The Petition signed by 1,170 people will be presented to at the full Brent Council Meeting on Monday 18 September held at the Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley starting at 6p.m.
The Petition calls for Barham Park to be protected from development so that it can continue to provide "recreation for the public" as Titus Barham intended.
Local people are angry at Brent Council for granting planning permission for extra houses on the site of two cottages despite the Sudbury Neighbourhood Plan specifically forbidding this. They are also angry at the Council leadership considering lifting a covenant which the Council put in place itself just over 10 years ago to prevent more house building on the site.
Lastly local people are amazed that Labour Councillors spent £25,000 on an architects study and are now considering kicking out long established community groups operating from buildings in the park so that they can go ahead with a £3 to £4 million "hypothetical" scheme to build hotel rooms or convert spaces for Airbnb accommodation for visitors to Wembley Stadium.
In doing this the Labour Leadership are ignoring the wishes of Titus Barham who gifted his home and gardens in 1937 so that local people could have a Public Park for their enjoyment and recreation. Barham Park is the 3rd most visited Public Open Space in Brent.
While the original buildings may not be special, they do have important historical connections which are of interest.
1. Part of the buildings date back to 1780s and are known as Crabs House after their owner.
2. In 1801 the land and the House were bought by John Copland who was a bursar in the Royal Navy and served with Horatio Nelson in 1805 when Nelson lost his eye.
3. In the years up to his death in 1843 John Copland acquired around 350 acres of land in Sudbury/Wembley which stretched all the way from the site of the former Copland School (now Ark Elvin Academy) all the way to Harrow on the Hill.
4. John Copland is buried in one of the inaccessible vaults at Kensal Green Cemetery.
5. His only son was killed while also serving in the Royal Navy and his land was inherited by his two unmarried daughters.
6. The daughters were big local benefactors and over the years they paid for the building of St John's Church in Harrow Road Wembley (George Gilbert Scott was the architect), a local village school, a cottage hospital and a workers’ institute used to train apprentices, and which contained the first local library. They lived in Sudbury Lodge - a large house built in the middle of what is now Barham Park. They too are buried in Kensal Green.
7. On the death of the sisters in the early 1870s their House and lands passed on to General Robert Fitzgerald Copland-Crawford. The adding of the name Copland to Crawford was one of the requirements. The General was a son of a soldier who served with Wellington at the battle of Waterloo and in his later years General Robert Fitzgerald Copland-Crawford claimed that he was the last man alive who could remember the sound of British guns as they were defeating Napoleon Bonaparte.
8. Two of his sons (educated at Harrow School) were great sportsman and played both cricket and football. They represented Scotland in the first 4 friendly Scotland v England football internationals that took place between 1870 and 1872. One of them scored the very 1st Scottish goal against England.
9. Most of the family died out in the mid 1890s and there is a family monument to them in the grounds of St John's Church.
10. Sir George Barham, the founder of Express Dairies acquired Sudbury Lodge and most of the lands in 1895. An express Dairies Farm existed in the current area of One Tree Hill Open Space, Chaplin Road and Farm Avenue. Barham Primary School stands on part of the old farmland.
11. Sir George Barham is credited with modernising and cleaning up the milk industry. He was at the forefront of improving hygiene and many inventions - including the introduction of milk bottles.
12. On his death in 1913 the land passed on to his two surviving sons George (always known as Titus Barham) and Arthur. Arthur later became a partner in United Dairies (formed during the 1st World War) which later became Unigate.
13. Titus Barham continued to grow Express Dairies which in the years after his death became the biggest operator of Supermarkets in the UK under the name Premier.
14. It is however because of this involvement in community causes that Titus Barham deserves to be remembered. He was a successful and wealthy businessman who used his wealth to support good causes. He supported the building of Wembley Hospital, donated money to buy the Tennis Club in Sylvester Road, welcomed local people to his home for his "Rose Sundays". In 1936, a year before his death, 8000 local people attended his open house event.
15. Titus Barham is referred to as "Wembley's greatest benefactor".
In 1937 Wembley received its Charter to become a Borough Council. Titus was due
to become the Wembley 'Charter' Mayor' and donated £4,000 (around £300,000 in today’s
money) for the purchase of the Mace and Chains of Office regalia. Sadly, he
died in July 1937 on the same day that Wembley was officially due to become a borough and he its
Mayor. The ceremonywas postponed until October.
17. Titus was keen to ensure that all Wembley residents had an opportunity to celebrate the creation of the Borough Council and he had paid in advance for a "tea party" for the tens of thousands attending the old Wembley Stadium on 2 October 1937:
18. Even more importantly on his death Titus Barham decided to gift his home (now renamed Barham Mansion) and his beloved gardens to local people for "the recreation of the public". With the house came his 'eclectic' collection of items collected over many years which eventually formed the founding collection of items used for the creation of the Brent Museum at the Grange (now in Willesden Library)
19. His gift eventually became Barham Park. While Barham Mansion, used during the 2nd World War by the military, fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1955 the Park and the original buildings remain. They have been home to the Barham Veterans Club since 1946. The Barham Park Public Library was opened on 31 May 1952 and served local people for almost 60 years - but was sadly closed by Labour Councillors in 2011 when half of Brent's libraries disappeared.
20. On a sunny day Barham Park is full of people enjoying themselves. The old buildings are a hive of activity - with the Community Library, run by volunteers, serving our local community.
I hope that this brief summary - highlighting the lives and contribution of the people who lived in Barham Park - explains local people believe that Barham Park should continue to be used for the "recreation" of local people and not to for developers profit or commercial interests.
Local people love their local park and will fight to preserve it to be enjoyed by local people now and in the future.
The views of local people should not be ignored. We do not want more house building in the park or hotels which only benefit developers and not local residents. Please support us.
With best wishes
for Barham Community Library
14 September 2013