Thursday 14 September 2023

LETTER: Show your support for the park petition as it is presented at Brent Council meeting on Monday at the Civic Centre 6pm

 Dear Editor,

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".

16. 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

Paul Lorber

for Barham Community Library

14 September 2013



Anonymous said...

The Museum of English Rural Life in Reading has an online database which includes approximately 190 objects from the many rural artefacts collected by Titus Barham.

Philip Grant said...

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be wearing the Chains of Office donated by Titus Barham, and dated 1937, at the Full Council meeting. It might be worth reminding them of that!

Anonymous said...

I am looking for pictures of blooming flowers that were a hallmark of the Park up until twenty years ago

Anonymous said...

Why are these items in a museum in Reading??? Why are they not in a museum in Barham Park???

We'd rather have a museum, a cafe and toilets in Barham than Air b&b style accomodation or unnecessary office space - there's already enough spare office space for rent in the Brent Civic Centre!

Paul Lorber said...

Anonymous 1. - Yes this is correct. All the Farm and Milk production equipment left behind after 1937 was handed over to the Museum. I visited a few years ago to find out what was on display and did see a number of Express dairy items.

For many years Dilwyn Chambers (for many years an active member of Wembley History Society who sadly passed away recently) campaigned for a Dairy Museum to be established in Barham Park or at least some recognition of the local history. The Council ignored him for years.

The problem we face now is that not only are the people running Brent Council neglecting the Barham Park building and standing by while windows rot and other parts crumble they now want "commercialise" the place and kick out all the community groups who currently provide 'recreational' services to local people.

We must all (and I mean everyone concerned about the future of Barham Park and other Parks and Open Spaces) don't stand up and be counted now to stop the neglect and destruction of our community assets.

Anonymous said...

In 1990 ? A fire developed in one building
A nursery was inadjouring building and evacuated
Wasn't a bad all-out fire but the nursery was moved out permanently
After its temporary home

The council paid and repaired not sure if insurance etc involved probably
But it was decided that Barnham Park and it's buildings were important
So rebuilt and restored and kept safe then and money and time and effort and care and local people wishes were taken into account

Different council's either keep buildings plant trees or flowers or distroy things

Zippos circus used to come to the park every year for years and years full crowds every night especially for local people to enjoy

Then came car parking charges

Before covid I was told that Brent had put its rent up too much so it was thought best that Zippos and other events couldn't afford to keep using Barnham Park so had To go else where

This is what's happening rents too high
lack of money into to places
Car park charges
No good toilet facilities
Closing libraries keeping people away
Then someone says parks no good so we'll build in it no
We have to stop

We need to save our parks and its beautiful buildings

Philip Grant said...

When Barham Park Library opened in 1952, it was run by Middlesex County Council, as the Borough of Wembley did not have a Library Service.

Wembley History Society, founded in the same year, kept its collection of local history material there, and often put on displays there, along with some objects from Titus Barham's collection, which he had donated to Wembley (hoping they would open a museum at his former home!). A 1950s OS map marks Old Court at Barham Park as a Library and Museum.

After the London Borough of Brent was formed in 1965, WHS agreed to loan its collection of material to Brent (which only had local history material from the south of the borough, collected since the 1890s by Willesden's Library Service). Barham Park's small museum ended up at The Grange in Neasden, and is now part of the Brent Museum and Archives collection at Willesden Green.

So yes, it would be great to have museum again, in Barham Park, for residents in the north of the borough to access easily, and enjoy. We could finally have some of Titus Barham's museum collection, where he wanted it to be.

Philip Grant said...

The answer to your question, Anonymous (15 September at 09:37), is that someone at Wembley Council secretly sold them in the early 1950s.

Wembley did not have a museum, and had no plans to start one (that was another service area dealt with by Middlesex County Council at the time).

As a Museum of Rural Life was being set up in Reading, the Officer concerned probably thought that part of Titus Barham's collection would be better there, on public display, rather than gathering dust in storage in Wembley.

Anonymous said...

Dear readers,
While I appreciate Paul Lorber's commitment to preserving Barham Park, I must respectfully disagree with his stance on this matter. As a supporter of the Labour party, I believe in the core values that underpin our party's principles, and I see the enhancement of Barham Park as entirely consistent with these values.

Firstly, it's important to acknowledge the rich history of Barham Park and the contributions of individuals like Titus Barham. Mr. Barham, often referred to as "Wembley's greatest benefactor," was a successful and wealthy businessman who used his wealth to support good causes. This is in perfect alignment with Labour's ethos of social responsibility.

Titus Barham's legacy of community support, including funding Wembley Hospital and local initiatives, demonstrates the Labour party's commitment to public welfare. By enhancing the park and exploring opportunities like hotel rooms or Airbnb accommodations, we can generate revenue that can be reinvested in the community, just as Mr. Barham did in his time.

Additionally, the historical connections to figures like John Copland, who served with Horatio Nelson, and the Copland-Crawford family, who were local benefactors, remind us that history is not static. It evolves, and so do the needs of our community. Labour values champion progress and inclusivity, and enhancing the park can ensure it remains a vibrant space for the diverse and evolving local population.

I believe that enhancing Barham Park to accommodate a broader range of uses is not only in line with Labour party values but also a forward-thinking approach that can provide more opportunities for recreation, generate income for the community, and ensure that the park remains an inclusive and dynamic space for all, in the spirit of the community leaders and benefactors who came before us.

Best regards,
Local Labour Supporter

Anonymous said...

See pics of the glorious old flower beds in Barham Park on here:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the Labour mantra 'for the many, not the few' - the park was left to us 'many' residents and we should have been consulted regarding what we want and need in our local park- it is not right for the 'few" Labour Councillors to decide on stupid plans like Air B&B accomodation and office space, we need more community space because the population of Wembley is increasing at a never ending pace.

Anonymous said...

How local to Barhsm.Park does this Local Labour supporter live???

Anonymous said...

Total lack of comprehension by this Labour supporter. It does not belong to the council, it is a charity in its own right, not a plaything for the council.

Anonymous said...

Well, my dear friend, I understand your concern, but let's not forget that elected Labour Councillors are also part of the "many" residents. They've been entrusted with making decisions that they genuinely believe are in the best interests of the community.

The idea behind diversifying the park's usage, including concepts like Airbnb accommodations and office space, may seem unconventional, but it's grounded in addressing the evolving needs of our expanding community. Trusting your elected representatives to consider the long-term benefits for everyone is crucial.

After all, they're committed to making Wembley an even better place for all residents, not just the "few." So, while it might seem puzzling now, it's essential to give these plans a chance to unfold and see how they contribute to the greater good. 🌳🏢🏡

Best regards
Local Labour Supporter

Anonymous said...

In Wembley's heart, Titus Barham's name resounds,
A benefactor whose legacy astounds.
He gifted his home and gardens fair,
For public joy and leisure to share.
Now imagine, in this historic place,
An Airbnb's inviting embrace,
A chance for travelers from afar,
To glimpse the past, beneath the star.

Labour values, let's not forget,
Embrace progress, with no regret.
The wealth it brings, we reinvest,
In schools, in healthcare, for the best.

But beware, my friend, of Liberal's guise,
For their path often intertwines,
With Tories' goals, it's no disguise,
To keep power, their agenda aligns.

So, let's honor Titus Barham's dream,
An Airbnb's not as radical as it may seem.
Labour's values keep us true,
To serve the many, not just a few.

Martin Francis said...

It is important to recognise that Brent officers repeatedly emphasised that the suggestions for development were hypothetical. The detail defended so stoutly may not feature at all in future plans after consultation and a reality check.

Anonymous said...

How exactly does Air B&B accomodation serve the need of any local community?

Local communities across the UK are being destroyed due to all the second homes being let out as Air B&Bs 😞

Anonymous said...

Is this our local MP Barry Gardiner's wife again with her poetry?

Anonymous said...

These Labour Councillors just don't understand the legacy and that the trustees must honour the legacy and the charity aims. The legacy is not there for the benefit of the council. Butt and his simple minded allies just haven't got a clue.

Mythical 'chatterbox' said...

The enhancement that a local Labour supporter has described is an 'enhancement' that will make Barham Park a load of other things but not a park. It used to be a beautiful park with a walled garden and library when I moved to the area in the 90s but nowadays it's more like a grassland with a bit of this and that. With Labour's new plans my guess is it will become a bit of everything else!

Philip Grant said...

Local Labour Supporter (15 September 2023 at 13:10) is entitled to his/her views, and is welcome to share them with other "Wembley Matters" readers.

My response to those views, as a political independent, is that the Barham Park Trust Committee is not meant to be a political body. It should not be deciding how it acts on the basis of 'Labour Party values'. It has a duty to act as a proper Trustee of the charity which holds Titus Barham's bequest to the people of Wembley.

The first duty of Trustees, as set out by the Charity Commission, is to 'ensure you understand the charity’s purposes as set out in its governing document.' Those purposes must be carried out 'for the public benefit.'

The second duty is to 'make sure that the charity complies with its governing document.'

The purpose of the Barham Park Trust, as set out in its governing document, is to preserve the land and buildings at Barham Park 'for the recreation of the public.'

Recreation is an activity carried out during leisure time for personal enjoyment. It does not have to be a physical activity, it could just be relaxing, talking with friends, even sitting on the grass looking at social media on you phone! But it is those sorts of things.

Trustees 'must act responsibly, reasonably and honestly.' They must 'make sure the charity’s assets are only used to support or carry out its purposes', and 'not take inappropriate risks with the charity’s assets or reputation.'

Can the members of the Barham Park Trust Committee, or the Local Labour Supporter, honestly say that the decisions taken at recent meeting meet these requirements?

Personally, I don't think that they could.

Anonymous said...

Well said Philip - Barham Park should not be politicised - it was left to the people of Wembley, full stop!

Philip Grant said...

I have received one reply, so far, to my email to Barham Park Trust Committee members (see "FOR INFORMATION", 17 September at 19:54, above). It reads:

'Dear Mr Grant

Thank you for your considered views below.


Cllr Muhammed Butt
Leader of Brent Council.'

It proves that the Trust Committee Chair has received my email, but it doesn't say that he will actually consider my 'considered views'.

Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath, the on going feud between them will just continue. This goes back years the previous chair of the trust and her former nurse sidekick loved the personal feud with Paul Lorber didn't help matters. Arts organisation who delay pay the rent, must be better ways to generate income.

Cllr Butt should not be chair which seeing his actions at the last meeting clearly highlighted. Amusing as it maybe it's the Park users who are caught in the middle and paying the price.
Decades long talking and hypotheticals, or just kicking the can down the road.
Wembley is in-accessible as it is due to poor planning, roads congested. Hotels that I am surprised pass any inspection.
Sky high flats not meant or affordable by the locals. Who passed these things.

Really an AirB&B, bunch of randoms partying and leaving more mess.
Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree with Mr Grant’s viewpoint expressed in the post. While the Barham Park Trust Committee may aim to remain apolitical, it's crucial to acknowledge that even charitable organisations operate within a broader societal context. Labour Party values, such as promoting social justice and community well-being, can play a vital role in ensuring that the charity fulfils its purpose for the public's benefit.

Charitable bodies, including the Barham Park Trust, should not isolate themselves from the values and principles that guide the broader community. Labour values, in this case, can serve as a moral compass, ensuring that decisions align with the spirit of public recreation and community enrichment. As such I am proud of ourselves (Labour) being so involved in the local community, particularly with Cllr Butt, as leader or our council giving time in this manner when he is a very busy man with time much in demand. Plaudits to him, not the disrespect.

Let’s be clear - acting responsibly, reasonably, and honestly, as mandated by the Charity Commission, does not preclude considering the broader impact of decisions. Labour values, with their focus on inclusivity and equity, can help trustees make choices that genuinely benefit the diverse public they serve.

It’s essential to recognise that political values do indeed have a place in charitable organisations when they align with the mission of serving the public good. Dismissing them outright could risk disconnecting the charity from the community it aims to support.

Philip Grant said...

Anonymous (18 September at 17:59) has taken me to task for an earlier comment I made, so I feel that I'd better respond.

I have nothing against 'promoting social justice and community well-being', in fact, they are values which I and many others, from a range of political backgrounds or none, would share and embrace.

They are not just Labour Party values, and I would hope that all of Brent's elected councillors exercise those values when making decisions that affect our lives.

What I intended to challenge was the claim that 'enhancing Barham Park to accommodate a broader range of uses', including purely commercial uses, was in line with those "Labour party values".

The purported "enhancement", even in its "hypothetical" outline, appears to have more in common with the apparent belief of certain top Brent Labour figures that any form of redevelopment is a good thing.

That personal and political belief, in the case of Barham Park, seems to go against the role that the charitable Trust is meant to fulfil.

I think that the recent Barham Park Trust Committee meeting (which I was only able to view from the webcast library a few days later) showed that the Trust Committee IS 'disconnecting the charity from the community it aims to support.'

Anonymous said...

You say "As such I am proud of ourselves (Labour) being so involved in the local community, particularly with Cllr Butt, as leader of our council giving time in this manner when he is a very busy man with time much in demand. Plaudits to him, not the disrespect."

Have you seen the way Cllr Butt disrespectfully behaves at Council meetings??? Just last might he was laughing and joking with Cllr Tatler (so he's the Leader of Brent Council and she's temporary Deputy Leader of Brent Council) while Cllr Lorber was speaking - no matter what he thinks of Cllr Lorber he should be respectful and listen to his comments. This was an important public full council meeting.

Have you seen the way Cllr Butt treats residents??? I recently witnessed him shouting at a resident who was trying to ask him a question in a polite manner - he would not let the resident talk he just kept shouting the same thing over and over again. If this is how he behaves in public how does he behave behind closed doors at in the council offices or in Labour Party meetings???

Anonymous said...

If Cllr Butt was so bad his friends and family wouldn’t want to join him as Labour councillors to make Brent great again.

Anonymous said...

How does Cllr Butt behave behind closed doors in the council offices?

He shouts at, swears at and bullies any of his own councillors who dare to suggest anything other than what he wants to do. That is why most of them now are just Yes men or Yes women. This information comes from former councillors who are decent people.

Anonymous said...

Butt only speaks assertively to those who are less than competent. Achieve better gain respect

Anonymous said...

Someone appears to believe that "shouts, swears and bullies" = speaking assertively, and that "less than competent" = someone who does not share Cllr Butt's vision. What world are they living in?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous20 September 2023 at 19:12" says "Butt only speaks assertively to those who are less than competent. Achieve better gain respect." What a shocking statement!!! Everyone should be respected!!!

Speaking assertively is not the same as bullying and abusive behaviour!!!

Any experienced, properly trained and decent Leader would not resort to shouting at anyone, no matter who they are and such improper behaviour from Cllr Butt should not be tolerated by the Brent Council Chief Executive nor any of the others at Brent Council who have a duty of care to protect Brent Council employees including all Brent councillors - they also have a duty of care to protect residents as he's an elected councillor and should be abiding by the local councillors code of conduct.

Let's get that freedom of information request in for bullying at Brent Council!!!