A Bedford Park & Chiswick Park Walk

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BEDFORD PARK
In 1875 Jonathan T Carr, a cloth merchant, bought 24 acres of land near Turnham Green Station with the intention of developing an estate of Aesthetic houses in an informal setting. The first houses were designed by E W Godwin but these were criticised and he resigned to be replaced with Richard Norman Shaw. Shaw's houses, in 'Queen Anne' style, featured red bricks & tiles, tall chimneys, steep roofs & dormers, bay windows, balconies and stained glass. Trees were retained and planted and gardens had wooden fences. The general interior layout was a front drawing room, back dining room and kitchen on the ground floor. Above were 3 bedrooms, bath & WC with additional bedrooms on the attic floor. There were no basements (the usual servant domain) as sculleries, stores etc were in a single storey rear extension. The houses were intended for the well-educated middle classes of moderate means rather than 'carriage folk' so livery stables were maintained by the stores. A few larger detached houses were built including Carr's own home Tower House which had 16 rooms and a large garden with tennis and badminton courts. Bedford Park was popular with artists & writers and supporters of the Arts & Crafts movement, as championed by John Ruskin and William Morris. Some residents even adopted an Aesthetic style of dress.
Shaw resigned in the 1880s but remained as a consultant with E J May appointed as the estate architect. After 1887 the land was sold piecemeal and developed in various styles. The Bedford Park Society was formed in 1963 to preserve the area after the demolition of two houses, replaced with flats. However it only finally got listing and conservation area status in the late 60's having staged an exhibition in 1967.
Bedford Park set out to be a community by including a church, pub, stores and School of Art (bombed in WWII). At the club residents, including women, could socialise and events were organised. It became a model for other suburban estates and garden cities.

CHISWICK PARK
This business park occupies a 33 acre site that was formerly a London Transport depot. Development by Stanhope began in the 1990s to a masterplan by Terry Farrell but was halted in the recession. The present project by Richards Rogers features buildings with concrete framing which can be customised by tenants. Extensive sunscreening has been devised and parking is included in the undercrofts. The buildings are set within a landscaped park with water features.
In the same way that Bedford Park provided community amentities Chiswick Park has cafes and restaurants, sports facilities and an events programme. It even has the equivalent of livery stables as yellow bicycles are available for tenants use! [
website]

CHISWICK TOWN HALL
Prior to local councils the business of running the parish was undertaken by the vestry, leading citizens who would meet in the church or schoolroom. As the population rose and their responsibilities increased there was a need for permanent office space. A plot of land was purchased and a surveyor commissioned to design offices and also a public hall which opened in 1876. The Chiswick Urban District Council was formed in the 1890s and extended the building at a cost of 20,000. The renamed Town Hall, opened in 1901, included oak-panelled Council Chamber and Committee Room. An additional smaller hall together with cloakrooms and ticket booths enabled more functions to be held. The extension was integrated with the old building and featured lavish marble, stained glass, tiles and panelling. It continued in use when in 1927-8 Chiswick was amalgamated with Brentford but with the formation of the London Borough of Hounslow in 1965 much of the local government was re-located. The building is now used for a range of meetings and social events and has featured in TV programmes such as 'Kavanagh QC' and 'The Bill'.

THE SANDERSON FACTORY (VOYSEY HOUSE)
This Grade II* listed building was built as a wallpaper printing works for Sanderson & Sons in 1902 and is the only industrial building by CFA Voysey. The main factory, Devonshire Works, was opposite and a bridge at third floor level linked the two. Sandersons moved out after a fire in 1928 when the White Building (not damaged) was purchased by the Alliance Insurance Company. A major refurbishment was carried out by new owners in 1968. In 1984 it was occupied by architects Acanthus LW who stripped out later additions whilst adapting it for its own use.
The building is a double square with four floors, the top one behind the parapet. The original windows had steel frames and the piers served as ventilation shafts. The eastern bay formed a service core. White glazed bricks are banded with Staffordshire blue bricks, now painted black. These have been restored with assistance from English Heritage following water damage.

CHRIST CHURCH TURNHAM GREEN
This was built and consecrated for worship in 1843.  It was needed to accommodate the growing population around Turnham Green who found the distance to St Nicholas (the original parish church of Chiswick) too far and whose capacity was becoming inadequate. An Act of Parliament was required for permission to build it on the green. The appointment of a vicar is in the gift of the Bishop London as the lands originally belonged to St Paul's Cathedral. The building was one of the first commissions of Sir Gilbert Scott and cost just under 10,000.  Originally there were galleries around three sides as the seating in the nave pews was paid for by subscription. The stained glass windows depict early English saints and serve as memorial windows. Christ Church was used as the garrision church when the army barracks were located in what become the Army & Navy Repository. Chiswick is half way between London and Windsor and the barracks housed the horses when the guards moved between the two locations. In the early 20th century the altar screen and choir stalls were carved by six members of the congregation who attended lessons at the Arts School in Bath Road. In the early 1990’s the pews were removed and replaced with chairs. Later the original organ was replaced with a digital one.  The remaining galleries were removed and a rear upper storey was created which provides a large meeting room, two smaller rooms and a kitchen. The church is generally open 12-2pm. [
website]

Resources
The Bedford Park Society [
website]
The Victorian Society have their headquarters at 1 Priory Gardens, Bedford Park. [
website]

Pevsner - Buildings of England: London NW

 

london-footprints.co.uk 2014

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