14 March, 2011

West Ham to Wapping pleasant Sunday afternoon

Although the weather wasn't very promising. The first picture shows the foundation stone of the first London Docks built in the reign of George III.
This picture shows Robin Hood Gardens, a housing estate by the Smithsons that Tower Hamlets Council want to demolish but Architectural societies think should be refurbished. The reactions of the tenants are unclear but different surveys will bring in different results depending on the way the questions are framed.
The third picture shows the non-conformist church on the Festival of Britain exhibition of architecture, the Lansbury Estate.

12 March, 2011

Romantic Hendon (and Barnet)

A former teacher I knew once wrote
"Romantic is a word that's seldom used
Of Hendon: grey, dull, dried,
Might be more appropriate prose words alright"

And he's right I don't think that Hendon has much romance in its soul. I began my birthday treat in the Barnet Museum (threatened with closure) with a display of the history of Chipping Barnet. I did not ask about the East Barnet Folk Museum which I have found very few references to. All in all a good little display that has become victim of the cuts. The Barnet Council have decided to charge a market rent for the building. The trouble is that the building is a museum and it is difficult to set a rent for a museum. Let's just see Barnet council have responsibility for an empty, crumbling 18th century farmhouse shall we?

After that I went to look at the Well Head, walking down WellHouse Lane, leading into Well Road then Well approach all through some rather fine homes for heroes. The chalybeate well was locked and barred and the actual well house itself dates only from 1937, presumably to give a pleasant feature on the estate.

I also have to give a big thumbs down to Barnet Libraries. I asked at the enquiry counter if I could see a street map and was told they didn't have one. I thought this was unusual so I asked to use the internet to look up the street information. I would have to join the library for that. OK I'll join - why not? So I filled in the form and somebody else was summoned who asked me if I worked in Barnet - no - so I eplained why I wanted to join. Lo and behold a street map was produced! I was advised that the original person would not have known where it was. 2 out of 10.

After that, off to see the Church Farmhouse Museum in romantic Hendon.

Another museum to be closed by Barnet Council withdrawing funding, it had an exhibition of tube memorabilia and maps designed by Henry Beck and others. Transport for London persist in calling him Harry but if you'd said Harry to him when alive he wouldn't have known who you meant. The museum was a tudor hall house once lived in by the Editor of Punch, built of lovely mellow brick.
Both museums were small and intimate with good collections of kitchenware and local items and really don't deserve to be broken up.

There's not really time to describe all the almshouses I came across but I will give you a representative picture.