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The Harrow Hill Trust

Caring for the heritage of the Hill and its future SPRING / SUMMER 2012

In this issue


Photography winner


The way we were


Gantry update


Spotlight interview


Past and upcoming events

Welcome from our Chairman Despite numerous dire warnings of snow and ice, it was a relatively benign winter on the Hill. Perhaps the heat generated by the Council’s proposed parking restrictions kept the temperature up!

The other major effort since the autumn has been our continued efforts to progress the Gantry project – read Judith Mills’ article on page 5 for the update.

These proposals, issued for consultation in January, were motivated, as we understand it, by a few complaints about refuse not being collected and delayed fire engine access to an incident at St Mary’s vicarage (both because the vehicle could not ‘get through’). In the Trust’s view, and of other consultees, what was proposed as a solution was an enormous over-reaction to the size of the problem. We reviewed every inch of the new yellow lines proposed with tape measure in hand and made 20 suggestions for reductions that would save about 45 car spaces on the Hill – the difference between misery and livable for residents and removing a severe risk to businesses.

To end this blog on a high note, the Trust enhanced Christmas this year with a super tree, kids’ carol singing around the Hill and the usual carols round the tree, and many of us enjoyed a golden revival of the Trust Quiz, raising over £700 towards the new Gantry.

I write this after a meeting with the project manager for these changes, and am pleased to report that the Council has responded positively to our suggestions, saving over 20 spaces so far. After a walkabout, he undertook to revisit several other suggestions, potentially saving another 12. Hopefully, with the support of our local councilors, we will end up with an acceptable compromise.

If you have an event, story or news item you would like to include in the next newsletter, just email our Communications Manager Mark Mills on We hope to see you at one of the HHT events coming up – see page 7 for details. Ted Allett Chairman

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From the Communications Desk One of the joys of being responsible for the website is the interaction that I experience with our “online” members. I reckon I receive at least ten emails a week from different people covering matters from the notification of future local events that may be of interest to our members, to complaints and cries of despair about building works or planning applications. You may remember from the last edition of our Newsletter, a small piece on Dale Vargas’ book about Harrow School; very kindly he and the School Development Trust have donated a signed copy as a prize for the best submitted local photo of 2011. The winning entry is John McDonald for the two submissions below. Congratulations John and thank you Harrow School Development Trust for donating the copy of Dale’s book. Mark Mills Communications Manager

Again, a few statistics from the website. The number of unique visits have increased by 75% over the last year –

we now have about 175 visits per month, which peaked in December with 225 visits, an incentive if ever for the website to be refreshed as frequently as possible! Please do send in items that you consider may be of interest for your fellow members that I can include on the website, to A special thanks to Ian Procter and his team at the Harrow Observer for their continued support of the Trust and the featuring of our events in their weekly paper. To all those that receive the Newsletter through the post – please could you email me at if you would be happy to download your copy from the website, thereby saving our charity the cost of postage. Finally, I would again like to thank our distributors who always ensure that your Newsletter arrives on your doorstep in a timely manner whatever the weather.

Planning Matters Is Harrow a pushover? I apologise for returning to a topic that I wrote about a year ago, the question of enforcement, but the topic is important. And there is a reason. In January, the Borough invited comments on a document on enforcement policy and I wrote on behalf of the Trust. In brief, I pointed out that the document we were invited to comment on did not seem to mention the monitoring of planning permissions that are given subject to certain conditions. These are of two types: temporary planning permissions and permissions given subject to specified conditions. In the first case we pointed out that LB Harrow often gives permission for buildings or activities that are only valid for a definite term, but then seems to make no attempt to monitor what happens when the permission ceases to be valid. It is evident that other local authorities do monitor ‘temporary’ permissions. And in these days of computerisation it should be easy to arrange for a notification to be sent a year before a temporary permission expires, as other boroughs evidently do. Alan Evans Chair of the Planning Committee


The same argument applies when an activity rather than a building is given a time-limited permission. The permission becomes, in effect, permanent because Harrow makes no attempt to check that the activity ceases.

A similar problem arises when planning permission is given subject to conditions. Harrow makes no attempt to ensure that an applicant abides by the conditions. A very clear example of this was the finding that Orley Farm School had not been abiding by a condition limiting pupil numbers for several years. This only came to light when it made a new planning application for a substantial new development. What I did not say in our formal and diplomatic response to the consultation, but which can be stated less diplomatically here, is this. The fact that Harrow does not monitor conditions must be known to experienced developers in the area. So they will have worked out that any conditions can be agreed to in order to get planning permission because Harrow will never follow them up. Any breach might only come to light if and when some further application is made in some years’ time. Otherwise there will be no problem. So to answer the rhetorical question I asked in the title – yes, Harrow is a pushover!

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The Way We Were The latest Armchair Walk from Don Walter Flattering as it was to be asked to present a new Armchair Walk, I was initially worried that long-time Trust members might feel that they had seen – and heard – it all before.

I must admit that when I first gave up my escorted tours and replaced them with the so-called “armchair” walks, I felt they would be a rather poor substitute for the real thing. But this has proved to be very far from the truth.

So, for the first time in an evening called The Way We Were – and aptly sub-titled Yesterday’s Harrow – I shall be bypassing most of the familiar Hill landmarks of Church and School in order to provide some (I hope) fascinating glimpses of ordinary lives lived by ordinary people during the past century and a half.

On a tour you can only talk about the changes that have taken place. On an armchair walk, illustrated, as this one will be, with up to 100 slides, you can actually witness the changes as they happen.

Better still, I am including some of the material I have collected over the years on our neighbours in Roxeth, Greenhill, even in Wealdstone. From what I have heard, a similar diversity of material proved very popular in my 2011 book Harrow – Then and Now, whose publication happily marked two significant “firsts” - my first in colour and, more surprisingly, my first to be sold in local Tesco branches! (If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll bring some copies with me on the night).

If, for example, you have ever wondered what the Hill’s High Street – and especially its shops – once looked like, you can actually see them pictured at times as diverse as 1836, 1860, 1890, l908, even 1972! I can also promise you some interesting aerial views of South Harrow when it was little more than a gasworks surrounded by fields, and of Station Road, Harrow, when it still had a theatre, a Lyons Tea Shop and a Boots Lending Library. Don’s latest Armchair Walk, The Way We Were: Yesterday’s Harrow, will be on Wednesday 2nd May at St Mary’s Church Hall at 8pm.

West Street ‘The London Building Renovation company has recently established itself in the old shop at 99 West Street, on the corner with Nelson Road - and become HHT’s newest Corporate Member. As you can see, it’s renovated the shop front with some added colour. Of course we all have different tastes when it comes to decorating, but we think the red and black historically authentic, and have commented thus on the planning application that the Council asked them to submit for the changed frontage. On the other hand, we presume that no-one likes the newly installed solar panels on the front of 81 West Street. They are surely contrary to conservation area (and Article 4) policies and we have written to the Council with an objection.

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Kids Committee News Since the last newsletter, the Harrow Hill Trust Kids Committee has recruited a new member. We are delighted to welcome Tom Burns. I first met Tom when we were at school at Roxeth Mead. I think that it is good that we have another boy on the committee.

We all want to thank Solveig Wilson for being our chairman and guiding our meetings. We hope to have some new ideas for the summer soon so please look at the website for details. Welcome to the Kids Committee Tom!

We had a new idea this winter and thought that it would be good fun at Christmas time to go around the Hill singing carols to some of our members. So we asked some friends to join us and the Harrow Hill Trust Kids choir, accompanied by Zoe Mills playing the flute, was formed. We did really well – in just a few hours we managed to collect over £50 for the Salvation Army. We particularly wanted to thank all the staff at the Dolls House who were very welcoming and let us into their warm shop for a while to sing to them.

Victoria Catherall On behalf of the Kids Committee

I am pleased that we have been asked to put some things into the time capsule to be buried in the foundations of the new gantry. I wonder when it will be discovered and what people will think of the things I am going to bury – details of my school and my family and all my electronic toys.

Lost Hospital of London 23 Middle Road: Green Gables Hospital 1914-1916 Some months ago, whilst searching the internet for insurance, we made a discovery about the history of the site of our home, 23 Middle Road. We stumbled upon a website listing our home address as the site of a First World War Hospital. During WW1, due to the large number of casualties, many large homes in London had become auxiliary military hospitals, and a historian researching the lost hospitals of London had discovered that the site of our home today had been Green Gables Auxiliary Military Hospital. In 1914 the owners Mr and Mrs MF Coventry established a ten bed Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) of the British Red Cross in a large room attached to their residence. [Probably the music room on the left side in the 1985 picture.] Receiving wounded soldiers from the Battle of Mons, Green Gables nursed the wounded with one nurse, 15 VAD volunteers and Mrs Coventry as Commandant. In 1915 it received 125 admissions. The hospital was eventually moved to a larger house in College Road in 1916. We understand that at some point in the1980s the house burnt down.

Martín & Loraine Núñez 23 Middle Road


Bottom left: immediately after the fire in 1985: the hospital beds were probably in the music room on the left. Right: three years later, and ‘beyond repair’.

Continued by Sue and Ted Allett 25A Middle Road Indeed it did, in early May 1985. A night-time cab driver smelt smoke and found the source in Middle Road. He woke neighbours (not us) and being an ex-policeman, broke the door down and tried to go upstairs to rescue Mrs Saunders, who’d lived there for 50 years. Tragically he failed. Firemen arrived on six appliances, saved our house and were given tea by friendly residents across the road. We woke next morning having slept through it all! The damaged listed building, called Bannon House, was at first protected by the inheriting family but the cover was soon removed by developers who wanted to build ten flats. Various planning applications were refused but as the years passed the house deteriorated further. It was sold-on to a more reasonable developer who obtained consent in 1996 for the existing four houses behind a replica facade. But how interesting to learn that we lived next to an old hospital!

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The Gantry Project at the Kings Head Hotel Watch this space! I am not sure what alignment the stars were in during December 2011 but they were in our favour! Ted Allett, Anthony Leyland and Mike Benwell met with local architect Andrew Reed to look at plans for the new Gantry. As they were pondering foundations etc, someone from Harrow School’s engineering department walked by as did a surveyor. To cut a long story short, CPB Surveys from Leamington Spa technically surveyed the area, and Harrow School agreed to take the old Gantry down and build foundations for the new one, all at no cost to us. Andrew Reed kindly provided the architectural design and then Ann Gate, one of our Hill Councillors, received agreement that her ward allowance could be used for the project. The pieces of the Gantry jigsaw were coming together. We quickly went back to the suppliers we had previously contacted for revised estimates. The supplier we have chosen will make the new Gantry from English oak and will give us 39 saplings to plant to replace the oak used. The 18th century painting ‘Welcome to Harrow’ by Inigo Richards shows the old Gantry surrounded by oak trees. We started 2012 in a position to ask the Council for the quickest way through the ‘permission’ route. We were on orange light. In early March, we applied for planning permission from Harrow Council to take down the current Gantry and put up the new. They are supportive; fingers crossed for a smooth path now. Until we have clarity we feel we cannot place an order with the suppliers. However we are optimistic the new Gantry will be up in 2012, for the Queen’s Jubilee year. Whenever it will be, the Hill Players will be involved in the launch. They

are updating the pageant that was held on the Hill in the 20th century, and the Trust’s Kids Committee is planning a time capsule to be buried in the foundations. Anthony Leyland, Carolyn Leder and I are now looking at an information leaflet about the Gantry and the Kings Head. We will be putting most of the information we have gathered on the Trust’s website. What is really pleasing is that this project has come together through the generosity of time from the project team, and the willingness of the Council, Harrow School and the Trust to collaborate to make it happen. Many of you were at the Quiz in February. It was a great evening and as well as having fun we raised over £700 for this project. Thanks to Alastair Lack, Tracey Bohane and Lysiane Bysh who helped make it all happen. Although they no longer live on the Hill, they believe in the work the Trust does in ‘caring for the future of the Hill and its history’ and were delighted to be back with us. Ted and Sue Allett and Alex and Anna Ponomareva returned to their Quiz roles very easily too! An interesting foot note: Peter Scott who was at the Quiz wrote to us and said that structures like the Hill’s were actually called Gallows not Gantries. Such inn signs looked like structures for hanging people! We have read that the Green had a whipping post to carry out sentences from the Manorial Court but no evidence as yet of death sentences. We have also discovered this structure is rare; I am not allowed to say unique, but watch this space! Thanks to everyone who has given and continues to give their time, energy and creative ideas to this project.

Left: the design for the new gantry, drawn by the intended supplier Carpenter’s Oak. Below: the existing situation. The brickwork and old timber on top of the brickwork is considered to be Victorian, but the tall structure is a cheap 1980s job put up by the Kings Head.

Judith Mills

The King’s Head Hotel Gantry Project aims to replace the rotten 1980s structure on the Green with a green oak reconstruction of the first recorded 18th century version. The brick and timber remains still visible on the Green are from a later (possibly Victorian) version evident in the earliest photographs of the Green.

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Spotlight Interview: Jo Barrett-Miles HHT newsletter designer and par t-time editor Rose Allett shifts the spotlight onto the manager and co-owner of the Doll’s House on the Hill, the vintage cafe and restaurant that will celebrate its sixth birthday this September.

What inspired you and Katina [Brum] to open the Doll’s House? We were both working in offices; my background was in customer services for a TV company and Katina was a PA. We have always both been keen cooks and to open a cafe was our dream, but we never thought it would become a reality. We were sick to death of the monopoly the big coffee house chains had on the high street. Being great foodies we found that we struggled to find good, affordable and truly fresh food in cafes. So the Doll’s House was created in an effort to counteract those cafes with no personality. Now we put all of ‘us’ into our cafe and try to create a homely atmosphere, and this is a philosophy we instill in our staff.

What attracted you to the Hill? We saw a lot of places when we were looking for a suitable premises. Katina was originally from Harrow and had always been drawn to the Hill. She had worked up here before for one of the businesses. When we saw this unit, we were instantly taken. It was everything we wanted it to be, and we went with our gut feeling. It used to be the old bakery; you can still see the old bread oven tucked away. Since then it has been many things including a wedding dress shop then an office, but it feels like we’ve taken it full circle in a way, and brought it back to its former glory.

Where did the name come from? We were considering using something along the Alice in Wonderland theme, but when we walked into this place, it felt like a doll’s house and the name stuck. It’s an unashamedly feminine place in an area that is traditionally completely masculine. For that reason we were warned against the name and the style of the place, but the femininity is exactly what we were after. There are plenty of ladies around who love it, and it doesn’t do the boys any harm to experience the finer things in life through a woman’s eyes!

Has it been plain sailing? Not at all. It’s by far the most challenging thing we’ve ever done, but we’re really grateful that it has become a reality. So much is down to Katina, her tenacity and perseverance. There were lots of objections to us being here at first, but we hope that now we’ve settled been settled for almost six years, people would agree that we’ve made a big and positive impact on the community. We employ only local people [currently there are six full-time members of staff] and we regularly support local charities and groups, including St Lukes, Shooting Stars, St Marys, the tennis club and the schools. The children’s ward at Northwick Park gets a box of cakes from us at Christmas and Easter!

Do you have any regrets? Only the impact that having a business like this has on time with my family and friends. But if you want to run a business hands-on like we do, that’s the sacrifice you have to make. It’s felt a bit like raising a child - a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this place.

Who is your typical customer? Really, there’s no such thing. The schoolboys come in for milkshakes, the parents bring their boys for breakfast on Sundays. We have lots of tourists and ‘ladies who lunch’, and it’s very popular with Muslim ladies, as it’s a safe place without alcohol. We’ve seen a few famous faces too, sportsmen and actors. Julian Lloyd Webber and Kate Nash have both been in!

What do you sell most of? Out traditional afternoon teas are very popular, but so are our cakes, lunches... everything really! We also sell vintage and ‘shabby-chic’ gifts and lots of local people come in for presents when they don’t fancy traipsing into town.

For you, what is the best thing about working on the Hill? It’s a piece of history up here, and feels very special to be elevated, in all senses of the word. It feels good that people make a journey to come here, but also that there is the school and a thriving local community, all so lucky to live in such a unique place. I do believe there really are very few places in London like it.

And the worst? What would you change about the Hill if you could? Parking! Just that!

To suggest someone you know and admire for a spotlight interview in a future HHT newsletter, email us at


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Events: Last Season and Coming Up Soon For this edition I thought that I would let the pictures do the talking. The Salvation Army were delighted that they collected over £350 at the Harrow Hill Trust Carols around the Green on 18th December:

And at the AGM, the Garden Competition Awards were handed out and the officers presented their reviews. The talk on the Gantry was particularly well received - thanks to Judith Mills:

All photos by Peter Barbe: Compiled by Deb Catherall, Chair of the Community Relations Committee

Fri 27 - Sat 28 April 8pm Speech Room, Harrow School

Sun 10 June 2pm Harrow Arts Centre

Fri 13 July 8pm Harrow Arts Centre

Richard III

The Pied Piper

Performed by the Old Harrovian Players, directed by Charlie Ward

Krazy Kat

Milton Jones: Edinburgh Preview

Purchase tickets (£10/£5) on the door. Wed 2 May 8pm St Mary’s Church Hall

The Way We Were: Yesterday’s Harrow



Don Walter’s Armchair Walk See page 3 for more about this event. Thu 3 - Fri 4 May 7.45pm Speech Room, Harrow School

Julius Caesar Directed by Chris Deacon Tickets are not required. Sun 6 May 2pm Harrow Arts Centre

The Velveteen Rabbit The enchanting story of how a toy was loved so much he became real. Laugh, shout, cry and join the adventure. Purchase tickets (£8/£6) online at or call the box office on 020 8416 8989. Tue 8 May 7.30pm Harrow Arts Centre

London Mozart Trio A trio usually heard at major concert halls around the world, this will be an occasion not to be missed by lovers of the classical repertoire. Purchase tickets (£11/free for U16s with an accompanying adult) online at www.harrowarts. com or call the box office on 020 8416 8989.

A comedy re-telling of the classic tale, with beautiful puppets and magic tricks. A visually dynamic production featuring tap dancing cheeses and much silliness. Fully integrated Sign Language throughout. Purchase tickets (£8/£6) online at or call the box office on 020 8416 8989. Thu 14 June 8pm Harrow Arts Centre

Desert Crossings Five stunning dancers immerse themselves in contemporary African movement inspired by the beauty of coastlines and landscapes, creating a choreographic journey across vast deserts, seas and mountains. Purchase tickets (£10/£8/£5 for schools) online at or call the box office on 020 8416 8989. Thu 5 - Sat 7 July 7.30pm (and 3pm matinee on Sat) The Travellers Studio, Harrow Arts Centre

The king of the surreal one-liners, Milton Jones is a multi-award winning comedian, a regular panellist on Mock the Week (BBC2) and recently on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC1). Purchase tickets (£10) online at or call the box office on 020 8416 8989.

Jonathan’s Walks The HHT is very lucky to have the support of Jonathan Edwards who EVENT will again be leading walks around the Hill. Meet on the Green, outside Blues. Tickets cost £3 for adults, £2 for concessions, and kids come free.


Sun 27 May 2.30pm

Architects on the Hill Part 1 Some architects, including George Gilbert Scott, and their output around the Hill.

Office Suite by Alan Bennett

Sun 15 July 2.30pm

Performed by the Hillplayers

Saints and Sinners

Two one act plays exploring our attitude to work and showcasing Bennett’s wit, northern forthrightness and linguistic precision. A real treat. Purchase tickets (£10/£8) online at or through the box office on 0844 3579153. Call Maggie on 07908 122859 for details.

A selection of characters - some good, some not so good - associated with the Hill.


Sun 9 Sept 2.30pm

Architects on the Hill Part 2 More architects, including E.S. Prior, and their output around the Hill.

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Thank you to our corporate members: SRM Plastics

Committed to providing strategic solutions and creative excellence. 64 High Street - 020 8426 5000

Family run, with some clients for 30 years. 152 Greenford Rd - 020 8422 1349

Boarding school for boys aged 13-19 General enquiries 020 8872 8000 Admissions (registrar) 020 8872 8007

Harrow Welsh Congregational Church Croeso Cynnes I Bawb Lower Road (Middle Path) 020 8954 2907

Plastic injection moulders 73 West Street - 020 8422 9607

Middle Road - 020 8422 2092

Hair and Beauty Greenford Road - 020 8422 4002

Caroline Versallion

Italian restaurant and delicatessen. 41 High Street - 020 8426 6767

Craig Goodman Accountants

Providing cost-effective, quality-driven software for Microsoft Windows and the web. www.

Beautiful evening dresses and bridal attire. 01525 234 111 -

020 8864 4644

London Road - 020 8966 7000

I-Realise Ltd

Middle Road - 020 8872 8400

Sixth Form College Mount Park Avenue - 020 8422 8084

Commercial property consultants 49 High Street - 020 8423 2130

140 Northolt Road -

Fifth Dimension

Interactive media solutions 36 Byron Hill Road - 020 8864 0155

99 West Street - 020 8423 3131

Lysiane Bysh Associates

Consultants in Human Resources and training Tel/Fax 020 7431 8230

Gollings Architects 40 Nelson Road - 07884 227 573

Harrow on the Hill Dental and Implant Practice

Dr Fareeda Daar’s new dental practice, in the old King’s Head, offers routine family dentistry including hygienist and emergency services. 020 8426 5250

Harrow on the Hill Motors

MOT, servicing, tyres, exhausts, brakes, suspension, clutches, electrical, diagnostics and bodywork. West Hill off Byron Hill Road - 020 8422 4220

Audio visual specialists 23 Wickham Road - 020 8427 7965 - 07860 791492

The Old Bank, 92 High Street

Estate Agents 90 High Street - 020 8864 8844

Van Dare Properties Ltd Property managers 50 Crown Street - 0844 806 8307

Residential sales, lettings and new developments 104 High Street - 020 8864 4441

Orley Farm School

Day preparatory school for boys and girls aged 4-13 South Hill Avenue - 020 8869 7600

Estate Agents 33-35 High Street - 020 8422 3333

Other HHT Corporate Members: Copperfields Management, Roxborough Park, David Morgan & Co., 52 High Street, FW Computer Systems, 90 High Street, Mr D. Geraghty, West Street Police Station, J.E. Kennedy Solicitors, 59-61 High Street, S. Mills, Copperfields, Roxborough Park, Shaw News, 82 High Street, Ian J Tait Properties, 27 West Street


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Harrow Hill Trust Newsletter Spring 2012  

Harrow Hill Trust Newsletter Spring 2012

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