Tuesday 16 October 2018

#SaveTheMidland - One day left to save West Hendon Landmark

Image result for Save The Midland Hotel in Hendon
The Midland Hotel
The Barnet Eye has been leading the campaign to Save The Midland Hotel in Hendon ever since we first learned of the plans to demolish the pub back in August. The pub has a long association with my family. My Grandfather, a first world war veteran used to work in the pub collecting glasses. When he died in 1948, the entire clientelle of the pub turned up for his funeral to pay their respects. My Grandmother was startled. She exclaimed "I never knew he had so many friends". Of course, the pub and West Hendon were very different in 1948. There was no M1 motorway for a start. On the site of the M1, was a bustling railway goods yard. Coal and builders merchants thrived. Working men such as train drivers, other rail workers, coalmen, builders would finish their day and retire to the Midland for a couple of pints of Ale before going home. The pub had rooms that were let cheaply to the transient workers rebuilding London after the blitz. Much of West Hendon was factories, building all manner of precision engineering goods and on the other side of the Railway lines, Hendon Aerodrome was a busy base used by the RAF. Each pub would have its own social groupings who felt comfortable in the various pubs. The Midland was popular with working men. The Chequers was popular with the Police, based at Hendon training college (especially the cadets), The Greyhound was for the more upmaket  residents.

RAF Hendon aerial photograph WWII IWM HU 93052.jpg
Hendon Aerodrome 1941
West Hendon has changed. First the railway sidings went and the Motorway arrived. Then the Aerodrome shut and Grahame Park Estate arrived, the factories went and the police college went. The Chequers shut and the Midland became a very different pub. Over the last five years, it has, as all good businesses do, reinvented itself. The pub has had regular live music and has evolved into a real hub of the community. There are still cheap rooms for people passing through and many people still jump off the train at Hendon and have a crafty half, but most are city workers rather than coalmen and train drivers.

But as always seems to be the case in London, there are people who care nothing for our culture, heritage or community. Every pub is and "investment opportunity". Why build a community when you can make millions destroying it and replacing it with soulless luxury flats for people who don't want to mix with the locals. The Midland has fallen foul of just such a proposal. A developer has bought the pub and surrounding space and wants to knock it down and turn it into luxury flats.

As we mentioned, The Barnet Eye has a long and enduring relationship with the pub. Whilst my Grandfather worked and drank in the pub, I've used it for many years to stage benefit concerts and the Barnet Eye annual awards party. The guvnor at the pub, John, has always been supportive and welcoming. Now it is the turn of the blog to repay the favour. On Saturday night, we held our tenth birthday party at the pub and made a big push to collect objections to the planning application. We managed to get over 50 new objections from people attending the gig. There are now oer 520. When I first blogged about the plans, there were three.

There are only two days left. It would be great to get 600 objections. Please click here and make sure you click the Object tab. Our heritage is worth preserving. Help us win this battle! Here's a little clip of my band performing at the pub in March.

The song, Espresso Soho is about the corporatisation of Soho. Sadly when I wrote it last year, I didn't envisage that the last venue for Live Music in West Hendon would be under threat. 

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