Wednesday 10 February 2021

West Hendon and the Welsh Harp - Barnets hidden gems

 This Saturday sees the 80th Anniversary of the devastating bomb that fell on West Hendon in 1941. We have prepared a very special blog, with a reflection by Rev Roy Hutchinson, vicar of St Johns at West Hendon to commemorate the event. There would normally be a service to mark the event, but clearly that is impossible this year, so please check in. 

If you saw this weeks 'Tweets of the Week' you will have seen a rather excellent tweet featuring West Hendon Playing fields at Cool Oak Lane. 

I know these well. As a schoolboy at Orange Hill School, these were our football pitches. It was a schlep down the Edgware Road to Cool Oak Lane. I used to love football, but in weather like this, the bitter wind buzzinga cross the Welsh Harp would freeze you to your soul. When I left, I ended up playing football for Hendon School Old Boys, so would have the odd nostalgic trip to the ground to play their old boys, always getting stick and banter for my defection (all good natured). The reason I played for Hendon was the convenience of the fact that their home pitches and clubhouse were in Pursley Road, Mill Hill, so it was far more convenient. The site is now Powerleague, so my association continues.

I always felt it strange that the London Borough's of Barnet and Brent didn't make more of the Welsh Harp. It is a truly amazing habitat. One of my members of staff used to have a house backing on to the lake. He was forced out by the development and with the pittance he received, could only afford a place in Cornwall. For him, having grown up next to water, that was absolutely key to him. What Barnet Council did to the residents of the West Hendon Estate was truly disgusting. I was inspired by the Tweet to watch the film that the BBC showed in 2019,detailing the plight of residents. I watched this at the time, but I was too close to it all to really appreciate it. Now I see just how appalling their treatment was. Please watch this film.

What shocks me about this is that the developers made a fortune out of this. They could have accomodated all of the residents and treated everyone fairly and still made a hell of a lot of money. The then Leader of the council talked about 'building communities', but there was already a community there. This was destroyed by the development. 

The neglect of the Welsh Harp is appalling. This was highlighted by MyLondon News this week

It is good to see the Friends of the Welsh Harp taking positive action to help, but we need a proper plan from the council to ensure that this beauty spot receives the love and care it deserves

This is a wildlife haven, so lets, as a community, make sure that this important nautre reserve is not let go to rack and ruin



Back in 2013, we featured the T.S Broadsword Sea Cadets based at the Welsh Harp in one of our blogs. Such groups are vital for our young people. I could not be more impressed with the work they did. The great worj they do is recognised by the Young Barnet foundation, I hope that they can get through the current crisis.

No comments: