Thursday, 1 April 2021

CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM (1955- 2011) R.I.P - A guest blog by Gerrard Roots

On 1 April 2011, Church Farmhouse Museum, despite protests from people locally, and far beyond, was shut down by Barnet's Tory council. Since then, the Museum's collection has been sold off, and the Grade II* Listed building, one of the most significant in Barnet Borough, has become offices for Middlesex University. A small but important gateway into the rich and varied past of our area was barred to the public forever. Today is a dismal anniversary, and one which Barnet's Tories are marking with plans to shut down yet another public amenity in Hendon. Hendon Library, on the Burroughs, once the purpose-built flagship of an extensive and much-admired library service, is to become Middlesex University's Business School, whilst local readers will have to make-do with a library in a shed on a car-park.

When I have described the actions of Barnet's Tories to people who live outside this Borough, they have often commented that they must be corrupt. I always answer 'no'. Barnet's Tories do not need to be bribed to do the dreadful things they do. They do these dreadful things because they WANT to do them. (When Church Farm was fighting closure in 2010, a member of the Friends of the Museum said to then then Barnet Cabinet Member for Culture: 'but you really can't close the Museum'. His response: a gleeful 'Oh yes we can'.) The closure of Church Farm was the proving- ground for all that was to come over the next ten years.

Barnet's Tories are not corrupt- they are lucky Since the closure of Church Farm a sucession of horrendous national governments- from the Coalition onwards- have brought us the needless brutality of 'austerity', the farce of Brexit, and the shambles of the response to the pandemic. All have created a useful smokescreen for the Tories in Barnet, behind which they have continued their self-appointed task of turning much of our Borough into a joyless concrete wasteland, whilst ensuring that enough dainty green enclaves survive to accommodate their wealthy Tory power-base in comfort. I hope their luck at last runs out in May 2022.

Gerrard Roots

Ed Note - I made this video with Gerrard ten years ago on the day of the closure. This shows what we've lost. It is the saddest video I've made for this blog. 


Gerrard was curator of Church Farmhouse Museum at the time of it's closure.Guest blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye

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