Bedford Park, London

Bedford Park is a suburban development in west London, England. It forms a conservation area that is mostly within the London Borough of Ealing, with a small part to the east within the London Borough of Hounslow. The nearest underground station is Turnham Green (District line), and the London bus routes 94 and E3 serve the district.

Bedford Park
Bedford Park, London in 2005

Housing on Bedford Road
Bedford Park is located in Greater London
Bedford Park
Bedford Park
Location within Greater London
OS grid referenceTQ207793
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtW4
Dialling code020
EU ParliamentLondon
London Assembly
Audio description of Bedford Park by Peter Murray


It can be justly described as the world's first garden suburb.[1] Although it was not built in the co-operative manner like some later developments (Brentham Garden Suburb, Hampstead Garden Suburb) it created a model that was emulated not just by the Garden city movement, but suburban developments around the world. Sir John Betjeman described Bedford Park "the most significant suburb built in the last century, probably in the western world". Herman Muthesius, the celebrated German critic who wrote The English House in 1904 said, "It signifies neither more nor less than the starting point of the smaller modern house, which spread from there over the whole country."

St Michael and All Angels
Bedford Park's church of St Michael and All Angels

The developer was Jonathan Carr (brother of J. Comyns Carr), who in 1875 bought 24 acres (9.7 ha) of land just north of Turnham Green Station in West London which had been constructed six years earlier. The City of London was only 30 minutes by steam train and the site was blessed with many fine trees. The desire to protect the mature trees led to the informal plan that is major feature of Bedford Park. The first architect for the estate was Edward William Godwin a leading member of the Aesthetic Movement, but his plans came in for some criticism in The Builder, the leading professional journal of its day, and Godwin and Carr parted company. Some designs were commissioned from the firm of Coe and Robinson, but in 1877 Carr hired Richard Norman Shaw the leading architect of his day to be the Estate architect. By then the layout of the Park had been set but Shaw’s house designs, in the Queen Anne style, proved remarkably successful in creating an impression of great variety whilst employing a limited number of house types.

In the 1880s with its church, parish hall, club, stores, pub and school of art, living in Bedford Park was the height of fashion. W. B. Yeats, the actor William Terriss, the actress Florence Farr, the playwright Arthur Wing Pinero and the painter Camille Pissarro lived here. Bedford Park is Saffron Park in G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday and Biggleswick in John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast. So fashionable did it become that Bedford Park came in for some gentle ribbing in the St James's Gazette in the 'Ballad of Bedford Park'.

As the 20th century drew on the place became less a centre of fashion; the houses were multi occupied and bus conductors called out "Poverty Park" when they stopped on the Bath Road. The demolition by Acton Council of The Bramptons and its replacement by a five-storey old people's home led directly to the foundation in 1963 of the Bedford Park Society. Through the activities of the society, in 1967 the government listed the greater part of the estate, a total of 356 houses. A few years later both Ealing and Hounslow councils designated Bedford Park a conservation area. Since that time the area has gradually improved. Houses have returned to family use and many have been renovated.

The Bedford Park Society

The Bedford Park Society
Bedford Park Society logo
MottoFor the protection of the amenities of the earliest Garden Suburb
Legal statusregistered charity
Peter Eversden
Main organ
The Bedford Park Society Newsletter

The society, a registered charity,[2] was formed in 1963 by two local residents, Harry Taylor – president of the South Acton Conservatives – and architect Tom Greeves who lived in Newton Grove and was a founder member of the Victorian Society. Their concerns about the future of Bedford Park were united by the demolition of The Bramptons in Bedford Park to make way for an old people’s home. Taylor became chairman, Greeves the secretary and John Betjeman the first patron.

In the first year the society grew to 200 members who were exhorted not to make unsuitable improvements to their homes. However, Greeves was aware that the only real protection for the whole estate lay in getting the buildings statutorily listed. The breakthrough came in 1967 with the staging of a local exhibition Artists and Architecture of Bedford Park 1875–1900 which was visited by Arthur Grogan, a government inspector from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. Through Grogan, 356 of Bedford Park’s houses were Grade II listed and the London Borough of Ealing (in 1969) and the London Borough of Hounslow (in 1970) declared conservation areas for their half of the suburb. Tom Greeves, who as secretary was de facto leader of the society for many years, died in 1997.

The society has successfully resisted demolition plans and has protected the general architectural quality of the estate and its surrounding area. The society's Log Book, which is issued to every listed house, helps owners learn about the history of their dwelling and how it should be maintained. The society reviews all planning applications and gives its views to the local authorities.

The society's main role is to protect the amenity of the first garden suburb. It is not a residents' association, but it does get involved in more general issues such as parking and traffic where these have an environmental impact.

Conservation area

The Bedford Park conservation area stretches from Esmond Road in the west, to Abinger Road in the east, from Flanders Road in the South to Fielding Road in the north. Within the Conservation area planning permission is required for most new building work, alterations and extensions. Cladding, new dormer windows and the erection of satellite dishes all require permission.

Listed buildings

Most of the early buildings in Bedford Park are Grade II listed. This means that the whole building is protected, including the interiors, outhouses and boundary walls and fences. Listed building consent is required for any alterations, extensions, excavations and demolition.


All trees in the conservation area are protected and it is an offence to carry out works on a tree without written permission of the local council.

Planning committee

The Bedford Park Society is invited by the two local authorities to review all planning applications. The views of the society are taken into account when determining applications. Additionally, Ealing has a conservation area advisory committee which also comments on applications.

Notable residents

  • Richard Briers, English sitcom actor, lived & died at 6 The Orchard.
  • Marie Ault, English Actress of Silent Films, lived at 8 The Orchard.
  • John Lindley, English botanist, lived at Bedford House,The Avenue (Blue Plaque).
  • Jo Grimond, English Liberal politician, lived at 24 Priory Avenue.
  • Cecil Aldin, English animal painter, lived at 47 Priory Avenue.
  • Sir Sydney Cockerell, English Fitzwilliam Museum curator, arts collector, lived at 5 Priory Gardens & 3 Fairfax Road.
  • W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and his father John Butler Yeats lived at 3 Blenheim Road (Blue Plaque).
  • T. A. Greaves, English architect, co-founder of Bedford Park, lived at 12 Newton Grove (Plaque).
  • Beryl Brownsword, English architect & conservationist, lived at 40 Rusthall Avenue (Plaque).
  • Karl Parsons, English stained glass artist, lived at 38 Gainsborough Road.[3]


  1. ^ Affleck Greeves, T. 1975 "Bedford Park, the First Garden Suburb", Jones Bolsterli, M. 1977 "The Early Community at Bedford Park : "Corporate Happiness" in the First Garden Suburb".
  2. ^ Charity Commission. The Bedford Park Society, registered charity no. 288204.
  3. ^ "Karl B. Parsons". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951. University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database. 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2018.

Further reading

  • Binns, Sheila (2013). The Aesthetics of Utopia: Saltaire, Akroydon and Bedford Park, Spire Books, ISBN 978 1 904965 45 9
  • Budworth, David. Jonathan Carr's Bedford Park, The Bedford Park Society
  • Girouard, Mark (1977). Sweetness and Light: The "Queen Anne" Movement, 1860–1900
  • Greeves, Tom. Bedford Park: the first Garden Suburb, The Bedford Park Society

External links

1877 in architecture

The year 1877 in architecture involved some significant events.

Alfred Maddock

Alfred Gavin "Alfie" Maddock (1917-2009) was an English inorganic chemist, radiochemist and spectroscopist who worked on the Tube Alloys Project and the Manhattan Project during World War II. Those projects resulted in the development of the atomic bomb. He may be best known for, during World War II, spilling Canada's entire supply of plutonium onto a wooden laboratory bench, and for recovering it by wet chemistry. He also had a distinguished, though less eventful, post-war academic career.

Arthur Carnell

Arthur Ashton Carnell (21 March 1862 – 11 September 1940) was a British sport shooter who competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics.In the 1908 Olympics he won a gold medal in the stationary target small-bore rifle event.

Bedford Park

Bedford Park may refer to:

Bedford Park, South Australia, a suburb of Adelaide, Australia

Bedford Park, Toronto, a neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Bedford Park, Bedford, an urban park in Bedford, UK

Bedford Park, London, a district of London, UK

Bedford Park, Illinois, U.S., a village

Bedford Park, Bronx, a neighborhood of the Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.

Douglas Godfree

Douglas Godfree (16 October 1881 – 5 August 1929) was a British fencer and modern pentathlete. He competed at the 1908 and 1912 Summer Olympics.

E. J. May

Edward John May (1853–1941) was an English architect.

Elizabeth Yeats

Elizabeth Corbet Yeats (11 March 1868 – 16 January 1940), known as Lolly, was an Anglo-Irish educator and publisher.

Garden city movement

The garden city movement is a method of urban planning in which self-contained communities are surrounded by "greenbelts", containing proportionate areas of residences, industry, and agriculture. The idea was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom.

Gavin Campbell (presenter)

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Henry Ryland

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He exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery, and from 1890 at the Royal Academy. He also was a regular exhibiter at the New Gallery and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (formerly the New Society of Painters in Water Colours). He became a full member of the latter institution.

Although he did paint in oils, he specialized in highly finished watercolour paintings containing images of young women in classical draperies on marble terraces. Subjects of this type were popularized by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Albert Moore and J. W. Godward. Unlike Moore he rarely painted nudes. His watercolours were widely reproduced as prints.

Ryland also designed stained glass and his woodcuts were used in a number of magazines, including the English Illustrated Magazine in the 1880s and 1890s.

In 1901 he married Mabel Louise Mann and had one son and one daughter. In 1911 he was living at 32 Fairfax Road, Bedford Park, London, according to Who's Who. He died on 23 November 1924.

Insects in literature

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Among the positive qualities, ants and bees represent industry and cooperation from the Book of Proverbs and Aesop's fables to tales by Beatrix Potter. Insects including the dragonfly have symbolised harmony with nature, while the butterfly has represented happiness in springtime in Japanese Haiku, as well as the soul of a person who has died.

Insects have equally been used for their strangeness and alien qualities, with giant wasps and intelligent ants threatening human society in science fiction stories. Locusts have represented greed, and more literally plague and destruction, while the fly has been used to indicate death and decay, and the grasshopper has indicated improvidence. The horsefly has been used from classical times to portray torment, appearing in a play by Aeschylus and again in Shakespeare's King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra; the mosquito has a similar reputation.

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John Beresford Fowler

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John Charles Dollman

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Dollman was born in Hove on 6 May 1851 and moved to London to study at South Kensington and the Royal Academy Schools, after which he set up a studio at Bedford Park, London. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1870 to 1912, and was elected RWS (Member of the Royal Watercolour Society) in 1913. Dollman was also an illustrator, working in black and white or colour for magazines such as the Graphic during and after the 1880s. Some of his early work has been said to have influenced Van Gogh.

Jonathan Carr (property developer)

Jonathan T. Carr (1845–1915) was a cloth merchant turned property developer who was the founder of the Bedford Park "garden suburb" in west London.

Karl Parsons

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Richard Norman Shaw

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Victorian Society

The Victorian Society is a UK charity, the national authority on Victorian and Edwardian architecture built between 1837 and 1914 in England and Wales. As one of the National Amenity Societies, the Victorian Society is a statutory consultee on alterations to listed buildings, and by law must be notified of any work to a listed building which involves any element of demolition.

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