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On Saturday 3 September the society held its open day at Northwick Park, in the London Borough of Brent. It was hosted by our feisty Northwick Park Group at St Cuthbert’s Hall and 34 people attended.
Margaret Roake from the Northwick Park Group gave us a short history of Harrow. She spoke of how Harrow became popular as commuter land when the metropolitan railway was developed, quoting the rhyme:
‘The richest crop that you can grow, is a crop of houses, all in a row.’
Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, picked up on this when she spoke about the current row over the government’s proposals to dismantle the planning system, and to smother green spaces with housing when ample brownfield sites were available. Nicola Hodgson, our case officer, talked about the government’s consultation on town and village greens, and support officer Esther Finch set out the many ways in which members can help the society by volunteering.
Gaynor Lloyd described the Northwick Park Group’s campaign, with the society’s help, to reopen the blocked path across Northwick Park Golf Course driving range, and Graham Wright from the Ramblers spoke about Harrow’s footpaths. Then OSS trustee and local correspondent Chris Beney described his work on reducing, and making user friendly, the structures on public paths.
After lunch we set off on a walk over the golf course.
From the golf course we crossed Harrow School playing-fields and went up to the lovely village of Harrow-on-the-Hill. There we were greeted by Keith Perrin of the Northwick Park Group, who brought a welcome supply of refreshments which we enjoyed on the steps leading up from the war memorial.
Then we visited the church and churchyard, with its fascinating graves, including a stone in memory of Byron’s daughter, Allegra, whose precise burial site is unknown.
Finally, we stopped at the site on the summit of the hill where Byron wrote ‘Spot of my youth’. In his day the view must have been open and magnificent but now it is somewhat overgrown by trees.
Then it was back to the hall for strawberries, scones and cream.
We are most grateful to the Northwick Park Group for organising such a