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Commemorating Carr’s centenary

A lecture on the life and legacy of Jonathan Carr will be the Bedford Park Society’s tribute to the man who developed the world’s first garden suburb.

Carr died 100 years ago, not realising that the West London estate he founded in 1875 would spearhead a worldwide architectural movement.

The lecture will be given by Professor Andrew Saint, biographer of Richard Norman Shaw, Bed-ford Park’s main architect, at 8.15pm on May 20th, at the Arts Educational Schools, Bath Road, W4 1LY.

Tickets for the lecture will cost £10 from Zecca, Turnham Green Terrace, available after Easter. They will also be on sale at the door; but as the Society’s last lecture was a sell-out booking in advance is advised.

Prof Saint, who is renowned as a fine and engaging lecturer, will be revealing recently discov-ered information about an elusive character. There are no verified photographs of Carr, and many of his grand schemes ended in financial disaster (he attracted a record 352 bankruptcy petitions).

Built near the newly-opened Turnham Green station, Bedford Park’s Queen Anne/Arts and Crafts style architecture and village layout, with church, pub, stores and club, was an architectur-al landmark. Its low-rent houses became highly fashionable with the aesthetic middle classes who could no longer afford Chelsea.

Andrew Saint will explore Carr’s contribution to the garden suburb and city movement, his sources and the continuing influence of his ideas.

Carr was a skilled promotor but, like many developers, perpetually strapped for cash. A second failure of the estate management company in 1887 ended his business connections with Bedford Park, although he continued to live there until his death.

He went on to other grandiose projects in Kensington, Whitehall and, in 1902, Burlingwick in Chiswick, which would have transformed meadowland and orchards into homes for up to 40,000 people (more than the then population).

In 1904 he had to move out of Tower House, his magnificent Bedford Park home designed by Norman Shaw.

That site now houses a block of flats, built just before World War II, while another house where he lived was bombed during that war.

Despite these and a few other losses, Bedford Park has been revived and restored over the past 50 years. Thanks to the Bedford Park Society its Grade II houses are protected and once more it has become a desirable place to live.

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