Boston Manor Park Opens!
The Opening Ceremony, back in 1924
From The County of Middlesex Independent newspaper
In beautifully fine weather on Thursday afternoon, Lady Cooper performed the ceremony which opened Boston Manor Park and its historic mansion to the public. Her Ladyship arrived at the entrance at 4 o’clock punctually and was received by Mr. C H Curtis, J.P. the Chairman of the Brentford Council, his colleagues and officials. Mr Curtis, after a few words of welcome handed a silver key to Lady Cooper, who unlocked the main gates and the formal entry of the public then took place. Inside awaited the Guard of Honour composed of the Brentford Fire Brigade under Superintendant Davis, the Boy Scouts, and Girl Guides. Immediately afterwards the company proceeded through the residence to the lawn where the declaration of opening subsequently was made. Mr Curtis presided and was supported in addition to Lady Cooper and Mrs Grant Morden and Mrs Curtis, Sir Montagu Sharpe, KC, Mr W C Robinson JP MBE, Mayor and Mayoress of Richmond, Mr Basil Holmes (Chairman of the Open Spaces Sub-Committee) of the Middlesex County Council, Mr W J Bolton (Chairman of the Parks Committee, Brentford District Council), Mr Councillor Mills, Mr Councillor Flewitt, Councillor T Grant, Mr Councillor J Hart, , Mr Councillor T Commins, Mr Councillor E J Spokes, Mr Councillor T W Stockley and the Rev. T Roberts.
Others present included Mt T Stallabrass JP, Rev. Father Roche, Mr James Clements JP, Mr Councillor Newens and the Misses Newens, Mr J J Noy, Mr F F Poole, Mr and Mrs W Griffith, Mr Councillor Hewett, Mr Joseph Weathers CC, Mr C Turner, Clerk, Mr W J Westlake, Surveyor of the Brentford District Council, Captain L Revell and Mrs Revell, the Mayor and Mayoress of Acton and Mrs Councillor Parsons.
The Chairman again gave a very cordial welcome to Lady Cooper, who was Brentford born, and it was therefore most fitting for her to perform the official opening ceremony of Brentford’s Park. They were very glad indeed to see that Brentford was converted to the idea of open spaces, for the people of Brentford had a very interesting history, as also had the Boston Manor House. According to Mr Fred Turner, Brentford’s historian, they could go back in these matters to the year 1307. The manor itself had several owners and was crown property twice. At one time it belonged to the Earl of Leicester, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth, then it came into the possession of Sir Thomas Gresham, a name associated with the founding of the Royal Exchange. It was the property also of Sir William and Lady Read, by whom the mansion was further beautified, as they would see in the state room. In 1670 it was purchased by the Clitherow family for £5,136. 17s. 4d. He liked the ‘4d.’ ( Laughter). The size of the property acquired by the Council was approximately 36 acres, made up as follows: Park 23 ½ acres: Ground of Boston House 9 ½ : Lake 1: Kitchen Gardens 2. It was purchased from Colonel Clitherow on 24th June 1924 for £23,000 after negotiations extending over a period of 12 months. The total cost of acquisition of all interests is estimated at £25,000, towards which amount the Middlesex County Council have agreed to contribute 25 per cent. The actual cost incurred to date of opening was £24,046. The Park now belonged to the people of Brentford. There were the beautiful woodlands, places for the solace of the aged, the health of the invalid, the sport of youth and shady walks obviously ‘for whispering lovers made’. It belonged to all and all should unite to preserve it and do nothing to detract from its usefulness and beauty. (Applause).
The Chairman then presented the key to Lady Cooper. It bore the inscription, ‘Presented to Lady Cooper on the occasion of the opening of Boston Manor Park, Brentford. September 11th 1924’. Her Ladyship proceeded to declare the Park open to the public for ever and said that it was indeed a great honour to perform this ceremony, and she was sure it would prove a great benefit and advantage to the people of the district. Apart from that Brentford had always been a very important town. It had attracted, politically, many men of keen intellect, of high position, and its Parliamentary roll was a very distinguished one. She was sure that the town was similarly well served in recent days, as they could see for themselves for they had their public library, their baths and now their noble park, and a great new road to the west. There was of course the question of the old High Street but those who represented the people on the Council did not accept the dismal old policy of ‘what can’t be cured must be endured,’ but were determined to go on doing the best for the town and its people. That indeed was a right conception of public duty, and she was proud to be associated with their latest achievement.
Lady Cooper also paid a compliment to the County Council for what they were doing for the provision of open spaces. She had regarded what they had done for this Park as ‘their wisdom’ but owing to what she had since learned, she must add the word ‘generosity’.
The Rev. T Roberts having offered the dedicatory prayer, Mr W Bolton proposed a vote of thanks to Lady Cooper for so kindly coming to Brentford and by performing the opening ceremony taking part in that day of jubilation. But her ladyship was always engaged in good works, and they appreciated what she had done that day for her native town.
Mr Basil Holmes seconded, and in doing so referred to the substantial financial assistance which the Middlesex County Council had given to the local authorities all over the county in the preserving or acquiring of open spaces for the public.
Mr Mills and Mr Flewitt heartily supported the tribute which was accorded with three hearty cheers and gracefully acknowledged by her ladyship, this portion of the proceedings concluding with the National Anthem.
Tea was served to the invited guests in Boston House, and from 7 to 9 the grounds were illuminated for dancing, the MC being Mr T W Pennington.
During the afternoon and evening selections were played by the Band of the 8th Middlesex (TA).
October 11, 2010