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BPRA Launch House History Initiative

The BPRA commissions house-historian Melanie Backe-Hansen to help Residents discover the hidden stories of Bedford Park

LAUNCH EVENT:  8th September 2016 at High Road House 6.30PM

Family-History-bannerThe Bedford Park Residents Association are very excited to announce the first steps of our family history programme – the Bedford Park 'House History Initiative'. This intended as the first of a number of projects aimed at connecting the families who live in Bedford Park today with the people who lived in their homes in times past.

Intended as a project for all ages, we will be providing materials for families and children as well as for more serious historians. The house histories will complement the great work done by the BPS on the architectural history of Bedford Park with a focus on the personal and family histories of people who have lived here.

We know that we have a treasure trove to uncover of stories that are HistoryDeedswell known and some not so well known. It has been well documented that the estate has had a number of famous residents including WB Yeats, one of our greatest poets, who twice lived with his family in Bedford Park; the French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro; the playwright Pinero; the actor Henry Oscar and the Russian revolutionary Stepniak, who had killed the chief of secret police in St Petersburg and would himself be killed by a train on the Bath Road level crossing (Read more Bedford Park history here).

With the help of the current families living here we also want to discover the lives of the less well known people that have lived here since Jonathan Carr first bought 14 acres of land next to Turnham Green station in 1875. We also know, from the work done during St Michael’s 1915 Memorial, about how the human tragedy of the Great War affected Bedford Park. Many of you will have seen the memorial panels created for display in St Michaels, where the lives of the young men and women from BP who served in that war were highlighted, and those that lost their lives were so beautifully commemorated. We are looking to repeat the process for WWI and for WWII enabling us to commemorate both the people and buildings lost in those conflicts.

MBHansenTo help us in this work we have commissioned the eminent house historian Melanie Backe-Hansen to work with us on a programme of events this year, aimed at giving residents the tools and knowledge to uncover the magic concealed in their home histories. Melanie is the author of two books: House Histories: The Secrets Behind Your Front Door (2011) and Historic Streets and Squares: The Secrets on Your Doorstep (2013) and regularly writes for luxury lifestyle magazines and the national press.

It is our intention to help residents to discover and catalogue these famous lives to build a unique set of Bedford Park house histories. Individually these will enrich our relationships with our own homes and cumulatively the histories will create a shared resource for members and friends about the colourful suburb in which we live.

You may already be underway with this process, and many Residents have already flagged up documents, photos and other records they have discovered about their home. Over the next few months we will be working with Melanie to put together a pack of online materials to help Residents who want to start their own search. Later in the year Melanie will be joining us for a series of workshops and talks on house history research and Bedford Park starting with the launch event on 8th September at High Road House.

If you would like to know more about the initiative please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For those of you who can’t wait to get started then Mel’s site is here: http://www.house-historian.co.uk/