The Society has been part of the community for over 50 years, with strong links to other local organisations. Our parties, lectures and other events, such as our annual meeting, are a chance for members to meet each other and chat informally to the committee.
Our main social gathering is the members’ Winter Party, organised at the end of January in the St Michael & All Angles’ church hall. It regularly attracts around 100 guests who enjoy a buffet, wine and entertainment.
Another well–established annual event is the Betjeman Lecture, held in memory of our late patron, Sir John Betjeman. Lectures by experts on subjects related to Bedford Park have proved very popular, so we have recently run additional talks. These are usually held in the Arts Education Schools Theatre, which has a bar and comfortable seating.
The Society supports the Bedford Park Festival Green Days with a stall selling a variety of Bedford Park memorabilia ranging from cards and books, to mugs, bags, umbrellas, tea towels and aprons. Our membership secretary is on hand to renew subscriptions and welcome new members.
Organised by St Michael and All Angels church, the weekend Green Days on Acton Green kick off the two-week Bedford Park Festival. The Society has contributed speakers for festival events and donates parts of the stall’s profits to the church.
We hold a varied lecture programme, which we plan to re-start as soon as the pandemic restrictions allow.
Putting civility into cities: Spring 2019
Well-known TV writer and presenter Loyd Grossman delivererd our 2019 Spring Lecture to a large audience gathered in St Alban’s Church on 12 March. Since 2017 he has been Chairman of the newly created charity The Royal Parks and his talk outlined the importance of the parks to London’s citizens, but also the scale of the task facing the new organisation.
2019 Betjeman lecture
For the Society’s 2019 Betjeman lecture John Betjeman himself featured as the subject — probably for the first time. On 18 September in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Theatre at the ArtsEd Schools, distinguished architectural commentator Alan Powers talked on the subject of John Betjeman and the Garden Suburb Movement.
2017 and 2018 lectures
In 2018 our annual Betjeman Lecture: The Pissarros in Bedford Park 1897-1944 was presented by Colin Harrison, Senior Curator of European Art in the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford and an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College.
In 2017 the Society’s Lecture: The Role of Heritage and Conservation in the Future of London took place on 20 November in St Alban’s Church, South Parade.
New for 2018, the Society’s Quiz in November was an instant sell-out. Intended as a way for both members and potential members to get together for a fun evening, it proved a great success. Dr Fintan Coyle (the brains behind The Weakest Link) was an excellent quizmaster, bringing out the competitive spirit with his testing questions. He generously waived a fee, enabling a donation to be made two very worthy charities: Cancer Research UK and Shelter. The generosity of local businesses provided high-quality raffle prizes and members of the winning table carried off 2018 Society mugs, along with some fizz.