Our AGM this year was held in the wonderful Pitzhanger Manor, the only Grade I listed building in the Borough. Fortunately a couple of disasters failed to derail the meeting. Our chairman, Ann Chapman, tested positive for Covid the day before the meeting and other members of the Executive were unable to stand in for various reasons, so Ann was seamlessly replaced by her husband, Patrick Chapman. Patrick delivered Ann’s presentation of the Executive Committee’s report with just a few diversions of his own. Positive developments over the last year include being back to live meetings, starting with a very successful awards ceremony including a talk on the Museum of Brands by Chris Griffin. The award went to Hanwell Station which dates from the 1870s and has been beautifully restored ready for its new life as a Crossrail station. Ealing Fields High School was commended. 2 new plaques were erected during the year: for Ercole Parlanti and Michael Flanders. Other events included: a lovely Zoom based tribute to our late President, Corinne Templer, an incredibly knowledgeable and occasionally formidable force; a fascinating public lecture on the history of the Great West Road, by James Marshall; and 2 guided walks which were offered as part of the Open House weekend and are now on our website. Some of the main downsides of the year for us were the approval of the Manor Road tower block and the Perceval House scheme. In addition, the saga of the Victoria Hall continues, and the Society supports the Friends of Victoria Hall in their legal challenge to stop the Council selling off the hall to developers. The Filmworks development has also taken up the Committee’s time and is now opening up with new restaurants and bars applying for licences to sell alcohol. Patrick ended the report with a plea to anyone who would like to join the Committee to help us look at planning applications, licensing applications or to help in any other capacity to please contact Ann Chapman via firstname.lastname@example.org .
Josette Bishop, our Treasurer, presented the accounts for the year ending 31 December 2021, and these were approved. Most of the Executive officers are happy to stay, although we are very sorry to report that Jo Winters, our very able Secretary, is standing down after 8 years of hard work. We recorded our thanks to her. Steve Bower, who was co-opted during the year, is happy to join the Committee. The membership was approved and the 2022-3 Committee members are now listed on our website.
Following the formal business session we were treated to an excellent talk by Clare Gough, Director of the Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery. Unfortunately Clare was also indisposed and could not make it in to the Manor, but she gave her talk remotely, and after a few technical glitches during which we all had a glass of wine, the talk went smoothly. Clare spoke with her usual passion and enthusiam about the painstaking restoration of the manor house. If you missed her talk you really should visit the current exhibition Soane Restored. You can also enjoy the lovely Rana Begum exhibition during your visit. After Clare’s talk we were able to admire the house, which looks particularly stunning after dark. Our thanks go to Clare and her wonderful staff who stayed late to look after us.