The Sacred Grove. The Grove: 2000 Years of English History
VHS Colour Sound 1997 18:03
Summary: A record of The Grove House and surrounding area on the occasion of the refurbishment of GEC-Marconi Avionics Defence Systems Division buildings.
Title number: 2333
Description: This video traces the history of the Stanmore area, marking many of the changes that it has seen over the centuries apparently as a way of minimising the significance of the more recent destruction of 'The Grove' house. It begins in British pre-history with speculation about the druids and their practices in the local woods. Moving on to the Roman era, it considers their building of Watling Street (now the route of the A5), their facing down of Boadicea and the Iceni rebellion and their eventual decline. Skipping forward to 1066 and the Norman invasion it presents the allocation of the Manor of Stanmore to Robert Count of Mortain and the emergence of the area as a home for landed gentry. The changing nomenclature of this part of Stanmore Common includes 'The Moat', 'The Hermitage', 'Thrifts' and 'The Plantation' before the construction of a pleasure garden known as 'Mont Plaisir' around 1762 and a few years later the building of 'The Grove'. In 1870 the house was taken on by George and Eliza Brightwen, where Eliza made it a centre for nature lovers. Around 1906 the house was bought by industrialist Sir Ernest Castle, and in the early Twentieth Century it was the childhood home of the future Lady Mountbatten. The Twentieth Century also brought the expansion and development of London, reaching out west to Stanmore, and characterised by the opening of Stanmore railway station. After the Second World War the estate was broken up and individual buildings sold. In 1949 the Ministry of Supply took over 'The Grove' for work on radar developments and experiments. An interview with former site worker George Benbow fills in details about that period. Across the 1950s and 1960s new research buildings, a canteen and power station were built. By 1960 over 400 people were employed on site expanding by the 1970s to more than 700. The Grove house was no longer considered suitable accommodation and a photograph from 1979 shows the Mayor of Harrow slinging a sledgehammer as the first part of the demolition of house. The 1980s and 1990s featured further expansion and development including the erecting of a new 'Grove House' as a centrepiece office for GEC Marconi. The video is quick to note what had been saved however with information on the preservation of the gardens, its specimen trees and ancient oak woodland.
Credits: Research: Sue Foote; Research: Richard Durrant
Keywords: Local history
Locations: United Kingdom; England; London; Harrow; Stanmore