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Home > Culture and Society

The not-so-good works of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths

Michael Wale

30 December 2003

In the mid-1600’s a local blacksmith John Perryn, who was born in Bromyard, Herefordshire, grew wealthy and powerful. He became an alderman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and on his death left a hundred acres to the livery company to be used for the good of the people of Acton.

All around Acton there are reminders of his influence. Roads are still called Bromyard Avenue and Perryn Road. There is a large block of mansion flats known as the Perryn flats.

However, four years ago Goldsmiths sold a 90-year lease to the White family, who run the Chiswick Health Club in the richer part of West London, and who started to build the Park Club on their newly acquired land. Before the White family arrived everyone locally used the land to walk their dogs, tends allotments, play cricket and bowls at a reasonable rate.The Shepherds Bush Cricket clubhouse was a meeting place for local people, even if they were not necessarily interested in cricket. They would meet for a drink on Sunday mornings, or sit and watch Channel 4 Racing in the bar.

All this has ended. It costs £1,000 a year (plus joining fee) to belong to the Park Club. BMWs and Audis litter the car park. Even the occasional TVR with those funny headlights and burbly exhausts. Everything has been fenced in. The 100-year-old Shepherd’s Bush Cricket Club has been shown the door. The bowls green that staged county-level games has gone to ruin, 100 allotment gardeners told to leave, and the deserted clubhouse, surprise surprise, has been vandalised.

Back in the City the wealthy members of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths settle themselves down to dinners in their sumptious livery hall, supping fine wines and burping fois gras as they pat their plump lips with fine linen napkins. A far cry from serving the working people of Acton for whom they were meant to be the trustees of a vast tract of land.

For good measure they have also sold off a row of centuries old alms houses. Beautiful examples of their age with their Goldsmiths connections etched into their frontpiece, and shaded by a superb monkey puzzle tree. They have been sold to a Huntingdon based property company, registered in the Cayman Islands. Like all the best companies are.

People of Acton - it is time to rise up against this calumny!

We're not suggesting you go round and smashing the headlights of any TVRs you find in the Park Club car park. But perhaps you could leave things under their windscreen wipers. Like strangely threatening cartoons...


Or you could write to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, to express your anger:

Goldsmiths' Hall
Foster Lane

And don't forget to include a cartoon of your own. Perhaps depicting someone plump and mean-eyed, stuffing his greedy cheeks with roast goose and Stilton.

Actually, having said that, vintage Cheddar is probably easier to draw than Stilton.

Fewer veins.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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