Cedars Open Space Gates

Restoration of the gates

In 1834 Thomas Blackwell had married June Ann Bernasconi from Harrow and moved into her house with its large surrounding gardens and parkland, including a designed rabbit warren. Blackwell enlarged the house and renamed it The Cedars. His son Thomas Jr continued to be a local benefactor in Harrow, giving parties in the grounds for local children and donating Harrow Weald Recreation Ground to the parish. In 1907, the LCC bought and redeveloped the estate, pulling down the house. Blackwell’s original park and garden is now Cedars Open Space, containing many fine trees: lime, many Lebanon cedars and Sequoias, several large oaks and yews. The late Victorian gates are the only built survivors. A (now lost) sundial commemorated a visit to the house by Sir Walter Scott in 1806.

The gates have stone gate piers, wrought ironwork and curved flanking railings. The ironwork is highly decorative with folded finials, vine leaves and scrolls and the remains of a bell pull mechanism. The limestone piers are carved in a loose perpendicular style and have castellated capitals. In 1969, the gates were nearly removed. The Observer reported that ‘these rare iron gates, thought to be the work of the Bromsgrove Guild’ were due to be sold to Worcestershire County Council as Harrow Council did not consider them ‘of sufficient historical value to be worth retaining in the borough.’

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