Londoners of the Day are Friends of Harmondsworth Barn for saving ‘Cathedral of Middlesex’

16:45 30 January 2012

Harmondsworth barn exterior

Harmondsworth barn exterior

Archant

A huge medieval barn in west London ranked equal with the Houses of Parliament and Westmister Abbey for historical value has been saved for the nation from woodworm, or worse.

English Heritage has stepped in to buy the ‘Cathedral of Middlesex’ for £20,000, after it was deemed at risk after years of neglect.

Harmondswoth Barn, in Hillingdon, near Heathrow Airport, was built in 1426 to store grain for Winchester College.

At almost 60 metres long and 12 metres wide, the space recalls that of a large Cathedral’s nave. Meanwhile, the roof is supported by 13 large oak trusses that echo the vaulting in high church buildings.

The similarity between Harmondsworth Barn and ecclesiastical buildings certainly struck the late Port Laureate John Betjeman – who gave its poetical soubriquet.

Largely unchanged since going up in the early years of Henry VI, Harmondsworth Barn fell into the hands of offshore property speculators in 2006.

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “Harmondsworth Barn is one of the greatest medieval buildings in Britain, built by the same skilled carpenters who worked on our magnificent medieval cathedrals.

“Its rescue is at the heart of what English Heritage does - protecting this nation’s architectural treasures and helping people discover our national story through them. We will complete the repair of this masterpiece and working with local people, will open it to the public to enjoy.”

The purchase marks a victory for the Friends of the Great Barn at Harmondsworth.

Local MP and founding Friends member, John McDonnell MP, said: “Six years ago I convened a meeting of local residents to found the Friends group to save this beautiful barn and I want to pay tribute to their hard work in securing this jewel in the crown of our local heritage.

“Thanks to this dedicated band of local people and the commitment and professionalism of the staff of English Heritage I am now overjoyed that we have secured this wonderful building for future generations.”

London24’s Londoner of the Day aims to find people in the capital who have done something special or made the news and created a talking point for the day. It can be someone famous or an unsung hero such as a charity stalwart.

If you’d like to nominate someone for a future Londoner of the Day mention you can email London24 editor Simon Bull at simon.bull@archant.co.uk

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Friday, August 28, 2015
Jeremy Corbyn.

A disposable coffee cup used by Jeremy Corbyn as sold in an online auction for £51.

Friday, August 28, 2015
She was playing with her family in Hanworth Park when she was hit by the pellet that could have killed her (Photo: Google StreetView)

The little girl was running from her mother to her grandfather in Hanworth Park when they heard a loud noise like an air rifle shot.

Police say she could have been killed.

Friday, August 28, 2015
Notting Hill Carnival is taking place this weekend

Over a million people will attend Notting Hill Carnival 2015 over today and tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2015
Police are investigating a rape in Park Road on Sunday

A crime scene has been set up after a woman reported being raped in Muswell Hill in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Friday, August 28, 2015
Dodgy disguise: The men robbed the pawnbrokers dressed all in black

Two men who dressed in burkas to rob a pawnbrokers in Brixton’s famous Atlantic Road have been jailed for 20 years.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more
Free weekly shop? Yes please!

Win £200 to spend at Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets. Asda prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here.

Read more