High Barnet is being asked to nominate its change makers --inspirational figures with local connections whose contributions to society deserve to be highlighted as part of a borough-wide celebration being organised by Create London.
There is no shortage of possible entrants:
The film pioneer Birt Acres produced the first British movie picture at his home in Park Road in 1895 and it is thought his 25-second movie Band Marching Down a Street – see image above -- was filmed in Stapylton Road.
Barnet-born founder of the hospice movement, Dame Cicely Saunders established the world’s first purpose-built hospice in 1967.
Feminist campaigner Shirley Meredeen was the co-founder of the New Ground community of homes for older women just off Barnet High Street, one of the country’s pioneering cohousing projects, which was completed in 2016.
Legendary football commentator and tv pundit John Motson, who died earlier this year and who cut his teeth on the Barnet Press, never lost touch with his days reporting Barnet FC at Underhill.
These are only four suggested names. Perhaps you know of local un-sung heroes who have made valuable contributions to Barnet in art, architecture, culture, music, design, industry, or commerce.
Barnet Council has commissioned Create London to curate and produce up to 20 artworks to celebrate these change makers.
They would be sited across the borough and would be based on local research and drawn on suggestions from the community.
A final list of past figures will be chosen by a selection panel and those nominated should be:
A person whose life experience of Barnet significantly informed and inspired their own work or creative practice. Perhaps there were born, grew up or lived in the area.
A person whose important work in art, culture, industry, or commerce significantly contributed to the borough. Perhaps there were born elsewhere and brought their talents to Barnet later in life.
Nominations can be made online until 30 November: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdjbIWFSqrwGdjRygNRtwQBEM4esd3Qxdxpz5Dm8HrP3rxtZQ/viewform?pli=1
Birt Acres invented the first British 35mm moving picture camera and his first film Incident at Clovelly Cottage was made in 1895 and featured his wife and their infant son in a pram outside Acres’ home, Clovelly Cottage, in Park Road (which still exists).
His 25-second movie Band Marching Down a Street which was made in 1897 is one of the very few to survive from the early days of film.
He gave a display of moving pictures to the Lyonsdown Photographic Society at the Lytton Road Assembly Rooms in New Barnet in 1896 – the first public film show to an audience in the UK.
Acres became the first travelling newsreel reporter in international film history.
Dame Cicely Saunders spent her childhood at Monkenholt, a Georgian house on Hadley Green Road – a house that the Barnet Society President Aubrey Rose (above) says is a must for being presented with a blue plaque.
She trained as a nurse in the Second World War and later qualified as a doctor. She became a pioneer in the importance of palliative acre in modern medicine and established the world’s first purpose-built hospice in 1967 at St Christopher’s Hospice, at Sydenham in south-east London.
Shirley Meredeen, seen here in 2015 leading the celebrations for the start of construction work in Union Street, was the last surviving founder member of OWCH – Older Women’s Co-Housing of Barnet – which had been campaigning since 1998 to find a suitable site for their project.
The group finally obtained approval to build 25 flats for older women on the site of what had been St Martha’s Convent School – a pioneering project that has won national and international acclaim.
Mrs Meredeen, who died earlier this year, lived in one of the 25 flats which broke new ground in the way elderly women succeeded in combining to purchase, manage and maintain their own homes in one purpose-built development with shared facilities.
In welcoming members and friends to the 2015 ceremony after the demolition of the school premises she thanked the group for their “determination, enthusiasm and stubbornness” in the face of so many difficulties.
John Motson, who died earlier this year at the age of 77, began his journalistic career on the Barnet Press at the age of 18, the start of a life-time’s association with the town.
Such was his enthusiasm for playing and watching football that he never forgot Barnet FC and its players. As his career took off, he became the voice of football on BBC Television – and Barnet fans were always delighted when he managed to weave a name check for Barnet or one of its former players into his commentaries.
What amused the fans most of all were his references to the infamous slope at Barnet’s ground at Underhill, which was considered to be just about acceptable to the Football Association and which is now the site of the Ark Academy secondary school.