File of 78 documents from the papers of the jurist and Labour politician Professor R. S. T. Chorley [later Lord Chorley], relating to his campaign against the building of a 'road house' at the Old Brewery Stables, Great Stanmore.

Robert Samuel Theodore Chorley (1895-1978), 1st Baron Chorley [Lord Chorley], legal scholar and Labour politician [The Old Brewery Stables, Great Stanmore; Hendon Rural District Council]
Publication details: 
London. 1932 and 1933.
SKU: 12385

As Chorley is described in his entry in the Oxford DNB as a 'conservationist' with a 'deep attachment to and lifelong concern for the English countryside', it is a surprise that no mention is made of the matter to which this collection relates, which created some public interest at the time and involved a landmark legal action. The first item in this collection - a copy of typed letter from Chorley to the Clerk to the Hendon Rural District Council on 24 October 1932 - sets the scene neatly. In it he writes: 'I understand that plans have been deposited with the Hendon Rural District Council in relation to the erection of a proposed Dance Hall, swimming bath, petrol filling station etc. at the Old Brewery Stables, Stanmore Hill. | I desire to oppose this project [...] My residence, the Rookery, is situated on the roadside, almost opposite the site of the proposed dance hall etc. Its value will obviously be seriously depreciated if the project is carried out, and its amenities practically destroyed owing to the noise of cars, people and music in the evening and at night which is inseparable from such places. [...] Stanmore Common is already over-run by numbers of motorists from outside the District who destroy its amenities by leaving litter about and driving their cars off the road onto the common. The establishment of a large centre of public entertainment cannot fail to accentuate this evil.' The collection consists of 78 items relating to Chorley's successful attempt to organise opposition to the proposed development, culminating in an action in the High Court, and includes autograph and typed drafts of documents by Chorley and others; correspondence on the matter from various quarters, including communications from his solicitors Messrs Joynson-Hicks & Co., and from Hendon Rural District Council; petition; legal opinion; affidavit; summary; resolution; printed notice; and six newspaper cuttings relating to matter, including a long report in The Times, 20 May 1933, of the judgement in the case. Other items by Chorley include: autograph copy of 'An Open Letter to Councillor John Bransgrove', 24 January 1933 (4pp., 4to); 'Notes for Consideration with Messrs Joynson-Hicks' (autograph, 2pp., 4to); 'Draft for a Petition to the Hendon R. D. C.' (autograph, 8pp., 4to; with corrected typescript of the same, 6pp., foolscap 8vo); 'Additional grounds for leave to appeal' (autograph, 2pp., 4to); text of speech on the question (autograph, 8pp., 4to); copy of a circular typed letter, 8 February 1933 (2pp., 4to), sent to seven named individuals, requesting contributions to the costs of a legal action agtainst Hendon Council; copy of a typed letter to the Clerk, Middlesex County Council, Dance & Entertainments Committee, 1 February 1933 (3pp., 4to), objecting to the granting of a 'Dance & Entertainments Licence, or for the approval of plans for a dance hall proposed to be erected in connection with a Roadhouse'. Among the other documents are: an undated typed 'summary of events as affecting the preservation of Stanmore since August, 1929, together with the action taken by the Society in each case', on letterhead of the Stanmore Village Preservation Society (3pp., foolscap 8vo); typed legal opinion (3pp., foolscap 8vo) on the merits of the case of Sydney G. Turner, Temple, 31 January 1935; copy of typed opinion of London estate agents Knight, Frank & Rutley on the suitability of the proposed development; typed copy of 'Resolution passed at Public Meeting on Tuesday, 10th January, 1935, against proposed alteration of Town Planning Scheme (1p., foolscap 8vo); a copy of a typed 'Affidavit of Mr. J. B. Willis'; a typed document laying out the 'Solicitor and Client charges not recoverable from the Council'; a printed leaflet (1p., 12mo) giving notice 'To the RATEPAYERS' of 'A PUBLIC PROTEST MEETING' on 10 January 1933. Also present are 41 letters to Chorley, including 8 TLsS from his solicitors of Joynson-Hicks & Co, comprising 7 TLsS from Arthur S. Cardew and a TLS from Hon. L. W. Joynson-Hicks, and three officials of the Rural District Council of Hendon: H. W. Rackham, Engineer and Surveyor (TLS); J. Roe, Valuation Officer (TLS); and J. B. Willis, Clerk (TLS). Other correspondents include: T. H. C. Bannister of Stanmore Hall (ALS); Frank C. Bearman of Hill House, Stanmore (TLS); Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister of the Colonial Office (TLS); C. F. S. Chapple of the Stanmore Village Preservation Society (2 ALsS); F. J. Climpson of Edgware ('It is evident that some of our councillors have outlived their usefulness.'); Florence Cunard (1 ALS, 'I do not feel able to contribute to any legal expenses'); Sir John FitzGerald (ALS and 2 TLsS); H. G. Griffin of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (TLS); S. H. Hamer of the National Trust (TLS, on which Chorley has drafted a long letter); G. Stirling Karck (2 TLsS); F. Handley Page (TLS); E. H. Phillips of the Ministry of Health (2 TLsS, one enclosing copies of his letter to the Minister of Health and the reply); Leslie Raymond, chartered surveyor (4 TLsS); Councillor Owen R. Serjeant of the Glen, Stanmore (6 ALsS). Also copies of four TLsS from Stirling Karck: the first asking the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for his views on the development; the second to the Secretary of the Royal Automobile Club ('To cross the road here, especially from the blind side, as visitors coming from London would have to do, would be suicidal'); and the third to the London estate agents Knight, Frank & Rutley; the fourth to the Minister of Transport. Also a TLS from G. Hilton Young of the Ministry of Defence to Sir Gerald Hurst, explaining why the matter is not one in which he feels he 'could properly or usefully intervene', and Rex v. Hendon Rural District Council, ex parte Chorley. Councillor Serjeant sides with Chorley's position, providing information and advice. On 22 December 1932 he writes that the Plans Committee have confirmed their decision to go ahead with the development: 'it was almost impossible to do anything in the face of the resolute opposition of the Chairman (Mr Bransgrove). He is one of those obstinate people who having once taken up a position can never be induced to depart from it. If I may say so, the wording of the petitition which was read was somewhat unfortunate in some of its phrases. The section which said, It is notorious that many of the Road Houses in existence are hot-beds of drunkeness [sic] & immorality was received with derision & members said that it was not true & this created an atmosphere of hostility to the petition.' Bannister informs Chorley on 5 January 1933 that 'The price paid by White in May 1924 was £3000, his intention being to use the site for cattle sheds & slaughter house in connection with his butcher's business. [...] Mr Bransgrove, being a tenant farmer with cattle for sale, would have done well to refrain from adjudicating in a matter in which a possible buyer of cattle (Mr White) has a large financial interest. | Mr Bransgrove however not only adjudicated as Chairman of the Town Planning Committee, [...] but declared himself in the Public Press to be a strong supporter of the application before it was ever submitted to the committee.' On 13 February Bearman declines 'to spend money taking this case to the High Court. Cases of this kind are always a costly affair, and one never knows what the expense of it is going to be. [...] I am of the opinion personally, that this scheme will fall through.' On 14 February Chorley's solicitor Cardew writes to express his sympathies with Chorley over his 'difficulty about the costs': 'I am not surprised as although people so often like to take up a fighting attitude it is another matter when it comes to paying for it'; and on 9 February 1933 Cardew begins another letter: 'I have received your letter and you have asked the one question which we Solicitors always find so difficult to answer as to the approximate costs of an action.' Five days later, on 14 February 1933, Cardew reports that he has had 'a very interesting talk' with the defendant Mr Whitehead: 'he brought the plans and I sent a note round to Mr. Hodson as I can get him to make an affidavit, but his sympathies are naturally very strong with the scheme, and he very definitely told me that they intended to go with it or to have something of that kind, and if they failed in one respect they would utilise the place as a Club.' On 28 December 1932 Sir John FitzGerald writes: 'I cannot honestly say that I feel that the proposed new use for the Brewery Stables site is harmful to Stanmore as a whole'; but by 31 May 1933 he has changed his position: 'I do think that we ought all to be extremely grateful to you for what you have done.'