A small brick obelisk in a shabby car park marks a rather unusual financial bequest from a little known transport trust fund.
The Rees Jeffreys Road Fund today focuses mainly on supporting research and education into major national road projects, but back in 1970 it funded a very small, very local little bit of roadside improvement.
William Rees Jeffreys was described by Lloyd George in 1937 as ‘The greatest authority on roads in the United Kingdom and one of the greatest in the whole world’. He led the campaign to seal the nation’s roads so improving travel for road users and reducing roadside nuisance. He was a major force in developing the national road classification system.
Following his death in 1954, his estate provided the initial funding endowment to support the trust named after him, and it is still providing educational funding for students to this day.
(If you are a transport student, now is the time to apply for a £10,000 grant)
However, back in 1970, they were interested in a car park.
In the 1960s., Harrow council had landscaped Stanmore Common, and provided viewing vistas to admire. As was the thinking at the time, and still to some degree in an area of limited public transport, it was expected that people would drive to the common — but where to park their cars?
In September 1970, meetings were held between the council and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, and the fund agreed to put up £2,000 of the £5,880 cost of the 40 space car park. Funding secured, the car park was opened in May 1972 as a “roadside rest” in Stanmore Common, although it is now better known as Warren Lane car park [map link], and it is also known for nocturnal activities of an ahem, sort.
Sadly, it’s looking rather shabby now, and the toilets have long since burnt down, but the original brick obelisk is still there proudly declaring this unusually funded car park.