Little Stanmore: Social life

Page 120

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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In the 1720s Canons held a place in the world of fashion unrivalled by any neighbouring seat. A household staff which numbered 93 by 1722 enabled the duke of Chandos to give banquets for his fellow peers, as well as chieftains from Africa and America; European royalty, too, may have dined there, since servants of the kings of Denmark and Prussia were entertained below stairs. Parties from London were eager to be shown over the mansion and to stroll in its grounds. Although high fees were paid, causing jealousy between the housekeeper and the groom of the chambers, the duke eventually was forced to exclude sightseers on Sundays and to keep the library closed. (fn. 1) Long after the estate had been sold, Chandos's love of music ensured that Little Stanmore was remembered for its connexion with Handel, who composed the Chandos anthems for his patron from 1717 and periodically played the organ in the rebuilt parish church before the dedication of the chapel at Canons in 1720. The orchestra or 'concert', numbering 24 performers in 1719, had its own table in the duke's dining room. From 1719 until 1731 or 1732 the director was the composer and teacher John Christopher Pepusch (1667-1752), (fn. 2) later organist to the Charterhouse. (fn. 3)

Despite earlier local protests against hunting, (fn. 4) in 1840 the parish's future incumbent Benjamin Armstrong recorded a good outing with the Queen's stag hounds before the deer was taken at Stanmore. (fn. 5) The parish proved too small to support many of the clubs which were a feature of the late 19th century, when people presumably attended the fairs and other amusements in Edgware. (fn. 6) Under a Scheme of 1899 the old National school building on the south side of Whitchurch Lane was to be used as a Sunday school and for the general benefit of the parishioners. The building was known as the institute and used as a hall and working men's club (fn. 7) until its demolition for road widening in 1930. The Whitchurch institute was built on the corner of Buckingham Road and Chandos Crescent in 1932. (fn. 8)


  • 1. Baker, Chandos, 126, 181-2, 194-5.
  • 2. Ibid. 129-30.
  • 3. D.N.B.
  • 4. See p. 102.
  • 5. T.L.M.A.S. xvii. 177.
  • 6. V.C.H. Mdx. iv. 161.
  • 7. Kelly's Dir. Edgware (1915-16).
  • 8. Char. Com. files.