Trent Park


Trent Park

Trent Park is a country park, formerly the grounds of a mansion house which currently forms the Trent Park campus of Middlesex University in the north of London, United Kingdom. The campus is home to the performing arts, teacher education, humanities, product design and engineering, television production and biological science departments of the university. The sports ground in the park, Southgate Hockey Centre, provides facilities for the local community and the university.

History

Trent Park dates back to the fourteenth century when it was part of Enfield Chase, one of Henry IV's hunting grounds. In 1777 George III gave the site to Richard Jebb as a reward for saving the life of the King's younger brother, the then Duke of Gloucester.

In about 1836 the house was bought by the banker David Bevan for his son Robert Cooper Lee Bevan on his marriage to Lady Agneta Yorke. Robert Bevan built Christ Church, Trent, in 1838 to provide a suitable place of worship for the district. In 1909 the estate was sold to Philip Sassoon (cousin of the poet Siegfried Sassoon), who entertained many celebrity guests at Trent Park, including Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill.

During World War II Trent Park was used as a special prison for captured German generals and staff officers. They were treated reasonably hospitably with special rations of whisky and regular walks in the grounds. Many of the rooms inside the mansion had been equipped with hidden microphones and listening devices, and thus the British military was able to gather important military information and an intimate inside-view into the minds of the German military elite. They received information about war crimes, political views and got a clearer picture of the military resistance that led to the unsuccessful coup on July 20, 1944. 84 Generals and a number of lower ranking staff officers were brought to Trent Park. More than 1,300 protocols were written by the time the war ended; a selection of these was published in English in 2007 under the title "Tapping Hitler's Generals".

In 1951 the estate became the then Trent Park College, which became part of Middlesex Polytechnic in 1978, which itself became Middlesex University in 1992. The University's Vice-Chancellor is provided with a residence within the park. Though not so grand as the main house, this does nevertheless boast several small private gardens including a rose garden. Other University buildings including student residences and offices are nearby.

Within the grounds, close to the Hadley Road entrance, can be found a small moated isle known locally as Camlet Moat. The name has been abbreviated over the years from "Camelot". A survey of the area conducted between 1656 and 1658 attributes the site as the seat of habitation of Geoffrey de Mandeville during the reign of William the Conqueror. Sir Philip Sassoon conducted excavations in the 1920s and was reported to have found oak beams which formed the basis of a drawbridge, Roman shoes and daggers as well as mosaic tiles depicting a knight on horseback. The foundations of a large stone building were also found. English Heritage refilled the excavations in 1999.

In the mid-1990s, Middlesex University and Southgate Sports and Leisure Trust (SSLT) reached agreement to develop the dilapidated university sports ground. In 1997-98 SSLT built a clubhouse and two artificial grass pitches on the site, which was opened in March 1998 as Southgate Hockey Centre. It is home to Southgate Hockey Club, and provides sports and social facilities to the local community and the university.

Country Park

In 1973 Trent Park was opened to the public as a 3.8 km² country park, which surrounds the university campus.

The country park includes publicly accessible countryside, farmland, a golf course and an equestrian centre. Some of the grounds were attractively landscaped by Humphry Repton in the English manner (some also attribute the work of Capability Brown). Features of the original landscaping that can still be seen include an impressive avenue of lime trees, an obelisk, ornamental lakes and a water garden.

The original mansion and a number of statues and other structures located within the grounds (such as the Orangery) are Grade II listed building. The site is designated as Green Belt, and lies within a conservation area and is also included within the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England.

The park is open to the public and the closest London Underground stations are Oakwood and Cockfosters. During the summer months a number of concerts and festivals take place there.

External links

* [http://www.mdx.ac.uk/ Middlesex University]
* [http://www.mdx.ac.uk/campus/trentpark/index.htm Middlesex University Page on Trent Park]
* [http://www.trentparkgolf.com/ Trent Park Golf Club]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/insideldn/insideout/series7/location_middlesex_uni.shtml BBC InsideOut Guide to Trent Park]
* [http://www.southgatehockeycentre.co.uk/ Southgate Hockey Centre]
* [http://www.southgatehc.org.uk/ Southgate Hockey Club]

References

*Audrey Nona Gamble, "A History of the Bevan Family", London, 1924
*Sonke Neitzel, "Tapping Hitler's Generals: Transcripts of Secret Conversations, 1942-1945", London: Frontline, 2007


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