Retiring chairman of Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust to write history book on trust

Angus Walker is stepping down as chairman of the trust. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Angus Walker is stepping down as chairman of the trust. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Archant

The outgoing chairman of the trust tasked with protecting Hampstead Garden Suburb plans to use his new-found free time to write a history of the trust.

Angus Walker, 78, will stand down as chairman of Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust later this month, having served for six years as head of the body’s eight-member council.

Fellow trustee Geoffrey Marriott is also standing down after six years. Trustees may not serve more than two three-year terms.

Trust members now have just under a fortnight to cast their votes to elect two of four candidates to replace Mr Walker and Mr Marriott, with polls closing on September 25.

Mr Walker, who lives with his wife Annie in North Square, the Suburb, said he was now preparing to write a book on the history of the trust from its creation in 1968 to the present day.

“I think the last six years need writing up because I think it was a period of considerable challenge for the trust,” he said. “There were serious concerns about its financial future when I took over.

“We got the trust back on a sound financial basis and we sorted out a lot of obscurities in the law about the trust’s powers.

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“We lost a court case, we had difficulties with other cases and not all trustees have always got on with each other. But every setback and problem was a valuable experience and we were wiser because of it.”

The father-of-four, a former Oxford University don and Foreign Office official, paid tribute to the “outstanding” work of trust manager Jane Blackburn and said that the seeds of the trust’s financial recovery were sown by his predecessor, Mervyn Mandell.

Mr Walker added: “It’s been real life and I’m very lucky to have been able to do it. It’s hard to get a job like this in your seventies. I count myself very fortunate and I would do it again.”

Paying tribute to both outgoing trustees, Ms Blackburn said: “Angus has brought formidable character, intellect and energy to the challenging role of chairman.

“He leaves the trust much better able to protect the Suburb, with its legal powers clarified and strengthened and its finances and structure overhauled.

“He has been particularly supported by his fellow elected trustee Geoffrey Marriott, who also stands down this month. It has been a privilege and pleasure to work with Angus and Geoffrey.”

The trust was set up in 1968 to preserve the character of Hampstead Garden Suburb, which was founded by Henrietta Barnett as a “model community for people of all classes living together in beautiful houses”.

The trust has policies to protect the architectural standards of the Suburb and householders must obtain approval before making changes to the outside of their properties.