WHO'S WHO: Proms at St Jude's chairman John Wheeler
John Wheeler, from Hampstead Garden Suburb, is the chairman of the board of trustees for the Proms at St Jude s, which continue this week. He has been involved since their creation 16 years ago. Living in the Suburb is a privilege, he says. HOW LONG HA
John Wheeler, from Hampstead Garden Suburb, is the chairman of the board of trustees for the Proms at St Jude's, which continue this week. He has been involved since their creation 16 years ago. Living in the Suburb is a privilege, he says.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB?
I have lived in South Square for more than 20 years, but was in the Suburb before that, so all together for about 35 years.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE AREA?
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It's extremely attractive, very green, but very close to central London. At the same time it feels like being in the country.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE AREA?
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The pleasant green environment, trees and open spaces.
WHAT IS THE WORST THING?
The absence of any social facilities in the way of shops or pubs, both of which the original founder, Dame Henrietta Barnett, was against. We have no shops nearby, only at the extreme edge in Temple Fortune. In a village, there's a commercial centre, the pub, the village hall and the local shops. But Dame Henrietta Barnett thought the important things were education and religion, which is why the centre is dominated by two churches and a big school.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE MOVING TO THE AREA?
Take part in the community activities. Be involved. There are lots of opportunities for people to get involved, like the Proms at St Jude's, the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust and the residents' association. It's a privilege to live here.
IF YOU WERE MAYOR FOR A DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Parking is a big issue, so I would make cars disappear. The thing that damages this environment is that it wasn't built for cars. Most people have cars on the streets, which destroys the whole ambience of the place.
WHAT DO THE PROMS mean to you?
The Proms have grown, from very small beginnings, to being quite a major musical event. What's good is that it's entirely for charity. And the quality of the music is now such that many residents regard it as an alternative to Kenwood or Wigmore Hall.
WHICH PERFORMANCES WERE OR ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?
The opera last Sunday was one of my favourites. They were international singers and they were superb. It was a wonderful evening. We have Imogen Cooper on Friday (June 20) who is an absolutely wonderful, internationally-famous pianist. We're very privileged to have her.