West House is at 50 West End Lane, Pinner, HA5 1AE, in the London Borough of Harrow. It stands in the beautiful Pinner Memorial Park overlooking an ornamental lake and opposite Pinner’s 12th-century church on the rise at the top of the medieval High Street.
West House is one of the few old houses in the area still standing in its own grounds, now Pinner Memorial Park. There has been a house on the site for 500 years. It was once the home of the grandson of Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton.
West House ownership
The house and grounds were purchased by the people of Pinner after the Second World War and given in trust to the then Council as a war memorial to the dead of the two world wars. A condition of the Trust was that the Pinner Books of Remembrance should be kept at the House. Used from that time for community activities, sadly the house fell into disrepair and Harrow Council closed it in the early 1990s.
With the backing of the Council, The Pinner Association (the amenity society founded in 1932 which had originally raised the money to purchase West House) took on the task of saving the House for the public a second time. To manage and oversee the project, The West House & Heath Robinson Museum Trust was created. Thanks to the Trustees’ efforts, the old house was saved and returned to community use. Following extensive renovation, it was reopened in 2010 in a ceremony led by Michael Rosen, Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmith’s, University of London, who was brought up in Pinner and is a Patron of the Trust. This renovation project paved the way for the development of the Heath Robinson Museum.
West House and Pinner Memorial Park were purchased and dedicated to those who gave their lives in the two World Wars. The Shrine within West House contains the two Books of Remembrance of those from the old Parish of Pinner who gave their lives in the two World Wars. The first book contains some 133 names from WW2, in addition to many from WW1, and the second an additional 400 from WW2 identified in the late 90’s by the local historian, Hilary Thornley, following comments about omissions that were made when the first Book was displayed on the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Also on show at the Shrine are a map of the bomb damage in Pinner and photographs of every instance of damage indexed by location.
The Shrine is the location of an annual short service of Remembrance at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
The Pinner Association (the amenity society founded in 1932 which had originally raised the money to purchase West House), with the backing of the Council, took on the task of saving it for the public for the second time. To do so it created The West House & Heath Robinson Museum Trust. Thanks to the efforts of this Trust, the old house has been saved and returned to community use with a cafe open seven days each week, the Verden Gallery upstairs available for lettings and business premises on the second floor.