Pavilion Building allowed to fall apart

The tragedy of the War Memorial Pavilion has been revealed by arial photos taken by residents. These reveal that under the ownership of Mr Wu the building has fallen into such disrepair as to render future renovation work hugely expensive. The project had been to bring the changing rooms back into early use for the community clubs playing on these fields. There were relatively new boilers and heating systems installed just before Imperial College sold the site. The building interior had been dry – even if the changing rooms needed to be brought up to modern standards.

Mr Wu’s representatives inspected the inside of the building in November 2022 together with representatives of Teddington Rugby Club, the Foundation, and the appointed architect at the time. In the two preceding months vandals had got on to the roof and created gaping holes through the tiling, skylights, and windows causing significant water ingress. It was jointly agreed that Mr Wu would undertake emergency roof repairs to avoid further the deterioration of the building interior

Despite written and verbal commitments in the period from November 2022 through to the present day nothing has been done to arrest the situation. Pictures speak a thousand words, and the images below tell a sorry tale.

To put this in context the history of this building must be remembered -

‘On 31st October 1917 a meeting of Old Merchant Taylors (“OMTs”) and parents met at the Merchant Taylors Hall to “consider the most fitting method of perpetuating the memory of OMTs who have fallen in the war”. The meeting resolved “that a committee be formed for the purpose of inviting donations to a fund to be applied as a lasting and visible record for those OMTs who have fallen in the war” with two purposes: “paying for the education of any son of an OMT who has fallen in the war or has been disabled” and the “erection of a permanent memorial”. On 31st October a new charity was registered under the War Charities 1916 Act. On 9th Feb 1922 and 13th March 1922, the Fund bought 12 acres of land in Teddington, that was for recreation and allotments that were part of the Udney Park Estate. 

The land cost £3,257 and a further £4,359 was invested to adapt them to playing fields. Further funds were raised in a new “Pavilion Fund”, which cost £5,058, including a £2,000 loan from the RFU.

The “MTS War Memorial Ground” was opened on 27th November 1922 by Viscount Cave, then the Lord Chancellor, and former WW1 Home Secretary. Among those present were two OMT Victoria Cross holders’, A.O. Pollard and J. C. Barrett. 311 fallen OMTs were commemorated. The OMTs then played their former co-tenants from Old Deer Park, Rosslyn Park FC, which ended remarkably in a 0-0 draw. The original tennis courts were also opened.’ 

It is not clear why Mr Wu has allowed this to happen. No doubt an argument will now be put before planners that it is not realistic to refurbish this building and that it needs to be demolished and replaced with a new structure.

It is sad that during a week when we are remembering all those who died during the D-Day landings, that this memorial pavilion for a previous generation who fell during the Great War should be treated with such disrespect.

 

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