About Us

The Friends of Canons Park is a community group set up in 2003 to support Harrow Council in their bid for a lottery grant. The council were successful in gaining a Heritage Lottery Grant which was used to restore and improve the facilities of the park. Our aims are to work with the Council on the restoration project and beyond, and encourage greater use and enjoyment of our historic local green space.

The Friends liaise with Council officers and other local interest groups (e.g. Canons Park Residents' Association), organise regular bird watching walks in the park, hold an annual Family Fun Day in the park, and generally get involved in issues relating to the park and the surrounding area. For an overview of what we have achieved over our 10 year history, click here.

Anyone who is interested in the Park, its history, or how it can be improved for the future is welcome to join the Friends.

THE DUKE OF CHANDOS, Corruption and Canons:

The Duke was, until the South Sea Bubble in 1721, one of the wealthiest men in England. His fortune may have been around £712,000 (equivalent to about £102 million in today's money). The British army was deployed across Europe at this time to fight against the French in the War of the Spanish Succession. Every penny for the army went through Chandos' hands; the office was a byword for corruption and the suspicion was that Chandos enriched himself at the country's expense, and he certainly spent extravagantly at Canons.

Research done in the last 50 years or so shows that one way he did this was to indulge in what today would be called insider trading, using his knowledge of war plans. He also played international exchange rates to his advantage. Perhaps his most profitable scheme was to rake off a percentage of all monies that went through his own account to the troops abroad. However, this is not as straighforward a case of corruption as it seems. The remittance of money abroad through official channels was a very slow process, and Chandos was able to guarantee that troops would receive their pay on time, sometimes taking risks by using his own money until Treasury money was forthcoming. For this, the armies abroad were prepared to accept a percentage take for the Duke. So perhaps he was guilty of greed and corruption, but what he did helped to make sure the war effort was successful and save Britain's independence.

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