SOME years ago, in the civic centre foyer, there used to be a sculpture of a lumberjack. But this one was different: not content with having felled the tree, the figure was embedding an axe in the stump, splitting it still further.
I though this might be a clue to Harrow's attitude to trees.
On a recent visit, venturing up Station Road to Harrow from Wealdstone, I was struck how grey and drab. For sure there were glossy four by fours in abundance; the shiny fronts of new shops; the wider roads and improved tarmac surfaces.
But something was missing. Prince Charles's immortal words about 'carbuncles' echoed through my mind as I studied the architecture, but I decided even the buildings weren't responsible for the depressing demeanor.
By now, I was halfway up Station Road, just past Hindes Road, I scanned for greenery. Save for the
oasis of flora adorning the garden of St John's church in the distance, there wasn't a tree in sight.
Long gone were the ones that lined the service roads either side of the main thoroughfare; as too had vanished the leafy chesnuts at the top of Sheepcote road. There was a time when Harrow was renowned for its 'leafy' heritage and took pride in its tree-lined roads. But alas no more.
Perhaps there are those in Harrow who think trees count for nothing. They might consider that once upon a time, it was its leafy image that made Harrow such a 'des-res'. Cast an eye back to John Betjeman and the virtues he bestowed on the borough his Metroland series, and it was the greenery and tree-lined surburban streets that made Harrow great.