WIMBLEDON AND PUTNEY COMMONS EXTENSION FUND.
[To THE EDITOR or THE " SPECTATOR."]
Sin,—The Trustees of the London Parochial Charities have lately made a grant of 2L000 and the Clothworkers' Company of £100 to the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Extension Fund. In expressing their sense of obligation for this oppor- tune aid, the Council of the Fund desire to make it known that a sum of about £4,000 is still required to bring up the new open spaces on the west side of the Beverley Brook to the line of the projected Arterial Road. Although Wimbledon Common is the only great sub-Metropolitan open space which is provided at the exclusive cost of the local residents, and although £35,000 has been locally raised for the present effort to save its amenities from grave injury, the private and corporate wealth of London has as yet contributed less than £5,000. The Fund must very soon be closed, and the Council trust that before the opportunity is lost for ever the obligation of London in a matter which concerns so closely the wellbeing of its inhabitants will be adequately recogniZed. It is some- times lightly said that "the villa residents round the Common are rich enough to save their own pleasure-ground." This is a strange inversion of the equities of the case. Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath coat the local community £4,000 a year in the shape of a special rate, and all classes of London enjoy them free of charge. No doubt those who live close by have the primary advantage. But those who live near Epping Forest and Hampstead Heath have a corresponding advantage in respect of their delightful tracts of grass and woodland. Yet Hampstead Heath is provided almost wholly at the expense of the Metropolitan rates, and the whole cost of Epping Forest is borne by the Corporation of London. Our local communities have further, for the special purpose now in view, supplied three-fifths of the whole amount required. Hardly any resident has any interest in saving Kingston Vale other than the fulfilment of his duty to the people of London in the long future, and we may fairly claim to have shown an unprecedented example of public spirit. It remains for others outside the district to decide whether our work is to fall short of the need owing to a no less unprecedented display of indifference—would it be wrong to say ingratitude ?—in the Metropolis.
The announcement that the King would review the Terri- torial Forces on the familiar ground served to remind thousands of wealthy and patriotic citizens of one of the many services which the Common renders to the public. Now that Hyde Park has been adopted as an alternative, the necessary exclusion of cavalry and artillery from the field emphasizes the advantage of the ampler space. The value of the Wimbledon-Putney plateau as a military training ground will be very greatly increased by the addition of the new lands, which for the first time renders the western bank of the Beverley Brook accessible and available. This, it should be known, is the deliberate judgment of the authorities of the Metropolitan Territorial Association, and their opinion is confirmed by the significant fact that in a year when the claims of National Defence are in other directions so exacting the War Office proposes a vote of £250 as a contribution to the Extension Fund. In itself, the subvention is not substantial, and we may well look to the friends of the Territorial Force to supplement it. Many bird-lovers have helped us to save their favourite haunts by the Beverley. Those who are concerned for efficiency in arms ought not to be less zealous. I shall be glad to furnish full informa- tion and to give explanations on points of detail to anyone who may be disposed to assist. Messrs. H. S. King and Co., 9 Pall Mall, S.W., are the bankers of the Fund.—I am,