Mrs. Thatcher defends this historic house
“I'd buy it myself”
“If I were a millionaire I'd buy it myself” ! So said Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Finchley's MP, after making a tour of inspection of Brent Lodge on Tuesday.
With Ald. Emil Grant and Ald. R. J. Norman of Finchley Council, the Borough Housing Officer (Mr. Halstead) and other officials, she saw the rooms of tenants, the grounds and the cellars.
Mrs. Thatcher said she had come to see for herself after reading letters in the Finchley Press and others she had received personally from constituents.
Mr. Halstead pointed out parts of the structure which were ‘beyond repair’ and said it was uneconomical to use the rooms as flats. Retorted Mrs. Thatcher: “But I don't think it is the function of the Council to house people in ancient monuments” .
Asked what the rateable value of the property was, Council officials replied they were unable to answer her.
Ald. Grant said that local societies who wanted to use Brent Lodge for their activities were not thinking of the high costs they would have to face.
Mrs. Thatcher agreed, saying: “It's very beautiful, and worth preserving. But in the end it all comes down to pounds shillings and pence.”
The party looked over the building for more than an hour.