Why we exist
When Henry Stephens died in 1918 he left Avenue House, his London home, and its gardens to Finchley Urban District Council ‘for the use and enjoyment always of the people’. It was a decade before the gardens were opened to the public, and then only after a court case between Stephens’ executors and the local people on one hand, and the Council, which wished to sell the estate for development, on the other.
In the late 1990s a group of local people became concerned that the Council (now the London Borough of Barnet) might once more wish to sell the estate. They agreed with the Council that they should form a charity to lease the whole estate and manage it for community benefit. Avenue House Estate Trust took a 125-year lease out from October 2002. A decade later, the whole of Stephens House & Gardens is operating profitably under the direction of the Trust and the grounds are being restored.
The Trust has a Board of nine Trustees. Seven are elected by the membership for three year terms, one is co-opted by the Board after being nominated by the Friends, and the ninth post is available for co-option by the Trustees. The Trustees have a wide range of skills to assist in the direction and management of the estate
Day to day management is in the hands of a General Manager, who is assisted by both paid staff and volunteers
There are currently some 124 members of the Trust. Membership is offered to the most enthusiastic users and supporters of the estate.
You can see the annual reports of the Trust for the last five years.