The Bernays Memorial Institute has been a familiar and well-loved landmark and focal point in Stanmore Village for over 140 years.
It was built as a memorial to Ernest Bernays, an undergraduate at New College, Oxford, who met a sudden and untimely death by drowning on 31st August 1870 whilst on holiday in Ireland. Ernest, the eldest son of Rev. Leopold Bernays (rector of Stanmore 1860-1883), was buried in the churchyard of St. John's the Evangelist, Great Stanmore on 6th September 1870. He was 22 years old.
An indenture dated 8th April 1871 records that part of the glebe land was sold by Leopold Bernays on behalf of the church commissioners for "the erection of any messuage or buildings to be used as a library or reading or lecture rooms" for the education and recreation of the inhabitants of the parish of Great Stanmore.
The Institute built on that land was designed and erected under the superintendence of architect J.T. Barker at a cost of £1,470. The contractors for the building were H. Lawford (brickwork), G. Kirby (carpentry) and J. Dorricot (plumbing). It was opened on 8th December 1871 by Lord George Hamilton of Bentley Priory.
The Institute is a fine example of a purpose-built parish hall: an ornate church-like building of red brick with Bath stone dressings, and with a clerestory inserted into a steeply sloping Welsh slate roof with ornamental hip and ridge tiles. Faience tiles built into the front elevation record, "ERNEST BERNAYS MEMORIAL INSTITUTE, AUG 31 1870".
142: Watford Junction to Brent Cross
340: Edgware Station to Harrow Bus Station
H12: Stanmore Station to South Harrow Bus Station
615: Hatfield Business Park to Rayners Lane Station (Monday to Friday)
Parking: Hirers may bring two vehicles onto the righthand forecourt to park and offload supplies, etc. There is parking for guests vehicles in the slip roads opposite, whereby a charge of 50p per hour is payable Monday-Saturdays from 8am-6.30pm. After 6.30pm and all day Sundays it is free to park in the slip roads as well as the Council car park at the back of the North side of The Broadway. The Sainsburys car park next door is free for 1.5 hours. (Top end of Glebe Road next to the hall has 24 hour parking restrictions, apart from disabled parking outside.