Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Work starts on mowing Wembley French School's meadows

Flower beds in formr times
Today after the 'meadow' was cut back

Cutting waits to be completed on the south side of the steps

 It was probably a coincidence but following a flutter of comments on Twitter at the weekend, work started today cutting the grass back in the former municipal gardens in front of the Lycee de Londres  previously Brent Town Hall and before that Wembley Town Hall.

It is a rough and ready job and still lots of litter around but let's hope it is the first stage in a restoration of what was once a source of local pride.


Philip Grant said...

Like much of Wembley and Kingsbury, this piece of land was a meadow for hundreds of years before it was built on!

Around one hundred years ago, this field provided grazing for the ponies of a polo club, which had its polo ground on the flatter land at the top of the hill (Greenhill). The road alongside the town hall / Lycee site was called "The Paddocks" because of this.

One lady, who has shared her memories with me, was born in a cottage at Blackbird Farm (where her father was a cowman) in 1920. She remembered being taken for a walk along Forty Lane as a little girl, and seeing soldiers in skirts camping in this field! This must have been a Scottish regiment, taking part in a military tattoo at Wembley Stadium as part of the British Empire Exhibition in 1924.

So, a blog article about cutting the grass can remind us of some interesting local history!

Philip (with my Wembley History Society hat on).

Martin Francis said...

Thanks Philip.I had thought one of my aunts was a labourer at Blackbird Farm but I am not sure if the dates fit. Do you know when it stopped being a working farm? She was certainly a labourer at Bush Farm during WW2 as I have a picture of her hay making there,

maggie vickers said...

If my parents were still alive they might have been able to help fill in a bit more detail on this but sadly they are now long gone. When I have a chance I will ask an 86 year old lady I know who was born in Kingsbury and lived there until she moved to Wembley just after WW2 and has a wealth of memories and stories.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't assume the 'soldiers in skirts' were Scots, Philip. There were some rum goings-on in HM Forces in the 20s, by all accounts.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's too much to hope that the French School will cut the rest of the grass, erect some goalposts, paint white lines and then host YouMow 2016 in Wembley.
Vraiment, le football rentrer a la maison!

Mike Hine

Philip Grant said...


I believe that Blackbird Farm stopped being a working farm around 1923/24. Its dairy herd was hit by foot and mouth disease, and one of the last jobs that Doris's father (the cow man) had to do was to shoot the cattle.

By 1924, its farm land was being sold off for development as the "Kingsbury Hill Estate". Doris's family were rehoused on Kingsbury Urban District Council's first council estate, at High Meadow Crescent, at the end of 1924.

The farmhouse (parts of which dated from Tudor times) remained until the 1950's, when it was demolished to make way for "The Blackbirds" public house.


Jaine Lunn said...

Thought last week it was looking a bit shabby and it needed a mow. Great minds think alike Mike.

Anonymous said...

...Or perhaps the Lycee would like to take things the full circle. They could get 3 or 4 cows and a couple of goats, call it an urban farm and supply the Asda across the road with really locally sourced speciality dairy products or open their own farm shop. Just think of the skills the students will acquire - ranging from animal husbandry and caring for animals (boosting their own immune systems in the process), proper "hands-on" business skills, business accounting, marketing skills and how to survive in business. Just think of the Headstart they will have over their peers when they leave school with this on their CVs. They may well go on to become Baron Sucres.
What do you think Mike?