Saturday 14 March 2020

Take a Trobridge Walk in Kingsbury

Sketch map for Trobridge Walk No.4
Guest post by Philip Grant

The weather is fine and you’re feeling well, so no need to self isolate. But sports events are cancelled, mass gatherings are banned, and you’re fed up with watching repeats on TV or bingeing on box sets. You still want to follow the sensible social distancing advice, but you also want to be outside and getting some exercise. Why not take a Trobridge Walk?

You remember that there was a blog last month about an exhibition at Kingsbury Library, celebrating the life and work of the architect Ernest Trobridge LINK . It said that you could pick up free self-guided walk leaflets, so that you could go out and enjoy some of Trobridge’s beautiful designs for yourself. 

GOOD NEWS! You don’t even have to go to the library to get hold of the leaflets. Information about the exhibition is now on the Brent2020 website, and this includes “deluxe” illustrated versions of the walks LINK . You will need to scroll down the information page, but there you will find pdf documents for each of the four self-guided Trobridge walks, which you can download to use at any time convenient to you.

You can get to the start of each of the walks by bus (follow the health advice to keep at least one metre away from other passengers), if you don’t live close enough to get there on foot. Walks 1 and 4 are fairly level, while walks 2 and 3 involve some steeper hills. The choices are:

1.     Thatched timber cottages – from Kingsbury Road (buses 183, 204, 302, 324)
2.    Cottages to castles – up Buck Lane, from Hay Lane (buses 204 or 324)
3.    The “castle” blocks of flats – from Kingsbury Green (buses 83, 183, 302)
4.    Old St Andrew’s Mansions – from Blackbird Hill (buses 182, 245, 297, 302)

The Trobridge family at “Hayland” in the 1920s (courtesy of Brent Archives)

Trobridge Walk No.1 will introduce you to the architect’s first two estates of thatched timber homes, including the FernDene Estate which he began in 1920. One of these houses, “Hayland”, is where Ernest and Jennie Trobridge lived with their family from 1921. Trobridge died in 1942, aged just 58 (he was a diabetic and refused to take insulin, then produced as a by-product from slaughtered cattle, because of his strict vegetarian principles), but “Hayland” is still owned by one of his grandchildren.

You can also pass “Hayland” on the way back from walks 2 and 3. But remember that all of the Trobridge designed buildings you will see on the walks are peoples’ homes, so please respect their privacy.

“Hayland” from the corner of Roe Green Park in 2018

Even though there are no thatched cottages on Trobridge Walk No.4, there are still some amazing design features in his 1930s maisonettes at Old St Andrew’s Mansions. There are also links from this pdf to other local history articles on the Brent Archives website, about Blackbird Farm and St Andrew’s Old Church (after which this development was named).

6 & 7 Old St Andrew’s Mansions, Old Church Lane

I hope you will welcome the opportunity these walks offer, to discover some of the interesting buildings that the north of Brent has, and find out more about the story behind them. There will be views you’ll want to take photos of with your ‘phone or camera. Share these with your friends on Instagram or other social media, and encourage them to take a Trobridge Walk!

Philip Grant

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