Wednesday 30 September 2020

Cllr Tatler moves swiftly to address concerns over Healthy Neighbourhood schemes

Cllrs Shama Tatler and Krupa Sheth are to hold meetings with ward councillors this week to discuss the experimental  Healthy Neighbourhood schemes in their area following concern about lack of consultation and practicality voiced at a councillor briefing earlier this week.

The councillors are assured by Cllr Tatler that there was no intention to ignore residents or permanently impose changes but to fulfil an ambition, shared by all, to have 'healthier, cleaner and greener' neighbourhoods. The email circulated to councillors says that there is no disagreement on the principle but that there is a need to iron out some of the implementation and teething issues as well as communication.

Councillors are told that no scheme wil be operational until residents have been written to in order to clarify  proposals, inform them of how they can comment and engage in the trials, and, importantly, a date on which schemes will go live. Tatler states that if a scheme is not working it will be amended or removed.

There will be regular communications with councillors on the monitoring process and updates for councillors and residents during the 6 month trial to ensure that all comments and feedback are tracked.

Covid restrictions permitting there will also be walkabouts with offices,

Cllr Tatler points out that in many areas, there are significant numbers of people, who do not have a car and that Brent Council has a responsibility to attempt to make the neighbourhoods we live in pleasant and safe environments.

She concludes that change, especially of necessity done at high speed,  is not easy but the potential benefits are huge and long lasting.

1 Morland Gardens – How Brent Council’s Officers got it wrong!

Guest blog, by Philip Grant in a personal capacity:-

Five weeks ago, I wrote about how Brent Council won its planning “victory” over 1 Morland Gardens, its redevelopment scheme for the Brent Start college in a locally listed Victorian villa in Stonebridge. I used that article as the basis for raising serious concerns over the conduct of Council officers with Brent’s Chief Executive, Carolyn Downs, and those concerns are still being investigated.


After the Planning Committee meeting on 12 August, and before I wrote that blog article, I submitted three Freedom of Information requests. It appeared to me that things had gone wrong with this scheme from the start, and I was looking for evidence of what had gone wrong, when and why. In the past two weeks I have received responses to those requests, and I will share the main points from them with you here, in the order in which the events happened.


As soon as Planning Committee had approved Brent’s application, by 5 votes to 2, the Council and its architects publicised in the construction and architectural press that the £43million scheme was going ahead (even though the application’s official status is still ‘awaiting decision’, and it has not yet gone back to the GLA for the Mayor’s Stage 2 consideration). One of the facts included in their press release was that Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture had been appointed for the scheme in September 2018, after winning a competition. One of my FoI’s was to discover more about that competition.


The cover of the winning entry by Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture.


The “competition” was actually an “invitation to quote” for the design of the Morland Gardens project, which Brent Property Services sent out to three firms in the summer of 2018. Among the details for the entries were:


'Part of the building is locally listed and will need to be factored into any design moving forward. The full site is in Brent council’s ownership as found in the site plan. It must be noted that some of the site is designated as public footpath which may require appropriation.'  And;


‘The scheme is defined as being able to achieve anywhere between 50-70 residential units. It is expected that the development potential will be maximised.’


Site perspective drawing of CLTH’s proposals, from cover of their entry.


The first of my growing list of blogs on 1 Morland Gardens, back in February, asked ‘Housing or Heritage? Or both?’. As you may have spotted from the illustrations above, the original answer to that question by the winning architects was “both”! Their planning assessment said:


‘Piecemeal development has built up around an Italianate Villa and does not make best use of the land available. There is a clear potential to redevelop the site as a co-ordinated whole, to provide better facilities for the existing uses, new workspace, as well as new housing.


The locally listed villa is of architectural merit and there is potential to retain the villa as the focus of new development at the heart of the new project.’


CLTH’s two development options.


The original Curl la Tourelle Head proposals ‘recognise(d) the existing strengths of the site by retaining the locally listed villa, enhancing its setting at the heart of a new shared collegiate courtyard.’ They put forward two options. The first, which stayed within the 1 Morland Gardens site, would provide 66 new homes, and keep the existing open space between it and Brentfield Road, with improvements to the 1994 Harlesden City Challenge community garden there. 


The second option took in the public footpath and open space, retaining a smaller garden area, but providing 89 new homes, as well as retaining the villa. This scheme would have been carried out in phases, allowing the college to be retained on site, rather than decanted to temporary accommodation. Both schemes would have provided homes in blocks a maximum of seven storeys high. 


It was clear that these were outline schemes, where detailed designs would have to be developed through discussions with the client, but on the face of it they provided everything that had been asked for. One of the case studies that CLTH had put forward, to illustrate their competence for taking on the project, was a recent scheme they had carried out in Islington, which involved adding a modern extension to a listed Victorian residential building. Here they would design modern buildings around another Victorian heritage building. Why didn’t Brent allow them to do that? The response to my next FoI throws some light on this point.


In my 20 August article, and based on information provided in the planning application documents, I wrote: ‘Brent’s Property team and their architects had their first pre-application meeting with Brent’s planning team on 8 March 2019.’ My FoI asked for the documentation around that meeting. On 28 January 2019, the architects had submitted a detailed “amended report” on their designs, and this said:


'The proposal puts forward a new purpose built Adult Education centre, with associated café and affordable workspace arranged around a new courtyard. Residential development sits above the education facility, and has the potential to house around 90 new build homes. The locally listed villa on the site is not retained, as the development cannot be achieved around this building.'


CLTH’s January 2019 retained villa option page.


This new document was to be used in a meeting that the Property team had arranged with ‘Cabinet members’ in early February. They had also asked CLTH to provide supporting evidence, in the form of outline designs, for a ‘retained villa option’. This exercise produced the result that up to 89 housing units could be provided if the locally listed villa was demolished, while only up to 49 units would be possible if it were retained. It appears that the project team at Brent’s Property Service were keen to convince relevant Cabinet members (Regeneration, Education?) from the start that the Victorian villa had to go.


Given Brent Council’s heritage assets planning policy, and its public statements that it valued the borough’s heritage buildings, and would protect them, why did the Property team think this would be acceptable? The answer to that was tucked away at Para. 7.2, on page 37 of the amended report. This summarises the ‘planning comments’ from a meeting they had held with an unnamed Brent Planning Officer on 18 December 2018 (nearly three months before the first official pre-application meeting!). Those comments included:


Locally listed building – it would be good to retain, but this is likely to be difficult without significantly affecting development quantum and therefore viability. We’re not likely to refuse a scheme due to loss of this building, but there is some planning risk associated with its loss.’


Despite Brent’s adopted policy on heritage assets, here was a member of Brent’s Planning Service actively encouraging his Property Service colleagues to break that policy!



The start of the minutes of the Planning Pre-Application meeting on 8 March 2019.


The first official meeting between Brent Property Service, as applicant, and its architects, with Brent’s Planning Service to discuss the 1 Morland Gardens scheme was on 8 March 2019. In my FoI request I had asked for a copy of the minutes of that meeting, and these had been made by Tibbalds, the planning agent appointed by to handle Brent’s application. As you can see above, the identities of the meeting participants have been redacted in the copy supplied to me. 


The main contributions from the Brent planning side were made by one officer, whose identity I can probably guess from the initials used in the minutes. However, as I’ve made clear that the serious concerns I raised are not a complaint against any individual officer(s), I will not disclose that identity here. This is what the minutes record under “locally listed building”, with the initials replaced by job titles:


i.               Planning Agent: Previous discussions with the council confirmed that not retaining the villa was acceptable in planning terms and would result in more comprehensive development.

ii.             Planning Officer: Heritage officer would prefer to keep it and highlighted risk that a spot listing could be applied.

iii.           Planning Officer: The building has lost a lot of its heritage value on account of internal changes.

iv.            Planning Officer: Heritage officer would like to arrange a site visit.

v.              Action: Architect to arrange site visit.


I would have expected, at this “first” pre-application meeting, that at least one of the three planning officers present would have mentioned Brent’s heritage assets planning policy DMP7, its requirement that applicants must demonstrate a clear understanding of the historic and architectural significance of the heritage building, and seek to retain it as part of their proposals. Instead, they appear to have gone along with the view that not retaining it was “acceptable”, and apart from saying that ‘the Heritage Officer would prefer to keep it’, the spokesperson for Brent’s planners actually talks down its value.


Brent’s planning officers have clearly treated the Council’s adopted heritage assets planning policy as if it did not matter. The locally listed building was "sacrificed" by Brent's planning team, even before the Heritage officer has been able to take a proper look at it, and on a very superficial view held by one of them, without any clear knowledge or understanding of the building's historical and architectural value!


The Heritage Officer was present at the Planning team’s Major Cases Forum meeting on 18 April 2019, when the pre-application for the 1 Morland Gardens scheme was discussed. The record of that meeting observed, under “Principle of Development” that: ‘Loss of locally listed building required to enable efficient re-development of site – argument has been put forward that an alternative scheme retaining the building would only provide 39 units; however could other options be explored?’ (Note the “villa retained option” has “lost” another 10 homes!)


At the meeting, the Heritage Officer put forward some ideas on how he thought that the scheme could be redesigned to retain the Victorian villa, which he still felt should not be demolished. After follow-up emails, the architects did submit some 'design packages on an updated retention scheme for the Villa and options for moving the Villa's tower,' on 14 May, but the link to those documents was redacted in the copy I received. It seems likely that these were the were the “revised retention scheme” designs shown as an Appendix to the Design & Access Statement which formed part of the planning application.


Those last “retained villa” designs were so impractical, compared to the original ideas that won the architects this contract. I doubt that they were ever intended to be of any use, other than so that the applicant could say that they had tried to find a solution which would allow the locally listed villa to be retained, when their client, Brent's Property Service, had already decided, no later than January 2019, that they would demolish the building in order to achieve the maximum number of homes as part of the redevelopment scheme.


My third FoI request was for emails etc. within Brent Council over the Heritage Officer’s response to the Heritage Impact Assessment of June 2020, and his final comments on the “significance” of the locally listed villa, and the preparation of the Planning Officer’s Report(s) to, and presentation of their case at, the Planning Committee on 12 August. Exactly twenty working days after my request, I received the Council’s response from the Head of Planning. He formally refused my request under Regulation 14 of the Environmental Information Regulations, 2004 (the EIRs), on the grounds that ‘internal communications’ are exempt under Reg. 12(4)(e) of the EIRs.


When he first acknowledged my request, I had said that I was puzzled as to why he would treat my FoI request as if it were under the EIRs, but had said ‘as long as the information is provided, as it should be under a normal FoI request, I will not make an issue of that point.’ It is now an issue, as I have expressed dissatisfaction with his refusal, and asked for an internal review by a senior Council Officer not connected with Brent’s Planning Service!


There is no equivalent exemption for ‘internal communications’ in the Freedom of Information Act, so I can see now why it suited Brent to deal with my request as if it were under the EIRs. But I was not asking for “environmental information” – it was not requesting copies of bat surveys(!), or anything else within that definition. The exemptions in Reg. 12 are subject to a public interest test, under which ‘a public authority shall apply a presumption in favour of disclosure.' 


According to the Head of Planning, emails etc. ‘provide the authority with the necessary space to discuss matters and provide advice in private.’ He believes this outweighs the public benefit of ‘openness and transparency of the consideration of the planning application.’ I believe that, if Brent’s planning officers have nothing to hide, it would be in the Council’s interest, as well as in the public interest, to supply the evidence that shows it. 


And if they have got something to hide, the serious concerns I have raised may well be justified.


Philip Grant.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods implementation criticised by councillors and residents


As an ex-daily cyclist (I stopped after several mini-strokes but am thinking of resuming) and keen environmentalist I am in favour of trying to reduce traffic on our streets and make them safe for cyclists and pedestrians so welcomed the Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods scheme but the opposition to experimental arrangements has taken me aback.  As a major initiative in 'building back better' and responding to the declaration of a Climate Emergency it was imperative that the Council took residents with them - that does not appear to have happened although social media is unlikely to be the best guide.


Community Facebook sites in Brent have been full of criticism of specific schemes in terms of practicality but  the most frequent complaint is lack of consultation with residents. Brent Council explains LINK:

In normal circumstances we would not implement a traffic scheme like this without comprehensive engagement with the local community first.  Because of the urgency required in dealing with The COVID-19 pandemic, the Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods will be introduced as a temporary scheme using an experimental traffic order.


Residents in affected areas will be sent a letter outlining the changes, and informing them that they can visit to have their say.


Whilst the experimental traffic order can last up to 18 months, public comments can be made during the first 6 months. A review will be conducted after 6 months and taking all comments into account a decision will then be made to make schemes permanent with or without amendment, or to remove schemes.

One Facebook contributor described the Council's implementation of the policy as 'cack-handed' (look up the origin of the expression - fascinating, apologies to left-handed people) and it does seem to have got the worthwhile project off on the wrong foot.


The Labour Group had a briefing on Healthy Neighbourhoods yesterday and apparently councillors were not happy with the backlash they are experiencing from residents and the majority were critical of the lack consultation and sharing of information with themselves as much as residents.


Brent Cycling Campaign have put up a brave fight in advocating for the changes, better than the Council's own media strategy on the issue, but it is an uphill task.  One would expect opposition from the pro-car lobby and they have been backed by Conservatives in many areas but concern goes wider than that and is often expressed by those who are sympathetic in principle.


Wembley Central resident, Jaine Lunn, expressed it well in an email  about the Harrow Road cycle lane which runs from the North Circular to Wembley Triangle:

Whilst I appreciate the need, would somebody please inform me who thought it was a good idea to convert the westbound Bus Lane into a Cycle Lane, how much research was done? Instead of reducing the size of the pavement/Footpath to accommodate cyclists.  It kind of defeats the object, I was under the impression this was there to help Public Transport move quickly.  All this has done is increase traffic congestion it now adds another 20 minutes to the journey.  As a cyclist who used to regularly use this route, I had no problem sharing the bus lane with Buses, and on occasion was quite happy to cycle on the very wide footpath if necessary.  These footpaths are very wide and do not have a great amount of footfall!  I do hope the powers that be come to their senses and revert back. 


On the opposite side Eastbound,  I find myself in crossing the lights at Neeld Crescent, and immediately having to swerve the bollards swing out in to oncoming traffic to ensure I am in the lane which has been reduced to barely the width of a bus or large truck, as the signage is not good and there is no grading to the cycle lane.  Absolutely nuts, and not thought out very well.  In particular I can see this becoming a hot spot for accidents/near misses.


The only good thing I witnessed was the ability of numerous E-Scooters using these lanes at  fast speed which appeared to be above the legal limit of 15 mph.






Our MPS & councillors must back this campaign: 10 Steps to End Our Cladding Scandal - the Video

 This is a national scandal with many local residents suffering as a consequence.  I hope our local MPs and councillors will get behind the campaign.

Monday 28 September 2020

Wembley Central resident warns of scooter delivery danger on the High Road pavement



Wembley Central resident Jaine Lunn has written to councillors, council officers and the Town Centre manager, drawing their attention to the problem of scooters using the pavement in Wembley High Road:

Dear All

On Saturday 19th September around 2-3 pm I counted 22 delivery scooters parked on the pavements outside KallKwiK nearr Nandos, and outside Al-Pasha Supermarket, close to the bus stop.  Aside from the fact there is no respect for Social Distancing, Covid19 rules, I witnessed several pedestrians being forced to jump out of the way at detriment to their own safety as these drivers collect their deliveries, jump on their bikes, start their engines and drive several metres along the pavement before accessing the road.  As a pedestrian with no mobility problems it's like an obstacle course, and for those who have mobility issues or people with pushchairs it amounts to the Council and Police abandoning their duty of care to the public.

There are 2 loading bays in the immediate vicinity of this location, outside Uncle ('Twin Towers' to you and me Ed) block, and then again outside nos 410 to 402 High Road, is it not possible to force them to park there?

In the absence of Serco/Enforcement unwillingness to challenge these idiots, it is against the Highway Code to drive on the pavement, and I seriously question how many of these Take Away Drivers have read it, or that they have taken the required CBT test or that its valid.


I did call the SNT/Police as it was so bad but no one turned up.  As I walked back home I noticed a BMW parked on the pavement just east of the Traffic Lights, outside Cerabau Romanesque.

Would you please take action against the huge number of Take Away Scooter Drivers, persistently parked on the pavement and DRIVING on the pavement, as a matter of urgency regarding public safety.

I have photo's and video as proof (See photographs above)
Jaine Lunn

Sunday 27 September 2020

Harrow Green Party protests against proposed tree removal by Kodak developers


Some familiar issues are emerging in our neighbouring borough that we are already having to deal with in Brent. The Green Party's GLA candidate for Brent and Harrow is taking up the issue of loss of trees through developments.

Harrow Green Party is standing against the Kodak site developers planning application to Harrow Council, requesting the removal of 26 existing trees along Harrow View Road.  The 26 trees proposed for removal are mature, well established trees (some 80 years plus), from a wide range of different tree groups, including Flowering Cherry, Norway Maple Crimson King, Apple, Common Lime, Silver Birch & Cherry Laurel.   A number of these trees are also protected by Tree Protection Orders (TPOs), which should mean they are legally protected from cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or destruction.  In addition, the developers are requesting clearance of several areas of self-set trees & heavy pruning of a number of other well-established trees. 

On what is already a very busy, overdeveloped and congested road leading into Harrow, Harrow Council should be doing everything it can to preserve the remaining trees we have so we do not end up with an ever more polluted, concrete corridor.  These are mature trees with a rich and complex ecosystem, something that cannot just be replaced by planting new trees.  Trees bring huge environmental benefits to every urban area, including, improving air quality, helping support people's health and mental wellbeing and providing an important habitat for wildlife. 

Emma Wallace, Green Party candidate for Brent & Harrow GLA candidate says, 

Harrow Council declared a climate emergency in the summer of 2019 and has committed to protecting Harrow's environment and its trees in its Climate Change Strategy 2019-2024.  It would be a betrayal of these commitments and extremely short sighted of Harrow Council to remove these precious, mature trees.  Harrow Council must reject this application.

Since Harrow Green Party highlighted this planning application, there has been an overwhelming response, with over 300 objections now submitted.  You can read every one of the 300+ objections and the reasons people have given as to why these trees must not be removed, under 'Documents' on the Planning Application

Please add your objection to the application on the Harrow Council site, here.

Granville Community Kitchen to launch 'Good Food Box' scheme in Kilburn in October


Some of the produce will come from the Granville Community Garden

Granville Community Kitchen is bringing all the goodness of the farmers market to you from Ocober.  We are making healthy food affordable for everyone by working with farmers, market gardeners and food producers at home and abroad.

We are offering fresh, seasonal local food and ethically sourced produce from here and abroad to ensure every culture has access to food

The Good Food Box is a radical weekly veg bag scheme, run by Granville Community Kitchen. Every Wednesday we pack bags of fresh, organic veg ready to feed households all over Kilburn. We charge two different prices for our veg bags (depending upon your ability to pay) so that nutritious fresh veg is available to the whole of the community. We offer foods from your culture, allowing you to access veg appropriate to your culture. We make sure to buy more directly from farmers so that they are guaranteed a fairer price. Every pound you spend with us is an investment in your local community.

For information and to register  visit:

Saturday 26 September 2020

Uncovering Kilburn’s History

 By popular demand we are pleased to publish a new local history series about Kilburn by Irina Porter of Willesden Local History Society.


 1. A postcard of Kilburn, c. 1930s. (From the internet -

Kilburn is an area in Brent, which grew around the intersection of the Roman road known as Watling Street (Edgware Road) and a local river of the same name. Kilburn lies south west of this stretch of the ancient thoroughfare, here called Kilburn High Road, between West End Lane and Queen’s Park. Kilburn has never been an administrative unit, and its boundaries are not defined. However, it has given us a rich and colourful history, which we will uncover here.


2. Kilburn, at the edge of a 1930s pictorial map of London and suburbs. (From the first AtoZ atlas and guide)

As with many a historic name, ‘Kilburn’ could have several origins. Some say it comes from a stream (Anglo-Saxon Kelebourne, which could have been ‘cold bourne’ (river), ‘cow’s bourne’ or ‘King’s bourne’). The stream used to run into the River Westbourne, which flows from Hampstead to the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Or it could be named after a Saxon called Cylla, used c. 1134 as Cuneburna). A variation of Kilnbourn could come from tile making industry in the area.


3. The course of the River Westbourne, marked on a modern street map. (Courtesy of John & Anne Hill)

The Kilburn Stream originated in Hampstead and went through what is now West Hampstead southwards. It ran parallel to the High Road along what is today’s Kingsgate Rd, then it passed under the Edgware Road at Kilburn Bridge. It joined the Westbourne near today’s Shirland Road, which flowed into the Serpentine and eventually into the Thames. In the 1860s the stream was culverted and became part of the sewage system.


4. The Kilburn area in 1790. (From an article by John & Anne Hill, in W.L.H.S. Journal No.49)

5. The bridge over the Kilbourne on West End Lane, as seen from the High Road, around 200 years ago.
    (From “Kilburn and West Hampstead Past” by Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms)

Here is an interesting fact, uncovered by Willesden Local History Society members John and Anne Hill, from an article they wrote in Volume 49 of our Journal: “Springfield Walk (near Belsize Road) has a set of very old steps that give access to Kilburn Priory.  We climbed the steps and, whilst we were taking photos of the house, we noticed the sound of rushing water.  In the middle of Kilburn Priory Road there is a drain cover – and beneath this drain cover flows the River Westbourne, Kilburn’s ‘lost river’ making its way to the River Thames.” 


 6. The River Westbourne drain cover, and its Springfield Walk location. (Photos by John and Anne Hill)

The area of Kilburn grew around where the Kilburn Brook crossed the Watling Street (now Edgware Road), which was an important route to the north since the Roman Times. Even before them, this was an ancient trackway used by the Britons (although the route may have followed Willesden Lane, Neasden Lane and Honeypot Lane to avoid the marshy valley of the River Brent at what is now Staples Corner). Soon after the Romans landed in Kent in AD43, they paved and straightened this road as their major route to the north west, via St.Albans, which they called Verulamium. They needed a fast route to take their legions towards North Wales, where the local tribes were resisting Roman rule. Some flint blocks from the Roman road were found in Kilburn in 1923, at a depth of about six feet.


7. A map of Watling Street, overlaid on the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica map of Roman Britain.

As well as enabling quick movement of troops and resources within the Roman province of Britannia, Watling Street has also served as a boundary. In 878, King Alfred of Wessex signed a treaty with Danish invaders, under which Alfred kept the southern side, and the Danes established Danelaw to the north. In 1599 Watling Street is mentioned as London Way, and later the Edgware Road. Our stretch of it has become the traditional boundary between Willesden, now in Brent, and Hampstead, now in Camden.


8. The Priory, Kilburn, 1750, as shown in a book illustration from 1878. (Internet – British History Online)

A community of Augustinian canonesses, Kilburn Priory was set up where the Watling Road crossed the Kilburn brook in the 12thcentury. Now Belsize Road meets Kilburn High Road here. Around 1130 a hermit called Godwyn set up a small cell (hermitage) near a holy well (medicinal spring) here. In 1134 he gave his place to Westminster Abbey. Three nuns – Emma, Gunhilda and Christina – established a Benedictine (later referred to as Augustinian) nunnery. They were probably former maids of honour to Queen Matilda of Scotland, the wife of Henry I of England, who became nuns after the Queen died.

Godwyn remained the warden until he died, and a Chaplain would be appointed to oversee the nuns. They worshipped in the church dedicated to St. John the Baptist and prayed for the soul of the brethren who once belonged to Westminster. The priory was endowed with lands in Kensington, Kent, Southwark, Tottenham and Hendon. It also owned ‘the manor of Wymbley’. 


9. The seal of Kilburn Priory in 1536, and Emma de Sancto Omero, Prioress of Kilburn c.1400.
    (Images from “Kilburn and West Hampstead Past” by Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms)

The Priory was a stopping place for pilgrims on their way to the shrines at St. Albans, and later Willesden also. According to the customs of the time, it provided food and shelter to travellers, both rich and poor. Pilgrims had to travel through woods, which afforded hiding places for robbers, particularly at the foot of the nearby Shoot-up Hill, and a safe resting place was very helpful for pilgrims to form groups, so they could travel together for protection. This hospitality proved a burden on the Priory, and by the middle of 14th century it was found in financial trouble by the Bishop of London and in 1352 was exempt from taxes. By the end of the century its buildings were in decay.

The Priory continued to support travellers for 400 years, so it never became wealthy. In 1536, Henry VIII dissolved the Priory, whose seal at the time, showing John the Baptist wearing a camel-hair garment, is seen above. The inventory details the rooms and furniture for the church, house, brewhouse and bakehouse, as well as some wall hangings, candesticks, two silver chalices and goblets. There was also ‘one horse of the coller of blacke’, valued at 5s.

Henry VIII gave Kilburn Priory to the Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem in exchange for a piece of land in Southwark. That Order was also dissolved, four years later, and the Kilburn estate reverted to the crown. It was given to the King’s courtier, the Earl of Warwick, then passed through the hands of various landowners. The Uptons, who owned the land in the 19th century, built the Church of St. Mary on a site adjoining the ancient chapel. By then the main house and surrounding land was known as Abbey Farm, comprising about 45 acres. However, nothing remained of the original priory, except a ‘rising bank… and ruined walls’.

 10. The Remains of Kilburn Priory, from a book published in 1814. (Image from the internet)

Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms write in their book ‘Kilburn and West Hampstead Past’: “When the railway was cut through in the autumn of 1852, some pottery, a few coins and a bronze vessel, all medieval, were found at the Priory site and these were put on display at the Archaeological Institute.” A sad epitaph for a historic local building!

I hope you will join me next week, as we explore why Kilburn became a visitor attraction.

Irina Porter,
Willesden Local History Society.



Special thank you to local historian Dick Weindling, author of 'Kilburn and West Hampstead Past' and History of Kilburn and West Hampstead blog (