River Brent - West Hendon

River Brent
The Brent flows south and west and enters the Brent Reservoir/Welsh Harp.

Post to the east Brent Cross

Post to the south Dollis Hill

Brent View Road
Built by Mr. Bishop in 1881
Hendon Islamic Centre. This was the Alexandra Works, used as a warehouse until 1995 and previously electrical engineers. It had previously been Hendon Alexandra Working Mens Club.  It has also been said that it was King’s Hall, which became the Bioscope Cinema.

Cool Oak Lane
8 Normal Propeller Co. 1930s

Coles Green Road
Trading units
Staples Corner Business Park

Edgware Road
Watling Street. This is the Roman Road to St. Albans and the north, but ‘Watling’ is a Saxon word. From 1711 it was part of the Edgware-Kilburn Turnpike Trust, who improved it.
Brent Bridge. Called The Harp Bridge in the early 19th because of its nearness to the pub. It was rebuilt when the reservoir was built but the river is now culverted under the road. The reservoir was once considerably wider under the road and the bridge rebuilding would have been to cover this.
Welsh Harp Pub.  It is said that it was used by drovers bringing animals from Wales.  It was known as the Old Welsh Harp after the Upper Welsh Harp was built further north. A music hall song praised its attractions as a leisure venue after the reservoir was built and the landlord owned the fishing rights.  He also ran a race track until stopped by Parliament and the first cycle race was held here in 1868. It is said the first greyhound racing using mechanical hares was put on here inn 1876. There were said to be 'nasty incidents' among visitors to events and crime and violence were not uncommon.  In another incident a bear escaped from a menagerie. The pub was rebuilt in 1937 ‘on up to date lines’ and was an Ind Coope house, but it was demolished for the Staples Corner flyover.
Welsh Harp Station. Opened in 1870 by the Midland Railway and constructed by J.E. Hall.  It was only 600 yards south of Hendon Station and was built for leisure traffic going to the reservoir. It was on the north side of the road on a small slip road – it is said some cobbles on this old entrance road remain. The line was widened in 1890 and the station was rebuilt.  It closed as trade declined in 1903. The station building remained there until the 1970s.

Geron Place
Big shed shops and trading units
Cineworld Cinema. This was planned by Cineplex-Odeon and opened as the Cannon Staples Corner in 1991. It was taken over by Virgin Cinemas in 1995, and later by Union General Cinematographique.

There were plans since the 1920s for a motorway network but enabling legislation was not in place until 1949. The M1 was Britain's first full-length motorway and opened in 1959 with the section between Luton and Rugby. The final section was opened in 1977 to Staples Corner which was called Junction 1 It meets the North Circular at a junction where roads exist at different heights with a roundabout. It had been planned for it continue to Hampstead to meet the proposed London Motorway Box and the layout of the Staples Corner junction was built to allow for this, but the plan was cancelled in the early 1970s. 

North Circular Road
This section of the North Circular appears to cover an area which was once an extension of the Brent Reservoir – essentially a widening of the River Brent.
Staples Corner. The interchange has two linked roundabouts and flyovers, which connect the North Circular with the A5 and the bottom end of the M1. Between the two roundabouts is the Midland Main Railway Line also carrying the Thameslink line. The interchange appears to have been designed to carry the M1 further south – with the stub now used to carry traffic from the North Circular.
Staples Corner Flyover. This was built in 1976, and runs for half-mile-long as an elevated road of prestressed concrete with transverse beams in the deck. 
Staples Mattress. This factory was designed by Ambrose Heal who had acquired the UK patent rights for a system of internally sprung mattresses from a US inventor, called John Atkinson. The factory was eventually taken over by Myers beds and in 1986 moved away.  The factory was taken by B&Q and is now a stationery warehouse, also called Staples
1000 Kemp Empress Biscuit Works designed and built by Wallis Gilbert in 1930. George Kemp himself lived at Copped Hall in nearby Totteridge from where he gave money to the Agepomonites. Kemp’s had other factories, including at Grimsby and Manchester and had been in partnership with Scribbans, as Scribbans Kemp, since the 1920s and in 1972 became part of United Biscuits. The building was requisitioned in the Second World War and used for engine assembly by De Havilland. In 1966 the building was taken over by National Cash Registers.

Park Road
This was Upper Gutters Hedge Lane leading to Guttersedge Farm– now the site of schools.
Park Road Youth Community Centre
Parkfield Children’s Centre

Midland Railway main line. This runs through the area of Brent Sidings parallel to the A5. The line between Brent and Elstree was planned in the early 1860s and contracted to Waring Bros. The work was halted in 1866 following heavy rain and loss of the workforce. The contract was then undertaken by Joseph Firbank and the first goods train ran 1867.  This was a through line and not designed for local stops.
Brent Viaduct in nineteen-arches across the Brent at Staples Corner.  Built in 1867 to go over an arm of the Brent Reservoir and widened c. 1895.  No longer impressive, as the reservoir and its valley has been partly filled in and the whole area altered for the junction of the North Circular Road and the M1. It is 30 feet high and originally carried four rail tracks. Two tracks were added on each side in the early 1890s so there is a different style on each side of the viaduct and features can be seen showing where the extension was built.
Brent sidings – the extensive rail sidings south of what was Brent Bridge were built by the Midland Railway and used largely for coal traffic.
Midland Railway Gas Works. Gas Works built by the Midland Railway in 1876 to supply its local railway stations The G.L. & C. Co. tried to purchase this works in 1877.  It had had annual output of 80 million cubic feet of gas.  The works had its own sidings from the main line and had two holders on the west side of the works. It was closed down in 1928

St David’s Place
School is the site of Brent Hill Farm. Previously Gutters Hedge Farm home of Pettit Smith, inventor of the screw propeller. Also at the farm was the Normal Gunpowder Co. making shot gun cartridges 1898-1940
Parkfield Primary School.  This was the site of St David’s County Secondary School for Boys which became part of Hendon School and moved from here in 1978. The school had been built here in 1964 and was itself the merger of other secondary schools one of which was Brent Secondary Modern School in Sturgess Avenue. The new school was to be called the Grahame-White School but White's family did not give permission for this and instead it was called St.David’s.  The Brent School building was subsequently demolished, but the St David’s school buildings became Parkfield Primary and Nursery School and new buildings have now been added, and older ones replaced.

The Broadway
Philex House, art deco building
Raw Spice. Asian restaurant which was previously the Upper Welsh Harp pub. This was built in 1865 at the junction of Cool Oak Lane and Edgware Road. It was a Beskins of Watford house

Clunn, The face of London,
Connor. Forgotten Stations
Field. London place names
Form and Fancy. Web site.
GLIAS Newsletter
HADAS. Web site
Hendon Mosque. Web site
Grace’s Guide. Web site.
M1.Wikipedia Web site.
Parkfield Primary School. Web site.
Petrie. Hendon and Golders Green Past
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Smiths industries
Staples. Web site
Stewart. Gas works in the North Thames Region
Walford. Village London


Steve Bird said…
In the 1970s-80s, Philex House was the headquarters of the East German Trade Delegation, believed to be a front for an espionage operation.
M said…
Steve - thank you very much, that is really interesting. Do you know who built it and what it was originally. It looks a really interesting building but I could find nothing out about it - on some later maps there are two little things at the back of it. What are they??
Are you the Labour Historian??
Anonymous said…
I was looking for 2 West View on a map but it doesn't seem to exist anymore - do you know what the building is now? (My Grandmother was in service there).
Anonymous said…
Was looking for maps of lower fosters council estate as I resided there during the 1960s

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