Silk Stream - Colindale Aerodrome and Station

Silk Stream
The Silk Stream flows east and south

Industrial and trading area around the old airfield, with its Museum and other public facilities

Post to the west Colindale

Post to the east Hendon Town Hall

Aerodrome Road
An extension of Colindale Avenue. Built by German prisoners of war during the Great War to serve aircraft hangars for Grahame-White Aviation.  From 1909 it was a showcase for flying, In 1914 the Grahame White factory was requisitioned as a Royal Naval Air School  and an AAP and operated as a defensive airfield until 1916. Many storage sheds were built and in 1925 it became a Royal Airforce Fighter Station until 1949. Since 1963 it as been the RAF Museum. Many original structures remain. 
Sheds were established by the London Aerodrome Co. along the southern boundary of the airfield in 1910 and erected by Smith & Co. of Stratford. By 1911 it was owned by Claude Grahame-White.   The sheds continued to be used by a number of small flying schools – The Blackburn School, The Temple School, the Deperdussin School, The Ewen School, Breuget Manufacturing Co. Later, in the early years of the Great War, flying schools there included the Beatty School, the Handley Page School, London and Provincial Aviation Co.  By 1917 they had all been relocated.
Aeronautical Syndicate founded by Horatio Barber making Valkyrie canard monoplanes in one of the original 1911 sheds.  He gave four of these to the government. They built Viking bi-planes in 1912. In 1912 they were taken over and became AIRCO and eventually became part of Handley Page.
The Blériot School was in one of the original 1911 sheds staffed by Pierre Prier, and Norbert Chereau. Frank Hedges Butler was their first pupil.
Graham-White Flying School moved here from Brooklands in 1911, and included workshops moved here from Walham Green. He manufactured an American Burgess plane as Grahame-White Baby.
Chanter Flying School. In one of the sheds in 1911. The owner was also the instructor and pupil. Left later in 1911 and went to Shoreham.
Little Hendon. On the south side of the road and used by the Graham-White school from 1917
No. 2 Aircraft Acceptance Park. 14 Storage sheds were erected on the south east corner of the airfield to accommodate the aeroplanes bought from America during the Great War. The R.F.C. then started flying from Hendon from February to May 1916.
Hangars on the north side if the road became Grahame-White's small car, aircraft and furniture business 1919- 1925. By 1920 over they were producing 100 cars per week. Two of these sheds became the first General Motors assembly building.
Skywriting Corporation, based there from 1922 with smoke-generator. Skywriting - writing a message with smoke from an aircraft, began in England after World War I by John C. Savage, RAF at Epsom Downs, in 1922. This was taken to the US and the Corporation was an American company.
W.C. Gaunt & Co. motor car manufacturers, and Packard dealers. Billy Gaunt was a ‘colourful entrepreneur’ from Bradford. Becoming a multi-millionaire in the wool trade, a London theatre owner and much else, he died the owner of just a small petrol station.
Delco-Light Co., electrical dealers on site here in 1923, The Delco-Lights was an American firm developed in 1916 and consisted of complete electric power systems for farms and other remote buildings. It consisted of a generator which fueled a battery. By the early 1920s they had a huge factory in Dayton Ohio. By the mid-1920s they had also developed and were making the first Frigidaire refrigerators and had become part of General Motors.
Tylor Engineering Company Ltd, engine manufacturers on site here in 1923. The firm dated from 1906 when they were at Belle Isle. They supplied engines for tanks and buses and some of their engines exist and are restored. The firm was a subsidiary of an old established brass founder and in the early 1920s this engine building works was moved to a purpose built site in New Southgate designed by Wallis Gilbert. Tylors moved to Hendon in the early 1920s because of financial difficulties and the New Southgate factory eventually became Standard Telegraphs and Cables works
Aerofilms Ltd, aerial photographers. This was the first British commercial aerial photography company, founded in 1919 by Francis Wills and Claude Grahame White.  Initially they used aircraft of the London Flying School from Stag Lane but later from AIRCO. In the 1920s they carried out vertical photography for survey purposes and later pioneered mapping from aerial photographs, with the Ordnance Survey as a client. From In 1925they were based at Hendon. In the Second World War they formed the Allied Photographic Interpretation Unit at Medmenham. Post-war work with Hunting Surveys Ltd has resulted in a huge library of historic aerial pictures and their library has been sold to English Heritage by their current Norwegian owners, Blom.
Angus Sanderson Ltd. In site here in 1923. The car was intended to be mass produced as Ford had done so successfully. It used an engine from Tylor. They made about 3000 until they were undercut by Morris. They went out of business in 1927.
Western Electric Company Ltd. This was the manufacturing branch of the American Bell Telephone Company which had come to Europe in 1882 and London in 1883. This eventually became Standard Telephones and Cables. The company bought the New Southgate site built by Tylor in 1922. This was not enough however and in 1925-26 they took on premises at the north side of Aerodrome Road where radio transmitters and receivers were made; laboratories were set up in the former London Country Club. It was here they began to develop polyethene.  The site closed in the early 1930s and became part of the Police College. The Alderman Cafe from the 1924-25 Wembley Exhibition site had been re-erected at Hendon and was transferred to New Southgate as an early self-service cafeteria.
Government Lymph Establishment. In 1881 the Local Government Board established an Animal Vaccine Station to supply lymph for vaccination. In 1907 three units were amalgamated to form the Government Lymph Establishment at Hendon. It was tasked to have sufficient vaccine to meet epidemic emergencies, and undertake research. In 1919 it was taken over by the Ministry of Health and it was closed in 1946
Franco-British Electrical Co. Illuminated Signs. Established here in 1922.  They had made the lights for the Franco British Exhibition of 1908 and later installed the neon signs for which Piccadilly was famous from the 1920s.
Bronze statue of Sir Robert Peel, by William Behnes.  When Peel died suddenly the Cities of London, Leeds and Bradford commissioned this statue. It was erected in 1855 on the site of what is now St. Paul’s Station. Because of traffic it was supposed to be moved to the Bank of England, but was taken down and not put up.  In 1951 it was put into Postman’s Park and in 1974 went to the Police College. It is now standing in the public area of a private estate there.
Aircraft factory, for Hendon Aerodrome. This was built for the Grahame-White Aviation Company by Herbert William Matthews. Between 1915-1916. The Aerodrome Road elevation is red brick single storey with a "GW" monogram cover the central door. More lies behind some of which has been moved.
Metropolitan Police College. The college was opened in 1934 in the buildings of Hendon Country Club which had been used previously as laboratories of the Standard Telephones and Cables. The original idea was for a military-style cadet establishment to train college graduates entering the service as officers.  The college was closed during the Second World War and reopened as a College for all police entrants. In 1960 the Police rebuilt the college, as the new Peel Centre, named after Sir Robert Peel
Hendon Country Club, Claude Grahame-White established what he saw as a gentleman’s flying club at Hendon in 1919 when he established the London Flying Club with its own separate airfield on the southern side of Aerodrome Road. It has a with a flying school, a sixty-room red brick clubhouse with London’s best ballroom and fifty accommodation rooms, thirty tennis courts, two polo fields and plans for an 18 hole golf course. Grahame-White used golf architect Dr. Alister Mackenzie to design the golf course.  In 1920 the name was changed to the London Country Club. Unfortunately in 1922 the Northern Line extension went through the planned golf course which meant it has to be compressing between the railway line and Aerodrome Road. In 1925 Grahame-White was forced to close the London Country Club, and the clubhouse. The tennis courts and polo grounds had been closed, but the golf course was kept open. It had closed by 1930

Beaufort Park
This development is on the site of RAF East Camp. After the Second World War this became home to the RAF stores computer centre
Control tower from the Hendon Aerodrome site. This was probably the first control tower in Britain - although its function was not known because it is not clear what 'control' meant then beyond hanging out flags. Grahame White's office remained underneath.  Built by architect Herbert Matthews with a Neo-Georgian show front, workshops behind, and the belvedere or 'control tower' above built in 1911.  Demolished after 99 years by the RAF Museum and rebuilt in a location closer to the museum
Grahame White Company offices and factory. Drawing offices between the control tower and the watch office.  Originally flanked by attached hangars, subsequently demolished. The building was unoccupied since at least 1987 when the RAF moved out.
Office for Duty Pilot, 2072/26 demolished 1989
Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture is part of Middlesex University and has a collection of 19th- and 20th home decorations. This includes collections of Wallpaper including the Crown Wallpaper Archive.

Chancellor Place
Officers Mess. Now a Middlesex University Hall of Residence. It is a Neo-Tudor building from 1917 which was later called formerly the 'London Aerodrome Hotel'. This was built as a black and white timbered hotel for VIPs despite wartime shortages. It was probably designed by Herbert William Matthews in brick with roughcast and timber cladding.

Clovelly Avenue
Colindale Primary School. In the 1930s new houses were built in the area and the school was built to cater for the new population. The wings on the old school logo symbolised Hendon Aerodrome. Until the 1960s there were bomb shelters on the playing fields used during the Second World War. The school was rebuilt in 2011 on the original school playing fields.

Colin Park Estate
Houses built in 1927 for F.H. Stucke & Co., 'artistic' house builders, by E. G. Trowbridge

Colindale Avenue
Footpath – this ran from the bottom of Hay Lane, under a railway bridge, to the first aerodrome hangars.
144 A. Garstin and Co. Factory, This was described as a trunk factory. Garstin made leather goods – cases, watch straps etc. etc.
Site of 'Leatherville', thirty dwellings for workers at Garston's trunk factory, established here in 1901.
Brent Works, Tilley Lamps Co. The Lamp derives from John Tilley’s invention of the hydro-pneumatic blowpipe in 1813. The company was in Stoke Newington and Shoreditch in the 19th and moved to Hendon in 1915. . In the 1960s they moved to Belfast
The Gee Tee Co., manufacturers of tissue paper products – paper handkerchiefs, sanitary towels. They had opened in King's Cross, 1926, and moved here in 1931. In 1935 they moved to Cumberland Road.
116 Colindale Paper Co Ltd. 1950-58.  They made toilet paper - Luxury, Colinco, Papcol rolls
Crepe Paper Manufacturing Co. Ltd.  Here 1932-33.
Colindale Hospital.  Colindale Hospital. In 1890 there were concerns to expand the overcrowded Cleveland Street Infirmary of the Central London Sick Asylum District. It was decided to move somewhere cheaper and the new infirmary was built by by John Giles, Gough & Tros and opened in 1900. Initially it had 274 beds in a central block with a house for the Medical Superintendent and a Nurses' Home. There were also children’s and isolation wards, an operating theatre, mortuary, etc. In 1913 It was renamed the Hendon Infirmary and in 1920 was reopened as a tuberculosis hospice. In 1930 it passed to the London County Council and in 1948 joined the NHS as the Colindale Hospital. As treatment for TB succeeded, it became a general hospital.  It closed in 1996 and the site is due to be redeveloped for housing. The façade of the main block of the hospital has been refurbished as part of the new development
British Blood Transfusion Centre, building of 1990 by the Design Team Partnership.  . 
Health Protection Agency. This is an independent organisation set up in 2003 to protect the public from threats to their health from infectious diseases and environmental hazards.
Colindale Station.  Opened in 1924 it lies between Burnt Oak and Hendon Central on the Northern Line. It was originally built on the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway and designed by S. A. Heaps with 250' long platforms and in the style of a rural station. In 1940 it was bombed and destroyed and in in 1962 a new building was erected incorporating shops
British Library Newspaper Library. Built in 1900-3 as the British Museum Repository and enlarged 1930-2 by J.H. Markham of the Office of Works, with storage on six floors.  An extension of 1956-7 replaced the 1903 building, which had been destroyed in 1940.  The superintendent's house of 1903 survives.  The 1930s building is of brick, very austere yet with a few simplified classical trimmings.  Later additions 1969-71 microfilm building and 1972 reading room. The library is being digitized and then will move to Boston Spa.
Pillar box outside the post office. Constructed by A. Handyside & Co. their Britannia Foundry and Engineering Works.  It has a V.R. cypher 1887 - 1899
Shed in a field at the end of the lane where it now joins Aerodrome Road. This was the shed used by Everett and Edgecumbe to house their first monoplane which effectively founded Hendon Aerodrome.  It was later converted in 1911 to become the first offices of C.Grahame-White & Co.
Colindale Park, A small grassland wedge with a footpath through to the station. There is a play area, trees and apparently wild life interest.

Colindeep Lane
This was once called Hendon path said in 1593 to be an 'ancient highway ‘and as late as 1863 it was sometimes called Ancient Street.
89-97 Four groups flanking Court Way, with tile hanging alternating with half-timbering, and Trobridge's typically emphatic star-shaped chimneystack.
Silk Stream Bridge. This is stone with parapets. There was a ford here until 18256 when a footbridge was built. A weir slightly upstream of the bridge is a measuring point for flood data
Rushgrove Park. Previously called Colindeep Open Space. The Silk Stream flows through the Park, which is made up of flood prone open space which remained when all the housing was built in the 1930s. It was laid out as a recreation ground by the mid-1950s, with winding paths, a pond and tennis courts. Among the trees are gingko, catalpa and conifers, but the pond has been removed and is now covered over.

Edgware Road
Safetex Safety Glass, formed in 1925 to manufacture reinforced glass for motor vehicles. The company operated from a factory here and went in receivership i1932.
Odeon Cinema. This was built and operated by Oscar Deutsch and opened in 1935. It was designed by Arthur Starkey like his earlier cinemas for the circuit. It has low facade with cream faience tiles and shop units on either side or flats above. There was a car park behind. It was closed by the Rank Organisation in 1960 and remained empty until 1967 when it opened as the Curzon Cinema. In 1972 it was re-named Classic Cinema and a second screen was installed in the balcony and called the Tatler Film Club screening uncensored sex films. It closed in 1981 and in 1986 became a snooker club.
Hyde United Reform Church. The Chinese Church in London. Chapel of the Churches of Christ. Presbyterian. Congregational
Moon Under Water Pub.  Wetherspoons pub opened in 1990. This was built as a Woolworth’s store

Heritage Avenue
The Dovecote. Modern pub in new build
The Beaufort Pub

Sheaveshill Avenue
Titanine Paint Factory. In 1881, German Holzapel brothers founded the Holzapfel Compositions Company Ltd., producing marine coatings in Felling, where they remain. In 1915 they developed Titanine, an aeroplane dope as the British Aeroplane Varnish Co. Ltd., and 1,000,000 gallons of titanine were manufactured during the Great War. .

Aerofilms. Wikipedia web site
Beaufort Park. Web site
Blackwood. London’s Immortals
British listed buildings. Web site
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Clunn. The Face of London
Day. London Underground
District Dave. Web site
Field. London Place Names
GLIAS Newsletter
Graces Guide. Web site
HADAS Newsletter
London Borough of Barnet. Web site
London Encyclopaedia
London Gardens Online. Web site
Lost Hospitals of London. Web site
Metropolitan Police College. Wikipedia web site
National Archives. Web site
Osborne. Defending London
Pastscape. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. London North
Renwick. RAF Hendon
Skinner. Form and Fancy
Thames Basin Archaeology Group. Report
Titanine.Wikipedia web site


Unknown said…
Please amend/correct "Garston" to "Garstin.
Many thanks.
A relative

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