River Brent - Alperton

River Brent
The Brent flows south westwards

A suburban and industrial area it lies on the Piccadilly Underground Line. The square is crossed by the river Brent and the Grand Union Canal as well as the North Circular Road. The main A40 is a short distance to the south. Despite the ancient church and the so-called Abbey, the area was mainly developed with housing and industry in the 1930s.  There are many industrial sites and trading estates and some important companies have originated here - for instance glass works, metal works, abrasives and so on.

Post to the north Wembley
Post to the east Park Royal
Post to the south Hangar Lane

Alperton Lane
Factories and trading units at the east end from the 1930s
Anglo Abrasive Works. On site in the 1930s as manufacturers of grinding wheels. "Angloite" Grinding Wheels and Segments

Beresford Avenue
Factories and trading units
Kego Electric. Electric light fittings 1950s
Amplivox Hearing aids. 1950s 

Brentmead Gardens
St.Mary. the church probably stands on the site of the medieval parish chapel, adjacent to the manor house and first recorded in 1181. It was one of the smallest churches in Middlesex, seating only 40 people. The Moyle family appear to have remodelled it in the 17th and there is a tablet, to Walter Moyle and his sons outside the church. In 1807-9 the house and chapel were remodelled and Gothicised by William Atkinson for Thomas Willan.  Atkinson may have used his Roman cement in dressings on the church to give the appearance of stone.  In 1902 the house was bought by the Alexian Brotherhood as a nursing home and the chapel was again restored.  They tried to use it as a private chapel but there were local objections and it was taken over by the bishop. The Brothers’ burial ground lies to the south of the church. In 1958 N.F.Cachemaille-Day enlarged it using the original church as the Lady Chapel. The front elevation is now dominated by a tall tower with vertical, glazed panels above the entrance with a cast concrete figure of the Virgin and Child by Kathleen Parbury. The chapel contains some wall monuments to the Moyle family and to Thomas Willan. In 1994 it was closed as being structurally unsound but following works the interior is now used as a community centre. It is now part of the Parish of the Ascension linked with a church in Hangar Hill.
Filipino International Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is in what was the church hall.

Ealing Road
Wooler Engineering Co. Wooler motorcycles were produced 1911 - 1926 and 1945 - 1956 here. In 1909 John Wooler designed his first motorcycle. The bike was made by Wilkinson and there was a break during the Great War and restarted.  In 1925 production moved from Alperton to Twickenham
Glacier House. Glacier Metal Co. The company was founded in 1899. The Glacier Anti-Friction Metal Company was formed in 1899 by two Americans, with premises in St. John's Wood. During the Great War, they made diesel parts for hand-grenades and later plain bearings. In 1922 they moved to Alperton to a half-timbered building owned by Wooler. Wilfred Brown joined in 1931, becoming Chairman, and after the Second World War presided over the Glacier Project, with the Tavistock Institute and Professor Elliott Jaques.   He later joined the first Wilson Labour government. During the Second World War satellite factory were established in Ayr, and Kilmarnock.  By 1961 they made bearings of all types for petrol and diesel engines, turbines, compressors, fans, machine tools and pumps and much else. They also began to acquire factories around the world. In 1968 Glacier acquired the premises of the Crosby Valve & Engineering Works on the east side of the road, In 1964 Glacier became part of the Associated Engineering group.  They later moved to Kilmarnock and are currently under threat of closure.  
L. P. S. Electrical Co, founded in 1913 electric wire and cord manufacturers
Key Glass works. Key Glass had been founded in New Cross and opened a second factory in Alperton in 1926. Here they had three furnaces and thirteen machines.  The two factories produced some 45,000 gross of bottles. They later moved to Harlow where they remain having merged with other firms.
Crosby Works. Crosby Valve & Engineering Co. Ltd. Industrial valves
Lancia motor works. Italian car manufacturer Lancia had a depot here. The parent company in Turin owned the works at Alperton
Rexoleum Works. Harvey Brown Co. bitumen based floor coverings.
Wiseman Spectacle works
Alperton Bottling Company Limited, a subsidiary company to Taylor Walker Brewers. This was a mechanised plant for handling ‘sparkling’ beers and also bottled Guinness delivered by tanker from their nearby brewery.
The Plough pub. Was recently an Irish pub called Tommy Ryans but is also reported to be Polish. The pub was here and licensed from at least the early 18th
Pleasure Boat pub. This is alongside the canal and at one time was a stop for boat services and also catered for anglers.
Alperton Station.  Opened in 1903 it lies between Park Royal and Sudbury Town on the Piccadilly Line. In 1903 The Metropolitan District Railway Electric opened a service from Ealing to Park Royal on which this station, opened as Perivale – Alperton, was sited. The original station building was of corrugated iron in the road below the platforms on which there were wooden canopies.  In 1910 the name was changed to ‘Alperton’ and in 1932 the Piccadilly Line was extended here and eventually took the line over from the District. At the same time the station was re-designed by Charles Holden with low wings with shops and a tall ticket hall rising above offices and shops. It is said that an escalator from Festival of Britain site was installed in the station and that it is still there but walled up.

Grand Union Canal
Footbridge. Flats called The Rise by Mount Anvil on the north bank at Sunleigh Road are connected to a new footbridge going towards Alperton Station.
Sculpture - Steles - by Keith Wilson for Mount Anvil. It comprises five bars of colour chosen for their similarity to colours used in marine industries and picks up on the canal's reflected light.
Piccadilly Line Bridge

Hangar Lane
Arrow Electric Switches. The works was here from the mid-1930s to the 1960s making switches and Control Gear for Industrial and Domestic applications.

Pioneer Works. Built for Wolf Electric Tools. This was the site north of the pub. The company dated from 1900 and from the 1950s made portable electric tools
Fox and Goose. 19th pub and hotel
Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant Open Space
Trading and industrial area with some art deco buildings.
Cascade Centre.  British Laundry Machinery Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of an American steel company marketing their Cascade commercial washing machine.
Abbey Castings Limited, foundry
Nuffield Talking Books for the Blind
Bengue and Co., manufacturing chemists, new factory 1938 and still there in 1968
North Circular Road
For much of this stretch this is two roads with the old original North Circular from the 1930s running parallel to the new six lane road.  The old road has a series of art deco and later factories no longer in their original uses.
Queensbury Road
Abbey Estate Community Association in a portacabin
Sunleigh Road
Trading and industrial area
Oldfield Press. Printers
A P Electronics. Data transmission systems
Twyford Abbey
Twyford Abbey. It is not an abbey – it is just the name of the house. It is a Gothic country house built in 1808 by William Atkinson. Originally it was the West Twyford manor house but by 1593 it was the only inhabited house in West Twyford, with a small private chapel. In 1806 the manor house was sold to Thomas Willan, a stagecoach proprietor. He used William Atkinson to build an extension in a Gothic style, filled the moat and altered the church. He gave the house a romantic pseudo-monastic association. In 1902 it was bought by the Alexian Brothers, a Roman Catholic order who set up a nursing home there and this closed in 1988. It has since been derelict
Water Road
Industrial and trading units
Industrial and trading units
Velvet Crepe Paper Co., Ltd., Alperton Mills, Woodside End,
British History Online. Web site
British Listed Buildings,. Web site
Canal Walks leaflet
Day. London Underground
Firth. Notes for GLIAS walk.
Glass Making in London. web site
GLIAS Newsletter
Graces Guide. Web site
London Borough of Brent. Web site
Middlesex County Council. History of Middlesex
Paddington Branch. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. London North West



Anonymous said…
Atcraft Works, home of E Atkins Ltd., occupied a site stretching from opposite Alperton station, in Ealing Road, to the canal. Polybags Ltd rented space and moved to Lyon Way Greenford in the 1990's on the closure of the more than a century old E Atkins Ltd.
E Atkins made nursery and garden furniture. Polybags extruded poythene film in association with E Atkins as Atak Ltd, and converted the film to bags as Polybags Ltd.
Anonymous said…
I was a trainee Tool maker at Atcraft Engineering, Alperton in 1964. I remember making and repairing press tools that stamped out the component parts of foldable garden furniture frames. We also took on contract work for clients requiring turning and milling services, between our own projects.

I remember the most boring job I was assigned to was to reduce the size of the axle shafts for wheelchairs being fitted with new wheels for London Zoo. I had to reduce the diameter of the axle shafts by hand on a centre lathe. It was mind-numbing. I was paid £1-17-6 per week, (£1.75 in today's money) for a 48-hour week. Now that would be regarded as slave labour now.

I remember thinking at the time I need a better-paid job because petrol prices had just been increased in price to 2 shillings and six pence a gallon, (£0.027 pence per litre. yes less than 3 pence per litre). I quit Atcraft and went to work for the Glacier metal company also in Alperton.

Funny how life pans out. I took early retirement from work in 2003 after 20 years of service as a Computer Systems Consultant for a World renowned international company.

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