Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Queen's Park

The next station in my series  'Above the Underground ' is Queen's Park. Opened as a railway station in 1879 and then extended in February 1915 for services on the Bakerloo line to stop here. The tube no longer travels underground from here and it shares the same train lines as Overground trains.

If you are a follower of football you may have heard of Queen's Park Rangers(QPR) which originally came from here but now they are located near Shepherd's Bush, some distance away. The area of Queen's Park was part of the site of the 1879 Royal Kilburn Agricultural Show which had been attended by Queen Victoria. After the show the 30 acre site was given to the public and was made into a public park called Kilburn Recreation Ground. In honour of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee it was renamed Queen's Park in 1887.

Walking away from the station along Salusbury Road I noticed  these smart looking studios. This building used to be a furniture depository. How do I know? Well the sign is still readable at the  side of the building 

Continuing along Salusbury road I came across Lonsdale Road. It is mentioned in a book celebrating Queen's Park centenary from recollections made by Minnie Arens in the 1890s
' Lonsdale Mews had the horses and carriages belonging to people in the big houses in |Brondesbury Park. In the mornings, people from the Manor House used to ride down to Rotten Row.' Along with the stabling, this Mews Road  was built  to accommodate local traders and artisans who were living in the new Queen's Park area. Today it is the hub of the design area and is part of the London Design festival. It includes furniture makers, architects, interior designers as well as many cafes and restaurants.

Just behind Lonsdale Road is the Old Paddington cemetery which still has space for new burials. I was a little surprised to see that part of it was a War Graves cemetery for those men from this area who were killed in WW1.

There are a number of Victorian buildings in this area including these schools. This one is dated 1893.

The infant school dates from 1889.

Across the road from the cemetery is this wonderful detached building with very interesting adornments. I haven't been able to discover anything about its history unfortunately.

Walking back along Salusbury Road to see if there is anything of interest on the other side of the station, I couldn't help but notice some of the more individual shops on this High Street.

This is Kilburn Library which is just a couple of minutes from the station. There is a Queen's Park library but not close by. Didn't make any sense to me. I popped inside to make use of the facilities (larger libraries usually have very clean toilets and I wasn't wrong!).

Inside the library is a memorial to the Old Kilburnians including teachers from the school who died in WW1, so I have to assume the old Kilburn School was located in this vicinity.

The other side of the station was quite different with its high rise flats and estates.

It also looked more run down in parts.

Street art tribute to a young boy who died at the tender age of 11.

I liked this old warehouse and it looks as though the developers are keeping its beautiful facade. 

Walking down Kilburn Lane which runs parallel to the railway line, I was intrigue by some of the road names. Investigating further I came across a very differently styled housing estate. With turrets, Gothic features, gabled porches and small gardens, these tree lined wide roads were a delight.

2000 of these small houses were built from 1874 by the Artisans, Labourers and General Dwellers Company for the working classes. The roads were named First Ave, Second Ave up to Sixth Avenue whilst other roads were given letters of the alphabet from A to P. Since then they have been given full names: Alperton Street, Barfett Street, Caird Street, Droop Street and so on.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kilburn Park

This is the 15th station Northbound on the Bakerloo Line. It is also the last of the stations underground on that line.

Gazing upwards from the escalator I noticed this large art deco style window allowing daylight to filter down.
Entering into the ticket hall I could hear the unmistakeable sounds of classical music being piped out. A very soothing sound for the weary traveller and I think the first time I have ever heard piped music in an underground station.

Once again the familiar ox blood red tileage covered the station building.

For a station that just serves one underground line I was surprised by its wide frontage.

I have never been to this area before so it really was a journey into the unknown. I didn't think I would find anything out of the ordinary as I am now out into surburbia. However ,walking along Cambridge Avenue, the road leading away from the station there were one or two surprises in store for me. Firstly this building, the likes of which I had never seen before. It looks like a church made from corrugated iron.

Once home I did a little research and found that it is called the Tin Tabernacle. Built in 1863 as a corrugated iron chapel. Apparently they were developed in the nineteenth century as prefabricated churches. This one is now home to the sea cadets. After the last war it was transformed into a ship by local people complete with decks, portholes and a bridge.

Just next door to the Tin tabernacle is The Animals War Memorial Dispensary which was officially opened in November 1932 and still plays a role in helping sick animals today.

The bronze frieze above the door showing a winged depiction of victory with animals on either side that suffered or died during the First world war.

There are plaques on either side of the door. The one on the left is inscribed as follows:
This building is dedicated as a memorial to the countless thousands of god's humble creatures who suffered and perished in the Great War, 1914-18. Knowing nothing of the cause, looking forward to no final victory, filled only with love, faith and loyalty, they endured much and died for us. May we all remember them with gratitude, and in the future commemorate their suffering and death by showing kindness and consideration to living animals.


1914 -1918, this tablet records the deaths by enemy action, disease or accident, of 484,143 horses, mules, camels and bullocks and of many hundreds of dogs, carrier pigeons and other creatures on the various fronts during the Great War. It also records the fact that in France alone, 725,216 sick and wounded animals were treated in the veterinary hospitals by the RSPCA.

At the end of Cambridge Avenue is the very busy Kilburn High Road. The road dates back to pre Roman times and is part of the Roman Road known as Watling Street. Watling Street is approx 276 miles in length and starts at the ports in Kent, going through Canterbury, London following an almost straight path to Wales.
As this was a major route inns and taverns soon appeared along the road.

The Red Lion was situated at 34 Kilburn High Road. This pub was known as The Westbury when it closed in 2012. Rebuilt in the late 19th century, a pub has occupied this site since 1444.

The Bell Inn was opened around 1600 on the site of an old mansion. A well was discovered near the Bell in 1714. In the 18th century it was very fashionable 'to take the waters' and so the Bell opened a 'great room' and gardens to promote the well. It was said the water was a cure for stomach ailments.

The other pub which was established in the mid 1400s was the Cock Tavern

This pub was also an award winning theatre but health and safety issues in 2011 with regard to its Victorian staircases meant it had to close but the pub remains open.

Also on Kilburn High Road is the old Gaumont State Cinema which opened in 1937. At the time it was the biggest auditorium in Europe and had seating for 4004 people. Latterly it was used as a bingo hall for 20 years but is now owned by a religious organisation. It is a Grade 2 listed art deco building.

Another art deco building on the High Road is this store built in 1930.

Kilburn Priory was founded near here in 1134 and became a resting place for pilgrims heading for the shrines in St Albans and Willesden. The Priory was dissolved in 1536 by Henry VIII and the only reminder today are the names of the local roads such as Abbey Road and Priory Road. In 1856 it was decided to build a church close to where the priory would have been to meet the need of the growing population of Hampstead. Originally the church was known as St Mary's in the Fields as there were no houses to the north of Abbey Road and just a few mansions to the south. How that has changed!

The church which is on Abbey Road is now just known as St Mary's Church. Looking up at the church you can see the turret clock installed in 1877. These clocks were becoming popular following the installation of Big Ben into the Palace of Westminster in 1854. Both Big Ben and the St Mary's clock were built by the same company, E J Dent and Co of the Strand.

Walking through the back streets towards the station it was what you would expect to see in a surburban area with its mixture of houses.

But there was just one more surprise for me and it was this estate. If any of you watch British police/detective dramas you may have noticed a particular housing estate that seems to crop up on a variety of programmes and usually involves a chase. I am not the most observant person but even I noticed the amazing regularity that this one estate seemed to be used. All of a sudden, there it was with its distinctive ziggurat style of housing. Strictly speaking not within a five minute walk of the station but I couldn't resist including the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate in this post. 

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