Willesden Green Area Guide
Willesden Green is five miles north-west of central London and Smith would celebrate the fact that the focal point of its high street, along the High Road, is its brand-new library and museum, built after a fierce local planning battle, which is tacked on to the back of the original Edwardian library building.
The museum tells the story of how Willesden changed after the arrival of the Metropolitan line.
By the 1890s it was the fastest-growing district in London. Waves of immigration shaped the area’s history, so much so that by the mid-Sixties a fifth of its residents hailed from Ireland.
Willesden was once a place of pilgrimage until St Mary’s original black Madonna was taken to the Chelsea home of Henry VIII’s enforcer, Thomas Cromwell, and burned in a bonfire, along with other outlawed items of idolatry.
The current statue is the work of sculptor Catharni Stern and was installed in 1972, once again turning St Mary’s and Willesden into a place of pilgrimage.
Visitors to the museum can learn how the Barham family started sending milk from Willesden’s dairy cows to central London by express train — calling the business Express Dairies — and how Titus Barham’s collections provided the foundation for the museum.
Willesden’s close neighbours are Neasden, Cricklewood and Hendon to the north; Kilburn and West Hampstead to the east; Queen’s Park and Kensal Green to the south; and Harlesden to the west.
Families make their way to Willesden Green’s large family houses in the Mapesbury Conservation Area and Brondesbury Park if they have been priced out of more expensive and fashionable Queen’s Park and Kensal Green.
in the Mapesbury Conservation Area and Brondesbury Park are popular (Daniel Lynch)What's new?
Gladstone Village (020 8208 8355), off St Michael’s Road overlooking Gladstone Park, is a development of 34 (eight shared ownership) two-, three- and four-bedroom houses and one- and two-bedroom flats from housing association Octavia Living.
Willesden Green used to be popular with Australian and South African backpackers, but many old-style landlords who rented by the room have sold up.
The quality of rental homes is much higher and with the Jubilee line offering a quick service to the West End, the City and Canary Wharf, the area is now popular with young professional singles and couples.
Anyone who has managed to buy a house in the Mapesbury Conservation Area will stay in the area.
NW11 is the Willesden postcode, although on its northern edge it strays into NW2 the postcode for Cricklewood.
Any of the roads in the Mapesbury Conservation Area, which is bounded on the west by Walm Lane and Chichele Road, on the south by the railway, on the east by the rear of houses in the Edgware Road and on the north by the rear of properties in Anson Road.
Brent (Labour-controlled); Band C council tax 2016/2017: £1,377.24.