Brockley Hill

Brockley Hill, Harrow/​Barnet

Situated north-east of Stanmore, Brockley Hill constitutes the northernmost section of the A5 in Greater London and is the site of a Roman settlement


Sign on the gate of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
Sign on the gate of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital*

There have been sugges­tions of prehis­toric occupation at Brockley Hill, but little evidence has been found. Stories that Julius Caesar fought a battle nearby or that the Romans built a ‘city’ here are almost certainly fanciful. However, most scholars now believe that Brockley Hill was the site of Sulloniacae, a posting station on Watling Street located halfway between London and St Albans.

The station was recorded in the Antonine itinerary, a third-century list of routes and stopping places in the Roman Empire. There was certainly a pottery operating here from around 75ad to 160ad, which specialised in lidded bowls and jars, flagons and mortaria (mixing bowls).

Surrounding woodland seems to have been cleared to grow crops, although this may have been at a later phase of Roman occupation. But despite extensive excav­a­tions since 1937 proof of a larger settlement has not been found.

Archaeologists continue to search for more substantial Roman remains, both at Brockley Hill and at mooted altern­ative locations such as Burnt Oak. The site is a scheduled ancient monument.

From the 17th to the 19th centuries, devel­opment along Brockley Hill was mostly limited to a handful of substantial houses and the creation of Brockley Hill Farm. In 1882 Mary Wardell converted Sulloniacae, her house on Wood Lane, into a children’s convalescent home. After military use in the First World War, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital acquired the home as a country branch. Many more buildings have since been added and this is now the hospital’s main site. The expansion process continues today, partly funding by the sale of ‘excess’ land for resid­ential devel­opment.

Land at the bottom of Brockley Hill, on the corner of London Road, was bought by the Ministry of Works in 1946 and used for assorted government offices, including those of the Ministry of Defence. The site was vacated in the 1990s and much of it has now been redeveloped with high-class housing, with the Stanmore & Edgware golf centre to the north.

Postcode areas: Stanmore HA7 and Edgware HA8
See also: Newlands

 

* The picture of the sign on the gate of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Chris Downer, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.