A classy residential district in north Kilburn, set on a ridge that runs from Hampstead to Harlesden, dividing the surroundings into two drainage areas
Brondesbury may take its name from the same man who gave his name to Brownswood Park. By 1538 it possessed a moated manor house in the area now known as Brondesbury Park (which will be the subject of a separate page on Hidden London soon).
During the 1860s Brondesbury Heights developed rapidly because of the arrival of the Hampstead Junction Railway and the sale for housing of land owned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The manor had lain within Willesden parish but the growth led to an early separation when the parish of Christ Church was created in 1866.
By the 1890s the district had been almost entirely built up with high-class housing and had gained a significant Jewish community, for whom a synagogue was built.
During the first half of the 20th century many of the impracticably large properties were replaced by more affordable houses or subdivided into flats but the area retained its superior status. The manor house was demolished in 1934 after serving as a girls’ boarding school.
More than 200 council houses were built in the 1960s and 1970s, while private developers found a few gaps to fill.
A trend towards insensitive alterations to surviving Victorian properties was curbed by the designation of a conservation area in 1990. Also in that year Christ Church was innovatively and tastefully subdivided to create residential apartments, combined with a smaller church, which council tax bills refer to as ‘Flat 22’.
On the Brondesbury/Willesden border, the Shree Swaminarayan Temple is one of London’s few purpose-built Hindu temples. Opened in 1988, it is also known as Willesden Temple, which helps avoid confusion with Neasden’s Shri Swaminarayan Temple.
Based in an unprepossessing building on Dyne Road, the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance began in 1986 as a guitar school and now offers courses in most aspects of the modern music business.
The Brondesbury Tapes is an album of home-made recordings by Giles, Giles and Fripp, a forerunner of the progressive rock band King Crimson. The tracks were laid down in 1968 but only released in 2001.
Postal district: NW6
Station: London Overground (zone 2)