Park Royal, Brent/Ealing
An extensive industrial and commercial estate in the far north of Acton, between the Western Avenue and the Grand Union Canal
Formerly the village of Twyford, the present name derives from the Royal Agricultural Society exhibitions held here from 1903 to 1905. Munitions factories were built on the site during the First World War, and it developed as an important industrial estate after hostilities ended.
Employers included HJ Heinz and Waterlows printers, and there were stadiums for greyhound racing and football. During the 1970s and 80s several of Park Royal’s factories closed and parts of the area became derelict. However, contrary to the general trend towards exclusively high-tech business parks, manufacturing industry continues to play a role here, including the preparation of some of the world’s most delicious ready meals – in Hidden London’s (unpaid) opinion – at Bigham’s on McNicol Drive, at the eastern edge of the map below.
Drinks conglomerate Diageo has a swish office block in Park Royal but in 2005 it closed the neighbouring Guinness brewery, built by Sir Giles Scott in 1934, owing to excess production capacity.
During the early 21st century the Park Royal Partnership worked to address the area’s problems by encouraging new businesses to move in, and by improving the quality of the built and landscaped environment. The partnership ceased to function in 2013, owing to public sector funding cuts.
The estate’s future prospects are now bound up with the regeneration of Old Oak Common, which lies across the other side of North Acton and where a proposed HS2 and Elizabeth line (Crossrail) interchange could make this one of the best connected sites in the London area – a decade or so from now.
Park Royal is perhaps best known to the public for its Asda superstore and the Park Royal (formerly Royale) leisure park, which includes a nine-screen multiplex and a 36-lane bowling alley. The complex lies on the opposite side of Western Avenue from the main estate.
Postal district: NW10
Station: Piccadilly line (zone 3)
Further reading: MC Barrès-Baker, Twyford & Park Royal, Grange Museum of Community History & Brent Archive, 2001
Website: Park Royal blog