Tokyngton, Brent

Primarily an interwar garden suburb, nowadays possessing remarkable ethnic diversity, situated in south-east Wembley

geograph-4971621-by-Neil-Theasby - Oakington Manor Drive

Although it was sometimes called Oakington, the name does not derive from its tree cover but from ‘the farm of the sons of Toca’ and was first mentioned in 1171. The manor rivalled Wembley for economic significance in the Middle Ages and had a chapel that survived into the 18th century. After a brief spell as Oakington Park in the mid-19th century, the last decades of the manor’s rural existence were as Sherrin’s Farm.

The Great Central Railway line ran across the north of the farm in 1906 and the lord of Tokyngton manor, Sir Audley Neeld, entered into an agreement with Wembley council to develop a ‘garden city’ estate of semi-detached houses in 1913. Work began the following year, paused during the First World War and resumed afterwards. The estate was the borough’s first exercise in town planning and is now a conservation area.

Neeld extended the estate in 1932 and later conveyed 21 acres, together with the dilapidated Tokyngton manor house, to the council for use as open space. A proposal to convert the manor house into a library was rejected and in 1939 it was blown up in an exercise designed to test the readiness of air raid precautions.

After the Second World War the council built low-rise blocks of flats, partly in place of bomb-damaged houses. The construction of the Bakerloo Line depot at Stonebridge Park in the far south of the locality proved an unpopular development in the 1970s.

Most homes in Tokyngton are owner-​​occupied and Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are the main religions.

According to the 2011 census, the ward of Tokyngton has an extraordinarily diverse ethnic mix, even by the standards of Brent, which is a very multicultural borough. Most parts of London tend to be dominated by a small number of ethnic groups to the exclusion of certain others, but this is not the case in Tokyngton, as the table below shows.

Not all London’s main ethnicities are well represented – there are, for example, very few Turks (who prefer not to live this far west) or Bangladeshis (who prefer not to live this far north-west) – but the breadth is nonetheless exceptional.

Ethnicity/Nationality Population Share of total
Asian or Asian British: Indian 4,279 28.3%
Black or Black British: Caribbean 1,710 11.3%
White British 1,277 8.5%
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 989 6.5%
Black or Black British: African 971 6.4%
Polish 503 3.3%
Irish 431 2.9%
Asian or Asian British: Sri Lankan 426 2.8%
Arab 426 2.8%
Nepalese 335 2.2%
‘Other Eastern European’ 324 2.1%
Afghan 270 1.8%
All others 3,164 20.9%

Postcode area: Wembley HA9
Population: 15,105 (2011 census, showing a 28 per cent increase on 2001)
Further reading: M C Barrès-Baker, Wembley and Tokyngton, Grange Museum of Community History and Brent Archive, 2001


An exchange in the Evening Standard:


It is with sadness that I censure the London Gazetteer. This handy looking tome was sent to me by its publisher, Chambers. It claims to be “An A-Z guide to the famous and hidden quarters of Britain’s capital”. However, the very first quarter I looked up, Tokyngton, wasn’t in it. I myself have never actually been to Tokyngton but I’ve often noted its peculiar name while perusing my bog-ordinary A-Z map. Now it’s been so unjustly neglected by Chambers I feel an almost insuperable urge to travel to what a website describes as “the most populated part of Harrow”, albeit in the medieval era. The “farm of the sons of Toca” was first mentioned in 1171, so it seems rather shabby that it doesn’t make it into Chambers’ Gazetteer 900-odd years later.

Author’s subsequent letter and Will Self’s apology, published 8 November 2007:

Will Self deprecated my recent book, Chambers London Gazetteer, for omitting Tokyngton, a quaintly named corner of Wembley (12 October). I’m at a loss to know how he came to this conclusion, since Tokyngton fills almost half a page between Three Mills and Tollington.

Will Self:

I would like to apologise to Mr Willey and say that having now read the Gazetteer’s entry on Tokyngton, I have been enlightened.

(Mr Self also wrote personally to the author, expressing his chagrin at greater length and explaining the brevity of his published response by adding that the Evening Standard didn’t much like printing apologies).


The picture of Oakington Manor Drive on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Neil Theasby, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.