Brondesbury, Brent

A classy residential district in north Kilburn, set on a ridge that runs from Hampstead to Harlesden, dividing the surroundings into two drainage areas

The Shree/Shri Swaminarayan Temple in Willesden/Brondesbury
Shree Swami­narayan Temple

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 sooner or later).

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)


* The picture of the ‘Shree Swaminarayan Temple’ on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Andrew Wilson, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.