Canons Park

Canons Park, Harrow

A Metroland dormitory suburb situated between Stanmore and Edgware, especially popular with north London’s Jewish community

North London Collegiate School*
North Lon­don Col­le­giate School*

Canons Park’s name comes from the for­mer landown­ers, the canons of the Pri­o­ry of St Bartholomew the Great, West Smith­field, who were grant­ed six acres of land here in 1331.

James Bry­dges, after­wards the first Duke of Chan­dos, cre­at­ed the pala­tial man­sion of Canons around 1718. To com­plete the osten­ta­tious set-up, Bry­dges had an orches­tra accom­pa­ny his meals and hired Han­del as res­i­dent com­pos­er. “Hav­ing such a com­pos­er was an instance of real mag­nif­i­cence … such as no prince or poten­tate on earth could at that time pre­tend to,” wrote John Main­war­ing in his Life of Han­del (1760).

The man­sion sur­vived for less than 30 years before a much small­er sub­sti­tute took its place, built main­ly with mate­ri­als reclaimed from the demo­li­tion of its pre­de­ces­sor.

Oth­er parts of the orig­i­nal man­sion were sold as archi­tec­tur­al sal­vage and the orig­i­nal colon­nade now stands in front of the Nation­al Gallery in Trafal­gar Square.

Around 1898, Arthur du Cros, founder of the Dun­lop Rub­ber Com­pa­ny, acquired the house and sur­round­ing grounds and com­mis­sioned Charles E Mal­lows to redesign the gar­dens, which were con­sid­ered to be amongst the finest of the Edwar­dian era.

The house was bought by the North Lon­don Col­le­giate School in 1929, while the Canons Park Estate Com­pa­ny built up the neigh­bour­ing land with a star­tling vari­ety of prop­er­ties, from mod­est semi-detached hous­es to extrav­a­gant so-called man­sions. The arrival of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Rail­way in 1932 con­tributed to the suc­cess of the devel­op­ment, which is known as the Du Cros or DC estate.

Har­row coun­cil has restored some of the his­toric fea­tures of Canons Park open space with sup­port from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund. To its south, Bar­net foot­ball club has relo­cat­ed to a new sta­di­um it calls the Hive.

The Canons ward has an excep­tion­al­ly large num­ber of pen­sion­ers, rais­ing the aver­age age of res­i­dents to 43.2 – much old­er than in most oth­er parts of Lon­don. Accord­ing to the 2011 cen­sus, 26 per cent of res­i­dents are Chris­tians, 25 per cent are Jews and 18 per cent are Hin­dus.

North London Collegiate School alumnae include Fenella Fielding, Susie Orbach, Esther Rantzen, Rachel Weisz and Anna Wintour.

The actress Maureen Lipman is a former Canons Park resident.

Postcode area: Edgware HA8
Population: 12,471 (Canons ward, 2011 census)
Station: Jubilee line (zone 5)


* The picture of the North London Collegiate School on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright I M Chengappa, 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.