Kilburn Park

Kilburn Park, Brent/Westminster

The south-western part of Kilburn, situated between Kilburn High Road and West Kilburn

geograph-4990400-by-Des-Blenkinsopp - The Prince of Wales and the Station

The area may have been part of Kil­burn Abbey’s lands in the Mid­dle Ages but the ‘Park’ ele­ment of the name was mere­ly a builders’ inven­tion.

In 1850 the Rev­erend Edward Stu­art sold 47 acres here to a con­sor­tium of five devel­op­ers, of whom the largest was James Bai­ley. They laid out roads and sew­ers and divid­ed the site among them­selves, sub­let­ting to small­er firms who built a few hous­es each.

Hidden London: Kilburn Park's majestic church of St Augustine
St Augustine’s church

Sev­er­al of the con­trac­tors aimed high with their ear­ly efforts but the iso­lat­ed, mud­dy loca­tion failed to attract buy­ers and the estate remained incom­plete for sev­er­al decades.

In the absence of mid­dle-class res­i­dents, prop­er­ties were soon sub­di­vid­ed, some con­tain­ing as many as six house­holds in the 1870s – a time when the Rev­erend RC Kil­patrick com­mis­sioned an extra­or­di­nary church for Kil­burn Park.

St Augustine’s is one of the most breath­tak­ing Vic­to­ri­an church­es in the whole of Eng­land, a fusion of French-inspired detail­ing and Anglo-Catholic tra­di­tion, with a soar­ing steeple. The body of the church was com­plete by 1877 but it was anoth­er 20 years before the spire reached its full height of 254 feet. St Augustine’s has been nick­named ‘the cathe­dral of north Lon­don’.

Per­haps the church gave Kil­burn Park the cachet it had pre­vi­ous­ly lacked, for the remain­der of the estate was built up in the late 1880s. The Bak­er­loo line reached Kil­burn Park in 1915.

Much of the area was dam­aged by Sec­ond World War bomb­ing and was after­wards sub­ject to whole­sale rede­vel­op­ment and the addi­tion of sev­er­al coun­cil tow­er blocks – but St Augustine’s still soars above them.

The cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins grew up at Dibdin House, a block of 250 working-class flats built in 1937 at the Kilburn end of Maida Vale (visible on the right in the satellite map below). He was educated at St Augustine’s CE high school, where his mother was a secretary.

Postal district: NW6
Station: Bakerloo line (zone 2)

 

* The picture of the Prince of Wales and the Station at the top of this page is slightly adapted from an original photograph, copyright Des Blenkinsopp, 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.