Northolt Park

Northolt Park, Ealing/Harrow

A post-war municipal housing project constituting the northern part of Northolt – and once the centre of British pony racing

Hidden London: Alexandra Avenue and Northolt Road by Des Blenkinsopp

South Har­row and Rox­eth sta­tion opened here in 1926 and the sta­tion gained its present name in 1929, the same year in which a neigh­bour­ing farm was con­vert­ed into Northolt Park race­course – the nation­al cen­tre for the new sport of pony rac­ing. The sport was cheap­er to run than horserac­ing and the track’s excel­lent facil­i­ties attract­ed large crowds over the next decade.

There was lit­tle rac­ing after the out­break of the Sec­ond World War and in 1940 the gov­ern­ment req­ui­si­tioned the site to intern Ital­ian pris­on­ers, lat­er con­vert­ing it to an army camp.

Attempts to restart pony rac­ing after the war were thwart­ed by Eal­ing council’s deter­mi­na­tion to use the land to ease its hous­ing short­age. The coun­cil com­pul­so­ri­ly pur­chased the site for £250,000, although the start of build­ing was delayed for sev­er­al years by the tardy with­draw­al of the mil­i­tary.

At the same time Har­row coun­cil laid claim to part of the site for its own coun­cil-house build­ing pro­gramme. The first 64 hous­es were built in late 1951 in the north-west of the site and the grand­stand was demol­ished in 1955.

Eal­ing coun­cil even­tu­al­ly built around 1,200 homes on the Race­course estate and Har­row coun­cil con­tributed anoth­er 200. Blocks of flats were added lat­er on New­mar­ket Avenue. Apart from the street names (most­ly famous British race­cours­es), lit­tle evi­dence of the race­track remains here. One of the stands was dis­man­tled and moved to Brands Hatch motor-rac­ing cir­cuit.

The film and music hall star George Formby rode at Northolt Park in 1938 and returned the following year to make the Ealing Studios film Come On George, performing all his own stunts.

Postcode area: Northolt UB5
Station: Chiltern Railways (zone 5)
Diamond Geezer: The five best things to do in Northolt Park (or nearby)
Recommended video: End of season pony racing at Northolt Park, 1934

 

View larger OpenStreetMap

* The picture of Alexandra Avenue and Northolt Road at the top of this page is 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.