Park Royal

Park Royal, Brent/Ealing

An extensive industrial and commercial estate in the far north of Acton, between the Western Avenue and the Grand Union Canal

Hidden London: Park Royal, Diageo

For­mer­ly the vil­lage of Twyford, the present name derives from the Roy­al Agri­cul­tur­al Soci­ety exhi­bi­tions held here from 1903 to 1905. Muni­tions fac­to­ries were built on the site dur­ing the First World War, and it devel­oped as an impor­tant indus­tri­al estate after hos­til­i­ties end­ed.

Employ­ers includ­ed HJ Heinz and Water­lows print­ers, and there were sta­di­ums for grey­hound rac­ing and foot­ball. Dur­ing the 1970s and 80s sev­er­al of Park Royal’s fac­to­ries closed and parts of the area became derelict. How­ev­er, con­trary to the gen­er­al trend towards exclu­sive­ly high-tech busi­ness parks, man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try con­tin­ues to play a role here, includ­ing the prepa­ra­tion of some of the world’s most deli­cious ready meals – in Hid­den Lon­don’s (unpaid) opin­ion – at Bigham’s on McNi­col Dri­ve, at the east­ern edge of the map below.

Drinks con­glom­er­ate Dia­geo has a swish office block in Park Roy­al but in 2005 it closed the neigh­bour­ing Guin­ness brew­ery, built by Sir Giles Scott in 1934, owing to excess pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty.

Dur­ing the ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry the Park Roy­al Part­ner­ship worked to address the area’s prob­lems by encour­ag­ing new busi­ness­es to move in, and by improv­ing the qual­i­ty of the built and land­scaped envi­ron­ment. The part­ner­ship ceased to func­tion in 2013, owing to pub­lic sec­tor fund­ing cuts.

The estate’s future prospects are now bound up with the regen­er­a­tion of Old Oak Com­mon, which lies across the oth­er side of North Acton and where a pro­posed HS2 and Eliz­a­beth line (Cross­rail) inter­change could make this one of the best con­nect­ed sites in the Lon­don area.

Park Roy­al is per­haps best known to the pub­lic for its Asda super­store and the Park Roy­al (for­mer­ly Royale) leisure park, which includes a nine-screen mul­ti­plex and a 36-lane bowl­ing alley. The com­plex lies on the oppo­site side of West­ern Avenue from the main estate.

Postal district: NW10
Station: Piccadilly line (zone 3)
Further reading: MC Barrès-Baker, Twyford & Park Royal, Grange Museum of Community History & Brent Archive, 2001
Website: Park Royal blog