Sudbury, Brent

A peaceful residential backwater situated west of Wembley

Sudbury Town Station - geograph-2743800-by-Martin-Addison

Sud­bury’s name was first record­ed in the late 13th cen­tu­ry as Suth­bery – the south­ern manor house. Its north­ern coun­ter­part may have been the manor house of Har­row.

Sud­bury Court was the prin­ci­pal Mid­dle­sex res­i­dence of the arch­bish­ops of Can­ter­bury until the end of the 14th cen­tu­ry, after which Sud­bury manor was divid­ed and leased out. Sud­bury Com­mon at this time stretched from Wem­b­ley to the foot of Har­row Hill.

From 1630 the manor was in the hands of the fam­i­ly that became the Churchill-Rushouts, who much lat­er devel­oped North­wick Park. Squat­ters erect­ed cot­tages on the com­mon in the 17th cen­tu­ry. Grad­ual improve­ments to the Har­row Road brought the first hous­es and inns, includ­ing the Swan, the Black Horse and the Mitre, and the vil­lage con­sist­ed of 70 prop­er­ties in 1759. Sev­er­al sub­stan­tial hous­es were built fol­low­ing the enclo­sure of the com­mon in 1817.

This was the first part of the Wem­b­ley area to under­go sub­ur­ban devel­op­ment and when present-day Wem­b­ley Cen­tral sta­tion opened in 1842 it was ini­tial­ly called Sud­bury. Shops were estab­lished around the Swan and schools opened in 1846 and 1880. Sir George Barham, the founder of the Express Coun­try Milk Sup­ply Com­pa­ny (lat­er Express Dairies, now a sub­sidiary of Dairy Crest) , came to live in Sud­bury in 1895 and the grounds of his man­sion now form Barham Park.

By the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry the pop­u­la­tion had reached almost 1,000. In the first decade of the 20th cen­tu­ry Sud­bury gained two elec­tric train ser­vices as well as elec­tric trams. Day-trip­pers vis­it­ed the Swan’s tea gar­den and a race­course oper­at­ed for a while, on the site of the present Methodist church.

Many of the Vic­to­ri­an vil­las were quick­ly demol­ished and their grounds were devel­oped with hous­ing. Out­ly­ing farms suf­fered the same fate after the First World War, and devel­op­ment was fur­ther stim­u­lat­ed in the mid-1920s when the British Empire Exhi­bi­tion was staged at Wem­b­ley Park.

By the out­break of the Sec­ond World War the sub­urb had four church­es, an Odeon cin­e­ma (lat­er the Star­lite ball­room) and Charles Hold­en-designed sta­tions at Sud­bury Hill and Sud­bury Town (the lat­ter shown in the pho­to­graph at the top*). Wem­b­ley coun­cil built the Sud­bury Farm estate after the war and the Churchill-Rushouts laid out the Sud­bury Court estate.

Most of the sur­viv­ing old build­ings of Sud­bury were demol­ished dur­ing the 1950s, includ­ing Barham House. From the 1960s to the present day, new con­struc­tion has main­ly tak­en the form of pri­vate­ly-built blocks of low-rise flats.

Wasps rug­by foot­ball club played in Sud­bury from 1923 until 1996, at a ground now cov­ered by hous­ing. Comp­ton Avenue is named after the club’s for­mer cap­tain and pres­i­dent, Neville Comp­ton.

Marked with a pink pin the cen­tre-top of the map below, Sud­bury Cot­tages con­sti­tute the small­est of Brent’s con­ser­va­tion areas, pre­serv­ing all that remains of the his­toric core of the ear­ly set­tle­ment that grew up at Sud­bury Court.

Like neigh­bour­ing Wem­b­ley, Sud­bury is very pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies of Indi­an descent. Res­i­dents of South Asian her­itage account­ed for more than half the ward’s pop­u­la­tion at the 2011 cen­sus – pri­mar­i­ly Indi­an, but with sig­nif­i­cant Sri Lankan, Pak­istani and Nepalese minori­ties too.

The ‘Sudbury box’ was a simple, elegantly efficient architectural style introduced to surface-level station buildings on the Piccadilly line by Charles Holden. Opened in 1931, Sudbury Town was the first station to employ the technique, which Holden over-modestly characterised as just “a brick box with a concrete lid.” Other architects commissioned by London Transport soon began to copy the format. Usage of the term ‘Sudbury box’ is sometimes limited to rectangular structures but can encompass other shapes, such as those at Arnos Grove (circular) and Bounds Green (octagonal).

Postcode areas: Wembley HA0, Greenford UB6 and Harrow HA1
Population: 14,950 (2011 census)
Stations: Chiltern Railways (Sudbury Hill Harrow and Sudbury & Harrow Road, both limited service, zone 4), Piccadilly line (Sudbury Town and Sudbury Hill, both zone 4)
Further reading: MC Barrès-Baker, Sudbury, Grange Museum of Community History and Brent Archive, 2001
Website: Sudbury Town Residents’ Association
See also: Horsenden Hill
* The picture of Sudbury Town station at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Martin Addison, 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.