The History of London’s Housing Stock

Discover how London’s housing has evolved throughout the decades with our interactive tool

London has grown exponentially as it’s evolved into the megacity we know today. The 32 boroughs that make up this thriving metropolis are unique in their own right and from a historical perspective, each one has a notable and unique story. From the luxurious pre-1900 houses and garden squares in Knightsbridge, to the housing expansion and regeneration around Canary Wharf in recent years, London’s homes are as diverse as its inhabitants.

With this in mind, Knight Frank is pleased to launch a new, interactive report aimed at sharing unique insight into the Capital’s housing history for both residents and visitors alike. Our interactive tool uses housing data from the past 120 years, to visualise 14 unique stories connected to some of the Capital’s most notable areas. These boroughs showcase the dramatic changes in that area, while also highlighting their significance to the overall landscape of London’s housing.

To begin, click on an area or select a borough from the drop-down list.

Understand and compare complex data with our helpful infographics and read the full narrative to learn all about each London borough.

brent area

Barking & Dagenham Brent Islington Camden Tower Hamlets Harrow City of London Westminster Southwark Lambeth Wandsworth Kensington Richmond Upon Thames Hammersmith & Fulham

Housing Stock in Brent

As with most of London’s outer boroughs, Brent was formed after a collection of small villages and farmland merged.

brent area

Age of Housing Stock in

1930-1939
24.85%

brent area
  •  
    Pre 1900
    23.34%
  •  
    1900-1918
    9.03%
  •  
    1919-1929
    12.36%
  •  
    1930-1939
    24.85%
  •  
    1945-1954
    2.89%
  •  
    1955-1964
    2.70%
  •  
    1965-1972
    3.58%
  •  
    1973-1982
    3.62%
  •  
    1983-1992
    3.96%
  •  
    1993-1999
    3.42%
  •  
    2000-2009
    7.21%
  •  
    2010-2014
    3.02%

"The arrival of railways and extensive house building in the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw Brent swallowed by the capital’s rapid expansion and transformed into a London suburb."

Pre 1900s

As with most of London’s outer boroughs, Brent was formed after a collection of small villages and farmland merged.

early kilburn high road

In the words of a commentator some 200 years ago, Brent was once as ‘a peaceful country area, ideal for the retirement of citizens’. However, the arrival of railways and extensive house building in the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw Brent swallowed by the capital’s rapid expansion and transformed into a London suburb.

Sat between the London & North Western railway and Hampstead junction in Brent, Kilburn was mostly developed in the late 1800s by Solomon Barnett. By 1901, almost the entire area, besides a small section north east of Queen’s Park, was a solid grid of streets lined with Victorian and Edwardian houses.

Central Brent, consisting of Kilburn and Queen’s Park, prospered following the extension of the Bakerloo line. Handsome properties were built to provide housing for ‘a better standard of tenant’, such as employees of the London Passenger Board.

The Queen’s Park Estate is of particular note. Built in1874 by the Artisans, Labourers & General Dwellings Company, the estate features 2000 workers’ cottages which are distinctively gothic-revival with polychrome brickwork, pinnacles and turrets. Thanks to its architectural quality and historical interest, the Queen’s Park estate was deemed a conservation area in 1978.

Post World War I Brent

In the years immediately following World War I, Wembley Park was selected as the site for the British Empire Exhibition; Wembley Stadium subsequently opened in 1923. The exhibition was a huge success and led to rapid development of the previously rural Wembley area.

modern wembley stadium

Approximately 27 million people visited the exhibition and many sought to settle in the countryside around Wembley; prompting a new wave of house building from 1919-1929.. Such was the magnitude of this wave that the borough has the third largest number of housing stock from this decade in London.

21st century property development

Queen’s Park, Kilburn and Wembley are currently enjoying a new era of re-development, with luxury new housing including Queen’s Park Place, Kilburn Quarter and Wembley Park Gate.

There has been considerable investment in the existing housing stock by the residents of Queen’s Park in particular, many of whom have relocated from prime central London to take advantage of the area’s better value.

modern queens park

"There has been considerable investment in the existing housing stock by the residents of Queen’s Park in particular, many of whom have relocated from prime central London to take advantage of the area’s better value."

Click on the links below to explore other boroughs in London

London’s historical housing stock data comes from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and was analysed by Knight Frank