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