A love letter to Kingsbury: A metaphor for London, a suburban oasis

Tube station and AvonAfter a stint away, I returned to the NW London pocket of Kingsbury (where I grew up) with fresh eyes. Look at the potential; a reservoir, eccentric cottages and castles, cheapest rentals on the Jubilee line, 15 minute tube ride to Central London and an actual genuine community that doesn’t live through local lifestyle blogs and urban farmers’ markets.

But wait, there’s more…greenery, history, celebrities and more boozers than you can shake a half bottle of Stella at.

INTRODUCTION: The brilliant basics

Sitting 8.2miles from Charing Cross (the centre of London according to black cab drivers), Kingsbury is one of London’s middlebrow areas. Not the roughest place to live, nor the poshest. The next Prime Minister won’t have attended its schools, nor will the next Ken Loach film be set on its streets.

kingsbury, nw9, stabbing, orbiter

Panic in the ‘burbs: These days Kingsbury only ever features in the national press for the negative stuff (via Mailonline.com)

Despite puzzled looks from those who boast of nosebleeds when venturing out of Zone 2, the type of people who move to Balham and define their “Londoner” status through Buzzfeed criteria, Kingsbury’s only a short ride from Central London. You’re not going to have a nosebleed, a stroke nor be confined to wheelchair for the rest of your life by jumping on the Jubilee line here.

Despite having a population of just 52,000, Kingsbury has changed the world more than most Eurovision-winning nations and has greater potential than wherever Time Out is calling out the ‘next Dalston’. It’s given us an England cricket and football captain, a Rolling Stone, a BRIT-award winning girl band and so much more.

It’s London, just condensed.

HISTORY: Born out of Ancient land disputes

Founded in 10AD, it was named “The Kings’ Stronghold” by Anglo-Saxon settlers. Meanwhile, Queensbury (next stop on the Jubilee line) got its name from a local newspaper contest in the 1930s. Just saying.

An important trading route, the area fell into the hands of the Knights Hospitaller. Being a Roman Catholic military order, it was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1540 with the land assigned to the dean and chapter of St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1544.

Many claimed the territory to be an independent state, free of royal intervention, and as a result the Kingsbury Liberation Front was formed. Forced to conduct their activities underground, they led several campaigns against successive kings and governments to win back sovereignty. However, their activity is thought to have ceased sometime around the mid-20th Century.

In my mind, it would be ideal if Kingsbury had assembled a standing army and fought for nationhood.

GREENERY: A suburban oasis

Despite perpetual development, Kingsbury boasts one of the highest ratios of green land. Fryent Way Country Park, a retreat from the surrounding London sprawl, was apparently where Charlie Watts would assemble his drum kit for a practice pre-Rolling Stones.

kingsbury, nw9, FC, townsend lane, welsh harp, wembley, fryent way

From top left clockwise: The Welsh Harp Reservoir, sailing boats on the reservoir, Kingsbury Town FC & Fryent Country Park

The Welsh Harp Reservoir, a popular rural retreat for the Victorians, is one of few SSSI within Greater London. Along with supplying the River Brent, it also contains several sailing clubs. Such is their obscurity, many lifelong residents don’t even know they exist.

But that’s what makes Kingsbury so enigmatic. You could live here for 10 years and never fully uncover the seemingly endless alleyways and overgrown public footpaths that spring surprises. Be it a lost underground river, a shooting range or a WW2 air raid shelter, the depth of Kingsbury’s character will amaze you.

PUBS: They really matter

Kingsbury, pubs, nw9, the george, wishing well, roisin dubh, moons, green man

Kingsbury Boozers: (Top row) The George, The Wishing Well, JJ Moons. (Bottom row) Green Man, Roisin Dubh, McDonagh’s

It’s well represented on the pub front with a total of 11. None of which serve food on breadboards or disingenuously encourage patrons to engage through games of Guess Who?

While they all have their unique offerings, here are ‘The Big 5’;

  1. The George: Was the place to watch England games from 1998-2006. Full-English fry-ups with pints of Stella before catching the bus into school during Japan/Korea 2002, a personal highlight. Nowadays, karaoke nights include heartfelt renditions of Fields of Athenry and Kingston Town, a subtle nod to the pubs glory days.
  2. The Wishing Well: Amongst perfectly poured Guinness, RTÉ’s Gaelic football coverage and Sunday night sing-alongs it’s done well to carve out an HQ for Kingsbury’s large Irish community. Formerly the site of a video rental shop, it’s still far more authentic than the visions of any O’Neill’s pub. Post-Christmas Day mass drinks before family dinner, an annual tradition.
  3. J.J Moons (Wetherspoons): Recently expanded from one shop unit to two, it’s Kingsbury’s busiest weekend pub. Its proximity to Kingsbury tube station makes it popular amongst younger drinkers. An interesting bookshelf serves the late morning/early afternoon crowd.
  4. The Green Man: While the paintings of seafarers on rough seas might need some explaining, its mounted agricultural hand tools hark back to Kingsbury’s farming heritage. Once famous for its beer garden, demolished for flats some years ago, its historic charm lives on through the wooden interior and snug area. A dated jukebox, Shakespeare’s Sister to Blur, ensures you never leave the pub’s mid-1990’s heyday.
  5. Jono’s: Formerly The Kingsbury Tavern, it’s only just reopened after serving as an illegal cannabis farm for the past decade. Recent launch was very successful, providing a much-needed boost to the Church Lane area. Certainly one to watch.

ARCHITECTURE: “When were they built, Sir?”

Kingsbury has some of London’s most eccentric architecture; 1920s semis, a POW-built village, post-blitz council blocks and Help-to-Buy new builds.

Trobridge, Architecture, kingsbury, london, nw9, madness

Trobridge Architecture: The castles appeared in Madness’ video for their 1982 hit Our House

But it’s the designs of Belfast-born architect Ernest Trobridge that really impress. Ramblers from preservation societies come to squint at his renaissance cottages and castles built in the 1930s. One of his most famous designs on Wakeman’s Hill featured in the music video for Madness’ 1982 hit Our House.

This heritage can only be explored on foot, and so mainly enjoyed by local schools that can’t afford transport to more faraway fieldtrips. This architecture deserves more visitors than hoards of bored school children.

FAMOUS RESIDENTS: Where stars are born. Or at least go to school

Advertising legend Sir John Hegarty said, “Simply sitting on a bean bag doesn’t automatically make you creative”. Essentially, you don’t need to live in an area daubed in commissioned graffiti to be relevant.

Kingsbury has proven this. From sport to music, terrorism to technology, Kingsbury has already touched you in so many ways:

  • Pre-Italia ’90, Stuart Pearce played for local pub side Dynamo Kingsbury Kiev, avoiding detection using the name Yak Jensen
  • England cricket captain Mike Gatting was born here and went to the same primary school as Pearce
  • Olympic boxing champion Audley Harrison lived next door to my mate, despite being introduced to the ring as coming from rough-as-fuck Harlesden
  • Derrick Evans lived here too, both pre and post Mr. Motivator fame, and helped keep the local mums in shape with his evening workout classes
  • Arsenal legend Paul Merson apparently used to stick his nuts in the pockets of the pool table at Kingsbury Town FC, challenging uncoordinated punters to have a free shot
kingsbury, celebrities, stuart pearce, charlie watts, sugababes, nw9, london

Kingsbury Legends: (From top row) Audley Harrison, Mike Gatting, Stuart Pearce. Charlie Watts, Sugarbabes, George Michael. Amy Johnson, Tony Kanal & Chris Squire

Kingsbury High School does the music, producing:

  • The original Sugarbabes line-up started here before being infiltrated and taken over
  • No Doubt’s Tony Kanal (yes, No Doubt was a band and not the stage name of Gwen Steffani)
  • George Michael, who included shots of Kingsbury in the music video for his single Round Here
  • Charlie Watts, though mistakenly introduced on stage as The Wembley Whammer by Mick Jagger (Watts actually attended Tyler’s Croft school, which merged with KHS in later years)
  • Chris Squire from Yes and Jet Harris from The Shadows knocked about around here too
  • Jazz Warrior Courtney Pine

Actors. Terrorists. Murderers.

  • The first two series of Grange Hill were filmed here (don’t even get me started on the rumours about why production stopped)
  • Alice Branning in Eastenders
  • Dhiren Barot studied here before he was arrested (whilst getting his haircut in Luton) for heading up Al-Qaeda’s 2004 financial services plot
  • Convicted murderer James Hanratty studied here before being the last person to be hanged in Britain

It’s no coincidence that one pocket of London has produced this many artists, thinkers and musicians. There’s something about the area that stimulates a logical yet disruptive outlook on life. Or something like that.

You too could make your name here. Just like Oliver Goldsmith, who wrote She Stoops to Conquer at local Hyde Farm, and TV Pioneer John Logie Baird, who received the first continental television pictures at Kingsbury Manor. Aviation pioneer Amy Johnson, who learnt to fly at Kingsbury’s aerodrome, even has a block of flats named after her. Accomplishment is recognized and rewarded here in Kingsbury.

DEMOGRAPHICS: Everyone is, or was, related to former local boy Paul Merson

Okay, an incestuous bloodline of that degree may be somewhat exaggerated. Despite a close community that trades on mates-rates and lifts to school, Kingsbury is one of the truly diverse parts of London.

kingsbury, property, nw9, needaproperty.com

Sales collateral: How local estate agents try to promote Kingsbury

Aspirational Irish immigrants of the 1950s moved here from the same inner city Victorian terraces their Grandchildren can no longer afford to buy. They built our roads and repaired our post-war cities, but now live here with their valuable labour supply companies and plant hire contracts.

The 1970/80s saw Indian communities arrive that were determined to supply the country with the smartest minds and savviest businesses. They’ve left a legacy that extends far beyond the curry houses, resplendent saree shops and phone dealers that can also cut your keys and resole your shoes. This summer the local community raised £20m to build the world’s first ‘Eco-Hindu Temple’ right here in Kingsbury.

More recently Kingsbury’s been a big beneficiary of the expansion of the EU, with fresh waves of Eastern European manual workers, cheap loft extensions and Tyskie stocked off-licences.

TODAY: Former landmark elevated to convenience store

The Prince of Wales’ Bandwagon Soundhouse was one of the earliest heavy metal clubnights in London. An unknown Iron Maiden played there in 1979 and called their EP The Soundhouse Tapes after it. The site is now a block of flats with a Tesco Metro beneath.

kingsbury, prince of wales, tesco, iron maiden, bandwagon

No coming back: The Prince of Wales hosted an early Iron Maiden at their club The Bandwagon, now a Tesco Metro

Kingsbury is not exempt from globalization, having seen its character succumb to glass developments and generic chain stores. Increasingly becoming more bland and indistinct as time goes by.

The former jewel in its crown, Kingsbury Lido, was closed in 1988. Finally demolished in 1994, an overgrown cordoned off pile of rubble lies there today. While commonly accepted that the death of a child was the final nail in its coffin, its closure still fuelled further speculation;

  • George Michael was found ‘cottaging’ in the changing rooms
  • To make way for a theme park to rival Disneyland Paris (which opened in 1992)
  • It’d become a prime target by the IRA (God knows why)
kingsbury, lido, swimming pool

Kingsbury Lido ’64: My old man (middle) enjoying a summer swim

A minor victory over Globalisation

Whenever a McDonald’s closes, skeptical schoolchildren instantly ask themselves why; a local outbreak of herpes and the milkshake machine often being linked. Reasons behind the closure of Kingsbury McDonald’s include:

  • George Michael was found ‘cottaging’ in the toilets
  • It was haunted (why that would’ve closed it down, I don’t know)
  • A Paedophile was found asleep in the children’s play area

Regarding Pizza Hut, “the first UK delivery unit opened in Kingsbury, London in 1988” according to FranchiseSales.com. For some parts of the UK, this would be a genuine achievement and be taught in schools through song and interpretive dance. Not here. No need. This town gave the world a Rolling Stones for God sakes.

FINAL WORDS: A Kingsburian’s summation

me in garden

The Midnight Garden Tour ’11: Me, in somebody’s garden, Roe Green Village, Kingsbury

Ex-Sugarbabe Mutya Buena drinks in the local Wetherspoon’s. Paul Merson’s cousin works in a local hairdresser. Charlie Watts’ auntie lives in the flat below my gran’s. Some lad from school even featured in the Tulisa sex video.

But the vast bulk of Kingsbury’s success stories have rolled on (1990’s dance group Baby D being the last known celebrities still living locally). Evidently so when I failed to recruit any of them for the 2012 Olympic torch relay when it came through Kingsbury.

What’s more, lifelong Kingsburians now look to Bushey and Stanmore for the suburban dream in John Betjeman’s Metro-Land.

But the affordable rents, proximity to town and the tranquility of its parklands make for ideal living. Maybe even a place to invigorate the aspirations of London’s creative young and poor? Maybe a place to raise a family? Maybe even a place to visit to remind yourself of the importance of London’s suburbs. The potential is huge for those willing to make the trip.

Follow Rob @Orbiterlover on Twitter

Like on Facebook

**Big thanks to Simon Phillips for all his help crafting this article**



99 thoughts on “A love letter to Kingsbury: A metaphor for London, a suburban oasis

    • I lived in roe green village went to roe green infant school very happy times moved to Australia came back and lived in manor close opposite wallworths good fun 6 weeks holiday up the swimming pool cup oxo drink to last us the day a loverly place to live in


      • I too went to Roe Green Infant School. I was at school with a Dawn Best – any relation? I’m now living in Australia. I still remember my teachers name, Mrs Anderson. There were five siblings in my family. When the time came to take my youngest sister to school, the headmistress said, “What, another little Liddle?” They were fun days.


  1. Excellent article, loved growing up in good old Kingsbury. Collected pennies for the Guy outside the George pub, and later used to drink at the Green Man during the interval at the Ritz Ballroom down the road! Fished for tiddlers in the Welsh Harp, helped the milkman drive his horse and deliver milk, did a paper round at Mead Court flats. Threw stones at those posh people who lived in Oak Tree and Ash Tree Dells (we lived in Highmeadow Crescent which was council!). Went to Oliver Goldsmith School (Olly Golly) and then on to Tylers Croft Secondary Modern. Spent hundreds of happy hours in Kingsbury Swimming Pool, and played hideouts over Barn Hill….
    what a fabulous childhood………! Loved every minute!


    • Sounds like a great childhood. You can’t beat it! I’ve heard a lot about the Ritz Ballroom. Where was it? Ha, I remember me and my friends being chased by bigger boys and we escaped down Ash Tree Dell (hopped over the fence at the dead end to get away). Great times!


      • The Ritz Ballroom was on Kingsbury Road opposite the swimming pool towards Kingsbury shops ubt before the Electric Light Co. building adjacent to Valley Drive. I mistakenly referred to it as “Victoria Palace Dance Hall” in my recent post to Kingsbury NW9 Facebook post.


  2. A nostalgic read. I’ve always felt that there is something significant in the Kingsbury water; those of us born there seem to have an ‘understanding’.
    When you meet a fellow Kingsburian, there’s always a subtle nod and wink that says “I get you”.

    My memories are of the Mods in Elthorne Park; the dodgy toilets opposite the Express Dairy; Gooners Parades from KTFC to Wembley Stadium; Kingsbury Funfair; Tim Tam Tommy in the alleyways and the famous Hay Lane Discos where my Dad ‘did the door’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree Rachel! The dodgy toilets top of church lane just jogged my memory. I seem to remember quite a few rumors about them too. What were the Gooners Parades from Kingsbury Town? I too attended my fair share of Hay Lane discos (1997-1999)


    • The Gooners March from Kingsbury Town….. Brilliant days!
      I actually forgot about the Hay Lane discos …(think I only went to a couple)


  3. What a crock I was born in Kingsbury 1 you could walk to schoola nd be safe 2 we had real entertainment like swimming pool great during hot summer’s there was great schools great parks activities in the parks Kingsbury was a great place to grow up now it’s unsafe to walk alone need locks on everything. I and while we are at it george micheal went to Kingsbury high for 6 months then of to stanmore as his dad had a greengrosers George Graham of arsenal lived in elmcroft gardens


    • George Michaels dad did not have a grocers. He owned Jacks steak restaurant in Edgware, lived in Redhill Drive then moved to Radlett, Newland Ave.


  4. I I have lived here all my life and I do not want to live anywhere else better the devil you know, nice trip down memory lane many thanks I enjoyed reading the up date.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good one.
    Lived in kingsbury green (snob),church lane.1952-95..born in Harlesden. Learnt a couple of things from your article..It was a very good place for most years..tylers was the best,mainly sport…..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the memories. I arrived in Kingsbury ( Bush Grove) when I was 7 with my 3 bros , Olly, Willy and John. Went to Tyler’s Croft in the same class as my mate Charlie Watts. Few years later worked as life guard in Kinsbury pool for 3 seasons. Sangs in Prince of Wales and the plough often. Spent many days in Ben’s cafe in Church Lane with the jukebox , pins table and football table. Wow your post made me feel young again ! Thx

    Liked by 1 person

      • Bens cafe at the top end of church lane last shop on the right just before express dairy we were all young James dean wannabes and teddy boys. One night a gang from Wembley popped in with bad intentions be could smell trouble and wanted to close up quick they left first and we followed picking up bens empty Milk bottles on the way out and théy limped back home a little the worse for wear merry Xmas


    • Bit late Stan but my sister put on the Kingsbury site you may remember me as Spud we all knocked around to-get her in the late 50s olly,jimmy Dearman Larry Able, Micky Floydd Vinny Disley and a load of others Pete&Brian Miller always down Bens the old football table great days hope you pick the message up Barry Crugten I lived at the T A Centre between the Dairy& Bens Cafe


  7. Talk about nostalgia! I was born and raised in Kingsbury and lived on the corner of Chuch Lane and Slough Lane. Moved away when I was 25. Left for Australia, with my wife, a year later. Been here ever since.
    All those memories of Kingsbury Pool, Ritz Ballroom, The George, The Green Man, The Welsh Harp reservoir, Barn Hill etc, etc. etc. OMG!
    My sister Brenda attended Tyler’s Croft, I on the other hand, for some reason ended up at Claremont Secondary Modern in Kenton.
    Loved the article, love the other memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too went to Claremont Secondary Modern, and I also now live in Australia on Gold Coast. It has been interesting reading these comments of times past. Sadly UK is not how we remember, although it’s good to reminisce. I was in Clive Ridgeon’s class.


      • Went to Claremont 1958-1962. Mates Mick Stead, Johnny Rowand, Chris Cole, Stephen Field etc. Clive Ridgeon was a great teacher who was always trying to get us to drop soccer for Rugby. I live in Phillip Island, Victoria. Funny how all three ex-Claremont kids live in Aussie.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Great piece! My family lived in Grosvenor Crescent and my mum lived a flat in the swimming pool during WW2. Field Marshall Lord Roberts of Kandahar lived near Kingsbury Green in the 1890’s and the Victoria Club was next door to the Ritz ballroom owned by a Victoria Cross hero of WW1, James Upton. I was in the Army Cadets at the drill hall on Honeypot Lane from 1961 to 1963. In 1965 my mates (and Kingsbury residents) Phil Brockton, Barry Mitchell and I formed a Mod band called Conviction which later became The Earth, we recorded an album in 1968 with Alan Parsons on guitar and it has recently been released! Fame at last. http://shop.recordcollectormag.com/product/VINEARTH
    Barry Mitchell was the first Bass player in Queen and I have an alter ego – Terry Tonik – Mod legend! Read all about me on my website.
    My brother ( a drummer) is Terry Harris ( but he is not Terry ‘Jet’ Harris ) so 2 Terry Harris’s come from Kingsbury!
    There was something in the air in Kingsbury which nurtured creativity and it was a wonderful place to grow up in during the 50’s and 60’s.


  9. I hated living in Kingsbury. I am now living in Peterborough, which is marginally more interesting and takes the same amount of time to get to central London. However, no one warned me about the price of rail tickets. I can’t say I miss it. I still drive through it occasionally, and it still lacks character. I am an artist now, it appears the dull boring suburban landscape creates furtive imaginations. So its not all bad I guess.


    • Eh, as a British Indian, I find Kingsbury too hectic, primarily due to the intense amounts of British Indians! I moved further out to Stanmore and love it there. I’ve been to India many times and Kingsbury High Road is quickly becoming the kind of place you’d expect cows to pop out of any time – that’s what you see in Gujarat. The buzz is still not the same though; it’s in a weird place right now. However, the community feel is strong still – you will maybe have seen Kingsbury’s shop owners take on thieves on motorbikes and capturing one of them even! Look it up on YouTube if not, it’s amazing to see.

      Still, a Nando’s thrives there, Hennessey’s still do the footie, even with Blue Ginger replacing The Plough and having screens galore, and Wetherspoon’s will always be a staple for a quick pint, but there’s definitely a cultural shift as a whole. I’d like for people to remember to be nice to one another more often and not get sucked in by the pace of London as a whole without the buzz and fun to back it up.

      Old-McDonalds (heh) needs to become something more than a swathe of failed restaurants and it’s a property ripe for a great idea to inject some fun back into Kingsbury without attracting all the riff raff it has in the past.


  10. Wow..that brought back memories. Lived in Sunnybank Road, off Church Lane before leaving for Australia. Spent many happy hours in all places mentioned, especially Ritz Kingsbury dances. Those were great days and nobody got so drunk they didn’t remember and I grew up in Willesden and Kingsbury and never got attacked or chased at night..sad to know people feel threatened.


    • I grew up in Kingsbury but spend a lot of my working life in Willesden Green. Willesden has become gentrified and is slowly going to become safer – I’ve always felt comfortable here, however.

      Kingsbury I’ve grown up walking through and largely still have no issue with it, but it isn’t as comfortable as it used to be. Loving Stanmore life now!


      • Yes sadly unlike its neighbours in Brent, Kingsbury is going through reverse gentrification with its drug gangs and professional beggars hanging around the station. Whats more the Indian community are moving out which is also a shame as they’ve always been decent and not loutish.


  11. .Another famous Kingsbury resident…Shirley Eaton, British actress and ‘Bond Girl’ ( Painted head to foot in gold in ‘Goldfinger’). Had a walk to all my old haunts in Kingsbury today, only one shop from my past remaining – Stanfields Opticians – the rest have changed beyond recognition but amazed to see ‘The Arcade’ still there!


    • Ahh The Arcade – been around for donkey’s! I’m a lot younger than you (80s kid) but staples from my childhood which remain are Gayatri Sweetmart, Pizza Hut Delivery, Greggs and Mayfair sports shop! Good times…!


  12. thats great mate. I am currently writing a graphic novel about Kingsbury. you have been very useful. …the nostalgia is nearly overwhelming…. spent my youth in the (closed) tennis courts and pavilion on old kenton lane. went to the swimming pool as a kid then hung around it when it was closed in my teens. drank in elthorn and jubilee parks, then in the green man and the plough. had plenty of fun in the haylane discos.


      • cheers mate. born there 75, left 93. Will include details of my comic. We will be having a launch soon. probably late march. id like to advertise it on your thread. let me know what more info you want.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sure thing Danny, no problem. Feel free to email me (rob_oliver@live.co.uk) if you want to discuss further. If you don’t mind me asking, what was your surname? And what school did you attend?


      • I’d definitely check that out! Also if you want to talk about Kingsbury post-1993, I was going into high school around then so I have fond memories of cycling over at Fryent Way Country Park, down to Wembley to see the crowds for Euro 96 etc.


      • Hi Chiraag! Wow – Euro ’96, great memories. That was an amazing summer in Kingsbury. Remember the street banners going up along The Paddocks towards Brent Townhall, singing Three Lions on a Shirt at Kingsbury Town FC.


      • Please do Chiraag, you could play spot the landmark/error/urban myth. Sorry, been trying to get the thing off the ground. It’s Danny Conway. Went to Robert Southwell n then BD. Catholic parents eh? Maybe i bumped into you back in the day and was annoying.In my defence my mum has read your article and thought I wrote it! so a) we can’t be that different and b) she can’t have paid too much attention to your photo at the bottom? my comic launch will be in deptford in the next 6 -8 weeks. feel free to join in. ill post links.Thanks again all.


      • Hey fellas.
        Graphic Novel Launch Party
        Mimesis. Kingsbury, The Suburban Pantheon. Chapter 1: The Parable of the Plums.
        6pm 2.6.16 Job Centre Bar, Deptford. Artwork up until 2.7.16.
        Chapter 1 will be available signed and numbered to buy, original artwork form the comic will be exhibited, the music will be part of the instillation, ill be there and there will be a prize to be won through the Accidental Film Club podcast.

        Cheers, you would be very welcome.
        or email djcbullseye@yahoo.co.uk

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Chiraag and Rob. still going strong.
      Chapter 2 of my Kingsbury Graphic novel will be released at the launch party this month, it would be great to see you there.
      Mimesis. Kingsbury: The Suburban Pantheon. Ch 2. Free Barabbas.
      Deptford Cinema, Deptford. 28.12.16 7-late.
      Art comics, music and merch available.



  13. When I was a student and made a video in the hairdressers on Church Lane called Silver Scissors, my then best friend’s sister owned it. That place holds my fondest memories of Kingsbury. Other memories; seeing a 6ft transvestite walking along Fryent Way in high heels in broad daylight….very surreal. Another surreal and disturbing sight was walking past a dead West Highland Terrier on the payment along Fryent Way as well….Seeing a lone man dressed as Santa Claus walking along Church Lane at midnight on Christmas Eve was pretty special, I think I actually cried. My first boyfriend and I split up at the bus stop on Forty Lane, just beside Blackbird Hill. That bench on Blackbird Hill (I think its still there) was where we use to have all our arguments in the 80s. Earning a measly £1.18 an hour in the Kingsbury branch of Sainsburys and feeling suicidal on a Saturday morning before I started my 12 hour shift. Finding Newcastle United fans drunk in my back Garden on an FA Cup Final Day. My hatred of football stems from being too scared to go out on Saturdays whenever there was a match on….Random memories from http://www.heartwork.co.uk


    • Really enjoyed reading your memories. Lots of places of memories. The Newcastle fans in your back garden is especially funny! This must’ve been late 90s? How did they get in? I’m assuming you no longer live in the area?


      • Newcastle United wad in the 80s….might not hsve been the FA Cup…..could have beem something similar. Left Kingsbury in 1996. Lived in Kingsbury from 1979. In Peterborough now. My parents moved to Bushey, drive through every now and then. It’s as drab and lack lustre as ever.


  14. Thanks for this Rob. I have lived here for nearly 50 years and still enjoying it. The street i live in like a family where most people take the time to talk to their neighbours and help the ones in need. Love it.


  15. Only moved to the area 4 years ago but am loving it. We live in a Trobridge house. I am obsessed with the history of the area. Have learnt lots form this, I owe you a pint!


  16. As much as I loved Kingsbury in the 80’s – Its not the same now, it has definitely lost its unique character and seem soulless!
    Still, Ill hold onto the memories of the place and the people of my time – outstanding!


  17. Moved to Kingsbury in 1940 after being bombed out in the East End of London. I lived in Goldsmith Lane Roe Green Village until the 1950’s. I went to Roe Green School before going to Kingsbury Senior Boys School on the Edgware Road. Worked with my Dad at Clarks the Plumbers Merchants until I retired and my Son Paul took over. I loved Kingsbury until the time came for me to moved on and move to Hertfordshire. The people that are mentioned in the earlier writings including Stuart Pearce and his family. Paul Merson who played for me when we were at Forest United, great memories. I am 80 now and would love to have the time to write my memories. We will see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi,John,
      Nice to read your memories, hope you and family all well after this year of problems we all have experience last swa you at Peters funeral reaqlly sad occasion the chap really contributedby forming Forest Utd getting together a great set of lads at an early age to form a very succsefull team and with the likes of yourself carrying it on to further success.Roger my brother the plumber lives in the Isle of Wight now being there for quite a while and is going on very well ,Keith Fennell and his parents are still enjoying life here in Radlett but not sure about any of the others of the start up Forest teams do you know of any?
      Wish you well and keep safe.
      REgards Tony Smith


  18. Loved reading about Kingsbury. It brought back many happy memories as I moved in with my family in 1963 and am still associated with the area. The British Afro band Osibisa also lived in Eton Grove in Kingsbury for many years in the 1970’s. And Mick Jagger’s aunt used to clean my classroom at Roe Green JMI in the 1060’s.


  19. The Wishing Well and Co-Op Funeral Parlour were created when the Co-Op (Pricefighter as wes) downsized. Don’t ever recall it being a video rental shop


  20. Thanks for that lived in Sandhurst Road in the 60’s and went to Tylers Croft, brought back memories of my teenage years 🙂


  21. Love this article. Thank you. I was born on the Kenton side of Honeypot Lane but grew up on the Kingsbury side. Moved to Stanmore when I married in 1971! Have great some memories of Kingsbury Swimming Pool & Park, Kingsbury Cinema, Barn Hill, Pubs, the Ritz Ballroom.


  22. Loved your piece on Kingabury, lived there from 1963- 2005, so many great memories, , the Cinema , which is now Aldi went there Sat morning, also the Wimpy bar now the Hallifax. Kingsbury was a great shopping center so many shops, had all we needed. Use to play Tennis in the park in Church lane half a crown for two hours, and the fields behind Slough lane use to have Cows there.


  23. Monica Hall (Crugten) I live in TA centre op Kingsbury green from about 1950 to 1963 I love it there it was the best times had so many friends we went to all the club’s. Went back last year & met up with some friends in Ben cafe. Had a good look round I felt so sad church lane as change so much & were I lived is a car wash. Then a good few years have gone by. Ann Conway did you have family who live in high meadow cres up buck lane ?


  24. Born and bred in Kingsbury been to every place on the post brilliant childhood memmories so upset when returned for a week as my mother in-law lives on the Kingsbury road police everywhere welsh harp completely deserted not the same place anymore so sad.


  25. Lived in kingsbury from 1953 which is the year I was born ,went to roe green primary and then on to tylers croft girls .left kingsbury age 17 to move to south coast. Many happy memories of kingsbury ,remember the swimming pool, worked as Sat girl in Woolworths.


  26. Moved to Kingsbury when I was four from Kilburn(1967).We were a family of three boys,two girls, mum & dad were Irish. Lived in high meadow crescent in a three bed semi council house.Locals were welcoming at time wanted to get a petition to get us out.We thought we had won pools as house was nice and had a big garden Remember Olly Golly bullied mercelessley ,happy days 😅Kingsbury high was better made new friends took up rugby.Kingsbury swimming pool car park had entertainment on a mobile stage magic shows etc on Sat mornings.PDSA had mobile vets there too.Barn hill,Jubilee park,Welsh harp were places to play long summer evenings.Bens cafe (now a boozer) & Colins cafe (opposite Plough) were meeting points.Graduated to the Plough when sixteen snake bites galore,pissed on a fiver lol.Spent formative years in Kingsbury pop up now and again as family and friends live there.Lot of changes some good some bad .Progress !.


  27. Just re-read the posts – more nostalgia than I can bear. I’m now 72 years of age, still living in Australia, having left Kingsbury in 1971. Was born at Edware General Hospital, lived in Reeves Avenue, Fryent Way and Church Lane (on the corner opposite what used to be the Nipp Inn Cafe. Would love to contact others who might remember me. Email Barrelbits@bigpond.com
    Cheers, and thanks for the memories.
    Brian Hoare.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Born in Ruskin Gdn, 1939, went tp Glebe, Shandos s/m Claremont. s/m.. Worked at Van de Plass, up until it moved to Austins. Married a chap from [Jack Hayes ] from Cowbridge Rd.,. Spent many days. at swim baths and barn hill [when it was just a large open space, ] remember pond at top, we would scare each other of how kids had died in that pond. And if you could get ”half a crown”, would walk over barnhill onto Forty Av, To Stadium, Ice and speedway. All done on a bottle of tap water and a jam sandwich..got 78’s from Tom, in the arcade..Yes all out neighbours were great, called, everyone Auntie and Uncle, it was not until much later on, I realised they were not blood relatives. Train to Kilburn for shopping or the wonderful STATE, apart from films they had live shows, Saw, many a big act before they went to to Palladium ..get on a train, in Oxford Street St., 20 minslater.. Had so many other delight, was not until much later, that I fint that Kingsbury, was better that most place, had more going for it’ Left the area in 76, happy here in Lincs. But was forever grateful that I grew up in such a great place.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Moved to Kingsbury (the Townsend Lane end of Burgess Avenue) with Mum and Dad in 1952. I remember the cafe (Mum made me promise not to become a Teddy Boy although I was only 8 at the time), the TA building and the Express Dairy at the bottom of our road but mostly the sweetshop and the fish and chip shop the other side of Burgess Avenue. Saturday mornings were spent at the pictures in Kingsbury. I had a shilling pocket money which was usually spent on the penny busfare, sixpence to get in, a ‘tub’ during the interval, and the remainder if there was any in the sweet/toy shop a few doors down from the cinema afterwards. Always walked back home penniless. Spent a lot of time at kingsbury swimming pool during the summer, more often than not having to queue to get in. The water was always cold and you were always made to jump straight in when I went there with the school (Fryent) for swimming lessons. You couldn’t have wished for a better place to grow up in than Kingsbury in the 1950’s with so much open space to play in and so many kids to play with, loads from our street and from the prefabs that lined townsend Lane all the way down to the football club. Went back recently to watch a football match at the old Kingsbury town ground and was amazed to find our old upstairs maisonette still had the same front door it had when we left in 1959! Really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Loved reading this. My Mum and her family, the Knights, lived in High Meadow Crescent until she got married and moved away. Her best friend lived up The Grove. My grandparents continued there until their death and my uncle lived his whole life in the house until his death last year. Very sad not to have a reason to go there now. My nanny drove one of the milk carts with the horse during the war and worked in Timothy Whites. Mum was evacuated with other school children during WWII. My uncle learned to swim in the lido while it was closed! He also managed to nip in the Nipp Inn in his car.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Didnt see much reference to Roe Green Village which has just celebrated its centinery birthday,must be one of the oldest parts of Kingsbury,really great place to be brought up especially during the second world war.
    Tony Smith ex Stag lane


  32. A great venue for teenagers late forties/early fifties was Kingsbury Community centre based in Eton Grove park wich was our local youth club,where romances actully turned into marriges very succesfull sports teams right up to you went into National service,Just to mention a couple of names responsible especialy on the sport side were Mr Lamb and Mr Fred Metheral besides others whose names are faded away unfortunatly.Now and then I venture back to Eton Grove Park and nevr see a soul in there it was such a hive of activity in that era.
    Tony Smith


    • Anoher Kingsbury highlight was the forming of Forest United 1973 Football club it being the almergation of the !st and 2nd Kingsbury cub packs by Peter Baveverstock in 1973 this club is still in excsitance and has a very creditable record in local youngsters footbal.
      Tony Smith


  33. Lived in Kingsbury from 1947 to 1968 in Queensbury Road ,off Church Lane. Many great memories , went to Glenwood School up by the Welsh Harp. Then onto Orange Hill Grammar School in Burnt Oak. Remember Mr Rainbow the sweet shop in Church Lane and went to the local hairdresser ( can’t remember the name) where I sat next to Julie Rogers the singer who lived in Slough Lane. Spent the summer at Kingsbury Pool and West Hendon pool too. Walking over Silver Jubilee Park and onto the Welsh Harp. Spent teenage years at the Ritz Ballroom , Wembley Town Hall and dances at Kingsbury Pool cafe . Got married in Holy Innocent s Church on Kingsbury Road 50 years ago….. We used to go to the Wimpy Bar in Kingsbury when the trad band came on at the Ritz. My parents got married in St Andrews Church where I went to the Brownies and the Youth club opened by Shirley Eaton. They we r e good times and have too many more memories to mention . Kingsbury has changed so much now and not for the better sadly.


  34. Was raised in kingsbury in the fifties and lived there untill i moved away in the seventies.
    I had not travelled along kingsbury road for about twenty years until the day i had to visit the hyde to buy a part for my car.
    I was dismayed to see ho run-down and southall – like the whole area has become.
    Completely un like the clean, safe area in which i was raised.


  35. Thanks Rob, that was a fascinating ride back in time. (Although to be fair, I think I learned more than I remembered 😂).


  36. Am I right in saying Express Dairy was opposite the Kingsbury station whilst United Dairies was located at the top of Church Lane? Most texts tend to quote the opposite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If my memory serves me right, Express Dairy was top of Church Lane (though do remember it changing name somewhere in the 2000s?). I remember there was a little tea room next door. Used to get the 83 outside there to school. Don’t recall one on Kingsbury road – was this where Lidl is now?


  37. Express Dairy depot was behind the shops opposite the Kingsbury Underground station. as a kid in the 50s, I remember the horses in there awaiting their milk rounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Just a couple of additions. St Andrews Church was brought brick by brick from London. There was a very large Jewish community, either moved further out or into London. Kingsbury Town FC was built on the site of an anti aircraft fortress. One of our past monarchs had his mistress installed in Kingsbury manor. Duchess of Sutherland or some such. Piper’s Green was an area for growing hay to feed the capital ‘s horses. Best wishes Eddy


  39. Great reading this. I have lived in Kingsbury 50 years and loved it . Didnt know why James Smiley wasn’t mentioned he is an Actor on stage and TV he lived in one of the Thatch cottages in Slough Lane. But its a great article so thank you x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Chiraag Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s