What’s happened this fortnight 20th January 2019

Our MP made the national news by delaying the birth of her son to be able to vote in Parliament. Welcome to Raphael! We hope to meet him soon in Grange Park.

Click here  to find out the link between this iconic building and Kilburn.

There are rooms for rent at the listed Animal Dispensary in Cambridge Avenue. Surely this historical building has not been turned into a HMO (house in multiple occupation)? Continue reading

Ford and Walton, the Kilburn builders of BBC Broadcasting House by Dick Weindling

Ford and Walton, the Kilburn builders of BBC Broadcasting House

Richard Thomas Ford and Francis James Walton were both employed by the Kilburn building firm of John Allen and Sons which was based in today’s Kingsgate Studios building. Then in December 1903 Ford and Walton set up their own building firm with a small office at No.1 West End Lane. In 1905 they acquired the large yard behind Nos. 242-252 Kilburn High Road. Number 242 was re-numbered in 1923 as No.254, which today is the address of the new 60-flat development ‘Park Place’ overlooking Grange Park.

Richard Ford grew up in Kilburn and was living with his parents at No.9 Lowfield Road in 1881 and at No.1 Kylemore Road in 1891. In 1894 he married Clara Saxby and they had three children. In August 1904 their little daughter ‘Dottie’ or Doris, died aged only nine and a half at their home, 42 Dyne Road. Richard Ford died in 1911 when he was living at 23 Mapesbury Road, and he left £7,401, today worth about £720,000.

Frank Walton lived in St Pancras. He married Anne Martha Stevens in 1890, and they had five children. In 1929 he was at 2 Morland Close Hampstead Way close to the Heath, when he died living £63,401 (today worth about £3.6M) to his widow.

The firm kept going under the sons of Richard and Frank and had lots of work around London. In 1930, they signed the contract with the BBC to build Broadcasting House in Portland Place, and it was completed in 1931.

The Grade II* building is in the Art Deco style on a steel frame. The first radio broadcast was made on 15 March 1932 and it was officially opened on 15 May.

The 1931 photograph has the Ford and Walton sign on the front and was taken before the Eric Gill statues of ‘Prospero’ and ‘Ariel’, and those by Kilburn sculptor Gilbert Bayes, were installed.

What’s happened this fortnight 6th January 2019

We would like to wish you all a healthy and happy New Year 2019.  2018 has seen some improvements to Kilburn with new shops and restaurants openings, the resurfacing of Kilburn High Road and of course the re-opening of our Theatre and Cinema.

With your help, we can make Kilburn better, by shopping and eating locally, reporting street issues and using our wonderful community facilities.

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What’s happened this fortnight the 16th December 2018

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…… and Christmas trees have certainly taken over outside Kilburn tube station. And we’re loving the light decorations on this house opposite the tube.

The Kilburn History walk led by Alan was attended by more than 40 people and took us from St Cuthbert’s to St Augustine’s. Do not miss the next one!

Please do go and visit the wonderful interiors of St Augustine’s, the Cathedral of North London. Here are the opening times for this month. Continue reading

What’s happened this fortnight 2nd December 2018

In news this fortnight we were incredibly saddened to hear that a man died in a fire along with his pets in a flat in the Sidings Estate.

A child, who is a pupil at Kingsgate school, was also hit by a car last week. Will Camden council do anything to make our roads safer?

And in final bad news, a pensioner was taken to hospital after trying to tackle a thief in the EE store.

Kilburn used to be called the music mile. Our local historian, Dick Weindling, has been trying to compile a full history of 234 Kilburn High Road. With acts as famous as Bowie, Nirvana, the Pogues, it would be great if you could send us a list of acts you have seen there and pictures of programmes or tickets to complete the events record of one of Kilburn’s musical landmark.

Grange Cinema in 1930’s

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234 Kilburn High Road, Grange Cinema, Kilburn National Club by Dick Weindling

Kilburn National Club

This popular music venue was at 234 Kilburn High Road, on the corner of Messina Avenue. Many famous musicians including Johnny Cash and David Bowie played there. We look at the original building which was the Grange Cinema, and what happened when the National closed and was taken over by two different church groups.

Grange Cinema

The Grange was a large mansion standing in grounds of nine and a half acres and with a frontage to Kilburn High Road. It was the home of Ada Peters the widow of a wealthy coach builder who made coaches for Queen Victoria. Following Ada’s death in 1910, the property was sold. The new owner was Oswald Stoll, a major name in the entertainment world who had already built the London Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane, near Leicester Square. Stoll wanted to erect another Coliseum theatre in Kilburn. In fact, progress overtook him and instead of a theatre, the 2,028 seat Grange cinema opened on 30 July 1914. This remained the biggest cinema in Kilburn until the huge Gaumont State opened in December 1937 with over 4,000 seats making it the largest cinema in Europe. The Grange cinema finally closed on 14 June 1975.

Grange Cinema in 1930’s

Butty’s Club and Dance Hall

Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue, who ran the Admiral Nelson pub in Carlton Vale Kilburn and the Wellington in Shepherd’s Bush, opened his club in the old Grange Cinema on 23 Feb 1976. As a Kerry man he particularly catered for the Irish community. He was a wrestler, circus performer and was known as ‘Ireland’s Strongest Man’, able to lift four 56lb weights attached to a cart axle and dragging a cart filled with ten men using a rope clenched between his teeth. Butty was also an entrepreneur and a great publicist, and he persuaded Muhammad Ali to go to Dublin to fight his sparring partner, Alvin ‘Blue’ Lewis in July 1972. Closer to home, he persuaded Mick Meaney a barman at the Admiral Nelson, to break the world record for being buried alive. In April 1968 journalists joined huge crowds to watch as Mick emerged after 61 days underground. There are video clips of Butty on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX6whnRdH7E

Butty’s club ran until at least 1980 and so overlapped with the National Club.

Kilburn National Ballroom, or the Kilburn National Club

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Proposed Kilburn Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) bids for December 2018

We have a favour to ask of Kilburn locals. Can you please write an email of support in favour of the below three NCIL bids for December? Money is available to help improve our local neighbourhood but we need businesses and locals to help support these bids to make them happen.

Unfortunately the deadline is today BUT….. it won’t take you long to do.

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What’s happened this fortnight 18th November 2018

What is the link between Kilburn and Elton John, Jeff Beck, U2, Eric Clapton, Roxy Music, Simply Red, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Suede and the Biograph Cinema? Well, it is 248 Kilburn High Road.

The ticket windows in Kilburn Park Station got a green make-over. What a great idea!

“White Teeth” at the Kiln Theatre has been receiving very good reviews and not only from us. We were pleased to see Zadie Smith’s mother at the community day yesterday. A significant number of people enquired about the possible return of children workshops and children Saturday theatre shows. We were told that both would be returning soon, which is great news.

Bradley Wiggins mentioned his childhood in Kilburn.

Maison de la Vie cafe celebrated their first birthday on 10th November, with cake and music. Continue reading

A cinema? Master Rock Studios? at 248 Kilburn High Road.

Master Rock Studios and the Biograph Cinema, by Dick Weindling

Many buildings in Kilburn have interesting stories, but few can match No.248 Kilburn High Road. The site is now demolished and permission has been given for two blocks of flats. They may not be aware, but the new residents will be living on top of a slice of media history.

The Biograph Cinema

In October 1908, American-born George Washington Grant and two partners formed the Biograph Theatre Company. They saw cinema as the growing medium and opened two Biograph cinemas in the Holloway Road and Peckham in 1909. The busy working-class area of Kilburn was a good place for their next venture. In May 1910, The Biograph Theatre with 600 seats opened at No.236 Kilburn High Road. The trade newspaper, Era, said, ‘It is doing remarkably well and is prettily decorated in brown and gold and is very cosy.’ Continue reading

What’s happened this fortnight 4th November 2018

Somebody else agrees with us that Kilburn is getting fabulous food places but needs tender loving care.

Maison de la Vie are hosting live music every Friday. Worth a visit.

The Philippine Consul visited Philip San who have been getting great reviews. If you have not done so, please go and visit, great food and nice staff.

Have you eaten at Zero 75 in Belsize road?

Northwest trading at 106 Kilburn High Road took street trading to the new level of bus lane trading, while Inspire dental Care finally got a new sign.

A strange structure appeared by Kilburn tube station raising speculations about its purpose.

Friday 26th October was the first preview night of “White Teeth” at our local theatre. The set is Kilburn High Road  and Mary, a well known character to those who have lived in Kilburn for some time, is at centre stage. The play is excellent and a celebration of Kilburn’s quirkiness. Do go and see it, you will not be disappointed and you may learn the song about Kilburn High Road.

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