We found the resting place of the creator of Paddington Bear, Michael Bond, in Paddington Old Cemetery in Kilburn off Willesden Lane.
We also attended and helped run workshops at the first meeting for helping to improve Kilburn’s night time economy. In attendance were officials from both Brent and Camden, the police, local businesses and representatives of local residents association. We hope this is the first of more to come and look forward to sharing the outcomes and improvements that will come to Kilburn. During this meeting, it was confirmed that Brent have approved 2 pots of money to improve wayfinding and lighting under the bridges by Kilburn station and to commission street art at key locations.
Have you got tickets to see Kiln’s latest production The Son? It’s been recommended by the Guardian, Metro, Evening Standard and New Statesman!
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.
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.
In news this fortnight we were incredibly saddened to hear that a man diedin 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.
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.
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.
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: