Saturday 28 November 2009

Is this it Mum?

Not long after I was selected here in Hampstead and Kilburn my mother let it slip that she has wanted to attend Kilburn School of Needlework, but my grandparents could not afford the fees, and I've often wondered where that was.

I was more recently reading a history of an educational establishment and reflecting on my own experience of higher and further education and wondered if in fact whatever Kilburn School of Needlework was, whether it has been over the years federated into what is now the College of North West London. Any clues out there?

Now of course this is the old building in Esmond Road, Kilburn, grand and imposing - the workmanship is impressive, the detail lavish and the quality very high.

You can see from main pinnacle that it was topped off in 1903 and was clearly a premier building for it's time - the post Victorian era was a key building time in Britain - especially for local schools and municipal facilities.

Now on the needlework theme I have found this:

"In 1893 Willesden local committee for technical education organized classes in Willesden town hall and in 1896 Middlesex C. C. bought the St. Lawrence institute in Priory Park Road, Kilburn, and placed it at the disposal of the local committee which opened it as Willesden Polytechnic. By 1898 there was an enrolment of 1,571, and a new building was opened in Glengall Road, Kilburn, in 1904. A needle-trades school for girls was established there from 1910 until it moved to an annexe at the Hyde, Edgware Road, in 1952; it closed in 1962."

The new College of North West London website proudly boasts:

In September 2007 the College of North West London moved into its new Kilburn Centre, a prize-winning bespoke building in the heart of Kilburn.

Extensive use has been made of oak and stainless steel to create an ultra-modern building that is both stylish and durable. All classrooms are fitted with interactive whiteboards and the entire building incorporates a wireless network.

Not only does the new building provide students with up to the minute facilities and technology, it is also environmentally sound, with a number of controls and features that lessen the impact on the environment.

Due to its innovative ‘green’ credentials, which include a central atrium to maximise natural light and exterior fins to minimise solar glare, the building was entered in a national design excellence competition of the Royal Institute of British Architects and won second prize.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Swiss Cottage school's former occupant: raffish and a cad

This is one of those 'independent' plaques that springs up from time to time - but this one is on Swiss Cottage school.

It's not the most obvious site and when you realise it's the car mechanic Bentley you have great visions of the nature of either the grand rolling gated entrance house or of a sprawling garage laden house and grounds...

He had a long life and was married three times, his last wife only passing away in 1989.

Few of the on-line biographies give that much away to his character but I get a sense of a cad and a somewhat raffish type of chap - very much a person of the post Victorian Edwardian era - fashionable at the peak of the 1920's flappers, he won Le Mans race in 1924.

More on W.O. Bentley here

But for a better insight into the excitement of the lifestyle and fame he enjoyed:

Monday 9 November 2009

Remembering those who have gone before

I place a huge store on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day - for me it is about the society in which we live and the type of nation we seek to be.

There is nothing glamorous about war, despite the films, and the sickening feeling at the pit of your stomach at loosing someone you love is only increased by their life being cut short in war and conflict.

The London Boroughs have a tradition of marking the anniversaries with formal civic services at parish churches, but I was determined this year to ensure that the lower profile memorials were recognised.

I'm delighted to say that the response from Brent's local ward councillors and residents have been superb. So we were able this year to have a brief ceremony at the Animal War Memorial on Cambridge Avenue, Kilburn (thanks to the Sea Scouts from TS Bicester for joining us - pic top right).

Cllr Anthony Dunn laid the wreath, Cllr Simon Green read For the Fallen (Wilfred Owen) and i read a couple of verses of FThe War Horse by Lieutenant L Fleming

We went on to St Augustine's Church where there was a full service - the West Kilburn British Legion marched there and took part - Cllr Simon Green laid a wreath in the church.

Then it was a march back to the British Legion in Albert Road (by the Falcon Pub) where we laid a wreath after the reading of those who have died from the West Kilburn branch and then it was onto Kensal Green cemetary.

In Kensal Cemetary there is a memorial to the founder of the Royal Logistics Corp and also to a Ghurka Victoria Cross bearer...

It was an honour and pleasure to be part of this and I'm proud that Kilburn and Queen's Park councillor Simon Green, Anthony Dunn, Will Motley, Emily Tancred and Derek Jackson made it all possible.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Back to the ancients and early medieval

I reckon Kilburn is one of the first communities of England...

Watling Street was built in AD 44 as the route motorway into Britain and eventually into wales.

It was the principle route north and weas the thorough fare for all travel north.

Any Roman Emperor in Britain came through Kilburn along Watling Street...

Here are some - are there others?

I've ended the cycle of ancients with Alfred the Great and his coin of the conquest of London after the Watling Street treaty of AD 878.

Hence Danelaw = Camden and Wessex = Brent

Friday 6 November 2009

Historic plaque scheme here in Kilburn?

Can you names these kilburnites?

Do they deserve a blue plaque or equivalent?

On which building would it go?

When and for how long was their residence in Kilburn?

Are there other parts of London for which there are so few recognitions of the people who lived there?