Granville Road, NW6

Road in/near Kilburn Park, existing between the 1860s and now

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Road · Kilburn Park · NW6 ·
December
9
2015

Granville Road, NW6 was formerly Pembroke Road.


At the turn of the 1860s, builders laid out Granville Road, then called Pembroke Road in Kilburn Park. Being so close to the Edgware Road, with its good connections to central London, they hoped to attract a higher class of purchaser.

But by 1871 Kilburn was socially mixed - not as high-class as the builders had hoped but still including a few large houses like Kilburn House and streets like Alexandra (later Princess) Road where more than half the houses employed servants.

Commercial travellers, salesmen, and shopkeepers were among the inhabitants. There was still a strong middle-class, mainly professional and commercial, element in the population.

From early on, however, the working classes predominated and contemporaries noted the horrifying conditions in which many of Kilburn’s inhabitants lived. The overall density of 8 persons to a house in 1875 concealed streets like the newly built Pembroke Road in Kilburn Park where each house contained from four to six households.

It lay in the parish of St. John where 7,000 of the 9,000 residents in 1880 were said to be working-class, there were no wealthy people to give money for churches or schools, and in one group of streets 525 families lived in 81 houses.

Sickness was rife, and in 1875 Kilburn was castigated for its chronic pauperism, negligence, ignorance, and lack of cleanliness. The people usually came from similar conditions in Paddington and Marylebone and included, already in 1871 but increasingly during the 20th century, recent Irish immigrants.

They included a shifting population of the temporarily employed, often bachelors working in the building industry and living in overcrowded lodging houses. Social life centred around the public houses, said in 1949 to average one for every 424 people in south Kilburn compared with one to every 2,618 for the rest of Willesden.

The density of population in the whole of Kilburn remained at nearly 8 persons per house until well after the Second World War and in southern Kilburn was consistently over 10 people to a house. In 1881 in St. Luke’s parish it was over 12 people to a house. In south Kilburn in 1921 there were 208 people to an acre. In 1934 Pembroke Road was still notable for its poverty and overcrowding, and the poorest district in Willesden was the group of streets near Kilburn (Park) station.

A beginning was made of slum clearance in 1938 when houses were destroyed in Alpha Place, off Canterbury Road, but the Second World War intervened

Redevelopment after the Second World War split Granville Road into two halves.


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Kilburn Park

Kilburn Park station was opened on 31 January 1915 as the temporary terminus of the Bakerloo line’s extension from Paddington.

The area of Kilburn Park was developed in the 1850s somewhat south of the area then known as Kilburn in the fields west of the Edgware Road. The "Park" in the name was simply an invention by the developer, James Bailey.

Bailey had teamed up in a consortium of five developers who in 1850 bought 47 acres from owner the Reverend Edward Stuart. The consortium laid out roads and sewers and divided the site among themselves, subletting to smaller firms who built a few houses each.

The isolated, muddy location failed to attract many buyers and the estate remained incomplete for several decades. Properties were soon subdivided, some containing as many as six households in the 1870s.

The suburb of Kilburn Park was finally complete in the late 1880s.

Kilburn Park station was opened on 31 January 1915 as the temporary terminus of the Bakerloo line’s extension from Paddington  towards Queen’s Park.

The original plan had the London North West Railway (LNWR) creating a new line from Queen’s Park to Euston - but these underground ideas changed and a new "proper" line was built instead. But extending south from Queen’s Park gained momentum and, in 1911, it was mooted to extend the London Electric Railway (LER) company’s Bakerloo Line in that direction.

The Bakerloo Line offered a direct West End route without the need for changing trains though the Bakerloo was not the first option for bringing trains into the West End from the direction of Watford. A connection with the Hampstead Tube at Chalk Farm was looked at but not found to be feasible so the more expensive Bakerloo scheme then became the preferred route.

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This arrangement suited the LER very well. It would capture a valuable new traffic and help fill the spare capacity along the existing line, and all at modest cost. It would also resolve once and for all how the Bakerloo should approach Paddington where the surface station layout was complicated. Vacillation about what to do after reaching Paddington had prevented the Bakerloo getting beyond Edgware Road as it was impossible to agree a route to Paddington without knowledge of where a future extension might go. Paddington was reached in 1913, with the GWR paying £18,000 towards the scheme.

Unfortunately, by the time work on the extension was well in hand, the Great War had broken out and this and other delays (including some very bad weather) somewhat disrupted plans. The Bakerloo service began on 31 January 1915, trains calling only at Warwick Avenue and Kilburn Park. Queens Park (though still incomplete) was sufficiently advanced to open on 11 February 1915, and Maida Vale was finally ready on 6 June 1915.

The Kilburn Park station building was designed by Stanley Heaps in a modified version of the earlier Leslie Green designed Bakerloo line stations with glazed terra cotta façades but without the large semi-circular windows at first floor level. It was one of the first London Underground stations built specifically to use escalators rather than lifts. Because of the lack of lifts, there was no longer any need for an engine room, and the new station building was built as a single story building.

Maida Vale station, down the line was the first London station to have all-female staff. When it opened in 1915 during the First World War, there were two ticket collectors, two porters, two booking clerks, and relief ticket collector-booking clerks. Kilburn Park station was also staffed by women, though not exclusively so.

Because of the shortage of male workers, women’s role expanded  on the Bakerloo Line - first of all in stations like Maida Vale and Kilburn Park, but eventually on trains too. In August 1918 an unofficial strike, mainly affecting this line, played a part in moving towards equal pay for women.

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