Blackbird Hill Farm

Farm, existing until 1923

 HOME  ·  ARTICLE  MAP  STREETS  BLOG 
3.94.200.93 
MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302019Fullscreen map
Farm · The Underground Map · NW9 ·
August
2
2017

Blackbird Hill Farm was situated on the corner of Birdbird Hill and Old Church Lane.

The lower yard at cottages of Blackbird Hill Farm on Old Church Lane, c.1880.
Credit: Brent Archives
It is unknown when Blackbird Hill Farm was first established. There were at least five “villagers” cultivating small areas of land in this part of Kingsbury at the time of the Domesday Book in 1085, but old records suggest that many local inhabitants died during the Black Death plagues of the mid-14th century. About 100 years later, in 1442, there is a mention of what may have been a farm on this site, and when a detailed map of the parish was drawn in 1597 it clearly showed a property called Findens here, a group of buildings around a yard with a strip of land, just over an acre, attached.

The large field behind it is shown as being leased to John Page, gentleman, by St Paul’s Cathedral (‘The Deane of Powles’), while the land on the opposite side of the main track was held by Eyan Chalkhill, who also had a watermill on the River Brent. In 1640, Findens was a 12-acre smallholding.

By the time of John Rocque’s map of 1745, there were farm buildings and orchards on both sides of Old Church Lane. These would come to be known as the upper and lower yards of Blackbird (or Blackbird Hill) Farm. Whereas the original farm, or smallholding, was probably growing a mixture of crops, mainly to support the farmer’s own family, by the mid-18th century the map shows most of the fields as pasture land.

By the early 19th century, many of Kingsbury’s fields were producing hay for the capital’s horses.

The farm was probably used for most of the nineteenth century for raising livestock, some of which would be driven to London to help provide meat for the capital’s fast-growing population.

In the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign, the farmer at Blackbird Farm was William Avis Warner. One of his sons, William Perkins Warner, who grew up here and trained as a butcher before serving in the army’s Commissariat Department during the Crimean War, became famous as the landlord of the Welsh Harp Inn from 1858 until his death in 1889.

A cowkeeper was mentioned in 1823 but most local farms did not transfer to dairy farming until the end of the century.

The earliest photographs of the farm date from 1880, by around which time the farm was mainly being used for dairy cattle. The upper yard contained the farmhouse and various outbuildings, while the lower yard had housing for farm workers and the main cow sheds.

Years later, one elderly local resident recalled the story that Blackbird Farm had delivered milk to Buckingham Palace on a daily basis, ‘until the day that Queen Victoria saw her churn on the same cart as a load of manure’.

By the start of the First World War in 1914, Thomas Noad was the farmer here. The area around Blackbird Farm was still rural, as was much of Kingsbury, even though it was classed as an Urban District for local government purposes, with Mr Noad serving as one of the Councillors.

When foot and mouth disease broke out at Blackbird Farm in 1923, and all of the cows had to be shot, that was the end of it as a working farm. Although the Noad family continued to live in the farmhouse, the rest of the land was sold off for housing.

Houses were soon being built on the farm’s former fields, in new roads like Queens Walk and Birchen Grove, as well as along the improved existing roads.

By 1936, the buildings on the lower yard had been demolished, and replaced by a parade of shops in the half-timbered mock-Tudor style so popular at the time. The old farmhouse itself had been “dressed-up” with applied timber beams, and remained as a picturesque relic of Kingsbury’s rural past, housing tea rooms run by Mrs Elizabeth Noad, while a timber outbuilding at the corner of the farmyard was used as a boot repair shop by Thomas Laney.

In the late 1930’s the brewers, Truman Hanbury Buxton, submitted plans to build a public house on the site of Blackbird Farm. The outbreak of war in 1939 meant that the idea was not pursued then, but fresh proposals were put forward in the early 1950’s. The recently formed Wembley History Society was among the objectors wishing to see the farmhouse retained
and reused. It also hoped to carry out some archaeological work at the site, but there is no record of what was found if any such work went ahead. The farmhouse was demolished in 1955, with “The Blackbirds” public house built around 1957.

After the pub closed in 2010, a planning application was submitted to redevelop the site for a block of flats.

Planning permission for the proposed development was given by Brent Council in March 2011, but one of the conditions for this was that there should be a proper archaeological excavation of the part of the Blackbird Farm site which had not been disturbed when the pub was built.


Main source: Brent Council
Further citations and sources


xxx

The lower yard at cottages of Blackbird Hill Farm on Old Church Lane, c.1880.
Brent Archives


VIEW THE THE UNDERGROUND MAP AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE THE UNDERGROUND MAP AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE THE UNDERGROUND MAP AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE THE UNDERGROUND MAP AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE THE UNDERGROUND MAP AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

The Underground Map

The Underground Map is a project which is creating street histories for the areas of London and surrounding counties lying inside the M25.

In a series of maps from the 1750s until the 1950s, you can see how London grew from a city which only reached as far as Park Lane into the post war megapolis we know today. There are now over 85 000 articles on all variety of locations including roads, houses, schools, pubs and palaces.

You can begin exploring by choosing a place from the dropdown list at the top left and then clicking Reset Location.

As maps are displayed, click on the markers to view location articles.

You can also view historical maps of London - click on the "pile of paper" control on the top right of a page's map to change to a particular decade.
Print-friendly version of this page