Blackbird Hill Farm

Farm in/near Kingsbury, existing until 1923

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Farm · Kingsbury · NW9 · Contributed by The Underground Map
August
2
2017
The lower yard at cottages of Blackbird Hill Farm on Old Church Lane, c.1880.
Credit: Brent Archives

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

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.

Source: Brent Council



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John Dye
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Post by John Dye: Cool Oak Lane, NW9

I lived at Queensbury Road, Kingsbury during World War II and used to play regularly along the edge of the Welsh Harp. About halfway along Cool Oak Lane on the south side was a pond we used to call Froggy Pond. It was the only place I ever saw a water scorpion, Nepa cinerea. At the end of the war, all the street air raid shelters were knocked down and the rubble was piled up on the ground south of the Cool Oak Lane bridge, on the Hendon side. I remember that this heap of rubble became infested with rats and I used to watch them from the bridge. I was told that an old house on the south side of Cool Oak Lane (Woodfield House?) was once owned by the wife of Horatio Nelson. I think it later became the nurseries for plants grown for the Hendon parks.
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VIEW THE KINGSBURY 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 KINGSBURY AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
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VIEW THE KINGSBURY AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
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VIEW THE KINGSBURY 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 KINGSBURY AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

 
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Kingsbury

Kingsbury station was opened on 10 December 1932 as part of the Stanmore branch of the Metropolitan Railway and served by that company’s electric trains.

After the formation of London Transport in 1933 this branch became part of the Metropolitan line and was later transferred to the Bakerloo line in 1939 then to the Jubilee line in 1979. The design style is similar to that of other Metropolitan Railway buildings of the same period rather than to the concrete and glass style used at the same time by the LER group.

In common with other nearby Metropolitan Railway stations (e.g. Harrow-on-the-Hill, Neasden, Queensbury) there is an element of fiction in the station name; the area is properly within the eastern extent of Kenton (Kingsbury Road at this point was originally part of the eastern end of Kenton Lane) and Kingsbury proper is actually closer to Neasden station.

Although now only served by deep-level tube trains, the section of line serving the station is built to surface gauge, and trains to that larger LU loading gauge occasionally pass through.


LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Kingsbury:   Kingsbury station was opened on 10 December 1932 as part of the Stanmore branch of the Metropolitan Railway and served by that company’s electric trains.
Roe Green:   Roe Green was an original garden village.
Uxendon Farm:   Uxendon was once more important than Wembley.
Uxendon Shooting Grounds:   Uxendon Shooting Grounds was the location of the clay pigeon shooting for the 1908 Olympics.


PHOTOS OF THE AREA
Blackbird Hill (1906):   Blackbird Hill is image in 1906 and then part of Neasden.


NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Adams Close, NW9 · Alington Crescent, NW9 · Alverstone Road, HA9 · Anton Place, HA9 · Aylesbury Street, NW10 · Bacon Lane, NW9 · Baird Close, NW9 · Barn Hill, HA9 · Barn Rise, HA9 · Barn Way, HA9 · Barnhill Cottages, HA9 · Barningham Way, NW9 · Basing Hill, HA9 · Beaulieu Close, NW9 · Berkeley Road, NW9 · Beverley Gardens, HA9 · Birchen Close, NW9 · Birchen Grove, NW9 · Blackbird Hill, NW9 · Bowater Road, HA9 · Bowman Trading Estate, NW9 · Boycroft Avenue, NW9 · Brampton Grove, HA9 · Brampton Road, NW9 · Briarwood Close, NW9 · Bruno Place, NW9 · Buddings Circle, HA9 · Burgess Avenue, NW9 · Bush Grove, NW9 · Cambridge Close, NW10 · Carter Close, NW9 · Chalkhill Road, HA9 · Chalklands, HA9 · Charlton Road, HA9 · Chesham Street, NW10 · Church Drive, NW9 · Church Lane, NW9 · Clovelly Avenue, NW9 · Colin Close, NW9 · Colin Crescent, NW9 · Colin Drive, NW9 · Colin Gardens, NW9 · Colin Parade, NW9 · Colin Park Road, NW9 · Colindeep Lane, NW9 · Coombe Road, NW10 · Corringham Road, HA9 · Cottenham Drive, NW9 · Court Way, NW9 · Crossway, NW9 · Crundale Avenue, NW9 · Daisy Close, NW9 · Deanscroft Avenue, NW9 · Deerfield Close, NW9 · Demeta Close, HA9 · Dimsdale Drive, NW9 · Dryburgh Gardens, NW9 · Dugolly Avenue, HA9 · Dunster Drive, NW9 · East Hill, HA9 · Edgware Road, NW9 · Elmcroft Gardens, NW9 · Elthorne Road, NW9 · Elthorne Way, NW9 · Eton Grove, NW9 · Eversley Avenue, HA9 · Farnborough Close, HA9 · Forty Avenue Grand Parade, HA9 · Fryent Way, NW9 · Garrick Road, NW9 · Gervase Close, HA9 · Girton Avenue, NW9 · Glenwood Grove, NW9 · Goldsmith Lane, NW9 · Grand Parade, HA9 · Greenhill Way, HA9 · Grendon Gardens, HA9 · Grosvenor Crescent, NW9 · Harp Island Close, NW10 · Havenwood, HA9 · Hawthorne Grove, NW9 · Hill Drive, NW9 · Hillfield Avenue, NW9 · Holden Avenue, NW9 · Holly Grove, NW9 · Hyde Estate Road, NW9 · Irving Way, NW9 · Jubilee Close, NW9 · Kelly Close, NW10 · Kings Drive, HA9 · Kingsbury Arcade, NW9 · Kingsbury Circle, NW9 · Kingsbury Trading Estate, NW9 · Kingsbury, NW9 · Kingsgate, HA9 · Kingsmead Avenue, NW9 · Kingsmere Park, NW9 · Laburnum Grove, NW9 · Langdon Drive, NW9 · Larkspur Close, NW9 · Lavender Avenue, NW9 · Lawrence Way, NW10 · Ledway Drive, HA3 · Ledway Drive, HA9 · Leith Close, NW9 · Lewgars Avenue, NW9 · Leybourne Road, NW9 · Lynton Avenue, NW9 · Mallard Way, NW9 · Manor Close, NW9 · Manor Way, NW9 · Maple Grove, NW9 · Marlow Court, NW9 · Mayfields Close, HA9 · Mayfields, HA9 · Meadowbank Road, NW9 · Merley Court, NW9 · Mersham Drive, NW9 · Midholm, HA9 · Mount Drive, HA9 · New Way Road, NW9 · Newland Court, HA9 · Old Church Lane, NW9 · Orchard Gate, NW9 · Oxenpark Avenue, HA9 · Peace Grove, HA9 · Pilgrims Way, HA9 · Piper’s Green, NW9 · Poolsford Road, NW9 · Poplar Grove, HA9 · Princes Avenue, NW9 · Quainton Street, NW10 · Queens Walk, NW9 · Rankin Close, NW9 · Ravenscroft Avenue, HA9 · Rawlings Crescent, HA9 · Reeves Avenue, NW9 · Roe End, NW9 · Roe Green, NW9 · Roe Lane, NW9 · Rook Close, HA9 · Rookery Close, NW9 · Rookery Way, NW9 · Rose Bates Drive, NW9 · Ross Court, NW9 · Rossdale Drive, NW9 · Rowan Drive, NW9 · Rugby Road, NW9 · Runbury Circle, NW9 · Rushgrove Avenue, NW9 · Rushgrove Parade, NW9 · Ruskin Gardens, NW9 · Russell Road, NW9 · Saint Davids Close, HA9 · Salmon Street, NW9 · Saltcroft Close, HA9 · Scottwell Drive, NW9 · Scudamore Lane, NW9 · Sedum Close, NW9 · Sheaveshill Avenue, NW9 · Sheaveshill Parade, NW9 · Sherborne Gardens, NW9 · Shorts Croft, NW9 · Silkfield Road, NW9 · Slough Lane, NW9 · St Andrews Road, NW9 · St Matthias Close, NW9 · Stag Lane, NW9 · Stewart Close, NW9 · Stubbs Close, NW9 · Sunningdale Gardens, NW9 · Sunnymead Road, NW9 · Sutherland Court, NW9 · Swinton Close, HA9 · Sycamore Grove, NW9 · Technology Park, NW9 · Tennyson Avenue, NW9 · The Avenue, HA9 · The Close, HA9 · The Crossways, HA9 · The Drive, HA9 · The Hyde Industrial Estate, NW9 · The Hyde, NW9 · The Loning, NW9 · The Mount, HA9 · The Paddocks, HA9 · Townsend Lane, NW9 · Tudor Close, NW9 · Tudor Gardens, NW9 · Tunworth Close, NW9 · Tyre Lane, NW9 · Uxendon Hill, HA9 · Valley Drive, NW9 · Varley Parade, NW9 · Verney Street, NW10 · Waltham Avenue, NW9 · Walton Avenue, HA9 · Wells Drive, NW9 · Wellspring Crescent, HA9 · Wentworth Hill, HA9 · West Close, HA9 · West Hill, HA9 · Westmoreland Road, NW9 · Wickliffe Gardens, HA9 · Wilberforce Road, NW9 · Wilson Close, HA9 · Wilson Drive, HA9 · Wimborne Drive, NW9 · Winchester Avenue, NW9 · Windover Avenue, NW9 · Windsor Crescent, HA9 · Woodfield Avenue, NW9 · Woodland Close, NW9 · Wykeham Hill, HA9 · Wyndale Avenue, NW9 ·


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Maps


John Rocque Map of Wembley, Kingsbury, Willesden and Harlesden (1762)
John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés. Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death. The map covers an area from Harrow in the northwest to Harlesden in the southeast.
John Rocque, The Strand, London

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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