Local History Society

Covering Cricklewood, Harlesden, Kensal Rise, Kilburn, Neasden, Stonebridge, Park Royal and Willesden

Willesden History Society on Facebook


Kensal Rise, Kilburn, Neasden, Stonebridge, Park Royal
Willesden Local History society

The WLHS was formed in 1974 by local enthusiasts who were interested in the history of the old Borough. The founder members had two main objectives: to ensure that the two thousand years of Willesden's history was not lost when the then new administrative Borough of Brent was born, and to seek out and record historical facts, because a community's future health is enhanced by a good knowledge of its past.

Now, the Society has members of all types, active researchers, family historians, authors, photographers, and some who just enjoy the lectures and fellowship at the meetings. All are welcome.

We are looking for people to become more involved in the running of the Society. Please come along and have a chat with us if you have an interest in local history and would like to help with the Society.

WLHS meets monthly from September to June, when lectures, usually with a Willesden flavour, are presented. A Journal is produced regularly, and from time to time there are guided walks and outings to places of historic interest. The Annual Subscription (15.00) includes entry to all meetings and free copies of the WLHS Journal.

We do hope you will join us to extend our knowledge of old Willesden.

Click here for the membership application form.


Our programme for the first half of 2021 will be online, and, during the spring and summer, some outdoor walks and visits. All virtual talks will start at 7.30 pm. If you are a current member of the WLHS, you will receive an email from us with Zoom meeting details prior to each meeting. Please make sure that we have the current email address for you and check your spam folder for messages from us, if you do not receive an email from WLHS by about a week prior to the event. 

Tickets for non members at £3.50. Bookings will be opened shortly.

20th January. Exploring Kensal Green and Kensal Rise. Harry Brown and Margaret Pratt. Part 1, Kensal Green. A description of the history to be found on a journey from St. John's Church, travelling in a westerly direction along the Harrow Road, to Wrottesley Road. 

17th February. Exploring Kensal Green and Kensal Rise. Harry Brown and Margaret Pratt. Part 2. Kensal Rise. A description of the history to be found on a journey beginning at St. John's Church, travelling north along Kilburn Lane and Chamberlayne Road. 

17th MarchThe Supergrass. Historian Dick Weindling presents an illustrated online talk about Britain’s first Supergrass and the Wembley Robbery Squad. Bertie Smalls gave evidence about 22 bank raids in North West London during the 1970s, which resulted in long prison sentences for 32 of his fellow criminals. 

17th April. A local walk or outdoor visit,  organised according to the Covid rules at the time. Details to be announced. 

19th May. In and Around Queen’s Park.  Irina Porter. Our Chair Irina will talk about the history of the area that we know as Queen’s Park – from the royal beginnings of the famous local park to the artisans and labourers who built the dwellings nearby, - with lots of historic photographs.  

16th June. The AGM. This is the chance for us to reflect on our past activities and plan for the future. Come and have your say in shaping the future of WLHS.

Brent Council is proposing to demolish one of Brent's few remaining historic buildings, Altamira (1 Morland Gardens, Stonebridge) and replace it with a high-rise block of flats and education centre. Willesden Local Society lead a campaign to save it for future generations.


Read more on the history and architecture of this lovely building, and its vlue for the local community -



Latest news:

A Walking Tour Map of High Road, Willesden

Willesden High Road Map

To celebrate the opening of the new Willesden Green Library and Community Centre, we have produced a short walking tour guide of High Road, Willesden.

It includes a potted history of the area, from the times when Willesden was a 'green and pleasant land', the development of the region boosted by the coming of railways, Willesden's war effort and taking Willesden to 21st century.

The map includes 18 historic locations, demonstrating a rich variety of local life, from industry to music and art, from churches to pubs, from buses to trains. 

And, of course, our celebrated Willesden Green Victorian Library, saved from demolition during the recent development thanks to the efforts of local community.

This pocket size guide costs 1 and is available from our book stall during our events, or you can buy it here:

A Walking Tour Map of High Road, Willesden

You can also send a chequefor 1.00 (in UK pounds), payable to Willesden Local History Society, with your name and address, to:

Irina Porter, 75 Birchen Grove, London NW9 8RY   

We are now on Facebook:

Willesden History Society on Facebook

Our long-awaited book, Willesden Local History Society, 40 Years of History, has arrived!

Willesden, in the London Borough of Brent, has changed a lot in the last 40 years. Some landmarks were lost, like the art deco building in Willesden Lane, the Rolls Royce factory, the Guinness Brewery and the Heinz factory, some were subject of heated disputes, like Dollis Hill House and Willesden Green Library, and many historic pubs are no more.

New projects and developments transformed the look of the borough, like the Stonebridge estate, which had a complete makeover twice within this period. We gained a building for the Capital City Academy by the acclaimed architect Norman Foster, and the Neasden Hindu Temple entered the Guinness Book of Records. Many parks and public places underwent changes – for better or worse.

This books records those and many other developments, alongside the history of the Society, from its founding days in 1974 to the present. Every article is illustrated with photographs from our members’ collections, the Brent Archives and many supporters of this project. Social history in the form of memories from our members bring the history to life, along with the detailed research and memories from the best local historians of our region.

If you are a member of the Willesden Local History Society, you get a 2 discount from the full price of the book. Membership information here.

Prices - for WLHS members (if you may membership fees and receive our Journal)

UK (7 + 2.80 p&p) 9.8
Europe (7 + 6 p&p) 13
Rest of the World (7 + 8 p&p) 15

Prices - for non-members

UK (9+ 2.80 p&p) 11.8
Europe (9 + 6 p&p) 15.00
Rest of the World (9 + 8 p&p) 17.00

You can also send a cheque (in UK pounds) for the appropriate amount, payable to Willesden Local History Society, with your name and address, to:
Irina Porter, 75 Birchen Grove, London NW9 8RY   

We are now on Facebook:

Willesden History Society on Facebook


WLHS: The Secretary, 51 West Ella Road, London NW10 9PT
email: info@willesden-local-history.co.uk - for issues dealing with the Willesden Local History Society and Willesden history in general,
or contact Cliff Wadsworth 0208 965 7230

For Willesden enquiries concerning local history documents, Street Directories, Census Returns, Voters Lists, Maps, and Local papers,
please contact Brent Archive & Library, Willesden Green Library Centre, 95 High Road, London, NW10 2SF.
Phone 020-8937 3541;
e-mail museum.archives@brent.gov.uk
Website www.brent.gov.uk/archives

Click here for historical photographs of London

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