St Pat’s in Willesden Green

Saturday was one of those days when ‘logistics’ were very much at the forefront, and I left the Syrians disappearing into the Hyde Park underpass at 1.20pm and by 1.50pm I was walking along the side road next to Willesden Green station where the Brent St Patrick’s Day Parade was gathering.  Fortunately the trains were running normally on both parts of the Piccadilly and Jubilee lines, though it still involves a very long walk between platforms at Green Park.

Most years the Brent parade has actually been on St Patrick’s Day, but this year this was on Sunday, and the main London parade was taking place then, so Brent held its parade a day early.  There had been some doubt until a fairly short time previous as to whether it would take place at all, as Brent council like all others has been hit by the cuts, and one cut was the funding for community events such as this.  The parade went ahead despite this – and the mayor came along as usual, walking at the front with St Patrick.

Unlike the big London occasion, the Brent parade is truly a community event, and perhaps because of the uncertainty it was a little less so this year, without the usual large crowds on the streets. The weather hadn’t looked good earlier in the day, and it rained a little on this parade, and being on a Saturday was perhaps a reason for the schools being absent. Last year, when St Patrick’s day actually fell on a Saturday I’d noticed the crowds were down on previous occasions, such as the 2011 parade.

So compared to previous years it was just a little disappointing, though there were still people on the street to watch, particularly in front of some of the local bars, with people getting into the hats, the spirit and the Guinness of the event.

The parade ended at Willesden Green Library, where there were related events taking place, but by now I was getting rather cold and tired and it was time to go home. You can see more pictures in St Patrick’s Parade Brent.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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