Posts Tagged ‘Hendon’

Colindale and West Hendon Estate 2017

Thursday, March 28th, 2024

Colindale and West Hendon Estate: I’d actually gone to Colindale on Tuesday 28th March 2017 to attend the public inquiry into the second phase of the demolition of the West Hendon estate which was beginning at the RAF Museum there.

Colindale and West Hendon Estate 2017
New buildings on York Memorial Park and the West Hendon Estate across the Welsh Harp

But the proceedings there were tedious and while such things are important unless you are personally involved it soon becomes hard to remain involved. Nothing I heard in the short time I stayed would not have better been submitted as documents and probably had been. And it was a nice day outside.

Colindale and West Hendon Estate 2017
RAF Museum

I left and paid a short visit to the rest of the RAF Museum before going to photograph Grahame Park across the road from the museum, a large council estate built by the GLC and Barnet Council on the rest of the old Hendon Aerodrome site in the 60s and 70s, the first residents moving there in 1971.

Colindale and West Hendon Estate 2017
Grahame Park Estate

By the time I first visited to photograph the estate in 1994, some changes had been made, removing connecting walkways to split the flats into smaller units and replacing some flat roofs with pitched roofs. A more dramatic phased regeneration began in 2003 and considerable building work was still taking place in 2017.

Colindale and West Hendon Estate 2017

The regeneration will greatly increase the number of homes on the estate, and the new properties are more energy efficient, but the original number of council rented properties of almost 1800 will be reduced to around 300. Around 900 of the new properties were to be at so-called “affordable rents” and the remaining 1800 for sale or rent at market prices.

A few hundred existing residents with secure tenancies will be rehoused, but most of the estate residents do not qualify for rehousing, including some who had lived here for over 15 years. They will need to find private rented properties elsewhere in a typical example of social cleansing by Barnet Council, in league with developer and social landlord Genesis Housing Association.

As is the case in other regeneration projects on council estates around London this results in a huge transfer of land from public to private ownership and fails to meet the housing needs of poorer residents, many of whom are forced to move further from jobs, friends and families.

Colindale Ave

I walked from the estate to Colindale Station through another large area of building work, mainly of expensive private housing in large blocks of flats with an area action plan for of expensive private housing in large blocks of flats. Of course we need new housing but should be concentrating on providing it a reasonable cost for those most in need – which means social housing. Not building homes that will take up to 46% of tenants incomes in London, well above the “30 per cent of income” affordability threshold set by the ONS.

WestHendon Estate

I could have walked from Grahame Park to the West Hendon Estate about a mile and a half away but couldn’t see a decent route on the map, so took the tube to Hendon Central and caught a bus from there. The West Hendon Estate owes its genesis to a large bomb on 13th February 1941 which destroyed or rendered uninhabitable 366 houses, damaging a further 400 in the area, killing 75 people and severely injuring another 145. Over 1500 people were made homeless.

York Park there became York Memorial Park, a green open common designated as “a War Memorial in perpetuity” as a mark of respect to all who lost their lives. In the 1960s the remaining houses in the area were replaced by the West Hendon estate, comprising of 680 one-bedroom flats, two-bedroom maisonettes and three-bedroom council houses, along with open space, a community centre and a play area.

Barnet Council handed the memorial park – at least £12 million of public land – over to developers Barratt and they built a 29 storey tower block on the park – “perpetuity” becoming shorter than living memory. The West Hendon estate is being demolished in phases and being replaced by Hendon Waterside, largely expensive flats with views across the Welsh Harp. There will be an increase in the number of homes to 2,171 but many will go to overseas buyers and will be kept empty as investments whose value is expected to rise steeply. And somewhere at the back of the estate will probably be a little social housing – but only a small fraction of the original 680.

Few of the residents will qualify for rehousing but with higher rents and less security of tenure. Most will lose their homes and be ‘socially cleansed’, forced to move out of the area and away from friends, jobs, schools etc. Housing isn’t just a crisis but a shamefull twentyfirst century scandal.

More pictures on My London Diary:
West Hendon Estate

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Capital Ring – South Kenton to Hendon

Sunday, August 27th, 2023

Capital Ring – South Kenton to Hendon: Monday 27th August 2018 was August Bank Holiday, which for many years meant if I was in London I was in Notting Hill for the carnival. But I think the last time I went was in 2012, when I went on Children’s Day and then wrote “either I’m getting too old for it, or perhaps carnival is changing, and this year I found it a little difficult. So I went on the Sunday, stayed around three hours and didn’t really want to return for the big day. So I didn’t.

Capital Ring - South Kenton to Hendon
Welsh Harp and West Hendon Waterside

Since then I’ve been out of London in several years and in the others I’ve thought about going to carnival again, but decided instead to go out for a family walk. And in 2018 with my wife we walked the section of the Capital Ring from South Kenton Station to Hendon Station.

Capital Ring - South Kenton to Hendon

The walk itself is only 6.2 miles, but walking to the station at the end and the kind of wanderings that all photographers indulge in it got a little longer. I’m not the kind of walker for whom a walk is a route march from A to B, but rather someone who likes to go where his eyes lead him in search of interesting views and places.

Capital Ring - South Kenton to Hendon

Unlike some sections of the Ring which are almost all woods, fields and trees this one has a wide range of different areas, all of some interest, beginning with South Kenton Station itself, the Windermere pub next door and the whole area of 1930s development.

Capital Ring - South Kenton to Hendon

I don’t think my two pictures of The Church of the Ascension really do this interesting 1957 building by J Harold Gibbons justice, but they do give some idea of how unusual it is.

We had the guide to the whole walk around London by Colin Saunders which saves having to carry maps and gives usually clear route descriptions as well as a few snippets of interesting information – such as the fact that this pond on the top of Barn Hill was a part of a huge landscaping project by Humphrey Repton, much of which was covered by housing in the 1920s and 30s and includes Wembley Stadium.

From here we were a little let down by the walk instructions and ended up wandering around a little lost in Fryent Country Park, but eventually with the help of the map and a little guesswork found the correct exit.

The walk continues through a number of suburban streets, not without some interest, eventually coming to Church Walk. Kingsbury does of course have some remarkable architecture but this lies some distance off the route. Fortunately I’ve photographed it on other occasions.

There are two St Andrew’s churches a short distance apart. The ‘new’ church is rather larger and was actually built around six miles away in Wells Street Marylebone in 1844-7 and moved here stone by stone in 1931-3. I haven’t posted a picture of this Grade II* building by S Daukes as it just seemed to me another Victorian gothic church. Probably I would have been more impressed had it been open and I could have seen the interior. A short distance away is the old St Andrew’s, a rather more quaint building with a Grade I listing, dating from the 12th-13th century though with some 19th century restorations.

St Andrews Old Churchyard, now left to nature as a ‘Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation‘ is also full of interest, with no less than five Grade II listed monuments and tombstones including this one for “Timothy Wetherilt (d.1741). Portland headstone with upper relief of cherubs amid rays, set between auricular scrolls below an upper cornice enriched with egg and dart mouldings.”

A short walk (with some deviation to a garden centre for its toilets) took us to the Welsh Harp – Brent Reservoir, built in 1835 to supply water for the Regents Canal which had opened in 1820. It got its name from a nearby pub and both pub and lake were for many years a popular leisure destination for Londoners. In 1948 the rowing events for the Olympics were held here, while for 2012 Eton College provided its Dorney Lake, completed in 2006 costing the college £17 million, though we paid through Olympic funding for the finish tower, a new bridge and an upgraded approach road and more.

At the east shore of the lake was Barnet Council’s West Hendon Estate, sold off to developers and now West Hendon Waterside. The pleasant and well-loved council estate with 680 homes in decent condition was sold for a quarter of its value to Barratt who describe it as “170 hectares of beautiful green surroundings overlooking the Welsh Harp reservoir” (see top picture.) Some of the council estate was still occupied, overshadowed by new towers with a crane looming over. The development will result in more homes, but few will be social housing, and the so-called affordable properties are beyond reach of the current residents, with many probably bought and left empty by overseas property investors.

We walked past what was an impressive 1930s cul-de-sac when I photographed it in 1993, but a little less so now as the distinctive metal windows with curved glazing on the bays have been replace by double glazing, though this must make the occupants rather more comfortable.

We walked on to Hendon, stopping for an ice-cream at Hendon Park Cafe, “the first kosher park café to open up in the UK” and admiring Hendon Park Holocaust Memorial Garden and the buildings arond Hendon’s Central Circus before catching a train on our way home.

More pictures on My London Diary at Capital Ring: South Kenton to Hendon.

Capital Ring – Hendon to Highgate

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

It was Easter Weekend and on the Saturday I went for another walk with my wife, another short section of the Capital Ring which goes around London, carrying on from Hendon, where we had ended our previous walk with a kosher ice cream.

There was no ice cream on offer today, as it was not only Saturday, but also Passover, and for the next few miles we passed or were passed by numerous small groups of Jewish men, and a few Jewish women, one of whom stopped to ask us why she saw so many people walking past her house and had never heard of the capital Ring – though there were signs for it at both ends of her street.

One of the advantages of walking the Capital Ring is that it is generally extremely well marked, with signs on lamp posts at most junctions as well as waymarks on paths though the various areas of woodland. However we did manage to take a wrong turning, or rather not to turn where we should have done, mainly because I was busy trying to photograph the start of the River Brent, formed by the junction of the Mutton Brook and the Dollis Brook.

Because I’m busy taking photographs I tend to leave the navigation to Linda, who is in charge of the book of the walk. We took a walk up the Dollis Brook as far as the North Circular before I realised we had come the wrong way and we turned back. But it wasn’t a great problem, and I think this section was really one of the highlights of the walk.

Hampstead Garden Village which the walk goes through is really a failed experiment; built to be a garden village to house a community of all classes in 1906 it was soon taken over by the rich.

It was a very hot day, and by the time we reached East Finchley I was able to persuade Linda to take a rest at the Bald Faced Stag, a short distance off the route in East Finchley. The name comes from a stag with a white streak or stripe on its face which was apparently caught nearby. It seemed a decent enough place despite being a ‘gastropub’, though the beer was at a fiver a pint .

Most of the rest of the walk was through Highgate Woods, and close to the end we came across an interesting and controversial structure, built without permission and threatened with destruction. It seemed so entirely in keeping with its woodland location that I felt it should be allowed to remain.

It really was a nice walk, though my legs were tired by the time we reached Highgate. It isn’t a long walk, but we did make a few diversions, and photographers always wander rather to add to any distance. You can see many more pictures at Capital Ring – Hendon to Highgate on My London Diary.

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