Kilburn Park Road, NW6

Road in/near Kilburn Park, existing between 1855 and now

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Road · Kilburn Park · NW6 ·
JANUARY
6
2017

Kilburn Park Road was built along the course of the Bayswater Rivulet (the River Westbourne), starting in 1855


Park Road, begun by 1855, was projected to run along the Willesden boundary - which ran along the stream - to meet the future Chippenham Road by 1861 and renamed Kilburn Park Road in 1862.

The Westbourne, until the mid 19th century usually called the Bayswater rivulet, is a union of streamlets rising on the west side of Hampstead Heath and joining near Kilburn. From the dip in the northern boundary it flows overall in a southeasterly direction across Paddington. Often straightened and culverted, as the Ranelagh sewer, before being built over, its course was still open (with its course straightened) in 1871 along the later line of Kilburn Park Road and Shirland Road.

Piecemeal building in many parts was planned in 1880, when the Paddington Estate made ten agreements, with different builders. Three agreements were for 91 or 92 terraced houses on the Paddington side of Kilburn Park Road, the largest being with George Godson for 50 or 51 houses.

The most expensive houses, to be worth at least £1,000 each, were to be in Sutherland Gardens and the cheapest, 17 at £200 and others at £500, in Kilburn Park Road.

Their construction, including drainage and paving, and appearance were specified in detail.

Building continued steadily in the late 19th century but not very fast. Behind the frontages, built up except for a stretch of Portsdown Road, the area enclosed by Shirland, Kilburn Park, and Portsdown roads and Sutherland Avenue was empty in 1886, allowing time for 26 acres in the north part to be saved for public use as Paddington recreation ground.


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Kilburn Park

Kilburn Park station was opened on 31 January 1915 as the temporary terminus of the Bakerloo line’s extension from Paddington.

The area of Kilburn Park was developed in the 1850s somewhat south of the area then known as Kilburn in the fields west of the Edgware Road. The "Park" in the name was simply an invention by the developer, James Bailey.

Bailey had teamed up in a consortium of five developers who in 1850 bought 47 acres from owner the Reverend Edward Stuart. The consortium laid out roads and sewers and divided the site among themselves, subletting to smaller firms who built a few houses each.

The isolated, muddy location failed to attract many buyers and the estate remained incomplete for several decades. Properties were soon subdivided, some containing as many as six households in the 1870s.

The suburb of Kilburn Park was finally complete in the late 1880s.

Kilburn Park station was opened on 31 January 1915 as the temporary terminus of the Bakerloo line’s extension from Paddington  towards Queen’s Park.

The original plan had the London North West Railway (LNWR) creating a new line from Queen’s Park to Euston - but these underground ideas changed and a new "proper" line was built instead. But extending south from Queen’s Park gained momentum and, in 1911, it was mooted to extend the London Electric Railway (LER) company’s Bakerloo Line in that direction.

The Bakerloo Line offered a direct West End route without the need for changing trains though the Bakerloo was not the first option for bringing trains into the West End from the direction of Watford. A connection with the Hampstead Tube at Chalk Farm was looked at but not found to be feasible so the more expensive Bakerloo scheme then became the preferred route.

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This arrangement suited the LER very well. It would capture a valuable new traffic and help fill the spare capacity along the existing line, and all at modest cost. It would also resolve once and for all how the Bakerloo should approach Paddington where the surface station layout was complicated. Vacillation about what to do after reaching Paddington had prevented the Bakerloo getting beyond Edgware Road as it was impossible to agree a route to Paddington without knowledge of where a future extension might go. Paddington was reached in 1913, with the GWR paying £18,000 towards the scheme.

Unfortunately, by the time work on the extension was well in hand, the Great War had broken out and this and other delays (including some very bad weather) somewhat disrupted plans. The Bakerloo service began on 31 January 1915, trains calling only at Warwick Avenue and Kilburn Park. Queens Park (though still incomplete) was sufficiently advanced to open on 11 February 1915, and Maida Vale was finally ready on 6 June 1915.

The Kilburn Park station building was designed by Stanley Heaps in a modified version of the earlier Leslie Green designed Bakerloo line stations with glazed terra cotta façades but without the large semi-circular windows at first floor level. It was one of the first London Underground stations built specifically to use escalators rather than lifts. Because of the lack of lifts, there was no longer any need for an engine room, and the new station building was built as a single story building.

Maida Vale station, down the line was the first London station to have all-female staff. When it opened in 1915 during the First World War, there were two ticket collectors, two porters, two booking clerks, and relief ticket collector-booking clerks. Kilburn Park station was also staffed by women, though not exclusively so.

Because of the shortage of male workers, women’s role expanded  on the Bakerloo Line - first of all in stations like Maida Vale and Kilburn Park, but eventually on trains too. In August 1918 an unofficial strike, mainly affecting this line, played a part in moving towards equal pay for women.

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