The Victoria Tavern was built on the corner of Kilburn High Road
and Willesden Lane
in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Soon after the Victoria Tavern opened for business, the champion prize fighter Alec Keene (whose real name was Alexander Findlay) became licensee between 1866 and 1879.
Keene fought successfully until the 1850s but then retired and like many ex-boxers, went on to manage a pub. He was at first licensee of The Three Tuns in Soho where exhibition boxing matches were held. After moving to Kilburn, Keene held boxing matches at the Victoria Tavern, situated at 205 Kilburn High Road
. He also ran pigeon shooting competitions which proved popular.
Keene and his partner George Brown also provided catering for crowds at race meetings, such as the annual Barnet Fair. They set up a booth for the sale of hot joints of meat, chicken and vegetables. To round off the meal, there was "Moet’s champagne, wines and spirits, Bass’s pale ale and Guinness’s stout".
Keene died in 1881 and he was buried at Paddington Cemetery in Willesden Lane
Irish migration to Kilburn began in the 1930s and hit its peak around 1960. Many young men came in the UK to build houses, roads and railways in the post-war building boom. Kilburn High Road
became home to many Irish pubs and dance halls.
The Victoria Tavern was renamed Biddy Mulligan’s in the 1970s, the new name was taken from a character from Irish comedian Jimmy O’Dea. The bar became an Irish republican meeting place. In December 1975 the pub was bombed by the Ulster Freedom Fighters faction of the UDA though only a few of the estimated 90 people in the bar at the time were hurt - none of them badly.
Kilburn’s Irish population began to decline in the 1990s as the Celtic Tiger economy boomed back home.
After being simply styled ’Biddies’ for a while, the pub traded as an Aussie sports bar called the Southern K.
The pub closed in the first decade of the 2000s.
Biddy Mulligans, Kilburn High Road in 1975.
Cannon Stream The Cannon Stream was, before it was sent underground, a tributary of the Westbourne River. Kilburn Grange Park Kilburn Grange Park is a three hectare open space adjacent to Kilburn High Road. Kilburn House Kilburn House - a simple suburban villa - was notable in its role as a base for the growing WH Smith newsagent. Oaklands Hall On the west side of West End Lane, Charles Spain bought 5 acres and between 1829 and 1838 built York Villa. The Elms The Elms - also known as Elm Lodge - stood at the junction of Kilburn High Road and Willesden Lane. The Grange The Grange was a large mansion situated on Kilburn High Road until the turn of the twentieth century. Victoria Tavern The Victoria Tavern was built on the corner of Kilburn High Road and Willesden Lane in the middle of the nineteenth century. West End Park West End Park was created from fields known as the 'Little Estate'. Abbots Place, NW6 Abbots Place runs from Priory Road to West End Lane and Abbey Road. Acol Road, NW6 Acol is not an acronym, but a village in Kent that gave its name to Acol Road, NW6. Albion Mews, NW6 Albion Mews is one of the streets of London in the NW6 postal area. Dyne Road, NW6 Dyne Road dates from the just after the opening of Kilburn Station in 1879. Eresby Road, NW6 Eresby Road ran from Kingsgate Road to Kilburn High Road with a turning for Kingsgate Place about halfway down. Gascony Avenue, NW6 Gascony Avenue is an east-west road lying both sides of Kingsgate Road, NW6. Quex Road, NW6 Quex Road is an important road in NW6 linking the Edgware Road and West End Lane. The Terrace, NW6 The Terrace is one of the streets of London in the NW6 postal area.
Kilburn is an area which straddles both sides of the Edgware Road (Kilburn High Road).
Kilburn High Road originated as an ancient trackway, part of a Celtic route between the settlements now known as Canterbury and St Albans. Under Roman rule, the route was paved. In Anglo-Saxon times the road became known as Watling Street.
Kilburn grew up on the banks of a stream which has been known variously as Cuneburna, Kelebourne and Cyebourne, which flows from Hampstead down through Hyde Park and into the River Thames. It is suggested the name means either Royal River or Cattle River ('Bourne' being an Anglo-Saxon word for 'river'). That river is known today as the Westbourne.
The name Kilburn was first recorded in 1134 as Cuneburna, referring to the priory which had been built on the site of the cell of a hermit known as Godwyn. Godwyn had built his hermitage by the Kilburn river during the reign of Henry I, and both his hermitage and the priory took their name from the river.
Kilburn Priory was a small community of nuns, probably Augustinian canonesses. It was founded in 1134 at the Kilburn river crossing on Watling Street (the modern-day junction of Kilburn High Road and Belsize Road). Kilburn Priory's position on Watling Street meant that it became a popular resting point for pilgrims heading for the shrines at St Albans and Willesden. The Priory was dissolved in 1536-37 by Henry VIII, and nothing remains of it today. The priory lands included a mansion and a hostium (a guesthouse), which may have been the origin of the Red Lion pub, thought to have been founded in 1444. Opposite, the Bell Inn was opened around 1600, on the site of the old mansion.
The fashion for taking 'medicinal waters' in the 18th century came to Kilburn when a well of chalybeate waters (water impregnated with iron) was discovered near the Bell Inn in 1714. In an attempt to compete with the nearby Hampstead Well, gardens and a 'great room' were opened to promote the well, and its waters were promoted in journals of the day as cure for 'stomach ailments'.
In the 19th century the wells declined, but the Kilburn Wells remained popular as a tea garden. The Bell was demolished and rebuilt in 1863. The Kilburn stretch of Watling Street, now called Edgware Road and Kilburn High Road, was gradually built up with inns and farm houses. Kilburn did not attract any significant building until around 1819 in the area near St John's Wood.
Much of the area was developed in the last decades of the 19th century by Solomon Barnett, who named many of the streets after places in the West Country (e.g. Torbay) or after popular poets of the day (e.g. Tennyson) in honour of his wife.
There are three railway stations on Kilburn High Road: Kilburn tube station (Jubilee line) at its northern end and a little to the south Brondesbury station (London Overground). Approximately a mile further south is Kilburn High Road station (also London Overground). The name of Ian Dury's first band, Kilburn and the High Roads, refers to this road, as does the Flogging Molly song, "Kilburn High Road" and the Shack song, "Kilburn High Road".
Kilburn tube station opened as Kilburn and Brondesbury on 24 November 1879, as part of the Metropolitan and St. John's Wood Railway run by the Metropolitan Railway. Following the merger of the Metropolitan Railway into London Transport in 1933, it then became part of the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line on 20 November 1939, at which time the station was extensively rebuilt. The station was renamed to its current name on 25 September 1950. It was transferred to the Jubilee line on its opening, on 1 May 1979.