Welsh Harp (Brent Reservoir)
Welsh Harp
Credit: Unknown
The Brent Reservoir (popularly called the Welsh Harp) is a reservoir between Hendon and Wembley Park.

It lies on the boundary between the boroughs of Brent and Barnet. The reservoir takes its informal name from a public house called The Welsh Harp, which stood nearby until the early 1970s.

By 1820 there was not enough water to supply the Grand Union Canal and the Regent’s Canal so having obtained an enabling act of Parliament in 1819, the Regent’s Canal Company decided to dam the River Brent to create a reservoir and cut a feeder channel from it to an upper point on the Grand Union Canal. The reservoir is fed by the Silk Stream and the River Brent. Its main outflow is the River Brent.

The reservoir was constructed by contractor William Hoof between 1834 and 1835. The water flooded much of Cockman’s Farm, to supply the Regent’s Canal at Paddington. Its owner gave it the name of its then-parish it was named Kingsbury Reservoir.

Additional building was completed in December 1837 to extend the reservoir. In 1841 after seven days of continuous rain the dam head collapsed, killing two people. It was after this that a supervisor was employed for the first time, with a cottage near the dam, which remains.

At its greatest extent it covered 400 acres in 1853. It was reduced to 195 acres in the 1890s; later to 110 acres. It is still said to contain enough water to fill three million baths, and in 1994 when the reservoir was drained, more than 6,700 lb of fish were captured, 95% of which were Roach. Fishing is now prohibited.

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