While the old Butcher’s Lane which was a minor lane in Hendon, Middlesex had been officially renamed Queen’s Road for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1887, the contemporary 1900 Ordnance Survey map does not yet show this change. The lane connected Brent Street to the Burroughs. The map shows that two large houses – Brent Lodge and Foster House flanked the lane at the Brent Street end. From here, the lane ran due west, past a small farm called Stoney Farm to form a junction with Gutters Hedge Lane. This lane came originally from the Edgware Road in the area of the Welsh Harp. Butcher’s Lane then bends to the northwest and continues past Burroughs Farm towards the Burroughs itself and Hendon “proper”.
This bucolic scene would remain largely untouched until the 1920s. Two transport developments were planned together.
In the 1830s, the Finchley Road had been built to bypass the steep hills and congestion of Hampstead. Nearly a century later, Finchley – or rather the Great North Road (A1) needed its own bypass. Thus Hendon Way and Watford Way were planned.
A series of other arterial roads were laid out this part in north London. The North Circular Road was built along the as-yet undeveloped (due to its regular flooding) course of the River Brent, to complement the Hendon/Watford Way (A41) and the Great North Way (A1).
Further north, at Fiveways Circus, the new A41 and A1 combined for a while for a trip through Mill Hill, before dividing again at Apex Corner.
Meanwhile, finally the long planned northward extention of the Northern Line was finally constructed. From the old terminus at Golders Green, recently built houses there had to be demolished before the new line started to run across fields. The first station north was named Brent, serving the new Hendon greyhound stadium – itself later the site of Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
Next came, Hendon Central – the feature of this article – before the new line entered a tunnel immediately to the north of the new station, re-emerging before Colindale and then Burnet Oak before a new terminus at Edgware.
The bend in Butcher’s Lane became the site of Hendon Central Circus, with the new station built on the circus itself. Queen’s Road ran east towards Brent Street. Along the line of the rest of Butcher’s Lane and Gutters Hedge Lane came Watford Way.
This photo below depicts the bend in Butcher’s Lane as viewed from the north in the year 1895. Taken in 2015, the photographer would be standing in the middle of Watford Way, near to the outside of KFC and pointing the camera towards Brent Cross. There is a large tree on the left of the photo. Behind the tree in the photo to the right of this, on the opposite side of Butcher’s Lane lies a fence.
Behind the fence, but unseen in the photo, is the line of Gutters Hedge Lane which leads from a junction situated just behind the bend southwards towards the Edgware Road.
You can take a look at the photo on the mapping part of our website.