Kilburn Kensal Green collage


All meeting are in-person, starting at At 7.30 pm, at our usual venue:

St.Mary’s Parish Church Hall Neasden Ln, London NW10 2TS.

If you are a current member of the WLHS, you will receive an email from us with Zoom meeting details prior to each meeting. Please make sure that we have the current email address for you and check your spam folder for messages from us, if you do not receive an email from WLHS by about a week prior to the event and would like to attend online, please let us know.

For more free guided walks in Willesden and Brent, visit

The recordings of some of the online talks are available in the Archive section of the website.

Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Wednesday, 17 January 2024

Update from the Archives

Presentation by Colin Chester, of Brent Archives, informing us of the past and future projects. There will be plenty of time for questions, including about how members of the public can access the fantastic historical resources in the Archive to further their research

Acton Transport Depot

Tuesday, 20 February 2024

Visit to the London Transport Museum Depot at Acton Town,  (118-120 Gunnersbury Lane W3 9QB). Our guide Tom Cavanagh will take us round the Art and Poster Store to see the rich design heritage of London Transport, the grand selection of posters and rarely-seen original artworks. The tour begins at 1.00 p.m., and will last for around 2.5 hours. Free for WLHS members. Visitors, £5.00. Numbers are limited, so please book early. Contact Margaret Pratt at, or phone 07938 562625. The Depot is close to Acton Town Station, (Piccadilly and District Line.)



Wednesday, 20th March 2024

Brent Women of Renown by Angela Payne and Amanda Epe of the Cricklewood Town Team, who will describe their project, including showing us the film, which was recently screened at the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn.


Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Wednesday, 17th April


Visit to Paddington Old Cemetery

The walk will be conducted by a member of the Friends of Paddington Old Cemetery. Meet at the entrance at 3 pm.


Wednesday, 15th May 2024

The Mercenary River, talk by Nick Nigham.

His new book of the same name tells the story of London’s water supply through the centuries, covering technological break-throughs, innovations and scandals, and finally asking whether today’s 21st century water companies are an improvement on their Victorian predecessors.

Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Wednesday, 19 June 2024


Details to follow.


Past events

Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

The Oxford Street of North West London by Adrian Hindle-Briscall.

Soon after Kilburn High Road was built up it became a major shopping destination. Competing in value and range, it rivalled Oxford Street for fifty years, with drapers and department stores as large as many in the West End, most now completely forgotten. Let’s visit the Kilburn of a hundred years ago and more and learn what brought shoppers in their millions to a North London suburb.

Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Wednesday, 18 October 2023

Willesden’s Post-war Prefab Homes by Philip Grant.

Even while the Second World War was still in progress, the Government was planning ahead for ‘temporary factory-made bungalows’ to ease the housing shortage. Willesden Council was quick off the mark to take up the offer of these “prefabs”, and hundreds of local families lived in one (some for longer than the ten years they were meant to last!).

Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Monday, 13th November 2023

A visit to St. Gabriel’s Church, Walm Lane, to explore the lovely Victorian Church, learn about its history and the impact it has in the local community.

We are invited for a light lunch at their weekly “Hope Cafe”.
Meet at 1.00p.m. inside the church – the address is Gabriel’s Church, Walm Lane, Cricklewood, NW2 4RX.
After lunch we will be led on a tour around the Church. The visit will end at 3p.m


Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Wednesday, 13 December 2023

Christmas part at St.Mary’s Parish Centre

We will meet at our usual venue, St.Mary’s Parish Church Hall, at 7.30 pm for an evening of festive food, quiz and entertainment. 

Harlesden Green in the 1870s

Harlesden Green in the 1870s by Margaret Pratt

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

The talk is based on the life and times of the Beeson family, whose famous hardware shop in Harlesden High Street will be remembered by some local residents. This talk was inspired by a series of lantern lectures in the 1930s, given by Amos Beeson in his old age. He was recollecting his childhood in Harlesden Green, when it was a small village, before it became the busy London suburb we know today. Amos and his 3 brothers became important figures, running their shoeing forge, ironmongers and wheelwrights businesses in Harlesden High Street during the early years of the 20th century.

John Passmore Edwards' Festival. 11am, Dissenter’s Chapel at Kensal Green Cemetery.

John Passmore Edwards’ Festival.  Dissenter’s Chapel at Kensal Green Cemetery.

Saturday, 22 April, 11 am

To mark bicentenary of birth of the philanthropist John Passmore Edwards, WLHS will take part in the celebration of his life at Kensal Green Cemetery. The event will feature the laying of the wreath by his grave, a tour of philanthropists buried at the cemetery, presentations about Passmore Edwards and his work, an exhibition and refreshments


Grunwick Strike 1976 – 78 by Christine Coates

Grunwick Strike 1976 – 78 by Christine Coates

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

The story of a group of mainly Asian women working in a small film processing company in Willesden, who took strike action against their poor pay and conditions. They won support from tens of thousands of other people, made dramatic headlines and brought daily scenes of emotion and violence to our TV screens

Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Christmas event

Postponed to 25th January 2023

Due to the adverse weather conditions, we decided to postpone our Christmas party. We are looking at an event in a pub in January – more details to follow

History of Chess in Brent

The History of Chess in Brent by Anthony Fulton

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

The History of Chess in Brent by Anthony Fulton. Willesden and Brent Chess Club’s Archivist and General Secretary explores the history of chess in the borough. His journey takes the reader from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. For those interested in the history of the borough or chess, he unearths some surprising gems

The Willesden Trunk Murders by Dick Weindling

The Willesden Trunk Murders by Dick Weindling

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Amazingly, there were two murders where the bodies were hidden in trunks in our area. In March 1904 George Crossman left a body in a tin trunk in Kensal Rise. Then in January the following year, Arthur Devereux tried the same method to dispose of a body in Harlesden. Dick will tell the gruesome stories of both these unusual events.

Old St. Mary's Church, Willesden

Annual General Meeting

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Join us for the overview of the past year and support the work of the WLHS Committee.

TinTabernacle WLHS July event

Visit to the Tin Tabernacle in Kilburn

Wednesday, 19th July 2023

Meet at 6 pm at The Tin Tabernacle, 12-16 Cambridge Ave, North Maida Vale, London NW6 5BA

The Tin Tabernacle (Cambridge Hall) is a Grade II listed building in South Kilburn. Constructed in corrugated iron in 1863 as the St James’s
Episcopalian church, it was taken on by the Sea Cadets after the Second WorldWar  and named the Training Ship Bicester.


The Sea Cadets continue to look after the Hall, though they are no longer able to hold their activities there. The site is owned by Notting
Hill Genesis Housing Association, which is currently working on conservation and the future of the building together with various local and historic organisations.

We will visit the building to see the history displays and learn more about its history and the plans for the future.


Kensal Rise Kensal Green

Exploring Kensal Green and Kensal Rise. Part 1. Kensal Green

Wednesday, 20 January 2021, 7.30 pm.

Harry Brown and Margaret Pratt offer a description of the history to be found on a journey from St. John’s Church, travelling in a westerly direction along the Harrow Road, to Wrottesley Road.

Recording is available in the Archive

Exploring Kensal Green and Kensal Rise. Part 2. Kensal Rise, February 2021

Exploring Kensal Green and Kensal Rise. Part 2. Kensal Rise

Wednesday, 17 February 2021, 7.30 pm.

Harry Brown and Margaret Pratt offer a description of the history to be found on a journey beginning at St. John’s Church, travelling north along Kilburn Lane and Chamberlayne Road.

Recording is available in the Archive

Wembley Robbery Squad

The Supergrass.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 7.30 pm 

Historian Dick Weindling presents an illustrated online talk about Britain’s first Supergrass and the Wembley Robbery Squad. Bertie Smalls gave evidence about 22 bank raids in North West London during the 1970s, which resulted in long prison sentences for 32 of his fellow criminals.

Recording is available in the Archive

Willesden Jewish Cemetery

Guided tour of the Willesden Jewish Cemetery.

Sunday, 25 July 2021, 2.30 p.m.

Guided walk for the members of the WLHS. We will look at the rich history and customs of this prestigious burial place for Victorian Jews, which is still in use today.

The cemetery was opened in 1873 on former sheep grazing land that was bought by the United Synagogue, a union of five Jewish congregations in the City of London. The cemetery was its first joint project. A place of great tranquillity, the cemetery charts the development of London’s Jewish community over 150 years.

The graves and memorials are rich in social history.

The cemetery is the last resting place of Jews from all walks of life, and is still in use today, following orthodox Jewish custom.

Meet at the entrance to the cemetery at 2.30 pm. Free for the WLHS members, non-members are asked for donation to the Willesden Jewish Cemetery of £5 (payable at the event).

Victorian gas holders at Ladbroke Grove

Ladbroke Grove Canal Walk.

Saturday, 4 September 2021, 2 pm. 

In April we produce a leaflet for a self-guided walk, as it was not possible to do this in person. We home that this time we will be able to lead the actual walk, looking at the site of the now demolished Victorian Gas Holders, the history of the local area, as well as the wild life which can be seen there. 

Meet on the Canal bridge at Ladbroke Grove.  The walk should take about 1 hour. Free for the WLHS members, we ask non-members for a donation of £3, payable on the day.

Kilburn Schools

St Paul’s Church Kilburn Sq, Kilburn Polytechnic & Grammar School.

15 September 2021, 7.30 pm, online

Alan Hovell will share his local knowledge on these subjects, including Dr Bonavia Hunt – linking all 3 institutions. Family recollections of Kilburn education & churches of the Hovells and Griffiths.

Members will receive an invitation link and reminders by email. If you are not a member, please buy tickets here.

1920s General Strike in Willesden

The General Strike in the 1920s.
Chris Coates.

20 October 2021, 7.30 pm online

The General Strike, a nation-wide workers’ protest against low wages and poor working conditions, was called by the T.U.C. and began on 3rd May, 1926. Chris will describe how our area was affected during the 9 days of strike action.

Members will receive an invitation link and reminders by email. If you are not a member, please buy tickets here.

Gladstone Park - a Garden History

Gladstone Park – a Garden History.
Antonia Couling

17 November 2021, 7.30 pm online

Landscape designer Antonia Couling looks at the gardens at Dollis Hill House in Gladstone Park from the point of view of garden and landscape history. The park came into existence in 1900, when the District Council bought the land from the Finch family and the District Council Surveyor Oliver Claude Robson planned it out, making the best of its “original and natural beauty”.

Members will receive an invitation link and reminders by email. If you are not a member, please buy tickets here.

Old St.Mary's Church, Willesden

Christmas event.

15 December. 

Christmas get together at the Mason’s Arms pub. This is for members only, and the members will receive details by email.

I’m a Firestarter - the amazing story of Leopold Harris

I’m a Firestarter – the amazing story of Leopold Harris. Dick Weindling.

March 2022

In July 1933 the trial of Leopold Harris who lived in Mapesbury Road Brondesbury, was a newspaper sensation. Harris was a major fire insurance assessor, but he was also the leader of a gang who set fires for the owners of commercial properties and took a portion of the insurance money. Dick will talk about how he was finally tracked down by the remarkable skills of William Crocker working for the insurance companies

Recording is available in the Archive

Postcards of Old Willesden

Postcards of Old Willesden

Presentation by Irina Porter – our first Face to Face meeting since Lockdown! 

Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7.30 pm at St.Mary’s Parish Centre, Neasden

 Postcards were the ‘mass communications media’ at the turn of the 20th century. We look at the history of the postcard, its key figures and their connections to Willesden, and how the postcard mania left us a visual record of what Willesden was like all those years ago.

Recording is available in the Archive

Roundwood Park to Willesden Bus Garage Walk

Roundwood Park to Willesden Bus Garage

Guided walk by Irina Porter

Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 6 pm.

After a short exploration of this first municipal park in Willesden, we will stroll down Robson Avenue and Pound Lane, revealing the secrets behind the street names and the places of historic interest – past and present. Meet at entrance to the Roundwood Park Café.

More local history walks:


Willesden Junction Station

Willesden Junction Station. Michael Woods

21 September 2022

Michael Woods, professional railwayman and amateur historian, will present his illustrated history of Willesden Junction and its web of local lines and stations.

By the cut of their cloth

By The Cut of Their Cloth. Camion Caballero and Warren Reilly

19 October 2022

Camion Caballero and Warren Reilly will pass on their research into the Brent’s rich multiracial and mixed race history.


Willesden Black Madonna

The Black Madonna. Signe Hoffos 

16 November 2022

The origins of the Black Madonna are variously ascribed to The Song of Solomon, the goddess Isis and centuries of incense and candle smoke. In the hinterlands of medieval London, the Black Virgin of Willesden was a popular pilgrimage site until the iconoclasm of the English Reformation. But the memory lived on, and modern Willesden now has two Black Madonnas, as WHLS member Signe Hoffos will explain in this illustrated talk.