Tag Archives: kilburn

Love NW6

Yes, yes, we all love NW6. This is hardly news, I’ll grant you that. But it’s still plain lovely to hear people say as much.

Well, over at Camden Council, they love NW6 so much that they asked photo supremo Jack Latimer to produce a series of videos  showing the world just how great it is around here. A smug Youtube pat on the back, basically.

The videos are a good 18months old, but their message is as true today as ever it was. Just take a look at these happy chappies and chappettes talking up our ‘hood.

Love Kilburn

And while you’re at it, Love West Hampstead

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Kilburn: Plaque to the future

Look, we’ve all seen Mitchell and Webb sauntering up and down the High Road, lording over us with their fame and fortune and everything that goes with it. But did you know that other men- and women-of-note lived in our fair corner of London before them?

Well, you might have guessed. I mean, statistically it’s quite likely.

So you’ll be pleased to learn that there are people out there who want to celebrate this fact, by putting up plaques acknowledging that some pioneer or other once resided in what is now probably a pound-shop or maybe a bookies.

The first of these green plaques – green being the new blue – to go up in Kilburn is to commemorate the fact that AA Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, was born in Henley House.

Unfortunately, Henley House itself is no longer there, but Remsted House stands proudly in its place, and will bear [<— intentional] the plaque in Henley’s honour.

open plaque remsted house kilburn: aa milne

The grand unveiling of the new plaque will take place today, Monday October 11th, at 4pm. AA Milne’s grandaughter Clare will be in attendance, along with Michael Brown, chairman of the Pooh Properties Trust. If you can’t make it along today, then look out for it in future.

Remsted House is on the corner of Kilburn Priory and Mortimer Place.

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NW6 Springwatch #1

It’s Spring! The season where the natural world rubs the sleep from its wintry eyes and springs to life (hey, maybe that’s why they call it Spring). It’s the time of year when the birds and bees, and all those other lovable critters, start getting jiggy with it. It’s the classic story: girl meets boy, boy flutters feathers to display virility, girl is young and naive and falls for feather-fluttering flirtation, boy and girl have a few too many acorns down at the local Oak, girl falls pregnant, boy and girl have shotgun wedding in Vegas and move into nest in leafy North London front garden, they live happily ever after.

Mrs Jay in her front garden, in my front garden

Well, I’m pleased to report that this fairytale is playing out directly outside my window, as I write these very words. Two Jays have started to build a home for themselves in amongst the vines enveloping the English Elm tree in the front garden. Naturally, until yesterday, I knew neither what a Jay, nor an English Elm looked like, but after extensive research on Google Images, I feel I can speak with some authority on the matter.

Jays like: trees, acorns, insects, berries, Kilburn.

Jays dislike: owls, Peregrines, me noisily opening my window to take a better picture of them.

Over the course of the Spring I hope to keep you updated on this young family’s progress. According to Wikipedia, we can expect 4-6 eggs laid, which should hatch after 16-19 days, the chicks fledging some 21-23 days later. The Jays are currently putting in the finishing touches to their little nest – a lick of paint here, an Ikea shelving unit there – so no signs of any eggs just yet.

the nest - under construction

Although I have no idea how to spot the difference between a boy-Jay and a girl-Jay, I feel it is only right that we give Mr and Mrs Jay some proper names. Please leave your suggestions in the comment box below, and hopefully we can name them within the next week or so.

Also, if you have any photos you’d like contribute to the NW6 Springwatch, send them to springwatchnw6@yahoo.co.uk and I’ll include them in a future post, or put them into a public gallery for all to see. Happy Springing!

Correction: Having consulted an actual expert, I can confirm that the tree is in fact some sort of Cherry tree, not, as stated above, an English Elm. Apologies.

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Brap! It’s Crime and the Kilburn Bandits

Those of you lucky enough to have met me will be aware of the fact that I’m not what you might traditionally call ‘street’. As such, since creating this blog, I have so far shied away from some of the musical and cultural elements that aren’t much parts of my life, but nevertheless are for so many other young Kilburn residents. Well, no longer!

I recently came across a local MC by the name of Crime. This alone will be enough to reinforce the beliefs of the many rap sceptics who say that the genre breeds and glorifies violence. Indeed, the lyrics of Crime and his fellow Kilburn Bandits crew members are littered with references to gun and gang crime. But the Bandits, who also operate under the name GTS Mob (Grind Till I Shine), also rap about the virtues of hard work, in order to leave behind the ‘ghetto life’. Their more critical peers, by the way, are the first to point out that Kilburn is not exactly a ghetto.

Crime and GTS Mob

Crime himself decided not to follow his cousins into the burgeoning UK grime scene, popularised by artists such as Dizzee Rascal and Wiley but, in his own words, “I jumped straight into the UK Hip-Hop scene and went hard!” Picked up by Ruthless Recordz, he has started to make a name for himself, particularly in London and the Midlands.

Asked what his music is all about, Crime says, “Real Life Music! I’m reaching out to everyone: girls, ladies, mums, grandmas, baby mums, gangsters, hustlers, full time workers, tax payers, everyone trying to grind until they shine.”

I’ll let you be the judge of that. The video below is for the single ‘In Da Hood’, which in this case refers to Kilburn. If you like what you hear, or want to see more of Crime and GTS Mob, there are plenty more tunes and videos on their Myspace page and on Youtube, most of which show large groups of hooded youths loitering in stairwells. And rapping of course.

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St. Patrick’s Day in County Kilburn

St. Patrick and crew

Kilburn, along with the surrounding areas of Cricklewood and Willesden, has long since been home to the largest Irish community in London, if not the entire country. Our trustworthy friends at Wikipedia reckon that as many as 13% of Kilburn’s population was actually born in Ireland. The area’s demographics are changing, and the many traditional Irish pubs that lined the High Road are slowly being replaced by trendy bars and music venues; for not much longer will it deserve the nicknames ‘Little Éire’ and ‘County Kilburn’. As such, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are not now what they once were. Having said that, you can still expect the pubs to be full of revellers: Guinness-a-flowing, whiskey-a-spilling, and novelty hats-a-wearing.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is a family-friendly affair, getting under way at 4:30pm from Willesden Green underground station. Costumed-dancers and pipers will accompany the floats as they take the short trip down to Willesden Green Library. The Library Centre is also playing host to a number of other events, including story-telling and an Irish market (4 – 7:30pm), and various performances of traditional music and dancing, from the likes of the McCarthy School of Irish Dancing, Irish Mist, and a comedy set from Deirdre O’Kane. The full programme is available here.

Less traditionally Irish music can be heard at Power’s, which is putting on its fortnightly acoustic session – free of charge, as per usual – or for a mere £4 you can catch Fit and the Conniptions at the Good Ship, with Stop.Motion.Trio and Can’t Swim! Won’t Swim! providing the support. Alternatively, it’s pub quiz time at the Westbury: 8pm start, £2 entry.

For proceedings of an even less sober nature, just stumble down to any of the pubs and bars on Kilburn High Road. Brondes Age is a solid bet if you want to celebrate St. Paddy’s day with plenty of people and a decent atmosphere. For a pint of Guinness with the regulars, head to the Coopers Arms, the Kingdom or the Old Bell. For an off-High Road tipple, the Alliance on Mill Lane is always good value, or Father Ted’s on Willesden Lane.

Whatever you get up to, may your craic be mighty.

Too much Guinness left Murphy feeling dog rough

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The times they are a-changin’

There’s a lot of dross on the internet. This is a well-established fact. Every now and then, however, you can strike gold. Not literally, unfortunately, but you get the idea. Earlier today, I came across a collection of photographs showing locations in West Hampstead and Kilburn as they are today (well, in 2007), and as they once were. It’s amazing to see how much some places have changed, and how entirely recognizable are others. I’ve picked out a few of my favourites for your viewing pleasure.

1. West Hampstead tube station, opened in 1879, can be seen on the left. It was originally part of the Metropolitan line, then the Bakerloo line, and eventually on the Jubilee, as it is today.

2. What is now West Hampstead police station used to be the stately Berridge House.

3. West Hampstead fire station was opened in 1901. The building may not have changed much, but the equipment sure has.

4. On the corner of Quex and Kingsgate Roads there once stood an impressive Wesleyan chapel. It’s now a block of flats.

5. This is a photo of Kilburn High Road station, circa 1906.

6. Emmanuel School on Mill Lane.

7. Some dapper folk waiting for a train at West Hampstead in 1937.

8. Now simply called The Lion, the Old Black Lion public house is shown here as it would have been in 1896.

9. And finally, Finchley Road station in 1903. Not so much traffic back then.

Well, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as I have. I’ll continue my internet-searching for other such wonderful nostalgia. If you have any interesting material that you’d like to share with the world, or know of some good sites where it can be found, do let me know!

Click here for the whole collection.

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Calling all sports fans!

Back in the day, the weekend was a dreary affair for the football fan. You’d have to go to the ground, ticket in hand, with friends and family in tow, and have a supremely dull afternoon of cheering, chanting and bonding…  But thanks to the glory of TV, no longer! You can just sit at home, with no-one to listen to your moaning, whilst picking pringles crumbs off of last season’s (unwashed) shirt.

If you’re a bit old-fashioned though, and you still enjoy the company of other human beings whilst watching your team lose, again, but still crave the flickering images and tired commentary of trusty TV, then read on for a quick guide on where to watch live (televised) sports in NW6.

The Railway

The Railway on West End Lane is my top pick. It has a large bar and plenty of seating, though on a big game day it still gets packed out. This means long half-time queues, but good atmosphere throughout. It attracts a mixed crowd, and serves up solid pub food, with 2 main courses for £10. A projector in the sofa area complements 3 LCD screens dotted around the rest of the pub.

The Alliance

Still in West Hampstead (Mill Lane), but quieter and with more of a ‘local’ feel to it is The Alliance. Its central  bar splits the pub into two separate spaces,  plenty of seating and a large plasma screen on one side, a pool table, second plasma screen and projector on t’other.

The Golden Egg

The Golden Egg on Kilburn High Road is on the larger side, and has a few screens as well as a big projector at the back.  Though it isn’t one, it feels a bit like a Wetherspoon’s, but at least this is reflected in its prices. They also do a decent carvery on a Sunday for a mere £4.99. Note for the younger readers: it is over 21s only, though on a busy match day they might not notice/care…

The Prince of Wales

A little way down Willesden Lane, The Prince of Wales has a dartboard and pool table to go along with its big screen projector. On the down side, the clientèle has been described as being “a bit pikey”, but the pub has lovely old fashioned decor, and the big draw here is that they televise matches with a Saturday 3pm kick-off.

The Cricketers

Finally, another over 21s joint, The Cricketers is a mid-sized pub on the corner of Abbey and Belsize Roads, cramming in 3 screens, a projector, a pool table and one of those newfangled touch-screen jukeboxes. A decent option if you’re in the vicinity,  and only two doors down from Oscar’s Den, the best party shop in town!

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Filed under Eating & Drinking, Sports