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Visting the Old Library, Willesden Green, London, England: Dating from 1894; Disaster Averted in the 21st Century

Updated on January 26, 2018
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Willesden Green Old Library, High Road, NW10, at the junction with Brondesbury Park, NW10.
Willesden Green Old Library, High Road, NW10, at the junction with Brondesbury Park, NW10. | Source

Tudor style panelling and a conical tower give distinction

The Old Library, Willesden Green, London, England, dates from 1894. In terms of England's long history, a structure dating from Victorian times is not necessarily unusual or regarded as especially significant in the face of pressures from developers' and local authorities.

But the Old Library, Willesden Green, is still a pleasing expression of local architectural heritage and history. The red brick building combines elements of imitation Tudor panelling and a conical tower once popular with proponents of the Romanesque style.

In the early 21st century the local authorities and developers had come up with a plan: send in the bulldozer and building a new library complex in the place of the Old Library in Willesden Green.

But this was to reckon without the determined opposition of local people, who advocated strongly for the preservation of the Old Library building.

The result: a new library and cultural centre was opened some years ago according to plans which retained the Old Library structure, adjacent to which the new complex is built (1).

Disaster was thus averted; but Canadian observers would be baffled as to how plans to demolish buildings of evident, architectural value could seriously be brought so far forward by those in responsible positions: in Canada, at least, 19th century Victoriana would likely be retained as a prized expression of heritage.

Clearly this is a case of how local residents can sometimes show more good sense than professed experts and politicians (2)!

Willesden Green is situated in the London Borough of Brent; the Old Library Building is at the junction of the Willesden High Road and Brondesbury Park, London, NW10.

January 18, 2018

Notes

(1) See also: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/buildings/the-library-at-willesden-green-by-allford-hall-monaghan-morris/10003972.article

(2) See also: "(George Crane)...the councillor responsible for the demolition of Willesden Green Library said he saw no significance in the Victorian building." http://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/politics/councillor-behind-willesden-green-library-demolition-sees-no-architectural-significance-of-victorian-building-1-1358177, 24.4.2012.

Map location of London Borough of Brent
Map location of London Borough of Brent | Source

Also worth seeing

Willesden's St Matthew's Church is an imposing Gothic Revival building by W D Caroe, completed in 1906, at the junction of St. Mary's Road and Fawcett Road.

London has such huge numbers of visitor attractions that I will refer to only a small fraction of the principal ones; these include: Trafalgar Square; the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster; Westminster Abbey (where Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married); St. Paul's Cathedral; the Royal Albert Hall; and so many others.

How to get there

United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Underground and train services link Heathrow Airport with Central London. Willesden Green station links with Central London via the Jubilee Line of the London Underground. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

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