alperton, brent, london, history of alperton, london suburbs, canal, ealing road

Alperton lies in the south of Brent, between Wembley and Ealing.

Brent Heritage website, history, photographs, London Borough of Brent

Canal at Alperton
The Canal at Alperton
Pleasure Boat Pub
Pleasure Boat Pub

The Farm

The name probably derives from 'the farm of Eahlboert'. It was first recorded in 1199 as 'Alprinton' when it consisted of 12 buildings.

Alperton grew on the banks of the River Brent. There was a wooden bridge here in the 15th century. The lords of the manor of Harrow and Ealing were responsible for its upkeep. A concrete and brick bridge replaced it in 1874.

In the medieval, Tudor and Stuart periods the area was famous for stag-hunting .

The meadows along the banks of the River Brent were ideally suited for hay production. London's horses provided a demanding market for hay, and by the 19th century local farming shifted from arable to hay. By 1805 Alperton consisted of 21 houses, including 14 farms.

The Grand Junction Canal

The major influence of Alperton's development was the construction in 1801 of the Grand Junction Canal which cut through it. Alperton handled shipments of sand, hay, gravel and coal. A brickfield was worked here, with several brickworks producing bricks for the construction of the canal and building works.

One of the brickworks was run by Henry Haynes. The son of a local hay-dealer, he owned 70 out of the 100 buildings in Alperton and employed most of its 150 strong workforce. He also paid for shops, a church and the new Alperton Park Hotel.

The canal was used for leisure, too. Alperton countryside became a popular place for visitors. Passengers travelled by boats to the Pleasure Boat pub. The canal became 'a celebrated resort for anglers'.

The industrial side of Alperton was not so pleasant. As the most industrialised village in Wembley, it was infamous for the smells coming from shipments of gas lime and dung, a sewage farm, two recycling plants and three large piggeries. There were public order problems with fights among labourers and bare-knuckle boxing bouts and cockfights. Wembley Urban District Council was formed in 1894 and it made some improvements shortly afterwards.

Trains came to Alperton only at the beginning of the 20th century. Until then the nearest station was at Wembley. Perivale-Alperton station (called Alperton from 1910) opened around 1903.

Industrial Centre

In the early 20th century Alperton became known for mushroom cultivation. Industry expanded to rubber, fireproofing and motorcycle production by 1911. More industries moved here with the construction of the North Circular Road in 1921-34.

Alperton expanded greatly. By the Second World War most areas were built up. In 1951 Alperton's population was 14,432.

In the 1960s Alperton was hit by unemployment. Population declined. Property boom which lead to the construction of flats in Wembley and Sudbury did not reach Alperton.

The Asian Hatton Garden

The revival of Ealing Road came in the 1970s. Many East African Asians opened shops along Ealing Road, selling sarees, vegetables or sweets. There were many jewelry shops, with their owners crafting 22-carat gold in their own homes. The busy life of the open-fronted shops now keeps the area alive.

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© Brent Heritage website 2002