Dollis Hill, district in the London Borough of Brent

Dollis Hill is an area between Cricklewood and Neasden..

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Dollis Hill Lane
Old Dollis Hill Lane
Dollis Hill Parade
Dollis Hill Parade in 1910

Chartwell Court

GPO Research Station

Dollis Hill Reservoir, the site of former St.Andrew's Hospital

Dollis Hill Lane Cottages

Stables Gallery

Dollis Hill Synagogue

Early Days

According to recent excavations, there was a settlement in the early Iron Age where Dollis Hill is now. The name 'Dollis Hill' comes from someone called Dolley or Dawley. There was a settlement recorded here in the late 16th century. As most of Brent, this area remained farmland well into the 18th century.

The two significant features of Dollis Hill were St.Andrew's Hospital and Dollis Hill House.

St.Andrew's Hospital

The hospital was built by the Diocese of Westminster in 1912. In 1914 it became a military hospital. Some of its earliest patients were Belgian soldiers.

Gladstone Park and Dollis Hill House

Dating from 1825, Dollis Hill House was the former of Lord and Lady Aberdeen. Prime Minister Gladstone (after whom the park was named), American writer Mark Twain and other important personalities of the 19th century were frequent visitors. In the beginning of the 20th century the grounds and later the house were purchased by the Willesden Urban District Council and turned into a park. The House became a restaurant, served as a hospital during the First World War and later fell into disrepair.

Building and Industry

Urban building slowed down before the First World War and resumed in the 1920s and 30s when many houses and flats were constructed in Dollis Hill. Bus services ran between Neasden and north Cricklewood to serve them. In the 1930s refugees fleeing Nazi persecution settled in Dollis Hill, with several synagogues opening nearby.

This coincided with the development of industry in the region. In 1916 the School of Mechanical Warfare was set up in the fields between Dollis Hill Lane and Oxgate Lane as a proving ground for tanks.

Associated Automation in Dollis Hill Lane made the General Post Office's coin-operated telephones from 1928 and 1982.

The GPO Research Station and War Cabinet Bunker

In 1933 the General Post Office Research Station was built at Dollis Hill. During the Second World War the components of 'Colossus' , arguable the world's first electronic computer, were made there before being sent to the codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. The Research Station closed at the end of the 1970s and the site was developed for light industry and later for housing.

In the late 1930s the Government, anticipating the bombing of London at the outbreak of the war, built and underground bunker for the War Cabinet in the GOP's Research Station grounds. Despite fully equipped and staffed throughout the war, it was hardly used and fell into disrepair.

Dollis Hill Today

Nowadays Dollis Hill is a quiet London suburb with a tightly - knit community, centered on the Gladstone Park.

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© Brent Heritage website 2002