Twyford, Park Royal, brent, london, history of Twyford and Park Royal, london suburbs

Twyford and Park Royal lies in the south of Brent, bordering Alperton, Stonebridge and Harlesden

brent heritage website

Guinnes Brewery Park Royal
Guinness Brewery, now Diageo, Park Royal
Radio Times
Aggregate Supplies, the building
where the Radio Times was once printed
Heinz factory, twyford
The Heinz factory, opened in 1925,
before it was demolished in 2002
Guinness brewery warf
Guinness Brewery (1933-36) -
beer was shipped on the canal

Early History

The Doomsday Book of 1086 mentions 'Tveverde' which means '(place by a) double ford'. In the middle ages all West Twyford had was a manor, a farm and a chapel. In East Twyford a cottage east of Lower Place Green is only mentioned by 1800. Despite a very small population the church had regular services, once a month in the 18th century, and every week in the 19th.

A few houses appeared in the first half of the 19th century, and the real growth started with the opening of Willesden Junction station nearby in 1866. 75 people lived in West Twyford in 1881. Disraeli and Steele Roads with terraced houses were built by the United Land Company in 1879. There was a church and a children's home. Many poor families lived here.

At the end of the 19th century East Twyford became part of Willesden Urban District, and West Twyford - a detached part of Greenford Urban District.

Royal Agricultural Show

In the beginning of the 20th century the Royal Agricultural Society bought land from Twyford Abbey with a view to make it the show's permanent grounds. Two railway stations, Park Royal on the Great Western Railway and Royal Show Ground on the London & North Western Railway opened nearby. The Society spent at least £70,000 on the development of the site.

The Royal Agricultural Show here was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1903. The place was called Park Royal in his honour.

To recoup some of the money the Society sub-let part of the show ground. One of the tenants was Queen's Park Rangers (QPR) football club.

The Show was not a success and in 1905 went back to touring the country. The site became part of industrial development which consumed most of Twyford and Park Royal in later years.

The Centre for Industry

Before more industry came, the last agricultural connection of Twyford was mushroom farming here in 1907. Mushrooms played a part in the local economy until the late 1920s, with new farms appearing after the First World War.

In 1902 McVitie & Price opened their Edinburgh Biscuit factory in Waxlow Road, East Twyford. In 1909 it employed 1,150 people. Eventually it would be the largest biscuit factory in the western world, employing 2,600 people in 1978.

During the First World War aircraft were built here, and there was an aerodrome east of Masons Green Lane. There was a railway generating station next to Park Royal station. Also during the War there was a large horse compound for the Royal Army Service Corps. Some prisoners of war were held there. There were also munitions factories here, on Park Royal Road and Victoria Road.

The railways, Western Avenue and the North Circular Road constructed along Twyford's northern border (1934-5) facilitated the development of industry. By 1932 there were 73 factories, employing 13,400 people and manufacturing foodstuffs, electrical equipment, paper and machinery. Before the Second World War Park Royal became the largest industrial zone in southern England.

The largest factory constructed in this period was the Guinness Brewery (1933-36) to designs by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed Bankside Power Station, now Tate Modern. Guinness built houses, social and sports facilities for their workers. Large parts of West Twyford became residential.

During the Second World War the factories shifted to military production and suffered frequent air raids.

The 1950s and 60s saw further development of industry. The decline of the British economy in the late 70s - early 80s hit Park Royal. Narrow roads, problems with parking and few social facilities on housing estates contributed to the decline of the area. Many large firms moved out of Park Royal and London, many cut employee numbers. In 1984, for example, the Radio Times stopped being printed at Park Royal.

Hope for the Future

In the 1990s the Government warranted the creation of the Park Royal Partnership Ltd, a group of public and private organisations in charge of the regeneration of Park Royal. The scheme includes Alperton, North Acton, Old Oak Common, Stonebridge, West Acton and Willesden Junction and works on 'projects that improve the Business Park to the benefit of those who live and work there'. As well as industries, social facilities will be improved in the residential areas.

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© Brent Heritage website 2002