HENDON CENTRAL Northern Line (Edgware)
LONDON TUBE RAMBLES WALK (about 2 miles)
This Tube station (Stanley Heaps, 1923) is quite grand, with wooden doors and fitments in the unusually large entrance space (separate from the ticket hall) and a colonnaded porch. Central Hendon is very busy, so it comes as a surprise to discover that what remains of the old village is within walking distance. To get to it, turn left as you leave the Tube and almost immediately left again into Queens Road then left once more into leafy Wykeham Road, which has many large houses. At the T junction go left into Brampton Grove and at the end right into The Burroughs.
All this takes about ten minutes. At first the buildings in The Burroughs are humble, a few small old-fashioned shops and a row of cottages. However, it soon becomes a wide thoroughfare with a grand Town Hall (1900). Middlesex University is also impressive. Where the road bends right and becomes Church Road, there are some almshouses. Built in 1729 with a bequest of one Daniel Merchant they are fairly plain with doors opening directly on to the street.
Walk past these and cross via the zebra into Church End. In the 1930's the building of arterial roads gave rise to large-scale residential housing and changed the character of the area, but in Church End suddenly you are back in rural Hendon. Where the road curves there is a cluster of old buildings - 17th century brick farmhouse, St. Mary's church and the Greyhound Inn. Until 2011, Church Farm House was a Council-run museum, but succumbed to economic cuts and is permanently closed. Originally the farm it was part of was one of many providing hay for the large number of horses used for London's transport needs, but with the advent of railways and 'horseless carriages' a whole way of life ended and the farm became mainly concerned with dairying. In 1889 some 'model' farm facilities were added and you can still find the quirky milking parlour with hay loft opposite the farmhouse. In 1944 Church Farm House was bought by Hendon Borough Council and used to house people who had lost their homes in WW2. It became a museum in 1955.
At the rear is a sloping garden, once the farmyard and orchard. The well and dew pond remain and all is remarkably peaceful. Steps at the back of the garden lead to Sunny Hill Park, created on the site of farmland. St.Mary's church next door has been substantially altered during the centuries and was bombed in 1940. Although the south side facing the the road is still attractive, the north elevation is something of a hotch-potch. At least the magnificent weathervane in the form of the Lamb and Flag (badge of St John), which was added to the ancient tower in the eighteenth century survives. The church does not appear to be open to casual visitors.
There is an alternative route back to the Tube which takes you past some more old buildings, but be warned, the last five minutes are along the A41 (Watford Way). The only thing in its favour from a pedestrian's point of view is that it is downhill! So, if you don't want to go down Wykeham Road again (as you will have noted, it is quiet and pleasant, but not particularly interesting), retrace your steps as far as Brampton Grove, but this time walk past it, continuing along The Burroughs. You will pass some basic early nineteenth century cottages and soon after these Burroughs House (currently a college). You are now at a horrendous road junction. Glance to the right and you will see a higgledy group of old houses. The poor things appear to be huddling together for protection against the traffic that whizzes by. First comes a pleasant Victorian villa. Next is a building with curved frontage and pretty fanlight over the front door. It has a surprisingly grand facade considering its limited width. The two plain houses on the corner are early eighteenth century. Turn left into the major road (A41) and, passing Prothero Gardens, proceed downwards to the town centre and Tube station. The tall white Art Deco building ahead of you at the junction was originally the Ambassadors Cinema, opened in 1932. Now a fitness centre. As you go back into Hendon Central look out for the old-fashioned station cafe on the left - not many of those left.
PHOTOS (click to enlarge)
Church Farm House, former Museum/Cottages, The Burroughs
Hendon Town Hall
The Greyhound pub
Rear of Church Farm House, former Museum/Model Dairy milking parlour
Houses at junction of The Burroughs and A41/Old Ambassadors cinema
Please note that for the RAF Museum you need Colindale Tube station.
Hendon is just one walk from the many to be found at London Tube Rambles. There are architectural gems, beautiful country views, historic places and quirky buildings even in the most unpromising areas covered by the outer London Underground stations. Usually the discoveries are within a mile of the Tube - often only five minutes walk away. If you reached this as an individual page via a search engine, you might like to click on the above link and see the other destinations explored. You'll be amazed at what's out there!