Dollis Hill

Dollis Hill is an area in northwest London, which consists of the streets surrounding the 35 hectares (86 acres) Gladstone Park. It is served by a London Underground station, Dollis Hill, on the Jubilee line, providing good links to central London. It is in the London Borough of Brent, close to Willesden Green, Neasden and Cricklewood.

Dollis Hill

Park Side, which runs down from Dollis Hill Lane beside Gladstone Park
Dollis Hill
Location within Greater London
Population14,425 (2011 Census. Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ225865
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtNW2
Dialling code020
PoliceMetropolitan
FireLondon
AmbulanceLondon
EU ParliamentLondon
UK Parliament
London Assembly

The area is mainly residential (Edwardian terraced and 1920s/30s semi-detached houses) with a restaurant, greengrocer and convenience stores near the underground station. The Dollis Hill ward has the highest Irish population in London.[2]

Dollis Hill played a part in the Second World War as the code-breaking computer used at Bletchley Park was built at the Post Office Research Station in Dollis Hill and the rarely used alternative Cabinet War Room bunker for Winston Churchill's government was dug underground here.

History

The Dollis Hill Estate was formed in the early 19th century, when the Finch family bought up a number of farms in the area to form a single estate. Dollis Hill House itself was built in the 1820s. It was later occupied by Lord Aberdeen who often had Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone to stay as a guest.

In 1901, a new public park was created the 35 hectares (86 acres) Gladstone Park, named after the former Prime Minister. An underground station, Dollis Hill Underground station, was opened on 1 October 1909 as part of the Metropolitan line, now on the Jubilee line. Between the park and the underground station, Edwardian terraced houses were built at this time on a grid with names starting with letters in alphabetical order (with some letters missing) from Aberdeen to Normanby. Medium-sized, semi-detached houses were built to the east of this area between 1927 and 1935.

In World War I the tank design team responsible for the new Anglo-American or Liberty tank, Mark VIII was located here.

The first railway in the area was the Dudding Hill Line, opened in 1875 by the Midland Railway to connect its Midland Main Line and Cricklewood goods yard in the east to other lines to the south-west. The Dudden Hill station on the line closed for passengers in 1902, but the line still carried freight.

The code-breaking Colossus computer, used at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, was built at the Post Office Research Station in Dollis Hill by a team led by Tommy Flowers. The station was relocated to Martlesham Heath at the end of the 1970s. The Post Office Research Station building has now been converted into 62 flats and is now known as 'Chartwell Court', with an access road called 'Flowers Close'.

The alternative Cabinet War Room bunker for Winston Churchill's World War II government code-named Paddock is located under a corner of the Post Office Research Station.

The Grunwick dispute in the late 1970s concerned trade union recognition, working conditions and employment law. It centred on the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in Chapter Road, Dollis Hill. The protracted dispute became a cause célèbre in the trade union movement at the time, with several acrimonious interactions between large numbers of police and mass pickets.[3]

Demographics

Dollis Hill has a very diverse mix of ethnicities and nationalities. The largest single ethnic group in the Dollis Hill ward of the 2011 Census, White British, comprises 14.3% of the population. The next largest are Other White (13.7%), Indians (11.4%) and Black Africans (10.6%).[4][5]

44.6% of people living in Dollis Hill were born in England in the 2011 census. The next most common countries of birth were Ireland (5.1%), India (4.3%), Pakistan (4%) and Somalia (3.9%).[6]

The main religious affiliations of Dollis Hill are Christians (43.9%), Muslims (31.3%), and Hindus (10.1%).[6]

Transport

The area is served by a London Underground station, Dollis Hill, on the Jubilee line. There are regular services to Baker Street in 15 minutes and Westminster in 20 minutes. It is in Travelcard Zone 3, three stops from West Hampstead and within easy reach of Wembley Stadium.

London Buses routes 226, 302 and N98 serve the area. There are a large number of buses that service nearby Willesden Green.

Famous residents

William Ewart Gladstone, the UK Prime Minister, was a frequent visitor to Dollis Hill House in the late 19th century. The year after his death, 1899, Willesden Council acquired much of the Dollis Hill Estate for use as a public park, which was named Gladstone Park.[7]

Eric Simms, the ornithologist, broadcaster and author, lived in Brook Road. His book, Birds of Town and Suburb (1975), was based on his studies of the birds in Dollis Hill.

Mark Twain stayed in Dollis Hill House in the summer of 1900. He wrote "Dollis Hill comes nearer to being a paradise than any other home I ever occupied."[8]

Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Radio 5 Live DJ, resides here with his family.

Mark Gottsche, renowned London inter-county Gaelic Footballer lived on Chapter Road between 2012 and 2019. His forthcoming autobiography ‘Just The One’, ghostwritten by Eamon Dunphy contains passages describing occasional late night visits to Liberty Food & Wine and notes that his brother Klaus made two unsuccessful attempts to finish the ‘Set 5’ Breakfast at Kings Cafe on Willesden High Road.

Fictional references

The fictional Dollis Hill Football Club features occasionally in the British satirical magazine Private Eye as arch-rivals to Neasden Football Club, with on at least one occasion the fictional Dollis Hill South council ward used in the irregular Those Election Results In Full mock section.

References

  1. "Brent Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  2. "Demographics". Hidden London. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  3. "Grunwick: Chronology of events". University of Leeds. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. "Dollis Hill". Hidden London. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  5. Good Stuff IT Services. "Dollis Hill - UK Census Data 2011". Ukcensusdata.com. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  6. "Dollis Hill Demographics (Brent, England)". Dollis-hill.localstats.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  7. Brent Arts Council are staging a play in Gladstone Park in July 2009 to mark the 200th anniversary of Gladstone's birth.
  8. Railton, Stephen. "London, England 1896-1900". Mark Twain in His Times. University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
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