Inventory Site Record

Roe Green Village (Brent)

Brief Description

Roe Green Village was built in 1916-18 by the Government’s Office of Works, designed by its Chief Architect Sir Frank Baines and constructed with assistance from prisoners of war. It was designed on ‘garden village’ principles to house aircraft and munitions workers in the factories in Kingsbury. Planned taking into account the existing fields and hedgerows, the estate focussed around a village green, and originally consisted of 250 cottage-style properties, a mix of houses and maisonettes with large gardens, and included a communal pocket park. Roe Green House was formerly located near here, and according to John Allsop's Will of 24 July 1840 the garden village is on part of his freehold estate. The fields here included Hooked Field (formerly known as the Ploughed Field), Shorts Croft, North Furlong, Common Field and Frian Field, Common Field and wasteland known as Roes Tenement. Even in the 1920s, the Roe Green Village remained surrounded by open fields.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Roe Green Garden Village
Site location:
Bounded by Bacon Lane to east, Stag Lane to west, Roe Lane to north, Goldsmith Lane to south
Postcode:
NW9 9BH
Type of site:
Housing/Estate Landscaping, Other - Garden Village
Borough:
Brent
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted on public roads and open spaces
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Annual village day
Public transport:
Tube: Kingsbury (Jubilee); Burnt Oak (Northern). Bus: 302, 324, 204
Research updated:
01/01/2020

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.brent.gov.uk; www.roegreenvillage.org.uk

Full Site Description

Roe Green was a small hamlet in the parish of Kingsbury, a district largely populated by scattered farms from the Middle Ages, the area around Kingsbury Green having the largest settlement in the C15th and C16th with a group of properties recorded there. An early route named Bacon Lane that ran from Roe Green north to Little Stanmore probably dated from the C12th or C13th but by the mid-C18th much of this roadway had fallen into disuse, although a small portion survives as today’s Bacon Lane. John Bul[l], a 'Gentleman of the Poultry to Queen Elizabeth and King James' (d.1621), who has a monument in St Andrew’s Old Church (q.v.), was reputedly from Roe Green. By the C18th and C19th there were a few country villas at Roe Green, including Roe Green House and Haydon House, which H J Foley described in 1887 as ‘pleasant little mansions half-buried in their surrounding foliage’. It is recorded that in 1835 four brothers from Roe Green drowned while bathing in the reservoir at Welsh Harp (q.v.) when the dam broke. According to information taken from the Will of John Allsop of 24 July 1840, part of his freehold estate became the site of Roe Green Village, agricultural land that included Hooked Field (formerly known as the Ploughed Field), Shorts Croft, North Furlong, Common Field and Frian Field, Common Field and wasteland Roes Tenement. Roe Green Farm was built in 1894 by James Buchanon, well-known for his whisky production, whose private polo fields used to be on land that is now part of Roe Green Park (q.v.).

During WWI aircraft and munitions factories were established in Kingsbury by AIR-CO (the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Limited), and there was a small aerodrome off Stag Lane, which in 1921 was purchased by the de Havilland company. AIR-CO operated from 1912 and during WWI produced immense quantities of aircraft, the increased output requiring a much-enlarged workforce, which led to the need for the new estate to accommodate them. Roe Green Village was built in 1916-18 by the Government’s Office of Works, designed by its Chief Architect Sir Frank Baines (1877-1933). A relatively rare example of Government-built housing it was constructed with assistance from German and other prisoners of war. It was designed on ‘garden village’ principles then prevalent and was planned around existing fields and hedgerows, with reputedly only one tree lost to building. Focussed around a village green the estate originally consisted of 250 cottage-style properties, a mix of houses and maisonettes, many with large gardens, and it included a communal pocket park, shops and a doctor. The modest houses were generally laid out in small groups, pairs and short terraces, with winding roads and passages, boundary hedges and gardens. Careful attention was paid to detailing and materials, which included Cornish and Welsh slate, decorative brickwork and timber doors. Roe Green Village was designated a Conservation Area in 1968. The AIR-CO works and Stag Lane Aerodrome are now a residential area.

The Village Green on Roe Lane once had a pond where Dick Turpin purportedly watered his horse before galloping off to London, but was later replaced by three of the houses. During WWII brick-built tanks were temporarily installed on the Green and filled with water for use by the fire brigade in case of an emergency. The Green was itself hit by a bomb and during the war became a totally overgrown dump with a huge bomb crater in the middle. Another green is located at Shorts Croft. In 1945 VE Day (Victory in Europe) Celebrations took place everywhere to celebrate the date the Allies accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces so ending the conflict. Long tables were set up on the Village Green in Roe Lane and on the Shorts Croft Green. The tables were covered with food that had been hoarded or saved up by the residents, as rationing did not officially end until 1954. In 1986 HM the Queen Mother attended a tree planting ceremony on the Village Green, which has a plaque with the following inscription: 'This tree was planted by HER MAJESTY, QUEEN ELIZABETH THE QUEEN MOTHER To commemorate Her Visit To Roe Green Village On The 9th July 1986.' During the war Anderson shelters had beene placed in the centre of Roe End and as time went by the island in the roadway that exists today was formed. Here the Council planted cherry trees and created a lovely flower bed, which remains planted with numerous shrubs. Roe Green Village residents have held an annual Village Day since 1977, commencing as part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations. In 2018 the centenary of the Village was celebrated, with events taking place throughout June and included a historic fly-past by a 'Tiger Moth', also known as the de Havilland DH82, designed and built at the Stag Lane factory.

Among properties of interest in the vicinity of Roe Green Village was Grove Park Mansion. In 1276 landowner Richard Grove had bought the land and built Grove Farm. His family eventually died out in 1578 and Alan Nicholl the Elder then expanded the estate. Grove Park Mansion was built in the late C18th in the fashionable 'Adams' style and stood along Stag Lane. In 1893 Lord Roberts of Kandahar, Commander in Chief of the British Army in India, stayed in the mansion for 2 years. It was sold in 1924 and became the Grove Park Preparatory Boys’ School, but this was pulled down in 1968 and the village school now stands on that site.

Just on the outskirts of Roe Green Village on Stag Lane are a couple of thatched cottages built by the architect Ernest Trobridge (1884-1942) as part of his Elmwood Estate. Having moved to Haydon House in Kingsbury in 1915, he developed a system for building traditional timber houses using green elm wood, straw-thatched roofs and only using brickwork for fireplaces and chimneys, which he showed at the Ideal Home Exhibition of 1920 to some acclaim. As a result he developed his first estate of thatched timber cottages at Fern Dene. The Elmwood Estate at the corner of Hay Lane and Stag Lane was his second scheme, the plans for which were approved in 1922, comprising two groups of four houses completed by 1924, one of which survives at 345-351 Stag Lane, with Rose Cottage at No. 351.

Sources consulted:

Len Snow 'Brent, Wembley, Willesden and Kingsbury' (Phillimore, 1990); 'Places in Brent: Kingsbury' Brent Archives; A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, Eileen P Scarff and G C Tyack, 'Kingsbury: Introduction', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, ed. T F T Baker and R B Pugh (London, 1976), pp. 49-55; E Walford, 'Greater London. A narrative of its history, its people and its places', Chapter XXVI, Vol I (1882); Philip Grant, 'From Cottages to Castles. A walk around Trobridge’s Kingsbury', Brent Archives, 2010 and 2012; Peter Cormack, Debbie Nyman, 'Tea & Memories' Growing up in Roe Green Village; The Air-Co rag, The Builder, January 1919.

LPGT Volunteer Research by Debbie Nyman, January 2020

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ200893 (520074,189382)
Size in hectares:
0.16
Site ownership:
LB Brent public areas / Freeholders and leaseholders (properties)
Site management:
LB Brent; Roe Green Village Residents' Association
Date(s):
1916-1918
Designer(s):
Sir Frank Baines (Principal Architect)
Listed structures:
LBII KT6 Telephone Kiosk on Stag Lane by entrance to Kingsbury High School
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Roe Green Village
Tree Preservation Order:
Yes
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
No
Other LA designation:
None
Photos

Roe Green Village

Roe Green Village Scheme, Kingsbury, General Layout of Site. Photograph courtesy Debbie Nyman

Roe End planted island, 1977. Photograph courtesy Debbie Nyman
1977
Roe Green Village, 'Farver Crismas in a Airyplane', photograph, 1920. Courtesy of Brent Archives
1920

Click a photo to enlarge.

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