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A large council estate and its vicinity in north-west Harlesden. The name derives from the Stone Bridge of 1745 that carried the Harrow Road over the River Brent. Until very late in the nineteenth century this was the site of Stonebridge Farm and of Willesden’s first sewage works, but it was then rapidly built over, although some earlier large houses survived. After the First World War the massive Stonebridge estate was built as part of Willesden’s response to Lloyd George’s call for ‘homes for heroes’. Many of these properties were replaced during the 1970s and 80s by council tower blocks. Some of these have in turn been replaced recently with less austere terraced housing as part of a multi-million pound effort to improve the quality of life here. A number of refugee families have been placed on the estate, many from sub-Saharan Africa. Stonebridge has the second highest proportion of black residents of any ward in London, after Peckham.
Stonebridge provided the setting for the Channel 4-backed film Babymother (1998), a largely affirmative black musical by Julian Henriques with a cast of local people.

An internal walkway in a Stonebridge tower block

click for area map (opens in a new window)
A tower block on the Stonebridge estate

Postal district: NW10
Population: 15,943
Further reading: MC Barrès-Baker, Stonebridge, Grange Museum of Community History and Brent Archive, 2001

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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