Histories of Harrow Weald Highways - Volume 2
Ronald S Brown, 1974
pages 8 and 9
Connaught Road is sited on New College Estate which was puchased before the last war by local developer, John Searcy, from New College, Oxford. The plot of land on which both Connaught and Dryden Roads are built was, however, sold to Wimpeys the builders, for a reputed £300 per acre. It is probably more than a coincidence that this plot exactly faced a row of council houses on the opposite side of Kenton Lane. Fisher Road, which runs parallel to these two roads, suffered no such apparent embarrassment and was built by the Searcy organisation.
With the roads already surfaced the Dryden Road houses were available for occupation in early 1933 while Connaught Road was completed by the summer of the same year. Both roads were built on the basis of sixteen houses to the acre. There were problems in that year caused by an excessively warm summer; plaster which dried too quickly fell from walls and ceilings and many of the young trees planted on both sides of the road died from lack of water.
The earliest purchasers of Connaught Road properties could see the buildings of New College Farm down the hill at the junction of Locket Road and Kenton Lane but Rose Farm had been demolished and this land was later to provide the site for Searcy-built flats. At that time however, the site had a derelict appearance and an old well had been revealed in the area where garages have since been erected.
Naturally the tudor-style houses of Connaught and Dryden Roads are different to those on the rest of the New College Estate (with the exception of Adderley Road, which is also Wimpey built). The properties in these three roads were built for Wimpeys by bricklaying gangs provided by George Smith and Son. Smith built the existing vicarage in Bishop Ken Road for his own residence and it is, naturally, a particularly well-built house. Most of the original residents of Connaught Road came from the London districts of Kilburn and Harlesden but not more than two or three of these families now remain.
Unlike the remaining highways on the Estate, this road was not named after former students or tutors of New College, Oxford; instead it perpetuates the name of the Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria.
The Duke was born on 1st May, 1850, but his first birthday was rather over-shadowed by the opening of the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. He was nevertheless destined to enjoy great popularity throughout his life during which he became affectionately known as the 'Soldier Duke’. (By a coincidence he was born on the Duke of Wellington’s 81st birthday.) He was tutored until the age of sixteen when he became a gentleman cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and he gained his first commission in the Army on 6th June, 1868.
The Duke who came into the world (at Buckingham Palace) as Prince Arthur, was known by the family as 'Arta’, he spent his 21st birthday at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight where his main present was that of a welcome £15,000 annuity. In 1874 he was created Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex. He married Princess Louise Marguerite (third daughter of Prince Frederick Charles Prussia) at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, on 13th March, 1879.
The Duke and Duchess of Connaught had three children, of whom the eldest, Princess Margaret, married the Crown Prince of Sweden, later King Gustav VI from whom the present King of Sweden and Queen of Denmark are descended. The second child, Prince Arthur, married his cousin. Princess Alexandra, later Duchess of Fife and their third child. Princess Patricia, married Alexander Ramsay.
By this time the Duke had embarked upon a career in the Army which he served long and wholeheartedly, especially in India, the Mediterranean, the Union of South Africa and Canada.
During his adult life he was always a favourite with the ladies, due in no small part to the fact that he closely resembled his handsome father, the Prince Consort.
Most of his Army career was spent with the Rifle Brigade and he was Colonel Grenadier Guards for over a quarter of a century: even in old age he had the fine bearing of a professional soldier. In his later years he resided at Clarence House in London with a country home in Bagshot Park. At this time he was intent upon devoting much of his time to public service but his untiring interest in Army matters continued until his death. By way of relaxation he enjoyed a game of golf. He was a true soldier in every sense of the word and he loved uniforms and formality; he was mentioned in dispatches three times during his active Army career. He cherished a warm liking for the Irish people who christened him 'Prince Patrick'.
In contrast to other members of the family, his entire life stood the test ** public scrutiny and, although lacking in artistic matters, he rendered long and devoted service to England and the Empire. He was always anxious to do that which was right and good. As the first Lord Rowallan said in 1921, "The Duke was one member of the Royal Family upon whom the rays of scandal have never shone" ***
The Duke was a fine man and one whose association with Connaught Road must be regarded as an honour and a privilege. He died on 16th January, 1942.