Volume 9 - Kenton Hamlet and District
R S Brown, 1979
This area was mentioned in some detail in volume 3 of this series (on page 17: see also photographs on page 28 and page 13 of volume I) and we therefore do not propose to write about it at any length on this occasion. It is however, a location closely connected with Kenton and some changes have occurred to it over the years.
Many of the original tradesmen in the Circle have disappeared: gone is Pollard the fishmonger; Dibbs the court hairdresser; Hugh Lloyd the chemist; Dewhurst the butcher; Walker the green-grocer; Perks the grocer - together with Woolworths and Boots. Ellingtons the newsagent and Cato's (hardware) are two of the few who have survived.
It was explained in volume 3 that the original railway bridge was rebuilt (in the 1930's) but erosion, and the weight of traffic crossing it since then brought about the need for further alterations in 1979. In a major operation which took several months to complete, the road at this point was lowered by some five feet, involving the removal of tons of bricks, metal and foundation material, followed by the construction of a new road at the lower level. Tradesmen on the flanks of the road complained bitterly about the loss of business during these alterations.
On the Harrow Weald side of the bridge the last remaining meadows in the district have vanished under the bricks and playground of a new Catholic School: a somewhat unsightly group of council dwellings have also been erected to the west of the school with an access road called Dobbin Close, possibly in memory of the horses which once grazed in the old meadows.
Almost opposite the school, a rather derelict area, once the site of the old Belmont Station has been tidied up and redeveloped; it is now the location of a newly-built local Health Centre. These changes have added to the former list of alterations near Belmont which included the closure of Belmont Station (in 1961) and the demolition of the Essoldo Cinema (in 1970).
As explained in volume 3, Belmont is derived from 'Bell Mount', the original name of the large hill to the north of Belmont Circle on which Stanmore Golf Course is located. This is an appropriate time to dispel some of the rumours attributed to the origin of the hill: they include stories that the hill was built by the Romans to give them a view towards London over the top of Barn Hill; that it was built by the Duke of Chandos - and that it is the residual heap of clay thrown up by workmen when the railway cutting was excavated. It is generally agreed by geologists that the Mount is a natural feature and well beyond the capabilities of any human-inspired creation.
'The continuous traffic bottle-necks which occurred during the alterations to Belmont bridge have emphasised the need for some improvement in traffic flow in this region. All the highways around Belmont were newly-built or widened in the 1930's and very little has been done since then to take account of' the enormous increase in all types of motorised traffic.