The Old Bell

This morning I mended a garden chair and did the hoovering, while Jackie continued her mammoth garden maintenance. This afternoon I watched Wimbledon tennis on TV, while Jackie continued her mammoth garden maintenance. Between matches, I scanned another batch of colour slides from the Streets of London series from May 2004.

Springfield Lane NW6 5.04

This corner of Springfield Lane and Kilburn High Road NW6 is the only one of these I will feature today.

That particular walk is the only time I have ever investigated Kilburn High Road and its environs. I could not therefore remember the building that the tiles fronted, although I felt sure it would be a pub. The London stock bricks used for the building’s construction are very popular, expensive, and sought after by architectural salvage merchants and thieves. They have been in use since Georgian times.

North London was developed much earlier than the originally swampy south, which was only really extended with the coming of the Underground. That is why you are more likely to see evidence of street name changes in the North. Clearly this Lane was once Goldsmith’s Place.

I therefore went on an internet search prompted by this one corner of N.W.6.

Ed Fordham’s blog post of 24th June 2008:Β provided me with the following clarification:

“The Old Bell Pub is one of the oldest pubs in Kilburn and probably even dates from the time of Kilburn Priory. At the bottom of the Kilburn High Road it’s at the strategic junction of the old Roman Road Watling Street, the old Kilburn River and the now railway line and associated bridge.

In more recent times it was the principle pub in the 30’s (sic) at which many Irish workers could find accommodation – there used to be blackboards with chalk listings of landlords and bedsits.

It’s credited with being on the spot behind which was the preaching field from medieval times through to the 1800’s (sic) (this is part confirmed by Goldsmith’s Place being renamed Springfield Lane…) and became the main drinking hole for those using the railway line after its’ (sic) arrival.”

The Old Bell, KilburnThis current imageΒ from Google shows the front of the building and, on the right, the corner I photographed. I’m not sure if the modern building was there then.

This evening Jackie produced her scrumptious savoury rice with chicken in sweet chilli sauce. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Fortezza Dei Colli Chianti Classico 2012.

I’ll feature the rest of the street scenes in a day or two.


    1. πŸ™‚ You’ll get s’trolled by those who post nasty messages online if you take the rise out of peepul hoo carnt spel.

  1. It is just possible that Goldsmith’s Place refers only to a terrace portion at that end of the street, which may have been always called Springfield La. The G. Plc usage may have been superseded by (?)rebuildng / (?)street extension (seems odd to rename a “Place” [usually a cul-de-sac, or a square development] as a “Lane” (usually long and winding and, generally, ancient) / (?)nearby address-duplication.

    1. I just googled Goldsmith’s Place: in 2013 there was a flat for sale at no.3 G P, under a search headline of “House prices in Springfield Lane”, so clearly (unless the name was revived for a housing development) the two were/are co-temporaneous.

      1. I’ve no idea on the accuracy of Fordham’s blog. If you’re familiar with it, I’m happy to take your opinion. How old is the worn street sign reading [G]oldsmith’s Place? I ask because EF implies a 19th-century change of streetname, but number codes were a WW1 introduction for postal efficiency. That makes the sign c.1920s, unless “NW6” was hand-painted on the sign afterwards.

  2. “mammoth garden maintenance,”…”mammoth garden maintenance”…hmmm…are you trying to tell us something, Derrick? Like, maybe Jackie has forgone her owl collection and switched to elephants…?

      1. I, for one, cannot wait to see the photos of your Jackie’s excavation of not only mammoths but saber-toothed tigers. πŸ™‚

  3. It’s good you have something to do while Jackie is busy in the garden and kitchen Derrick. That the old pub is still standing between two more modern buildings is amazing. Wonderful bit of history to accompany.

  4. Make sure you have a chair at the table for me! On another note, did you really say “hoovering”? Is that expression common? I haven’t heard that in a zillion years, which means since I was a little kid. It made me smile because of the memories of when everyone knew what a Hoover was.

    1. Thank you Luanne. Yes, we still say hoovering. I thought about using vacuuming, but that is not what we say; and Dysoning wouldn’t roll off the tongue so well. Ball point pens are still Biros to those of a certain generation

      1. I had to laugh at “Dysoning.” I was thinking how now I have a Dyson, and that is all I see (of better brands) at the stores now.

      2. I was most confused as a child, when I first heard our housekeeper use that expression, since we had a Hoover washing machine and a Siemens vacuum-cleaner!

  5. I grew up in Kilburn Park, just down the road from the Old Bell. To the right used to be a department store, but I see that, apart from the Red Lion building, that whole block has now been rebuilt.

  6. I’ve been saying Hoovering for all my life and I don’t see it changing now! I think everybody oop(sic) north would say the same.

  7. That Jackie is a wonder, she is. If I spent a full day working outside, then it would be scrambles and toast for supper πŸ˜‰ Those bricks are beautiful. I can see why people want them.

  8. It’s always fascinating to learn about and see how places have changed over the course of history. I love comparing old maps to see how places developed over time. I hope the garden maintenance is going well – it’s certainly an ongoing job at this time of year!

  9. Preaching and beer, seem to go well together. πŸ™‚ Lovely looking old pub, Derrick. Tell Jackie to relax occasionally. She’ll wear her green fingers to the bone. πŸ™‚

  10. I watch so many British DVDs, read so many British books, and listen to so many audio books, that I am beginning to say “any road” “on holiday” and “hoovering”. I’m not kidding you! If I don’t say it out load, I am saying it in my mind. I do a lot of gardening for our village (It really is a village, not a town.) and my back is killing me. How is Jackie’s holding up?

    1. Many thanks Ginene. When we have our lunch watching Bargain Hunt we have it ‘on our knees in froont of us telly’. Jackie’s back gives her gyp at times, then she stops and takes ibuprofen. i hope yours isn’t too bad.

    2. “Any road” is definitely from oop north (see jwfknifton’s comment). If you want to sound more generally English, it’s “anyway”. I don’t think “hoovering” is specifically Northern. I’m trying (and failing) to recall the accent of our housekeeper from whom I first heard it. As I have/had Northern relatives, if she had been from the North herself, the sound wouldn’t have especially impinged on my ears as out-of-place, even though I was in the South, like Derrick and Jackie.

  11. I am sipping coffee in the early am, sorry to have not been able to visit as much. . . Although the lack of air flow or air conditioning isn’t something that other countries don’t have to work in, I have less tolerance for the sweltering heat, less stamina in the evening. Not sure if you knew, I am up visiting my 87 year old “mum.” <3

Leave a Reply