Hendon: Public services

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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'Hendon: Public services', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, (London, 1976) pp. 31-33. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol5/pp31-33 [accessed 12 April 2024]


A fire-brigade, formed in 1855, (fn. 1) was refounded as Hendon volunteer fire brigade in 1866 and kept a manual engine in a building, later used as a garage, opposite St. Mary's church. (fn. 2) Subsidiary fire stations were opened at Mill Hill in 1889 and at Childs Hill in 1895. In 1899 the brigade was taken over by Hendon U.D.C., which opened sub-stations at Burnt Oak, West Hendon, and Golders Green in 1900. The engine-house opposite the church was replaced by a fire station in the Burroughs in 1914 and the substations at West Hendon and Golders Green were closed in 1922 and 1927 respectively. (fn. 3)

The parish of Hendon was added to the Metropolitan Police District in 1840. (fn. 4) In 1863 the police station was in Brent Street, opposite the junction with Bell Lane. (fn. 5) It was replaced in 1884 by a building north of the junction of Brent Street with Brampton Grove. (fn. 6)

Until 1866, when the West Middlesex Waterworks Co. was empowered to provide piped water, (fn. 7) the southern part of Hendon was supplied from the parish pump at the junction of Brent Street and Bell Lane (fn. 8) and, at Childs Hill, from a stream and a spring at the Leg of Mutton pond on Hampstead Heath. (fn. 9) In 1873 the Colne Valley Water Co. obtained powers to supply Mill Hill, which previously had relied on wells. (fn. 10)

Gas street-lighting was introduced to parts of Hendon, including Childs Hill, in 1871. (fn. 11) In 1890 gas was provided by the Gas Light and Coke Co. and from works of the North Middlesex Gas Co., (fn. 12) opened near the later Mill Hill East railway station between 1862 and 1866, (fn. 13) although Mill Hill itself was still lit by oil lamps in the early 20th century. (fn. 14) An electric lighting order for Hendon U.D. was granted to a private company in 1899 but powers were transferred to the U.D.C. in the same year. (fn. 15)

In the 1860s sewage from Childs Hill ran through open ditches to the Brent reservoir, causing complaints which led to the formation of Childs Hill special drainage district. (fn. 16) An outfall works to serve the whole parish was built near Renters farm in 1886 and a main drainage works, visited by W. E. Gladstone, was built in 1887. (fn. 17) Parts of Childs Hill were still without drains in 1894, when offence was caused by cesspools and over-flowing ditches, (fn. 18) and areas in the Hyde and Mill Hill had no drains until the end of the 19th century. (fn. 19) In 1895, however, 80 per cent of Hendon's houses drained into sewers and by 1900 the figure had risen to 98 per cent. (fn. 20) Hendon U.D.C. bought 13 a. of Clitterhouse farm for extensions to the sewage farm in 1905, (fn. 21) and a new sewage disposal works was being built in 1914. (fn. 22) Hendon became part of the West Middlesex Drainage Scheme in 1931, four years before its sewage farm was superseded by the new works at Mogden. (fn. 23)

There was a private lunatic asylum for ladies run by Miss Dence at Hendon House, Brent Street, in 1861. (fn. 24) The Metropolitan Convalescent Institution accommodated 40 young girls at Burroughs House c. 1874 (fn. 25) and Dr. Henry Hicks had an asylum at Grove House in the Burroughs from 1879 to 1899. (fn. 26) A small isolation hospital was built south of Kingsbury Road in 1890 (fn. 27) and was controlled by Hendon U.D.C. in 1901, when there were five patients. (fn. 28) The last of several additions was made in 1922 and the building was replaced in 1929 by the new Hendon isolation hospital in Goldsmith Avenue, with 86 beds. Two ward blocks were built between 1929 and 1940 but by 1970, when there were 103 beds, the institution had become a geriatric hospital. Its grounds contained the Northgate clinic, opened in 1968 by the North West Metropolitan regional hospital board for the treatment of 25 psychopaths. Colindale hospital was opened in 1912, on land given by Sir Audley Neeld, (fn. 29) and had 50 beds in 1925. Additions included an operating theatre in 1923, a new wing with 20 beds in 1934, and a physiotherapy department in 1966. Hendon cottage hospital was opened in 1913 near the later junction of Hendon Way and Elliot Road; it was extended in 1925 and again in 1933. (fn. 30) Manor House hospital was founded in 1917 by the Allied Hospital Benevolent Society to care for war victims; (fn. 31) its administrative block occupied John Bond's manor-house at Golders Hill, while patients were treated in temporary huts. The hospital was transferred to the Industrial Orthopaedic Society in 1919 and thereafter catered largely for victims of industrial accidents. Two permanent wards were opened in 1931 and further extensions were made in 1938 and after the Second World War. A fourstoreyed wing was opened in 1969, containing 52 beds and a twin operating theatre. Redhill hospital was opened by Hendon board of guardians in 1927 in a new building to replace the former workhouse infirmary which had been built in 1865. (fn. 32) It was occupied in 1970 by Edgware general hospital, which, like the former isolation hospital and Colindale hospital, was administered by Hendon group hospital management committee.

The first public park in Hendon was Golders Hill park, formerly the grounds of Golders Hill House, which were bought by the L.C.C. in 1899. (fn. 33) The L.C.C. also took over the upkeep of the Hampstead Heath Extension after its purchase by trustees from Eton College in 1907. (fn. 34) Hendon public park, 30 a. between Queens Road (formerly Butchers Lane) and Shire Hall Lane, was opened by Hendon U.D.C. in 1903 (fn. 35) and other parks were opened by the council after the First World War, including Sunny Hill park (50 a.) c. 1922 (fn. 36) and Mill Hill park (39 a.) in 1924. (fn. 37) In 1932 Hendon B.C. owned 793½ a. of open spaces in Hendon and Edgware, (fn. 38) including Moat Mount open space (67 a.), (fn. 39) Arrandene park (57 a.), Watling park (46 a.), Montrose playing fields (30 a.), Copthall park (146 a.), West Hendon playing fields (62 a.), Woodfield park (40 a.), and Clitterhouse playing fields (50 a.).

The U.D.C.'s first housing estate, consisting of 50 houses, was laid out at Childs Hill in 1914. (fn. 40) By 1932 Hendon had erected 1,012 council houses, including a large estate at the Hyde, (fn. 41) but none was as big as the L.C.C.'s Watling estate, on which work began in 1927. (fn. 42) By 1961 there were about 4,500 houses owned by the borough of Hendon. (fn. 43)

An open-air swimming pool was built at the Hyde in 1922, and another in Daws Lane, Mill Hill, in 1935. Slipper baths were opened at Childs Hill and West Hendon in 1930. (fn. 44)

Hendon central library was opened in 1929 in a brick neo-Georgian building with a cupola, designed by T. M. Wilson, next to the town hall. (fn. 45) Branch libraries were opened at Golders Green in 1935, in Hartley Avenue, Mill Hill, in 1937, (fn. 46) and at Childs Hill in 1962. (fn. 47) At Burnt Oak a temporary building opened in 1954 was replaced by a permanent library in 1968. (fn. 48)

Golders Green crematorium, Hoop Lane, was opened in 1902 by Sir Henry Thompson, founder of the Cremation Society of England. (fn. 49) It was designed by Sir Ernest George and A. B. Yeates as a range of red-brick buildings in a 'Lombardic' style, dominated by a chapel. A columbarium for the receipt of ashes was completed in 1911, the cloister in 1914, and a second columbarium in 1916. (fn. 50) A second chapel, to the designs of Mitchell and Bridgewater, was added in 1938. (fn. 51) Paddington B.C. opened a large cemetery east of Milespit Hill before 1937. (fn. 52)

Land opposite the site of the crematorium was bought for a cemetery by Sephardi Jews and the West London Reform synagogue. They erected a building of red brick with stone dressings, containing two halls for their respective burial services, and in 1897 the first interment took place. (fn. 53) In 1974 the north-eastern part of the cemetery was still reserved for Sephardi burials, marked by prostrate slabs, and the south-western for members of the West London synagogue, who were commemorated by erect monuments. (fn. 54)


  • 1. Hopkins, Hendon, 87.
  • 2. Walker, Hendon 1851-1951, p. 7.
  • 3. Hopkins, Hendon, 64, 91-7.
  • 4. Lond. Gaz. 13 Oct. 1840, p. 2250.
  • 5. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Mdx. XI. 7 (1863 edn.).
  • 6. Ex inf. Hendon Libr.
  • 7. Hopkins, Hendon, 57.
  • 8. Whishaw, Map of Hendon (1828) and ref. bk.; Mill Hill Hist. Soc., Add. Items 2.
  • 9. Hendon & Finchley Times, 30 Jan. 1926, p. 9.
  • 10. Hopkins, Hendon, 57; Mill Hill Hist. Soc., Add. Items 2.
  • 11. Hopkins, Hendon, 57.
  • 12. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1890).
  • 13. Ibid. (1862, 1866).
  • 14. Mdx. Monthly, ii (1953), 14.
  • 15. Hopkins, Hendon, 57.
  • 16. Church Com. file 10113; see p. 31.
  • 17. Hopkins, Hendon, 91; O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XI. NW. (1897 edn.).
  • 18. Church Com. file 10113/2.
  • 19. Hopkins, Hendon, 56.
  • 20. M. Rees, 'Extra-Metrop. Mdx.', 39.
  • 21. St. Barts. Hosp., EO 8/7, f. 468.
  • 22. Howard Farrow Ltd. Work in Progress, 38.
  • 23. Rees, 'Extra-Metrop. Mdx.', 393 n.
  • 24. Census, 1861; ex inf. Hendon Libr.
  • 25. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1874); Evans, Hendon, 282.
  • 26. Ex inf. Hendon Libr.
  • 27. Section based on inf. supplied by deputy hosp. sec., Edgware gen. hosp. geriatric sub-group.
  • 28. Census, 1901.
  • 29. Section based on inf. supplied by hosp. sec.
  • 30. Hopkins, Hendon, 64, 97, 100.
  • 31. Section based on inf. supplied by gen. sec. Manor Ho. hosp.
  • 32. Wembley Hist. Soc., Acc. 346.
  • 33. Dexter, Cricklewood, 83.
  • 34. Howkins, Golders Green, 21-2.
  • 35. Hopkins, Hendon, 93.
  • 36. Hitchin-Kemp, 'Notes on a Survey', 7.
  • 37. Hopkins, Hendon, 96.
  • 38. Mill Hill Times & Guardian, 30 Sept. 1932, p. 20.
  • 39. Leased to Mill Hill golf club. See p. 29.
  • 40. Hendon & Finchley Times, 30 Jan. 1925, p. 9.
  • 41. Boro. Incorp. Booklet penes Hendon Libr.
  • 42. See p. 15.
  • 43. Boro. of Hendon, Official Guide [1961]. The figure includes Edgware.
  • 44. Hopkins, Hendon, 72, 98.
  • 45. Pevsner, Mdx. 108.
  • 46. Hopkins, Hendon, 71.
  • 47. Ibid. 73.
  • 48. Ex inf. Hendon Libr.
  • 49. Barnet L.B., Official Guide [1967].
  • 50. Building News, lxxxiii. 788-9; c. 698; cvi. 401; cx. 44.
  • 51. Pevsner, Mdx. 57.
  • 52. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1937).
  • 53. Inscription on tombstone of Frances Salaman.
  • 54. Ex inf. Mr. E. M. Marmorstein.