The park was formerly part of the estate of The Grange, a large house built in 1831. A neighbouring market garden was added to the estate in the late 1860s. After the death of the last owner the house was demolished and part of the estate was purchased by the LCC for a public park, which opened to the public in May 1913. The layout included a large field for recreation, hard tennis courts, children's gymnasium, shallow paddling pool and dry playground and an Old English Garden with rose arbours and a circular pond. In 1999 the park was chosen as the site for Camden's Millennium Garden.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/08/2002
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Kilburn Grange, Near the Millennium Garden, August 2002. Photo: S Williams
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Formerly part of the Grange estate. The Grange was a large house built by Samuel Were as a speculative venture in c.1831, the estate then enlarged in the late 1860s by the purchase of a neighbouring market garden. The Grange was demolished in 1911 after the death of the last owner, Ada Peters; in the same year the estate of c.3.44ha, excluding the 0.405 hectare site of the house which later became the site of The Grange Cinema, was bought by the LCC for 'parks, education and tramway purposes'. A small plot of c.0.202 ha. was used to enlarge Kingsgate Road School, built in 1903 on a plot of land formerly part of the Grange Estate that had been compulsorily purchased in 1901. A further 0.405 hectares originally for tramway purposes was donated for the park. The cost of the parks portion was £18,100, met with £8,500 from the LCC and contributions from Hampstead MBC, Middlesex County Council, Willesden UDC, and funds raised through a Local Committee.
The LCC's original layout included a large field for recreation, an enclosure for hard tennis courts, a children's gymnasium, a shallow paddling pool and dry playground and an Old English Garden with rustic rose arbours and circular pond in raised cement basin, now railed off; it was opened to the public on 1 May 1913. A shelter was presented by Mrs Tilly as a memorial to her husband who was an active member of the local acquisition committee. A map of 1956 shows an 'open air stage'. Other facilities include tennis courts situated between the Old English Garden and Messina Avenue entrance, a playground and children's water feature, restored in 1999. The park is surrounded by C19th residential streets and has areas of open grass, with perimeter path and numerous trees and shrubs; a survey in 1996 sponsored by the Kilburn Area Committee listed 200 trees in the park, which include mature horse chestnuts and yew trees.
The Old English Garden was laid out as an oval ornamental garden with shaped flower beds set into lawn, two rose-arbours and pond, paths including a circular perimeter path with seating, the border of the garden planted with shrubs and yew trees. In recent years it had become dilapidated and overgrown, the pond railed, the arbours disappeared and flower beds partially grassed over, but it has undergone some restoration.
In the north-west corner of the park, behind a line of nine poplar trees, was the site of children's playground, with trees in raised brick beds on the northern edge. In 1999 the park was chosen as the site for Camden's Millennium Garden, which was laid out near the Hemstal Road entrance, with four equally sized compartments around an open centre, in all 18 metres square and bounded and intersected by a paved walkway. Each compartment is bordered with tile and contains segments of either low planting or coloured gravel, having a round stone on either side of which a light set into the ground. South-west of the garden are seven irregular 'standing stones' set into the grass.
'The London County Council and what it does for London: London Parks and Open Spaces' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1924); Andrew Crowe, 'The Parks and Woodlands of London', (Fourth Estate, 1987); D Weindling, M Colloms 'Kilburn and West Hampstead Past, 1999; 'Black and White Budget', 20 April 1901 p121; Letter to the Editor in The Times, 28 May 1910.