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Cricklewood creating history


This week, Elly Baker AM, Labour’s transport lead on the London Assembly formally opened the history panel artwork on the Platform 1 new shelter. This is the latest in a long line of projects delivered by the CTT, The Cricklewood Town Team and is an excellent example of local people working together to improve local community.  CTT are a station partner to Govia Thameslink and have worked to enhance the station in the past, including the planting at the entrance to the station and the display of 30 welcome signs in different languages.

Passengers using the new passenger waiting shelter on Platform 1 at Cricklewood Station will be able to learn about the unique  history of Cricklewood from the artwork that now adorns the glass panels. QR codes link the artwork panels to pages on the Cricklewood Town Team website, where more detailed information of the images is provided.

The artwork reflects the industrial history of Cricklewood, as a montage of imagery in a variety of mediums, including paintings, prints and photographs.   Measuring 9 by 6 metres the work captures the history of Cricklewood from the arrival of the railways in 1860s and their subsequent impact on the area.  The aero industry followed and was based at Clitterhouse Farm, which was rented by the father of Suffragette - Gladice Keevil, from 1874 – 1926.  The Farm was used to test early tanks, with the Handley Page factory based there during WW1; the Aerodrome was used for commercial flights to Paris from 1919.  Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930, lived in Vernon Court, where a Blue Plaque is displayed; linking with the tribute mural to her by artist Lakwena on the Platform wall.

The Handley Page aircraft in Panel 3 provides a link to the eye-catching imagery of Handley Page biplanes on the walkway up to platform; created by Cricklewood-based artist Alistair Lambert.

You can see images of the industrial businesses which thrived in Cricklewood and of the historic Crown Hotel, whose provision for coaching travellers dates to 1750s; it was rebuilt in 1889.  In the last century the Crown was the focal point of the Irish community who migrated here, many to help build the roads and houses so badly needed after WW2. 

Local historian and artist Bernard Canavan has included his painting from the 1970s which shows the Irish labourers loading up early in the morning and the delivery of Irish food from O’Kane’s red van, with the young boy – Eddie O’Kane aiding his uncle; he has kindly provided a copy of this artwork.  O’Kane is a thriving Irish Foods business still located in the neighbourhood. Bernard is well known for his local talks and walks about the migration of the Irish community.

Key industries included Stoll Studios who produced a series of silent films in 1920s including The Prodigal Son and The Four Feathers and was then the largest in Britain.  Smith’s Crisps were developed by Frank Smith and his wife near the Crown; they invented the “twist of salt in a blue wrapper” and Smith’s Industries who produced watches and clocks.  In 2012 a restored vintage clock was installed on the Broadway.