Out in the sticks of London you will find the Borough of Brent, I have lived in the area on and off for the last 20 years.
It dismays me to see the borough in so much decline, places of interest are being demolished or closed down, would you believe the borough has a population close on 275,000 people and just one private cinema and theatre owned and run by The Tricycle. I don’t think there are any art galleries left apart from one in Willesden Library Complex (soon to be demolished), Artist Resource it’s called and exhibits local art.
As far as music venues go I don’t think there is one anymore for local people, it’s quite sad, the houses and many of the streets in Brent are beautiful, leafy streets and very residential but that is what Brent is nowadays a place to live but without any sort of community events or spirit.
Brent Council are making matters worse by closing local libraries, the one around the corner from me is now boarded up. I have fond memories of this branch library it used to house Brent Archives and had important photos and historical documents related to this part of London.
The image above was taken two days ago and this library served thousands of people, the young and old who live in the surrounding area. After I saw this wanton destruction of resources I wandered up to Willesden High Road, situated on this thoroughfare is Willesden Library Complex.
If you know the area you will be aware that the High RD is a bit of a dump, the shops and businesses are hard put to keep afloat, there seems to be unending take-aways and off-licenses, no ‘NAME’ shops just local grocery, beer and non-discript retail outlets. The stand out feature of the High Rd is the library complex. It is quite beautiful in it’s design and stands out amongst the run-down buildings that surround it. The image to the left is the building in front of the library due to be demolished by Brent Council.
I believe around September time this building along with the library complex are going to be knocked down and a new smaller building will take it’s place. This will leave Willesden, Cricklewood and the surrounding area with no library, the one in Kensal Rise has been closed by Brent Council also. You can read about it here, Invasion of the Book Snatchers.
I will post some small images of the Library Complex and a link to a gallery of them, along with a link to a page on my website. You can see for yourself the structure and layout of the complex and how important a building it is in such drab surrounding as Willesden High Road. Link to Brent Today Webpage
There are quite a number of local groups fighting to save the Libraries of Brent and have been at it for quite some time, I have been out of circulation for about a year due to ill health but I would like to offer support to these groups and will link wherever possible to events and news of action and endeavours to save these important community assets. Here is a link to the Save Kensal Library Campaign, I must say that reading about the actions of Brent Council in it’s dealings with Kensal Rise Library makes one wonder what sort of people are running the council. They don’t appear to be very straight dealing individuals, more akin to pond life, beings without backbones.
I have spent a great deal of time in Twickenham over the last 12 months, mainly because I needed some support over the last year and I have friends there. Twickenham (Richmond Borough), seem to take community and culture very seriously and preserve and promote the borough as a cultural stronghold. I can’t understand why Brent aren’t preserving it’s culture and heritage, because without culture and heritage a community is nothing (Just my opinion of course).
Closing Branch Libraries is not a positive thing for the educational needs of a community, Brent Council have closed 6 libraries out of 12 in the borough. I can’t imagine what effect this must be having on the youth and students in Brent, most of my education was obtained by visiting libraries almost daily as a youngster.
My parents were working class, poor and could hardly afford food and clothing, books had to be got from libraries and that is where I spent a lot of my time. I was no swat but the school I went to was rough and tough, lessons were difficult and often disrupted, the library was a retreat to go to if you wanted to study and learn.
Another image of the Library.
This blog will be continued tomorrow.