Kenton

Kenton first opened on the Bakerloo Line on 16th April 1917 –  the overall station itself had opened five years earlier on the London and North Western Railway. Like Harrow and Wealdstone, it too briefly left the tube network when Bakerloo Line services terminated at Stonebridge Park between 1982 and 1984.

As a station, its fairly unremarkable – there isn’t really anything of note architecturally. In places it also looks as if its seen better days, with scaffolding supporting one side of the footbridge across the platforms. The ticket office is also a small non-descript structure.

I almost wasn’t able to get off here at all. The doors failed on the creaky old Bakerloo Line train that brought me here. After a few minutes of trying, the driver had to manually unlock a door in each carriage to let us all off. Another example of the tired nature of the Bakerloo Line!

The Pub: The New Moon, 25-26 Kenton Park Parade, Kenton Road, HA3 8DN

There may be a pub right by Kenton tube but we chose not to go there, for reasons that will become apparent in a few stops time. Instead we took a ten minute or so walk along Kenton Road, heading East, to The New Moon, which is a Wetherspoons. Its fairly big inside and was pretty busy on our visit. Most of the tables in the main section of the bar were taken so we found a table in the small room at the back.

On the ale front, both Abbott and Ruddles Best were available on tap. Other staples such as Pride and Doombar weren’t on, this may be due to the fact the chain were running their ‘world ales promotion’. There was a map and flags by the bar(no doubt dusted off from World Cup duties) showing the wide variety on offer.  The prices here were very cheap, the beer and burger deal being only £5.49 and other dishes and drinks were equally reasonably priced.

The area we sat in had old estate agent adverts encouraging people to move to Kenton and other Metroland destinations, there were also other old photos of the area dotted around the pub.  The New Moon also has a small outside seating area backing onto the main road.

In short, The New Moon is a pretty standard spoons. It was welcoming enough and we didn’t have any problems here. It may not be the most original option but round these parts you don’t really have an alternative!

Visit their website

 

 

Harrow & Wealdstone

Harrow & Wealdstone first opened on the Bakerloo Line in April 1917 as the line was extended to operate north to Watford Junction. A rail station had been in operation here as far back as 1837 when the London and Birmingham Railway opened their ‘Harrow’ stop here. For a couple of years Harrow & Wealdstone disappeared from the tube map, Bakerloo Line services were curtailed at Stonebridge Park in 1982. This was however a very short lived arrangement and the service was reinstated in 1984.

Harrow & Wealdstone has a tragic claim to fame as the site of the worst peacetime rail crash in the United Kingdom. This saw a southbound express train crash into a local service and then shortly afterwards, a northbound express train hit the wreckage from the earlier express train and also derailed. In total there were 112 deaths. A fuller summary of the crash is on the London Reconnections website.

Architecturally, the station is very impressive and Grade II listed. The ticket hall I used, on the Wealdstone side, has Greek-style columns supporting its roof with traditional lamps in place. Its brick exterior is also suitably imposing with a grand crest above the windows, as you can see from my photos. The platforms are in turn sheltered by well maintained, historic canopies.

The Pub: Barretts, 9 Masons Avenue, HA3 5AH

Making sure to exit the station via the Wealdstone exit, Barretts is a short walk away on Masons Avenue.

Like many of the venues I’ve visited in the North Western suburbs, Barretts is an Irish pub. Both the seating and the carpet are in a shade of green, which may or may not be coincidence!  There weren’t any ales on tap but 2 pints(one lager, one guinness) came to the very low for London price of £6.40 so I wasn’t complaining.

Its quite a sporty bar with pictures of various Irish sports teams, as well as art work of generic sportsmen decorating the wall. Even the windows have little pictures of sportsmen decorating them. There is also a dart board. Unsurprisingly, the pub has both Sky and BT Sports, as well as foreign sports channels. On our visit, there was some domestic Rugby showing which was taking place in a ground that looked far too sunny to be in the UK.  The main projector screen was not actually showing any TV channels at all, instead on the Sky Channel for Magic Radio with the ‘World According to Rick Astley’ playing.

Barretts was quite quiet on the early Sunday afternoon we visited but there were a handful of people in there so it was far from dead.  I thought it was alright here – a no frills boozer with reasonably priced drinks – there’s definitely still a place for them in London!

(the pub has no website)

Harlesden

Harlesden first opened on the Bakerloo Line on 16th April 1917 – the station itself had first opened five years previously on the London and North Western Railway.

The station itself is pretty standard, with traditional decorative canopies to the platform roofs. I did like the large lamps at the front of the ticket hall building. Although they look fairly modern, there was something a little Victorian about them in their scale.

The Pub: Grand Junction Arms, Acton Lane, NW10 7AD

It was quite an industrial landscape that greeted us when we left the station. En route to the pub, heading along Acton Lane towards the Grand Union Canal, we passed a large electricity substation that was glowing eerily and a number of factories, including McVities, with a convoy worth of Jacobs Crackers lorries in the car park…

Just before you hit the canal, you’ll reach The Grand Junction Arms. It’s a Youngs pub, something of a rarity so far from their usual heartland of South West London.  Its main room feels like a typical, traditional pub with its green cushioned seats. As a Youngs pub, it had their standard range of ales plus the Cornish Beer Tribute and Sundance. On the food front, its mainly solid pub grub – Burgers, Lamb Chops and the like. They also advertised their ‘Big Aussie Burger’, perhaps the kind Mark Viduka would have enjoyed in the prime of his career. The pub has a pool table and also Sky and BT Sports. They even that rare breed and old favourite of mine, a quiz machine.

When we first arrived, I thought the extent of the pub was the main room as you enter off Acton Lane. However it spans a fair way back, there is a lower seating area to the rear of the main bar. In addition to that, there is also a side function room that seemed to have some Wedding Party drinks in full swing on our visit.

The Grand Junction also boasts a decent sized outside seating area backing onto the Grand Union Canal, with a lower area of the garden by the canal itself. It wasn’t really the weather for it on the cold and gloomy evening we were here, but I imagine it could be a nice spot in sunnier conditions.

When I first got off at Harlesden, my hopes weren’t high. The area felt far too industrial to have a decent pub there. For that reason, I really like the Grand Junction Arms. You really don’t expect a pub like this to be there, nestled inbetween the factories and the electricity substation. But it is, and its great. If you do find yourself in these parts, get yourself down there!

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Kensal Green

Kensal Green station first opened on the Bakerloo Line on 1st November 1916, with services also running on the London and North Western Railway from the same date.

The station gained infamy across the Capital in February 2006 due to the murder of Thomas ap-Rhys Price. At this time, the station was managed by Silverlink as the operators of the National Rail services and operated the station without any staffing for long periods of the day.  The public debate over safety at stations in part could be seen as contributing to the TfL takeover of Silverlink services in 2007 and the launch of London Overground, with staffing from the first till last train and improved safety and other facilities.

Building wise, its a bit of an odd stop. It was rebuilt in 1980 and looks a bit like a village community hall to me – its a bit of a dull structure. It is a shame the old station was demolished as it looks like it had far more character, as this picture demonstrates.

The Pub: The Masons Arms, 655 Harrow Road, NW10 5NU

The Masons Arms is just a stones throw away from the station – head onto Harrow Road and you can’t miss it.

Its a spacious pub inside with nice, high ceilings commonplace in Victorian buildings. The smart decor shows its current styling as a gastropub, albeit one which has preserved a number of heritage features. These include cut glass windows and a rather grand clock/mirror combination, as you can see in the gallery. In a more modern piece of decoration, there are pictures of Fish on the wall  – I’m not quite sure what the meaning of them was!

On the beer front, The Masons had a fair offering of ales on our visit. Wandle and Greene King IPA were complimented by the Rugby themed Zinzan’s Drop, named after the scorer of a legendary drop goal for the All Blacks against England in the Semi Final of the 1995 World Cup.  Food wise, its mostly solid pub fare like Sausage and Mash and Burgers, as well as slightly more refined selections like steamed mussels.

As well as being roomy inside, it also has an expansive beer garden. It was still a bit cold for this on our visit but we are surely getting closer to the time where it will be packed out. The pub also has a BT and Sky Sports licence too and was packed out with fans watching the FA Cup on our visit. Their website also advertises regular DJ nights at weekends.

All in all, The Masons Arms is a fine pub. With such a decent sized beer garden, it will be a real hot spot during the summer months too!

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