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!