Established 25years


The name Burnt Oak was first used in 1754 and from then until the 1850s referred to no more than a field on the eastern side of the Edgware Road Watling Street . Nor is there evidence that the name implies anything except that the field had once contained a burnt oak tree. In May 1844 Burnt Oak field was sold to a Mr Essex, and by the 1860s plans were in place to build three residential streets: North Street, East Street, and South Street. The application of the field name to the area seems to have followed from this new estate and was in use by the end of the 19th century. However, the area was generally known as Red Hill until the opening of Burnt Oak tube station (see below).

There were a handful of shops by the 1890s. There was a post office and grocery run by George and William Plumb, a bakery run by Caller & Poole, as well as James Huggett the greengrocer. A tramway along the Edgware Road to opened in 1905, but the population remained small, by 1921 still only around 1000.

Burnt Oak tube station on the Northern line of London Underground was opened on 27 October 1924. It was first open on weekdays with a small booking hall suitable for a rural area. As it was on farmland south-east of the community in Edgware Road, London Passenger Transport Board London Transport constructed a new road, Watling Avenue. In the same year news leaked out that the London County Council was to build a housing estate (Watling Estate), which was ready for its first occupants in April 1927. Because of the large number of residents who had moved from East End slums, and their left-wing political tendencies, the estate became known as Little Moscow. With this and other private estates the area was provided with a new station by 1928, and the population by 1931 had grown to 21545.

Along both sides of Watling Avenue shops were built along with a number of schools to serve the area, such as Woodcroft and Goldbeaters. In 1929 Jack Cohen used the name Tesco in Burnt Oak for the first time, and founded the chain of stores. The first Tesco shop was not on the site of the present Tesco, on Burnt Oak Broadway, but in smaller premises round the corner at 9 Watling Avenue (formally Superdrug but now Savers).

In 1930, Dominican Order Dominican nuns established St Rose's Convent on Orange Hill Road which led to the foundation of

St James' Catholic High School Colindale in 1934.

In 1936 Watling Market opened with a hundred covered shops and stalls, and the Co-operative Group opened its "finest department store" at the junction of Stag Lane and Burnt Oak Broadway (now Peacocks).


The London County Council built over 89,000 homes between the wars.   Over half – some 47,000 – were built in out-of-county ‘cottage suburbs’.   The Watling Estate, then in the urban district of Hendon, was the third largest of these


With the extension of the Northern Line to Edgware in 1924.  The LCC acted quickly to purchase 387 acres of farmland adjacent to the new Burnt Oak station.  The plans, drawn up by the LCC’s Chief Architect, George Forrest, set aside 46 acres for allotments and parks and 16 acres for schools and public buildings. The rest was for housing.


Building began in February 1926. The first family moved in in April 1927; 2100 more followed within twelve months.   By 1931, the Estate – 4021 dwellings in total – was complete, aside from 34 larger homes for letting at higher rents added in 1936.


The lowest rent on the Estate (for a two-room flat) was a little over 50p; for a five-room parlour home it stood at around £1.44.  These were often twice the rents people had previously paid.


Most were traditional brick but the total includes 252 ‘Atholl’ steel and 464 timber-frame homes built as the LCC experimented with methods




Office: 70 Watling Avenue Burnt Oak Edgware Middlesex HA8 0LU