Brent

The London Borough of Brent was formed in 1965 from the metropolitan boroughs of Wembley and Willesden. It is on the northwest edge of London and is bordered by the boroughs of Harrow, Barnet, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea.

Population change

1966: 294,500 people
1998: 249,600 people

Until the mid-19th century, Brent was made up of country villages and hamlets. The area developed with the coming of the railways, particularly the Underground Metropolitan Line.

During the First World War, Brent's proximity to the aerodrome at Hendon meant that aircraft manufacturing became a key industry in the borough. The Aircraft Manufacturing Company was established, employing over 600 people. The sudden increase in employment created accommodation problems for the workers and in 1916 the Office of Works commissioned architect Sir Francis Baines to design a 'garden city' estate of flats and houses at Roe Green.

Other 20th-century housing projects in Brent include the massive Chalk Hill Estate, which was built in the 1960s to relieve overcrowding in Willesden. By the 1980s, the estate had fallen into serious disrepair. In 1992, it began to be demolished and virtually rebuilt in one of the largest housing regeneration projects in London.

One of the borough's 20th-century landmarks is Wembley Stadium, which was used as England's national football ground from 1923. Designed by architects Sir John Simpson and Maxwell Ayrton, the stadium with its iconic two towers was built for the British Empire Exhibition. As well as football, many other sporting events have been held here such as greyhound racing, motorcycling speedway and athletics, and perhaps most memorably the Olympic Games of 1948. The stadium closed in 2000 for redevelopment and the two towers were pulled down.

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