Dive into Cricklewood's history as new art launched at the train station

lly Baker, London Assembly, Angela Payne, Cricklewood Town Team, and Cllr Anne Clarke,

L-R Elly Baker, London Assembly, Angela Payne, Cricklewood Town Team, and Cllr Anne Clarke, AM, also CTT member launching new art project at Cricklewood Station - Credit: CTT

Commuters using the new passenger waiting shelter on Platform 1 at Cricklewood Station can now learn all about the area's rich history from artwork panels.

Elly Baker, Labour’s transport lead on the London Assembly cut the ribbon and formally opened the history panel with members of Cricklewood Town Team (CTT) on October 4.

Artwork, created by artist Freddie Needle, reflects the industrial history of Cricklewood, as a montage of imagery in a variety of mediums, including her paintings, prints and photographs. 

QR codes link the artwork panels at Cricklewood Station to pages on the Cricklewood Town Team website

QR codes link the artwork panels at Cricklewood Station to pages on the Cricklewood Town Team website - Credit: CTT

Freddie, who was assisted by Bee Dred from CTT, said: "I wanted to create a visual narrative that recorded Cricklewood’s industrial diversity and was accessible to all.”

Bee added that she’d “lived in the area for 20 years and it was a pleasure to share my enthusiasm for the architecture and history of Cricklewood with Freddie".

The work captures the history of Cricklewood from the arrival of the railways in 1860s and their subsequent impact on the area.

The aero industry followed and was based at Clitterhouse Farm, which was rented by the father of Suffragette - Gladice Keevil, from 1874 – 1926.

The Farm was used to test early tanks, with the Handley Page factory based there during the First World War; the Aerodrome was used for commercial flights to Paris from 1919.

Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930, lived in Vernon Court, where a Blue Plaque is displayed; linking with the tribute mural to her by artist Lakwena on the Platform wall.

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Freddie has captured images of the industrial businesses which thrived in Cricklewood and of the historic Crown Hotel, whose provision for coaching travellers dates to 1750s; it was rebuilt in 1889.

In the last century the Crown was the focal point of the Irish community who migrated to the area, many to help build the roads and houses after the Second World War.

Key industries included Stoll Studios, once the largest in Britain, which produced a series of silent films in 1920s including The Prodigal Son and The Four Feathers.

Smith’s Crisps were developed by Frank Smith and his wife near the Crown.

They invented the “twist of salt in a blue wrapper” and Smith’s Industries who produced watches and clocks.

In 2012, a restored vintage clock was installed on the Broadway.

Local historian and artist Bernard Canavan has included his painting of Irish labourers from the 1970s.

QR codes link the artwork panels to pages on the Cricklewood Town Team website, where more detailed information of the images is provided.

The artwork is the last project CTT is delivering at the station. 

Previous projects at the station, made possible by Govia's Passenger Benefit Fund, include planting at the entrance to the station, the display of 30 welcome signs in different languages, a red Cricklewood sign by sculptor Alistair Lambert, window art by Clem Norman, as well as photographic displays from Thomas Ball.

In 2017 new artwork depicting Aine, the Irish mythical goddess of summer and agriculture, was installed. 

The following year a brightly coloured cow appeared at the station

Angela Payne, CTT lead for the project, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Freddie and Bee to capture the rich history of Cricklewood and provide  the opportunity to engage local communities in the history of their area.

"Travelling on Thameslink after linking on the QR code will enable passengers to learn as they travel.

"Bernard Canavan’s input into the history of Irish migration and the importance of the Crown has been inspiring.

"And the support from Damean with the QR codes and links to the Town Team website ensured this project met all the aims.

"This is the final project being delivered at the station thanks to the Passenger Benefit Fund."

Thameslink’s Radlett to Cricklewood station manager, Marc Asamoah said: "Local residents take huge pride in their station here at Cricklewood and it’s wonderful to see their ideas being brought to life.

"This artwork has enhanced the new passenger waiting shelter and will be admired by all who use the station; it has generated much interest.”