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definitions - Wembley

Wembley (n.)

1.a southeastern part of Greater London that is the site of the English national soccer stadium

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Coordinates: 51°33′22″N 0°18′15″W / 51.5560°N 0.3042°W / 51.5560; -0.3042

England mai 2007 040.jpg
Wembley is synonymous with the stadium
Wembley is located in Greater London

 Wembley shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ175855
London borough Brent
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WEMBLEY
Postcode district HA0, HA9
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Brent North
London Assembly Brent and Harrow
List of places: UK • England • London

Wembley is an area of northwest London, England, and part of the London Borough of Brent. It is home to the famous Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena. Anciently part of the parish of Harrow on the Hill in the county of Middlesex, Wembley formed a separate civil parish from 1894 and was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1937.



Wembley (parish) population
Split from Harrow on the Hill
1901 4,519
1911 10,696
1921 16,187
1931 48,561
Kingsbury parish absorbed
1941 war #
1951 131,384
1961 124,892
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census


Wembley is derived from the Old English proper name "Wemba" and the Old English "Lea" for meadow or clearing. The name was first mentioned in the charter of 825 of King Beornwulf.


The village of Wemba Lea grew up on the hill by the clearing with the Harrow Road south of it. Much of the surrounding area remained wooded. In 1547 there were but six houses in Wembley. Though small, it was one of the wealthiest parts of Harrow. At the dissolution of the monasteries, the manor of Wembley fell to Richard Andrews and Leonard Chamberlayne in 1543, who sold it to Richard Page Esq. of Harrow on the Hill the same year.

The Page family continued as lords of the manor of Wembley for several centuries.[1][2]

There was a mill on Wembley Hill by 1673. In 1837, the London and Birmingham Railway (now part of the West Coast Main Line) was opened from London Euston, through Wembley, to Hemel Hempstead, and completed to Birmingham the following year. The changing names of the local station demonstrated the increasing importance of the 'Wembley' name. 'Sudbury' station opened in 1845, renamed as 'Sudbury and Wembley' in 1882, renamed as 'Wembley for Sudbury' in 1910, renamed as 'Wembley Central' in 1948, at the time of the Olympic Games.

To modernise the service, a new Watford DC Line was built alongside the main lines, and Bakerloo line trains, and electric trains to Broad Street started in 1917. Electric trains to Euston began running in 1922. (Since 1917 there have been six platforms at what is now Wembley Central station.) In 1880, the Metropolitan Railway opened its line from Baker Street through the eastern side of Wembley, but only built a station, Wembley Park, in 1894. (There are now three physically separate services, the London to Aylesbury Line, the Metropolitan line, and the Jubilee line. Only the latter two services have platforms at Wembley Park station.)

In November 1905, the Great Central Railway (now, in this section, part of the Chiltern Main Line) opened a new route for fast expresses that by-passed the congested Metropolitan Railway tracks. It ran between Neasden Junction, south of Wembley, and Northolt Junction, west of London, where a new joint main line with the Great Western Railway began. Local passenger services from Marylebone were added from March 1906, when new stations were opened, including 'Wembley Hill', next to what later became the site of Wembley Stadium - the national stadium of English sport - which opened for the FA Cup Final of April 1923, remaining open for 77 years until it closed for reconstruction in October 2000.[3] After a long planning and redevelopment process dogged by a series of funding problems and construction delays, the new stadium finally opened its doors in March 2007.[4]

Wembley Hill station was renamed 'Wembley Complex' in May 1978, before getting its present name of 'Wembley Stadium' in May 1987.[5]

  British Empire Exhibition postage stamps

The area around the current Wembley Stadium was the location of the British Empire Exhibition[6][7][8] of 1924-1925.[9][10][11][12] Until the 2000s, remnants of the many reinforced concrete buildings, including the original Wembley Stadium, remained, but nearly all have now been removed, to make way for redevelopment.

Wembley, in common with much of northwest London, has had an extensive manufacturing industry, but much of it closed in the 1980s. Factories in the area included Glacier Metals (bearings), Wolf Power Tools, Sunbeam Electrical Appliances, Griffin & George (laboratory equipment) and GEC (whose research plant was one of the first of its type in the UK). The retail centre of Wembley (the High Road and Ealing Road) has suffered from chronic traffic congestion, and from the opening of neighbouring purpose-built shopping centres, first Brent Cross in the early 1970s, and later the Harrow and Ealing Broadway Shopping Centres. During the 1960s rebuilding of Wembley Central station, a block of flats, an open-plan shopping plaza and a car park were constructed, on a concrete raft over the railway.

The shopping plaza suffered a slow decline and was therefore poorly maintained but is being redeveloped as Central Square. The first phase of including 85 homes and reconstruction of the plaza, has been completed.[13]

Wembley City, which includes a new Civic Centre for the borough, is being constructed around the junction of Engineers Way and Empire Way, near the stadium. A new Ark Academy in Wembley Park is due to open by December 2010.

Most of Wembley's housing consists of inter-war semi-detached houses and terraces and of modern apartment blocks, with a significant minority of detached housing.

  Ethnic diversity

  A pie chart showing the ethnic makeup of central Wembley in 2001

Wembley has a high degree of ethnic diversity, as illustrated by the accompanying pie chart for Wembley Central (ward) in 2001.


Wembley formed part of the large ancient parish of Harrow on the Hill in the Gore hundred of Middlesex. In 1894 Wembley was split from Harrow, creating a new parish and urban district. It included Alperton, Preston, North Wembley, South Kenton, Tokyngton, Sudbury, Wembley Park and Northwick Park. The urban district included the neighbouring parish of Kingsbury until 1901 and again from 1934.

In 1937 it was incorporated as the Municipal Borough of Wembley. The fire brigade headquarters of Middlesex County Council were located on Harrow Road and is now a fire station of the London Fire Brigade. Wembley Town Hall on Forty Lane, built in 1938, became Brent Town Hall when the municipal boroughs of Wembley and Willesden were amalgamated in 1965 to form the London Borough of Brent and transferred to Greater London. Since the 2010 elections, Brent Council has been controlled by the Labour Party.

Wembley falls within the UK Parliament constituency of Brent North, and the London Assembly constituency of Brent and Harrow.


Up to the nineteenth century Wembley was rural and it has retained a number of green spaces. These include Barham Park (10.5 hectares) in Sudbury Town, King Edward VII Park, established in 1914 behind the High Road (10.5 hectares) and Sudbury Green. Less managed spaces include Fryent Country Park, Barn Hill (19.87 hectares) and Vale Farm sports ground (30 hectares). Brent River Park / Tokyngton Recreation Ground (20.26 hectares) has recently been restored returning the river to a more natural course.

Nearby Sudbury Golf Course backs onto the Grand Union Canal with its towpath running into central London. Sudbury Squash and Tennis Club has outdoor tennis courts, an indoor squash court and a clubhouse. Wembley is a short distance away from the Welsh Harp reservoir and open space, created in the early 19th century by damming the River Brent to provide water for the Grand Union Canal.

The area is identified in the Mayor of London's London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.[14]

  Post district

Wembley is part of both HA0 and HA9 post codes, and has a own post town. It includes Alperton, Preston, North Wembley, South Kenton, Tokyngton, Wembley Park and partly of Sudbury and Northwick Park.


The main shopping area is centred on Wembley High Road, Central Square, which is also undergoing redevelopment, and Ealing Road. The industrial and commercial estate close to Wembley Stadium includes warehouse-style outlets and retail sheds, and at 'Brent Park' further south on the A406 North Circular Road, there is a large Ikea Store, Tesco, other stores and industrial units. A large market is held on most Sundays in the car park in front of Wembley Stadium, continuing a long tradition.[citation needed]

The 'Wembley City' development in the area of Wembley Stadium has a number of stakeholders, in particular Quintain Estates and Development, which owns much of the proposed site. It is to include new leisure facilities (e.g. the first new swimming baths being built in the borough in 60 years, and a multiplex cinema), residential and retail units and a new Civic Centre, incorporating council offices and assembly hall, a library and other community facilities and some retail space, and is due to be completed by 2013.[15][16][17] 'Wembley Central Square' is being redeveloped with new leisure and retail facilities and residential units by St. Modwen Properties. The first two phases of the development were completed by July 2009, and the final phase will see the replacement of the old central square by an improved Wembley Central station and new shops.[citation needed]

The Air France-KLM European Sales and Service Centre, which is a sales channel for 15 European countries, is located in Wembley.[18]

  Sport & Leisure

Wembley has two local Non-League football clubs Wembley F.C. and South Kilburn F.C. who both play at Vale Farm stadium.


  Wembley Arena

The prime landmark is Wembley Stadium, rebuilt 2003-2007 at a cost of £827 million,[19] which is approached via the White Horse Bridge designed by the London Eye architects. Nearby are Wembley Arena, a concert venue built in 1934 as the Empire Pool, a swimming pool for the Empire Games, and Fountain Studios, one of the country's largest purpose built television studios and host to X Factor, Bremner, Bird and Fortune and Britain's Got Talent. Brent Town Hall is a Grade-2-listed building located on Barn Hill facing Wembley Stadium; its future is uncertain due to plans to move the town hall function, including council chamber, to a new civic centre as part of the Wembley redevelopment.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in the centre of Wembley was built in 1904, designed by Thomas Collcutt and Stanley Hemp. Construction was of brick and the design was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. It was listed as a Grade II building in 1993.[20] The church was converted into the Central Mosque Wembley in the late 1990's.


  Wembley Park Station
  The White Horse Bridge, across Wembley Stadium station

Chiltern Railways services are provided at Wembley Stadium railway station. London Underground services are provided on the Metropolitan line and Jubilee line at Wembley Park tube station. London Midland, London Overground and London Underground Bakerloo line services are available at Wembley Central railway station. Southern trains also pick up here, but are deliberately not advertised, for contractual financial reasons.


The following table shows all the London Buses running in Wembley Central, including its destinations and operator.

18 Euston Sudbury Swan First Centrewest
79 Alperton Sainsburys Edgware First Centrewest
83 Ealing Hospital Golders Green First Centrewest
92 St Raphael's North Ealing Hospital First Centrewest
182 Harrow Weald Oxhey Lane Brent Cross Metroline
204 Sudbury Town Edgware Metroline
223 Wembley Central Harrow First Centrewest
224 Wembley Stadium St Raphael's Estate First Centrewest
297 Willesden Bus Garage Ealing Broadway Metroline
H17 Wembley Central Harrow Transdev London
N18 Trafalgar Square Harrow Weald Bus Garage First Centrewest


Wembley lies near to the A40 Western Avenue and A406 North Circular Road. Wembley town centre is served by three pay-and-display car parks. The largest in Montrose Crescent, located off High Road, at a lower level. The second is accessed from London Road and is beneath the Central Square, and the third and smallest is located at St John's Road.

  Transport proposals

Three possible transport services have been proposed for the area; the West London Orbital, Fastbus and the North and West London Light railway.[21][22][23][24]


  Notable people

  • Singer Maxine Nightingale, best known for her soul hit records in the 1970s, was born in Wembley
  • Tejas Panchal


  1. ^ The Environs of London: Volume 2, Daniel Lysons, 1795, Centre for Metropolitan History, British History Online
  2. ^ A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, T. F. T. Baker, J. S. Cockburn, R. B. Pugh (ed.), Victoria County History, 1971, British History Online
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Doors finally open at new Wembley". BBC News. 17 March 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6459415.stm. 
  5. ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (February 2005). "Figure 51". Marylebone to Rickmansworth. Midland Main Lines. Midhurst: Middleton Press. ISBN 1-904474-49-7. 
  6. ^ Photograph of exhibition site
  7. ^ Map of exhibition site
  8. ^ Sunday Tribune of India (newspaper) Article on exhibition (2004)
  9. ^ British Pathe (agency) Film of British Empire Exhibition, reel one
  10. ^ British Pathe (agency) Film of British Empire Exhibition, reel two
  11. ^ British Pathe (agency) Film of British Empire Exhibition, reel three
  12. ^ British Pathe (agency) Film of British Empire Exhibition, reel four
  13. ^ Brent Resource and Information Network (BRAIN). "Public square reopens in Wembley Central". Brent Council. http://www.brentbrain.org.uk/brain/brainzones.nsf/nsgnews/NT00056C82. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  14. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority. http://www.london.gov.uk/thelondonplan/docs/londonplan08.pdf. 
  15. ^ "Hopkins wins Brent civic centre competition". 2009-02-27. http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3135019. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  16. ^ "Arch rivals: Hopkins Architects’ winning design for Brent civic centre". 2009-03-20. http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3136666. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  17. ^ the regeneration of wembley (stadium and city) journal Modern British architecture
  18. ^ "Career Opportunities Air France KLM in the UK and Ireland." Air France. Retrieved on 29 June 2010.
  19. ^ Campbell, Denis (15 October 2006). "Eight-year Wembley stadium saga is over at last". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/oct/15/football.wembleystadium. 
  20. ^ "St Andrew's Presbyterian Church - Wembley". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. 2011. http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-435824-st-andrew-s-presbyterian-church-wembley. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  21. ^ London Campaign for Better Transport North and West London light railway (NWLLR) / Brent Cross Railway (BCR) plan
  22. ^ The Times Comment on NWLLR light-rail proposal
  23. ^ West London Orbital
  24. ^ FastBus scheme


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