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Wembley is an area of north-west Londonmarker, UKmarker, and part of the London Borough of Brentmarker.


Wembley Stadium

Wembley is bounded on the south and east by the River Brent and the A406marker North Circular Road, separating it from Neasdenmarker, Willesdenmarker and Park Royalmarker. To its west and northwest are Sudburymarker and Harrow. To the north it is separated from Kingsburymarker by Barn Hill Open Space and Fryent Country Parkmarker. To the east lies Hendonmarker.

The area is identified in the Mayor of London's London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. Notable buildings include Wembley Stadiummarker, England's primary football stadium and a major sports and entertainment venue, and Wembley Arenamarker, a concert venue are located at Wembley Parkmarker.

It is the most ethnically diverse area of London, and like most of the borough, South Asian, Afro-Caribbean, Irish, Somali and Polish communities make up the area's majority. In recent years, there has been considerable re-development, particularly around Wembley Stadium and in the town centre.

Alpertonmarker, Sudburymarker, Tokyngtonmarker and Preston Manormarker are districts of Wembley.


The White Horse Bridge, across Wembley Stadium station

Wembley is derived from the Old English proper name "Wemba" and the Old English name for meadow "Lea". Hence, Wembley means Wemba's lea, or Wemba's clearing and 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. By 1547 there were only six houses in Wembley but though small it was one of the richest parts of Harrow. There was a mill on Wembley Hill by 1673.

In 1837, the London and Birmingham Railway (now part of the West Coast Main Linemarker) was opened from London Eustonmarker, through Wembley, to Hemel Hempsteadmarker, and completed to Birminghammarker 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 Linemarker was built alongside the main lines, and Bakerloo line trains, and electric trains to Broad Streetmarker started in 1917. Electric trains to Eustonmarker 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 Streetmarker through the eastern side of Wembley, but only built a station, Wembley Parkmarker, 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 Marylebonemarker were added from March 1906, when new stations were opened, including 'Wembley Hill', next to what later became the site of Wembley Stadium. Wembley Hill station was renamed 'Wembley Complex' in May 1978, before getting its present name of 'Wembley Stadiummarker' in May 1987.

Wembley was part of the parish of Harrow. In 1894 it became an Urban District (incorporating neighbouring Kingsbury until 1901, and again from 1934). In 1937 it was upgraded to the status of the Municipal Borough of Wembleymarker.

GB British Empire Exhibition Postage Stamps

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

Middlesexmarker County Council, abolished in 1965 when the Greater London Council was created, had its fire brigade headquarters in Harrow Road, Wembley; it remains a fire station of the London Fire Brigademarker. Wembley Town Hall on Forty Lane, built in 1938, became Brent Town Hall when the Municipal Boroughs of Wembley and Willedsen were amalgamated into the London Borough of Brentmarker in 1965.

Wembley, in common with much of North West 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 Crossmarker in the early 1970s, and later the Harrowmarker and Ealing Broadwaymarker 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. The first phase, including 85 homes and reconstruction of the central square, has been completed.

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


Wembley Park Station
In the central Wembley area:

Bus routes serving central Wembley include the 18, 79, 83, 92, 182, 204, 223, 224, 297, H17 and N18. Other bus routes serving Wembley include the 245, 487 and PR2.

Wembley lies near to major roads:

Wembley town centre is served by three pay-and-display car parks. The largest in Ealing Road is located south of the 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.

Places of note

Wembley Stadium

The prime landmark is Wembley Stadiummarker, rebuilt 2003-2007 at a cost of £827 million (, which is approached via the White Horse Bridge designed by the London Eyemarker architects.

Wembley Arena

Nearby are Wembley Arenamarker, 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.

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 A406marker 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.

St Joseph's Church on the High Road is very close to Wembley Stadium and is a Roman Catholic Church. There are other churches, chapels, and mosques.

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 Canalmarker 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 Harpmarker reservoir and open space, created in the early 19th century by damming the River Brentmarker to provide water for the Grand Union Canalmarker.


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. .'Wembley Central Square' is being redeveloped with new leisure and retail facilities and residential units by St. Modwen. 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 stationmarker and new shops.

Although Wembley has good radial rail routes connecting with central London, there is no corresponding orbital route (except the London Overground North London Line, much nearer central London, and which does not interchange with all the radial routes). Given wider, long-term dissatisfaction with orbital transport in outer London, and some support for improvements from Mayor of London Boris Johnson, it is not surprising that orbital schemes have been proposed.


Since the 2006 elections, Brent Council has been controlled by a coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. Wembley falls within the UK Parliament constituency of Brent Northmarker, and the London Assembly constituency of Brent and Harrow.

Notable people

Nearby places

Tube and railway stations





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