Metroland, 100 years on: what's become of England’s original vision of suburbia?

Metroland, 100 years on: what's become of England’s original vision of suburbia?

In 1915, the Metropolitan Railway coined the term Metroland to describe a band of countryside just north-west of London, marketed as a land of idyllic cottages and wild flowers. But amid claims of overcrowding and a sea of ubiquitous semis, how does Metroland’s 21st-century reality compare with the original dream?

Planners, architects and builders are not the only ones who create cities. The suburban landscape of north-west London owes its existence, largely, to the imagination of the Metropolitan Railway’s marketing department.

One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1915, the railway’s publicity people devised the term “Metroland” to describe the catchment area of villages stretching from Neasden into the Chiltern Hills. The railway had bought up huge tracts of farmland along this corridor in the decades before the first world war, and it was ripe for development. All they needed was a sales pitch.

John Betjeman described Neasden as ‘the home of the gnome and the ordinary citizen’

If the suburbs are absorbing those priced-out of central London, what impact is the great inversion having on Metroland?

Everyone is looking for something more comfortable, a place to settle down, a garden for the kids

Related: King’s Cross airport? The outlandish plans for London that almost got built

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Source: Guardian Transport

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