Exploring Old Oak and Park Royal

14/08/19

Once again Open House London is partnering with the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) to celebrate the Mayor’s plans to enhance this diverse neighbourhood with thousands of new homes and jobs.

In terms of numbers, the mayoral development corporation bringing forward this new West London district will oversee the delivery of 25,500 new homes, generating 65,000 new jobs for the capital. At the forefront of OPDC’s plan for regeneration is the celebration that makes Old Oak and Park Royal a ‘Great Place, in the Making’ by uncovering, connecting and showcasing its unique culture, creativity and heritage.

Connectivity is at the heart of Old Oak and Park Royal. Its origins were formed by the creation of the Grand Union Canal in 1801 and the railway network from 1838. These pieces of infrastructure are significant to the UK’s wider transport and industrial history, but also had huge ramifications for the local area’s sense of place and identity.

The transport infrastructure enabled a variety of industries and saw marked industrial growth in the early twentieth century. The area is now home to 2,000 businesses and over 40,000 employees, including big-name brands like McVitie’s, Diageo and Boden.

Transport will again be the catalyst for growth at Old Oak and Park Royal. It is the only place in the country where High Speed 2 and Crossrail will meet, bringing a wealth of new development planned over the next 25 years, which will once more see this area change and evolve.

As landscapes change, however, communities can often feel that this change is happening to them, not for them. Recognising this, OPDC was awarded funding from the Great Place Scheme supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. This national fund puts arts, culture and heritage at the heart of successful communities, both existing and new.

OPDC’s Great Place Programme, titled ‘In the Making’, engages residents and businesses by putting on cultural and place-making activities. Whether it be supporting small businesses with grants, delivering public space improvements and artwork, or supporting the production of limited-edition artist-made and designer products – all made in Park Royal.

This year, we are embracing Open House’s ‘social’ theme by showcasing the workshops, engagement activities and exhibitions that ‘In the Making’ and the Great Place Programme are delivering, reflecting how people can influence their built environment. Playing on every meaning of ‘social’, John Lewis's Distribution Centre and Content Development, where all the company's social media and website content is produced, will be opening its doors.

We are also welcoming Preedy Glass artisan glass-makers and ETC Lighting, a global leader in lighting and rigging technology, as well as the Chapel at Wormwood Scrubs and our local Fire Station.

We would like to thank everyone who has agreed to open up for Open House and would encourage anyone who hasn’t visited this fascinating part of North West London to visit, join a heritage walk or take part in one of our family workshops. Experience this part of London on the threshold of change, but change that will celebrate its heritage as well as telling its new story. 

Learn more about OPDC here 

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