In 1903 Cardinal Bourne decided that the growing numbers of Catholics in the country ‘mission’ area of Willesden Green justified it becoming a parish. At that stage the area was centred upon a Mass centre at 59 Chapter Road (now 59, St Paul’s Avenue), having been in a non-Catholic school room at 30 Chapter Road from 1901-2. The centre was served initially from Our Lady of Willesden parish and then by the fairly recently formed diocesan Missionaries of our Lady of Compassion.
It was only in 1905 that it was possible to meet the desire of local Catholics who promised to provide maintenance for a resident priest. With the support of the Crownhill Road Jesus and Mary sisters, who were already providing popular catechism lessons in Willesden Green, a larger property was rented at 28 Park Avenue on the corner of St Paul’s Avenue. Our first resident Father in God was Dr Herbert Vaughan, a member of the diocesan missionary society. The first Mass was on Rosary Sunday 1 October, 1905. Masses were at 8, 9 & 10 with a catechism class & Benediction at 7pm.
It was the following January that with diocesan support the Linacre Road site was bought for £3550 and parish boundaries were agreed (with some complaints from Quex Road parish!). Another £1450 enabled the “temporary” church or “hall” to be erected – in six weeks! Meanwhile the sisters took over the ground floor of 28 Park Avenue and rented the building next door which is now known as the Little Convent.
For a detailed parish history follow this link