Fr. Cyril Norgate was deputed to find a site for a church. The search proved unexpectedly difficult because of restrictions on the use of freehold land which did not allow the building of a Catholic church. One of the fields Fr. Norgate tried to buy was alongside the Welsh Methodist chapel in Willesden Lane, where Council offices now stand. In January 1906 the Diocese sanctioned the purchase of ‘Longcroft’ in Linacre Road and an adjoining piece of land for £2350 and £1200 respectively. A mortgage was taken out for £2000, the Diocese found the rest. In July Dr. Vaughan was instructed to agree the boundary with Our Lady of Willesden with its Rector. The boundary with Kilburn proved more difficult, as Quex Road objected to the choice of site for the new parish.
No time was lost over building: two months after the electric trams first ran to Willesden Green, the Foundation Stone was laid, on 21st June 1906, by Lady Edmund Talbot. The band of the Great Central and Metropolitan Railway played; Fr. Bernard Vaughan SJ, a brother of the late Cardinal, preached on the text “Thou art Peter”. And the Diocesan Missionaries had found a home, as the Tablet commented, “in a mushroom suburb—all as new as a city of the prairies.”
The ‘Hall’, as it was called, for it was intended as a temporary church only, was built by a local firm, Cowley and Drake, and completed in an amazing six weeks. It was in brick and timber, fitted with electric light, seated 350, cost £1450. The Sanctuary was decorated with carved oak panels taken from a Spanish church; the font came from Horseferry Road. For the Opening on 27th July the Archbishop and many distinguished guests were met at the lych-gate by Dr. Vaughan. Admission was by ticket; members of the Westminster Cathedral Choir sang; Fr. David, Provincial of the Friars Minor, preached. The Willesden Chronicle described the church:
“The altar was designed by Mr. W. J. Devlin and executed by the well-known firm of Boulton of Cheltenham. The reredos is in gold relief, being copied from work in the chapel of the Duchess of Newcastle. On the right of the Sanctuary stands the shrine of Our Lady of Compassion, under whose protection the church is placed. On the left is the statue of the Sacred Heart; in the body of the church is a statue of St. Joseph and another of St. Anthony. The pulpit is of alabaster.”
By the end of 1906 No. 10 Park Avenue had been acquired and served as a presbytery until 1910, when No. 36 Linacre Road, next-door to the church, came on to the market.
By mid-March 1907 a parish hall, in corrugated iron, was erected on the same site as the church, to the left and nearer the road. It could seat 300 and had a stage. It opened on 14th March with a lecture on the Oberammergau Passion Play by Fr. (later Mgr.) John Filmer. The church and hall between them did not occupy the whole site and there was an open area with a tall tree in it behind the hall; round this the Corpus Christi processions used to file.