Brent is known worldwide for Wembley Stadium but it has many other places with tales to tell. From rock and roll venues to cutting-edge theatre, from an Irish dance hall to a magnificent hand-crafted stone temple, the borough’s urban landscape reflects Brent’s diverse community.
The Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn was converted from a music and dance hall in 1980 and founded by theatre professionals Shirley Barrie and Ken Chubb. In 1994 the Tricycle staged Half the Picture, a dramatisation of the Arms-to-Iraq inquiry, based on transcripts from the enquiry. Further real-life productions followed, including The Colour of Justice about the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry. Known for world-class British and international works, the Tricycle reflects the great diversity of the local community.
Reggae legend Bob Marley lived at the Circle, Neasden in 1972. Bob Marley and the Wailers were in the UK touring with Jimmy Cliff. They signed with Island Records, based in Kilburn. They brought reggae to a wider audience with the release of their album Catch a Fire in April 1973. Brent is known for its important Reggae heritage, with a long list of names including: Sonny Roberts (Planetone/Orbitone Records) Jimmy Cliff, The Marvels, Junior English, The Cimarons, The Mohawks, along with Hawkeye Records in Harlesden, Chris Blackwell and his companies Island and Trojan Records as well as the Palmer Brothers who owned Pama Records and Jet Star Phonographics Ltd. Notable Reggae venues included: the 31 Club in Stonebridge, later the Apollo and sound systems venue, Burtons on Cricklewood Broadway.
Vice Power, Irish-born Harlesden music promoter opened the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden in 1982. The venue began by playing country music but soon widened its range. Many famous bands and musicians played there over the years, including Van Morrison, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Sun Ra, The Pogues, Lloyd Cole, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Christy Moore.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden was inaugurated on 20 August 1995 by guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Known often as Neasden Temple, was the first traditional Hindu Mandir to be built outside India. The Mandir, is a Hindu temple and is dedicated to the Deity, Bhagwan Swaminaraya, built and run by the spiritual organisation BAPS – Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha.
Craftsmen in India hand carved 3,000 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone, 1,200 tonnes of Italian Carrara marble and 900 tonnes of Indian Ambaji marble before the pieces were shipped to Brent and assembled over two and a half years. Complementing the stone temple is the Haveli, an environmentally friendly wood-crafted cultural building.