Welcome to walking, talking and happenings in Harlesden with me!

I’m on an adventure – not in Cuba, Bali or the Outer Hebrides – but here in Harlesden where I live. Initially, I’m walking – at dawn, in the afternoon, at night – to find out what’s going on. I intend to encounter strangers, as well as friends and neighbours. I am walking with local resident, documentary maker, Louis Theroux, actor and writer, Alexei Sayle, novelist, Nick Barlay, my son and his girlfriend, filmmakers, Marlon and Tania, recent graduate in journalism, June Mckenzie, my friends from Marseille, Odile and Seirigne,  poet, artist, mother and ex gas meter reader, Sue Saunders, friend and Orange Prize shortlister, Monique Roffey, anti-gun crime activist, Michael Saunders, railway enthusiast, Ian Hunt, punk filmmaker and legendary DJ about town, Don Letts.

And then, there will be the happenings. You’ll have to wait and see.

Join me as I walk, talk and investigate Harlesden.

Oh and why is it called Not On Safari In Harlesden? Because I saw this message posted on the White Pride World Wide forum, and it was titled Mine and GF’s (girlfriend’s) Safari In Harlesden: “So I think if any of you need to convince brainwashed whites about the very real dangers of multicultural society up close and personal, then take them to Harlesden.”

I was ‘disgusted of Harlesden’ and this is my riposte…


26 responses to “WHY?

  1. Alan Blizzard

    Hi Rose

    just found your blog, i have lived in Harlesden/ Stonebridge all my life..im 52…..a big reggae fan and dub muscian myself..i would love someone to make a documentry about the 60 70s reggae scene in the area..must have had at least 15 record labels outta NW10..maybe one day someone will..bless Alan..
    this site might interest you….the pre war swimming pool at the top of church road….the many cinemas in the area at least 5!!!…the pre war railway station at Craven Park Road..loads of pictures..bless Alan

  2. JD

    Really interesting blog!
    There are too many stereotypes about this area….
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Great Blog! Being a long term resident myself, it’s interesting to read about the area through someone else’s eyes.

  4. girovago80

    Hi Rose,
    I love love love your blog. I’ve only lived in Harlesden for a year. Despite being initially very snobby about moving to the area I now absolutely adore the place. Your fantastic writing about a fascinating part of NW10 is must read stuff for me. I hope you keep it up and thanks for sharing your experiences!

  5. Hi Rose,

    Really like your blog, I recently spent a summer working in Harlseden at Mahogany, working on the Notting Hill Carnival costumes as part of my dissertation for my anthropology degree. On the day of carnival we walk from the Mahogany, to the Burger King carpark where everyone gets ready and then onwards to the Carnival and back round- all in all about 7 hours of walking, dancing, singing and performing the Harlseden spirit! I thought you might enjoy the photographs from those walks, and a great example of what young people can create when they are given a skill and a project within a community. http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthrokate/collections/
    I look forward to reading more!

  6. Hi Rose Rouse,
    loving your adventures in Harlesden. I lived there myself in the seventies: drank in the Crown, did shopping at Wrights and Hawkeye, watched Kung Fu movies at Coliseum and many a sunrise…..happy days! I am still only down the road and often pass by Blue Mountain when cooking up a feast.
    Wishing you many more joyous moments!

  7. Just come across your blog and it’s really fascinating read. We are currently in development of a feature film called ‘Stonebridge’. Thanks for your insights

  8. mattiegarvin

    Love your blogg Rose. Lived in Harlesden all my life, 50 something, great area. Proof that multi culturalism works. Got one or two stories if you want them.

    . Mattie

  9. charlie

    Thank you so much for all your hard work on these bloggs Rose they really are a fascinating read. Louis Theroux and yourself were definitely and important influence before moving to the area and I really enjoy the melting pot that it brings. There seems to be much more of a community here, I’ve never known so many neighbours. I decided it might be a good time to move out of Kensal Rise when Mulberry brought out a handbag called ‘The Kensal!!!’ – I wonder if there will be a ‘Harlesden’ – I hope not.
    Charlie, stockbroker

    • Thanks for this, Charlie. Yeah, I feel the same about my neighbours, have strong links here whereas when I lived down Portobello I knew lots of people but not my neighbours and never felt that community in the way I do here.

  10. Tony

    I recently moved in to Harlesden while working an internship and studying, and was at first worried what I was in for, but what I found has startled me. I was expecting run down, grim urban decay that I’ve seen in cities before but instead I find myself living in a bright and diverse part of the city that truly feels alive. Now I’ve found your blog and reading it has been giving me even greater insight into a part of London I had greatly misjudged. Love your work, please do keep it up.

  11. Catherine


    A friend has just directed me to your blog and forthcoming book. I have lived in St Mary’s Road for almost 30 years and have seen many changes during this time some good, some not so good. What do you make of the new road system? Perhaps a route for a walk?


    • Thanks for getting in touch. Do come to the launch of the book. Will be finding out very soon about this. I think the new road changes will ultimately be for the good… but my walks work more around people than the actual route.

      • Catherine

        Would love to come to the launch of the book. I attend St Mary’s Church and there would be a good collection of people you could tak to there! Some have lived in the area for years, some are newcommers.

      • Just thought I’d let you know the launch is on Oct 30th starting at 6 30pm at Le Junction which is 47 Station Rd. Do let me know if you’re coming. Thanks Rose

  12. Lovely idea. And at the moment, I have stopped walking to focus on the book and all the activities around that…

  13. Catherine


    Is it too late to say that I would like to attend the lauch on Thursday?


  14. Faisal

    Brilliant… Just found the blog… born and bred Harlesden… Furness Infants & Junior School, Willesden High School… This blog brings back memories… Danny is right, Harlesden back in the day, was a community that helped each other… I used to get my haircut by Johnny, and used to love the smell coming out of the chippy on park parade, next to the entrance of the convent… We also used to have an awesome pet shop, near the old Vauxhall Garage on Scotts Corner, Park Parade… The times when we looked forward to the Brent Show, and enjoy a ride on the miniature railway in Roundwood park… The famous Dissotto Ice Cream shop on Furness road, a family run business, owned by my best friends father, was a Harlesden tradition… Boxing was definitely the sport to follow. My Postman who was/is an Irish guy (I went to school with his son), was/is also a Boxing coach and got me involved in the sport, so I did that for many years, it was about the discipline. The old sports center at King Edwards park, where we had the greatest outdoor swimming pool, although most times it was too cold to get in to, but in our efforts to impress the girls, we would grin and bear it… everyone knew everyone, you were terrified of the Headmaster at school more than your own parents, and they used that well… it kept you on the straight and narrow… I remember the MacDonalds very well, we had all been excited of this new “American” restaurant opening opposite the Woolworths, and I remember the entire family getting into the Morris Minor, and making an evening of it… It was the first time I ever had a Big Mac… Wow, this blog brought back so many memories (in case you hadn’t noticed) and I could keep on writing… Sadly, I had to move on with career and family plans and now live in Thailand, but I have always tried to raise my boys with the same spirit that the old streets of Harlesden gave me… I try to get back every year, my parents still live in Harlesden (for the last 60 years or so, same house), so I get to inhale the Harlesden air…Keep this blog alive…


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