Westminster City Archives holds a few editions of a monthly local community guide from the 1930s called The Queen’s Park Calendar. One from December 1936 gives some impressions of contemporary social life in the area.
The calendar gave Queen’s Park residents local information on shops, civic and church events, the public library, public transport, postal collection times, the cinema, and sports and recreation.
A notice of the Queen’s Park library advises that “all residents of Queen’s Park may borrow books on the signature of any ratepayer”. The library was open every day and with generous hours.
Among a short list of new books acquired by the library are two that reflect anxieties about international relations: “War Over England. Air attack, with incendiary booms to melt steel like tallow, calculated to stir public apathy” by L.E.O. Charlton; and “The Far East comes nearer. To a little Japanese expansion, add equal portion Chinese territory, flavour with Russian propaganda, simmer gently and this is the result”, by H.H. Tiltman.
The two neighbourhood cinemas, the Pavillion, Kensal Rise and the New Palace, Chamberlayne Road, offered a mix of British and American fare, and fitting the festive season they included Cicely Courtneidge in “Everybody Dance” and Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in “Swing Time.”
Queen’s Park Rangers F.C., then in League Division Three (South), played two home fixtures over Christmas: on the 25th against Exeter City, 11am kick off; and on Boxing Day against Bristol City. With one day off, Rangers then travelled west for a return fixture with Exeter.
For those braving the tennis hard courts at the Paddington Rec and Queen’s Park, spots could be had for two shillings per hour. The Rec’s cycling and running tracks could be used for training (running, four pence; cycling, six pence).
The Willesden & District Motor Club met every Tuesday evening at its HQ, the William IV pub on Harrow Road. Afternoon recreational runs were held on Sundays, departing from the pub.
1937 was welcomed in with a New Year’s carnival dance at Porchester Hall, where “continuous dancing to two bands, 7.30 until 12.45” was to be enjoyed. Tickets five shillings at the door.