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The Radioactive House in Kilburn

In the Summer of 1972, No.41 West End Lane was demolished because of the levels of radioactivity. This is the story of what caused the radioactivity and some of the interesting people who lived in the house previously. The large, detached house, was built in the early 1870s as ‘The Lodge’ towards the Kilburn end of West End Lane. The first person to live there in 1871 was Peter Clarkson Reed. He was a barrister who had qualified in 1859 and practised in Calcutta. He died at the house in 1876 and left £16,000 to his son John Lindsay Reed of Inner Temple, a barrister who at one time lived in Willesden. Patrick John Benson was at ‘The Lodge’ from 1884 until his death in 1895. Benson was a ‘professor of fencing and gymnastics.’ About 1875 he opened ‘Benson’s Gymnasium and School of Arms’ in Orchard Street, Portman Square. This was a successful business, and when he died he left £21,847 (worth about £2.3M today) to his son Charles, who took over the gym.  At the time of the 1911 census the
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