There was a Roman settlement in Hendon, and the Edgware Road originally formed part of the Roman road later called Watling Street. Hendon is a Saxon name meaning high hill (c1005). The manor is in the Domesday Book and included Mill Hill.

From Roman times until the 16th century, Hendon was covered with woodland and supplied London's bakers, brewers, and potters with fast-burning fuel-wood. By the 16th century Newcastle coal had replaced Hendon's fuel-wood, but as London grew it needed fresh hay as fodder for the horses, and Hendon's woods became hay farms.

Church Farm, now Church Farmhouse Museum, was built in the middle of the 17th century.

A few rich families built large houses as retreats from the busy polluted city. A few 18th-century houses still remain in Hendon, including Hendon Hall, Penfold House and a number of houses in the Burroughs, close to the Watford Way.

Town development

Hendon grew into a town after the 1860s. Bringing coal, a necessity in the winter, by horse wagon over Hampstead hill from the docks in London was expensive. In 1861 there were around 4,000 people living in Hendon.

In the 1860s the Midland Railway Company constructed a railway line through Hendon. This brought the cost of coal down, and meant that more people could live in Hendon. Many new houses were built around Brent Street, Church End, Cricklewood, Childs Hill, and West Hendon. By 1901 there were around 22,000 people in Hendon.

A handful of factories were built in Hendon in the 1880s and 1890s, and Hendon's industry expanded during the First World War (1914 - 1918). Soon many workers came daily to Hendon from as far away as East London. The factories were concentrated close to the railway line and the Edgware Road at Childs Hill, Colindale and West Hendon.

Until the 1900s the cost of travelling in and out of London from Hendon was very expensive. Even with a railway people chose to use horse buses to London. In 1907 Golders Green underground provided a fast and affordable way to commute from the city to the new suburb.

The underground was extended to Hendon in 1923. The population of Hendon by 1931 was around 115,000. Hendon became a municipal borough in 1932, containing Mill Hill, Burnt Oak, and Edgware.

Hendon Aerodrome

From 1908 aviators used fields just north of Colindale to take off and land, and Claude Grahame White established Hendon Aerodrome in 1910. The RAF used the aerodrome from 1916 and staged many of its aerial pageants there during the 1920s and 30s.

The last plane landed in Hendon in 1968. The area is now the Grahame Park Estate, the RAF Museum and the Peel Centre (Hendon Police College).