Brent

The London Borough of Brent is known most widely in the United Kingdom as the political constituency of London’s former mayor Ken Livingstone. However, there is a great deal more to Brent than that, with the borough having other distinctions such as being the area of Britain with the highest number of residents born outside the UK, and also being home to the national soccer stadium, Wembley Stadium. Brent is located in the North West of London and bordered on its northern side by some of London’s more urbanised areas, such as Harrow and Barnet, while on its southern border it is met by more suburban boroughs such as Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster (home to Parliament and Buckingham Palace).

BrentIt is the new Wembley Stadium which has guaranteed Brent as much of its recent press coverage as anything else. Originally built in 1923, the stadium has been home to the England football team and any major finals that take place in club football within England. As well as this, other sports have taken place in the stadium, with the 1948 Olympics being largely hosted inside Wembley, giving the local communities the chance to see the athletic heroics of Fanny Blankers-Koen and Emil Zatopek. Global interest sports, even those not of English creation, have also been hosted individually within Wembley Stadium, with NFL pre-season (and in recent times, regular season) games being hosted in London. Meanwhile, the local Irish community have benefited from Wembley’s hosting of hurling and Gaelic football exhibition matches known as the “Wembley Tournaments.

As well as being a home for global sporting events, Wembley has hosted a great many other events, with the number of music concerts that have been held at the stadium reaching well into the hundreds, and featuring some of the biggest names in the history of music. Michael Jackson has played there a record fifteen times, ahead of the Rolling Stones (twelve times), Madonna (nine) and U2 (eight times). It hosted the London leg of Live Aid in 1985, an all-day concert with a bill that included such names as Queen, David Bowie, The Who and U2. Prior to the rebuilding project that took place at Wembley at the beginning of the 21st Century, the last band to play the stadium was Bon Jovi.

Brent is also home to the highest percentage of UK residents born outside the UK, with 46.53% of its residents coming from elsewhere. Of these 18.1% are Indian, 9.4% are from the Caribbean and 5.7% are Irish, which has historically contributed to the borough tending to elect members of the Labour Party to the House of Commons, with all these sections of the population historically being left of center politically – making it no surprise that the most famous MP from the region in recent years has been the left-wing firebrand Ken Livingstone. In recent years, though, the control of the area has moved away from the Labour party to the Liberal Democrats, in large part as a result of Labour’s involvement in the Iraq war (which the Liberal Democrats opposed in principle).