Menelik Road, NW2

Place Name

Menelik II (August 17, 1844 – December 12, 1913) was emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 until his death. Often called the founder of modern Ethiopia, he transformed the country within a decade of being crowned, uniting territories, creating a centralised Government, founding Addis Ababa as its capital, and defeating an Italian invasion force. The road was built on the estate of the Powell-Cotton family, one of whom, Major Percy Powell-Cotton, was given permission to hunt in Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik in 1900. Indeed it seems the two genuinely got on with Powell-Cotton writing dedicating his book on his experiences to Menelik’s wife The Empress Taitu of Ethiopia with whom he had spent a day walking around the capital. He also offers fulsome thanks to the emperor himself for granting him leave and protection for his expedition. Later giving a description of the man himself: “His Majesty does not look his fifty-eight years. His very dark but by no means black face, pitted with smallpox, is full of strength and shrewdness. His features, quick in altering expression, are lit up with a pleasant smile. Frequently he laughs with great heartiness, displaying a row of even, but not very white teeth. He wears a short greyish beard and whiskers.” Originally part of Shoot Up Hill Farm, the estate had been purchased by John Powell as an investment, in 1773. The following year he bought Kilburn Wood Farm. Both farms were passed down through the family. After the railways lines in the Kilburn area were established, the land began to be sold for housing. All the roads were named after places local to the family’s property at Quex Park, in Kent, and later after places Major Powell-Cotton visited on his travels – particularly Abyssinia (Ethiopia) between 1899 – 1900.


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