A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
HESTON AND ISLEWORTH
This article (fn. 1) concerns the two ancient parishes of Heston and Isleworth. They were joined under a single local board of health in 1875, and united into one civil parish in 1927, (fn. 2) and their histories long before this had been so closely intertwined that it is almost impossible to consider them apart. The town of Hounslow was divided between the two parishes, and the medieval manor of Isleworth included the whole parish of Heston. (fn. 3) Twickenham also lay inside the manor, but in other ways was more independent.
The village of Isleworth lies on the outside of a curve in the Thames as the river runs north from Kingston to Brentford. (fn. 4) The ancient parish of Isleworth is L-shaped, with one arm stretching westward from the village to the River Crane some two miles off, and the other running north along the Brent for about two miles. Heston parish lies in the angle of the two arms. The most ancient part of the boundaries of the two parishes is possibly that formed by the Thames and the Brent. Whether the south point of Isleworth Ait on the Thames has always belonged to Richmond is unknown: in the 17th century there were four aits here, whose dividing channels have since silted up. The boundary along the Brent has been slightly adjusted several times (fn. 5) and in the 16th century Isleworth manor and parish unsuccessfully laid claim to a small piece of commonland across Brentford Bridge. (fn. 6) In the north a stream running into the Brent once marked the boundary between the two parishes and Norwood as far west as Norwood Green. The rest of the northern boundary is less easy to explain. Heston's western boundary runs down a lane connecting Cranford and Norwood, so that the village of Cranford, which was in existence by 1086, interposes itself between Heston and its apparently more natural boundary on the Crane. South of Cranford the Crane forms the boundary of Heston and then of Isleworth, and this was the boundary of Isleworth manor by 1299. (fn. 7) Farther south, where Isleworth and Twickenham adjoin each other, the division between the lands of the two villages may not have been finally drawn (fn. 8) until both had churches. For most of its distance the boundary follows a stream which once crossed the heath to the Crane. Where the stream joined the Crane, the boundary left them both and went straight to the Thames: this part of it seems to have been fixed by the 15th century. (fn. 9) How soon the boundary between Heston and Isleworth was determined is uncertain: in the west it runs just south of the main road over Hounslow Heath, then follows a stream through Hounslow town and crosses the fields apparently without a natural guide to Osterley, where it runs along a stream. The line across the heath may not have been fixed before the reign of Henry VIII. (fn. 10) All the boundaries are shown clearly in the fine and detailed map of Isleworth hundred (see plate facing p. 90) which Moses Glover made for the Earl of Northumberland in 1635. (fn. 11) Another map, which, however, only marks the demesne lands and features near them, was made for the earl by Ralph Treswell in 1607. (fn. 12) Few changes have been made since 1635. At the inclosure of 1818 a small area on the heath formerly belonging to Isleworth was allotted to Heston as a gravel-pit. (fn. 13) In 1894, after the two parishes had been formed into one urban district, the part of Heston north of the Grand Junction Canal (114 a.) was transferred to Southall urban district, with which it was now more closely linked. (fn. 14) In 1932 the urban district (and since 1927, civil parish) of Heston and Isleworth was made into a borough. (fn. 15) Two years later all the part of Cranford parish east of the Crane (361 a.) was added to the borough, and adjustments were made in its boundaries with Twickenham, Brentford and Chiswick, and Southall-Norwood. (fn. 16) As a result, the borough covered 7,218 acres in 1951. (fn. 17) Heston had been estimated at 3,823 acres in 1865 and Isleworth at 3,143 acres. (fn. 18)
The highest part of the district is in the northwest, to the west of Heston village, where the ground rises to over 100 feet. The higher land stretches past Heston to what used to be called Syon Hill (i.e. round Syon Lane). In the east it drops fairly sharply down to the Brent and to the south it falls, for the most part more gradually, through Hounslow, Whitton, and Worton, to the low-lying banks of the Thames. The higher land of Heston and Syon Hill is mostly brick-earth, of which a second strip west of Isleworth village runs from the Twickenham boundary to Brentford End. Between these two patches of brickearth Taplow gravel forms the soil of the old heath area and curves up round Syon Hill to Osterley. The valley of the Brent and its small tributaries is clay, and the soil round Isleworth is flood-plain gravel with a narrow strip of alluvium along the river.
The only evidence of any changes in the course of the Thames past Isleworth is that ground-levels indicate that a water-course, which in 1607 linked the River Brent to the stream which now forms the mouth of the Duke's River, (fn. 19) was originally natural. It may once have formed a channel of the Thames so that the site of Syon House was on an ait in the river. The medieval lords of Isleworth owned weirs in the Thames of which at least one was in the stretch of the river by Isleworth. (fn. 20) This was called Isleworth weir, and the stakes at its upper end gave its name to the Railshead. (fn. 21) The weir had been broken down by 1538, (fn. 22) but the Duke of Somerset set up another soon afterwards. (fn. 23) In 1607 there was a semicircle of stakes across the river, but by 1630 the weir had been destroyed again and there were reported to be only a few short stakes left. (fn. 24) In 1802 and later the Duke of Northumberland leased a fishery in the Thames called Isleworth weir, and in the early 20th century there were still some stakes embedded in the river which had probably once been part of the old weir. (fn. 25) In the 17th and 18th centuries the fishermen of the neighbourhood disputed among themselves about stakes and 'salmon rooms' at Isleworth. (fn. 26)
The course of the Brent between Isleworth and New Brentford has been changed several times. Some bends in its course below Brentford Bridge were straightened between 1699 and 1760, (fn. 27) and when the Grand Junction Canal was cut in 1798 through Heston and Norwood to the Brent, it by-passed a number of other bends both above and below the bridge. (fn. 28) In some places the old course of the river has since dried up. The more westerly lakes at Osterley mark the courses of two streams which fell together into the Brent. Going upstream, the next tributary of the Thames was a brook which rose near Sutton and ran through Hounslow to Smallberry Green, whence, with the addition of some springs, it fell into the Thames at Isleworth. This was one of at least two streams in the area called the Bourne. (fn. 29) The Crane falls into the Thames at the head of Isleworth Ait. It was called the Fishbourne in the early Middle Ages, (fn. 30) and Richard of Cornwall made a fish-pond in it where it is crossed by the main road out on the heath. (fn. 31) This was called Babworth Pond and gave its name to Baber Bridge. A crowd of Londoners burst open the pond and did other damage in the manor in 1264, during the Barons' War. (fn. 32) The pond was afterwards repaired and was reserved to the king's use when the manor was leased in the later 14th century. (fn. 33) It had been recently filled in in 1520. (fn. 34) Below Baber Bridge the cut west of the main stream was made in the 17th century to drive a mill there, and other small diversions and cuts lower down were made later. (fn. 35) A stream called the Bourne and later Burket's Brook ran through Whitton from the heath quite near the Crane to join it near St. Margaret's: (fn. 36) part of its course dried up after the Duke's River was built. The Duke of Northumberland's River, as it is now called, was first constructed in the 1540's when the manor of Isleworth was in the king's hands. (fn. 37) It was designed to reinforce the stream driving Isleworth mill by water brought from the Colne. (fn. 38) It was dug from Longford, perhaps partly along existing watercourses, through other royal manors and over Hounslow Heath to Baber Bridge. The course of the first section, from Longford Point to between Longford and Stanwell, was altered about 1578. (fn. 39) Henry VIII's (or the Duke's) river left the Crane again at the present Kneller Gardens, in Twickenham, and ran north, crossing the Bourne (i.e. the tributary of the Crane). This part of its course through Isleworth appears to be artificial, though the presence of a moat close by at Worton and the sharp turn in the river farther north suggests that there may have been some sort of stream here earlier. The river finally runs into the Bourne (i.e. the stream flowing through the town from Smallberry Green) just above the bridge in St. John's Road. The part of the Bourne below their junction has become known since the 16th century as part of the Duke's River. The Duke's River was sold to Middlesex County Council in 1931. A number of small watercourses derived from the springs which rose in the two parishes. Among these should be mentioned the springs north of the London Road which fed a conduit to Syon Abbey. (fn. 40)
Roads and Bridges.
Probably the most ancient man-made feature of the modern borough is the Roman road from London to Staines. (fn. 41) Since it was made its course has probably only been changed at Brentford End where the rebuilding of Brentford Bridge about 1446 and in 1824 made slight diversions in the highway necessary. (fn. 42) The bridge was in existence by the 13th century, but its history is reserved for discussion elsewhere. (fn. 43) Between Brentford and Hounslow the road ran along a causeway in the 13th century: (fn. 44) this may have been at Smallberry Green, where the road makes practically its only bend in the borough in order to avoid a damp area. Baber Bridge on the west was repaired from the 13th to the 16th centuries by the lord of the manor as owner of the fish-pond there. From then on the obligation seems to have been disputed. The bridge was still a wooden one in the 17th century. It was rebuilt in brick in 1798 and was thereafter repaired by the county. (fn. 45)
The Bath Road, which is post-Roman, branches out of the Staines Road at Hounslow, and it was this fact which gave the town its particular importance. A conference between representatives of the king and of the French invaders was held here in 1217, (fn. 46) and since then many kings and other great persons are known to have passed through the town. From the 16th century there are many references to inns and posts. (fn. 47) The two roads were turnpiked from 1717 to 1872: (fn. 48) the gates at their junction with Hounslow High Street are depicted in the plate facing p. 112. In 1824 coaches were said to pass through every halfhour and in 1833 over 200 went through each day, while a relay of horses was kept in Hounslow for the king's journeys to and from Windsor. (fn. 49)
The other roads which were made before the suburban development of the 19th century are of little more than local importance and form a complex network linking the various hamlets with each other and with villages nearby. When the heath and fields were inclosed in 1818 a few new roads were laid out but the course of the more important tracks over the hitherto open lands had long been established and was not changed. The roads round Osterley seem to have been altered after the park was made, though their exact course before then is hard to determine. (fn. 50) Until the 18th century Syon Lane continued south of the London Road through what is now Syon House park to the church. (fn. 51) It was turnpiked in 1767, together with the road through the village and through Twickenham and Teddington to Hampton Wick. Pound Lane (now Amhurst Gardens) and the part of Twickenham Road between it and the 'George', where the other line of the turnpike joined the Twickenham Road, were also included in the Act: at this time the north end of Twickenham Road was only a footpath. Within two years of the Act the road through the park had been closed and replaced by Park Road, the Twickenham Road was extended to the London Road, and the turnpike bar stood across the junction of the roads: Pound Lane, meanwhile, had been temporarily reduced to a footpath. (fn. 52) The only other noteworthy change in the course of the roads outside the villages was the straightening of Syon Lane in 1779. (fn. 53) In the roads round Isleworth are a number of bridges, most of them built when the Duke's River was made and afterwards repaired by its owner. (fn. 54) Queen's Bridge in the south seems to be one of these, though its name is said to occur in 1450: (fn. 55) possibly the name was then used for another bridge called King's Bridge which seems to have crossed the Bourne (i.e. the tributary of the Crane) and to have been in a road which was only used by the king and therefore probably went into Twickenham Park. King's Bridge seems to have been broken down by the end of the 14th century, though it was still remembered over a hundred years later. (fn. 56) A bridge led over the Crane to Feltham on Hounslow Heath in the 17th and 18th centuries but had gone by the early nineteenth. The parish put up a bridge over the Crane at the Railshead in 1672: it seems to have been a foot-bridge but there was a coach-bridge a little later, which needed frequent rebuilding in the 18th century, (fn. 57) and at one stage was apparently kept locked by a neighbouring householder.
The only crossing of the Thames here before Richmond Footbridge was opened in 1894 (fn. 58) was provided by ferries. Syon Ferry and Church Ferry were both mentioned in the early 16th century. (fn. 59) They were possibly identical with one another. In 1593 there was a horse ferry. (fn. 60) In the 17th century Richmond Road led to the ferry in Twickenham parish where Richmond Bridge now stands, (fn. 61) but by the 19th century the ferry at the Railshead was diverting some traffic from it. (fn. 62) The river itself was and is a highway of great significance to the area and wharfs in Isleworth are often mentioned in the Middle Ages and later. (fn. 63) The towpath here is on the Surrey side, but until 1780 it was on the Isleworth shore above the Railshead. (fn. 64) Glover shows boats being towed by horses walking through Twickenham Park, (fn. 65) but later on barges were always towed by men along this reach. In 1780, after Richmond Bridge had been built, a towpath was constructed along the Richmond bank instead. (fn. 66)
Topography Before 1635.
Isleworth, on the river, and Hounslow, on the main road, were probably the earliest settlements in the area. Heston, like Isleworth, centres upon its church, which stands on a slight hill. The church was probably there by the late 11th century. (fn. 67) None of the other hamlets is mentioned before the 13th century, though most of them were probably settled earlier. They are North Hyde, Sutton, Lampton, and Scrattage, in Heston, and Worton and Wyke in Isleworth. Osterley was apparently never more than a farm-house and Wyke may not have been much more, though it is mentioned as a township in 1274. The name of Scrattage is now lost, though it survived until recently in Scrattage Lane (now Jersey Road), along which its cottages were scattered. (fn. 68) Brentford probably began to spread over the bridge to Brentford End in the later Middle Ages. Part of the villages of Cranford and Whitton extended into Heston and Isleworth respectively, but both villages are discussed as a whole elsewhere. (fn. 69)
The open fields of Isleworth lay to the north and west of the town. Between Worton, Whitton, and Hounslow the land was partly inclosed by 1635, and some of it, on the edge of the heath, may never have been under open-field cultivation. The manor park lay on the river bank to the south of Isleworth from the 13th century. (fn. 70) In the 15th century this was the site of Syon Abbey for a few years before it was moved to meadows on the north of the village. (fn. 71) Heston's name suggests that it may have been founded on the edge of the heath, (fn. 72) but by the Middle Ages a broad band of open fields probably stretched right across from the Cranford boundary to Wood Lane, broken only by the strip of common (41 a. in 1635) which ran up to Lampton from the heath. On the south these fields were bordered by the Bath Road running along the edge of the heath. Out on the heath there were two groups of inclosures by the end of the Middle Ages, both taking their names from Babworth. The first was an oval of 160 acres (fn. 73) beside the Bath Road. In 1635 it was called the North Beaver, while the South Beaver and Beaver Mead ran along the Crane to the north of Baber Bridge. (fn. 74) To the north of Heston fields, there was in 1635 the 60-acre common of North Hyde, and beyond it were inclosures, some of which may never have been cultivated in open fields. (fn. 75) East of Heston village the lands of Osterley ('the sheepfold clearing') and Wyke ('the dairy farm') were also all inclosed from the time they are first mentioned, (fn. 76) though there was some common-land to the east of Osterley which became absorbed into the estate after the Middle Ages. (fn. 77) South of Wyke there was some openfield land near to the London Road. Altogether, the conjunction of place-names and geology with the early history of the estates suggests that the clearing of the land progressed into this part of the parish northwards from Hounslow and Isleworth and eastwards from Heston, and that it may have been made rather for inclosed pasture than for open arable.
The evidence of past inclosures on the edges of the fields and heath can be clearly distinguished in Glover's map, but the chief changes in the medieval pattern by that time were the larger inclosures for parks at Osterley and Syon Hill, and to a lesser extent round Syon House (see plate facing p. 90), as well as in the old park south of the town. (fn. 78) During the 18th century the park of Syon House was extended to its present area and a second smaller park was made on Syon Hill, (fn. 79) while the first one there reverted to agricultural use. By 1818 most of the open fields round Isleworth and Worton had been inclosed for market-gardening, but the fields north of the London Road were comparatively undiminished. (fn. 80) At the inclosure of that year over 1,300 acres of common-land were inclosed, including over 1,100 on the heath, together with over 1,000 acres of open fields in Heston and a little over 100 in Isleworth. Thereafter, though market-gardening increasingly displaced arable-farming, and a good deal of brick-working and later gravel-digging went on in the north, (fn. 81) the topographical history of Heston and Isleworth is concerned largely with the multiplication of buildings.
In 1635, as Glover's map shows, the village of Heston consisted of a few houses grouped around a cross in the road opposite the church and stretching a little way up the road to the north. The only large house was Hallplace, in the angle of Heston Road and Church Road. (fn. 82) There was a large house on this site until the 19th century. In 1635 there was a distinct gap between the main village and Heston End, which was about the same size, at the far end of New Heston Road. The village grew very little between 1635 and 1818. By the middle of the 19th century there were a few larger houses in Heston End, by then called New Heston, and a National school by the church, but as late as 1876 the village was described as consisting of 'three or four irregular streets converging upon a dirty little triangular green, in the centre of which is a shabby brick pond'. (fn. 83) The 'Rose and Crown' in Heston Road was the only inn in the village named in the Inclosure Award of 1818. The only buildings here which survived in 1958 from before the 19th century seemed to be St. Laurence Cottages in New Heston Road, which are 17th century, (fn. 84) and some timber barns at Heston Farm, of which the framework is probably of the same period.
North Hyde, where there was a medieval farmhouse, (fn. 85) consisted of a few cottages on the edge of the common in 1635 and of not much more in the early 19th century. The Grand Junction Canal was constructed in 1798 and a powder magazine was built soon after the inclosure, with docks branching out of the canal. (fn. 86) The buildings were soon afterwards converted to other uses, (fn. 87) and the docks have been filled up. The hamlets of Sutton and Lampton were about the same size as Heston or Heston End in the 17th century, (fn. 88) and had changed little by the mid19th. The White House at Sutton is timber-framed and contains 16th-century features, including an original roof. (fn. 89) Subsequently the walls were cased with brickwork and several additions and alterations were made. The 'Black Horse' was at Lampton by 1759. Scrattage, which may once have been a fairsized hamlet, consisted of a few cottages by 1635 and of two or three farm-houses by the 19th century. Osterley Park and Wyke Manor were isolated houses. Farther south Worton may also have declined: by the early 19th century there was little but the 'Royal Oak' (licensed by 1743) (fn. 90) on the road to Isleworth, and a few larger houses built when the neighbourhood was popular with the gentry in the 18th century. The only one of these to survive is Worton Hall, which has a good stucco front of c. 1800. There were a few houses in Whitton Dean (the name given to the part of Whitton in Isleworth) by the 17th century.
The main areas of building from the later Middle Ages until the 19th century were to the south of Isleworth town and along the London Road (see plate facing p. 90). The Chapel of All Angels was built on the south side of the bridge at Brentford End about 1446 and almshouses were later erected beside it. (fn. 91) Some of the almshouses seem to have survived the Dissolution, (fn. 92) but the chapel was pulled down during the 16th century and its site became the garden of a house built close by, which was occupied in 1607 by Sir Thomas Savage (created Viscount Savage in 1626). (fn. 93) The house seems to have disappeared after 1635 and the garden was built over. Several inns in Brentford End were mentioned in the 15th century and later, but none of the old signs seems to have survived. (fn. 94) Virtually the only buildings west of Field Lane before the 19th century were the large houses scattered along the road. On the south the house later called Little Syon stood to the east of the present Adam gateway to Syon House. It is said to have been first built in 1592 (fn. 95) and belonged in the 17th century to Sir Richard Wynn, Bt., a courtier and the owner of Wyke manor. (fn. 96) It was bought by the Duke of Northumberland in 1818 and afterwards demolished. (fn. 97) The 'Coach and Horses' (licensed by 1759) (fn. 98) and the group of houses to the west of the Adam gate mark the place where the old road once ran to Isleworth. (fn. 99) Syon Lodge is a late-18th-century house with features brought from elsewhere. On the north of the road, Syon Park House, where Shelley went to school, stood to the east of Syon Lane until it was pulled down in 1953. It was probably built in the early 18th century. (fn. 100) Half-way up Syon Lane the house in the old abbey park was one of the many occupied by gentry in the 17th century, but later became a farm-house. (fn. 101) Across the lane Syon Hill House belonged to the Duke of Buckingham in the late 17th century, but was then probably little more than a farm-house. (fn. 102) It was rebuilt by the Earl of Holdernesse about 1755 as 'an elegant little villa', and a park was laid out to the south, possibly by 'Capability' Brown. (fn. 103) The house later passed to the Duke of Marlborough (d. 1817), who built an observatory which survived until 1923 though the house had been demolished by 1840. (fn. 104) In the middle of the park (fn. 105) stood a small building from which a conduit flowed to Syon House. Built in the 15th century for Syon Abbey, the conduit building survived into the twentieth. (fn. 106) Wyke House farther north was probably built in the 18th century. (fn. 107) The next large house along the London Road was Spring Grove House at Smallberry Green, which is said to have been in existence in 1645. (fn. 108) Elisha Biscoe, an 18th-century owner, had a good deal of land in Heston and Norwood. (fn. 109) The house was occupied from 1791 by Sir Joseph Banks, P.R.S. (1743-1820), (fn. 110) and later belonged to Henry Pownall, who played a prominent part in Hounslow affairs, (fn. 111) and then to Andrew Pears, the soap manufacturer. (fn. 112) It is now used as a grammar school, but has been rebuilt and altered many times.
In 1635 Hounslow contained very few houses outside the High Street. The town extended from just west of the track (now Kingsley Road) over Lampton Field as far as the manor-house and chapel, where the main roads forked. (fn. 113) Five inns are marked on Glover's map: the 'King's Head' (on or near the site of the modern 'Red Lion'), the 'Rose' (on or near the site of the 'Prince Regent') the 'Wheel' (possibly near the site of the 'Mail Coach'), the 'Swan' (on or near the site of 'Henekey's'), and the 'George' behind it. The 'Wheel', as the 'Katherine Wheel', was in existence in 1481, and it, the 'Rose', and the 'Swan', with two others not named by Glover, were there in 1540. (fn. 114) Seventeenth-century references to half a dozen more inns have been found. (fn. 115) Fourteen were marked in the inclosure awards of 1818, and there were seven more in 1851. (fn. 116) There are a few pre-19th-century buildings in the town, of which nos. 115-19 on the south side of the High Street and no. 86 on the north were probably built in the late 17th or early 18th century. (fn. 117)
Most of the houses of Isleworth village lay in 1635 round the two squares, North and South Streets, Church Street, and the nearer part of Twickenham Road (see plate facing p. 90). There were few buildings north of the Duke's River except the church, Rectory, Vicarage, and Dairyhouse. (fn. 118) Porch House (since demolished), by the church, may have appeared soon afterwards. (fn. 119) Within the built-up area there were many gardens, and the houses were widely spaced. The charity school was already in Lower Square, near Town Wharf, and the Moat House still stood between Church Street and North Street on the probable site of the old manor-house. (fn. 120) Lord Grey of Warke (d. 1674) occupied a house on the south side of Swan Street and had recently enlarged its garden by diverting part of the road. (fn. 121) His house probably belonged to Sir Thomas Ingram (fn. 122) in the middle of the 17th century and later passed to the Earls of Shrewsbury who built a Roman Catholic chapel in its outbuildings. James Gibbs (1682-1754) is known to have designed a villa at Isleworth for the Earl of Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury House, as it was called, was pulled down in the early 19th century. (fn. 123) Lord Grey was not the only member of the aristocracy to live in Isleworth in the 17th century: the large houses built near the London Road have already been noted, and from the 16th century an increasing number of the upper and middle classes were attracted to the village itself and to the riverside nearby, until, in the early 19th century, 'the beautiful scenery on both banks of the river' was 'adorned with elegant mansions and villas'. (fn. 124) The site of the main building of Nazareth House (i.e. the southerly of the two present chief buildings) was occupied in 1635, but the road then ran between it and the river, and there were other houses farther north. The present building, formerly called Isleworth House, seems to date from about the time of Sir William Cooper, chaplain to George III. It was he who in 1833 had Richmond Road diverted to its present (1958) course. At the same time or shortly before, the few houses south of Swan Street were demolished together with several at the Railshead, and their sites became part of the grounds. (fn. 125) Before this there had been a wharf and a pottery at the Railshead as well as the little group of houses which continued to stand by the 'Coach and Horses'. (fn. 126)
In 1635 there were only two houses to the south of the Railshead. A later house on the site of the northerly one was called Gordon House, from a 19thcentury owner. (fn. 127) Another owner was T. C. Haliburton (1796-1865), the author of Sam Slick. (fn. 128) He was followed by the 2nd Earl of Kilmorey (d. 1880), who rebuilt the house in 1867. (fn. 129) It was afterwards used as a girls' home by the London School Board and then became part of the Royal Naval School and passed with the rest of their property to the Maria Grey Training College. (fn. 130) The other 17th-century house was a school kept by Thomas Willis, a grammarian. (fn. 131) It was rebuilt or altered by James Lacy, Garrick's co-lessee at Drury Lane, and was later occupied by Sheridan. It was rebuilt about the 1830's by the first Marquis of Ailsa (d. 1846) and named St. Margaret's. The grounds were also extended to include the part of Twickenham Park in Isleworth parish and Richmond Road was slightly diverted away from the house. (fn. 132) Twickenham Park was the old park of Isleworth manor, but had been a separate estate since the 16th century, with a house on the parish boundary. This had been demolished about 1805 and the estate had been broken up. (fn. 133) Ailsa's house was replaced in 1853 by one built for the 2nd Earl of Kilmorey. (fn. 134) He never lived there, and in 1856 it became the home of the Royal Naval School, who later called it Kilmorey House. They retained the name of Gordon House for Lord Kilmorey's other house next door, which has already been mentioned. (fn. 135) St. Margaret's or Kilmorey House was bombed in 1940 and the school moved away. Gordon House and the site of St. Margaret's were taken over in 1949 by the Maria Grey Training College, and the Middlesex education committee have added several new buildings for the college. (fn. 136)
In Isleworth itself, though there was no very great expansion in the area of building, more houses were erected during the 17th and 18th centuries. John Broad, who worked the Brazil Mill in the 16th century, lived in a house in the south angle of Twickenham Road and North Street. It was later rebuilt and called Silver Hall. After it had been pulled down at the beginning of the 19th century a house of the same name was built on the other side of North Street: (fn. 137) this had also gone by 1958. There was a house on the site of Gumley House (now part of a Roman Catholic convent) in Twickenham Road by 1635, but the oldest part of the present building dates from about 1700. At this period it was rebuilt or altered by John Gumley, a glass manufacturer and cabinet maker, for whom James Gibbs is known to have supplied designs. (fn. 138) Before the side wings were raised in the 19th century the house consisted of a central block of two stories and attics, flanked by single-story wings and approached by a colonnaded forecourt. (fn. 139) William Pulteney, Earl of Bath (d. 1764), who married one of Gumley's daughters, is said to have occupied the house later. (fn. 140) George I's mistress the Duchess of Kendal (d. 1743) had a house farther north: (fn. 141) it was opened in 1750 as a public breakfasting house, with dancing, orchestras in the garden, and fishing in the lake. It had been pulled down by 1795. (fn. 142)
Virtually all the pre-18th-century buildings in existence in 1937 (fn. 143) have since been demolished. The Ingram almshouses and the church tower are the only survivors which are known to have been erected before 1700. Van Gogh House and Richard Reynolds House date from the early 18th century, (fn. 144) together with Gumley House, which has already been mentioned. Most of the remaining 18th- and early-19thcentury buildings are in Church Street, where, with the 'London Apprentice' and the ruined church, they form an attractive riverside group. The 'London Apprentice' itself and the 'George' were both built in the 18th century: none of Isleworth's present inn-signs have been traced back before then. (fn. 145)
After the inclosure of 1818 houses began to be built in some numbers on the heath where the cavalry barracks had already been erected in 1793. (fn. 146) Hounslow chapel and manor-house were pulled down in the early 19th century, and the same period saw the destruction of several old houses in Isleworth. (fn. 147) A large workhouse was built in the Twickenham Road for Brentford Union about 1839. It was pulled down in 1902, and the site and the surrounding area are occupied by the West Middlesex Hospital, which was first opened as an infirmary attached to the workhouse in 1896. (fn. 148) In neither town, however, did the real changes begin before the coming of the railway.
Topography Since 1849.
In 1849 the Windsor, Staines & South Western Railway opened their loop line from Barnes to Feltham (now part of the Southern Region) as far as Smallberry Green (now Isleworth) Station. In the following year the loop was completed through Hounslow Station. (fn. 149) A third station at Syon Lane was opened after the Great West Road was built. (fn. 150) The Western Region goods line down the Isleworth side of the Brent valley, with a terminus at Brentford docks, was opened in 1859. Passenger trains ran on it from 1860 to 1915 and from 1920 to 1942. In 1942 the station at Brentford End was closed. The goods station to the north of the Great West Road was opened in 1929. (fn. 151) The Hounslow and Metropolitan Railway (now the District line of the Underground) was opened in 1883 with a station at Thornbury Road and its terminus on the site of the present bus garage in Hounslow High Street. (fn. 152) In 1884 the line was extended to Hounslow Barracks so that the terminus was left on a spur line. (fn. 153) This was closed when a new station in Kingsley Road was opened in 1909, and in 1925 the names of the three Hounslow stations were changed from Hounslow Town, Heston-Hounslow, and Hounslow Barracks to Hounslow East, Hounslow Central, and Hounslow West. (fn. 154) The Piccadilly line along the same route was opened in 1933 and in 1934 the Thornbury Road station was replaced by the present Osterley Station, designed by S. A. Heaps and Charles Holden, in the Great West Road. (fn. 155) The London United Tramways extended their line from Kew Bridge to Hounslow in 1901 and to Barrack Road and along the Twickenham Road in 1902. (fn. 156) In 1935 trolley buses replaced the trams. (fn. 157) The first motor buses probably ran in 1912. There were then two routes, between Herne Hill and Isleworth and between Harlington, Hounslow, and Staines. (fn. 158)
In 1862 Kelly's Directory, while noting how Isleworth had declined in fashion when the court left Kew and when some of the town's old mansions were pulled down in the beginning of the century, foresaw an immense increase in population there and considered that Hounslow was already a favourable residence for gentlemen connected with the metropolis. The area round the stations was certainly being laid out for building and some houses were going up, but not at the speed attained in some Middlesex suburbs. (fn. 159) In no decade of the 19th century were more than 700 new houses built in the two parishes together. (fn. 160) This may have been partly because of the competition for land from the marketgardeners, (fn. 161) but the chief reason was perhaps that most of the new estates were designed for the middle classes, who failed to come in the expected numbers. Fifteen years after the railway was opened the houses of Hounslow were still restricted to the main roads and one or two side roads, and none at all had been built to the south of the station. Spring Grove was one of the most ambitious middle-class projects, and is said to have been chiefly designed for retired army officers. (fn. 162) It was laid out in the early 1850's, a church was built in 1856, and in the same year the rapid rise of the district was noted as a remarkable result of the new railway system. (fn. 163) The good beginning was soon over: by 1865 only a few villas, including Thornbury House (now Campion House), where H. D. Davies, the promoter of the estate, lived, stood in their gardens along the roads round the church, though there was a rather larger number in the Grove. Very few houses of the original type were added to the estate later and though a number of retired soldiers seem to have lived there at first, the failure of the project was implicitly acknowledged in 1888. (fn. 164) Close by, the International College (opened in 1867) represented another plan which never fulfilled the original hopes: the building, which was in the Gothic style, was taken over in 1890 by the Borough Road Training College. (fn. 165) To the south of Spring Grove (now Isleworth) Station, Woodlands was a slightly humbler version of Spring Grove: the houses had gardens but many were semi-detached. It was first developed at about the same time (fn. 166) but managed to sustain its progress more steadily later. It received its church just after Spring Grove. (fn. 167) The third big middle-class estate was at St. Margaret's. Lord Ailsa's estate on the borders of Isleworth and Twickenham came on the market probably about 1853-6. (fn. 168) By 1865 the roads were laid out but there were few houses. By the end of the century the estate was almost fully built over, probably because of the attractions of the river. Its success was, however, evidently not great enough to encourage expansion of the original area, and when Lord Kilmorey's land to the north and west came on the market after his death in 1880 (fn. 169) it was covered with semi-detached or terraced houses closely packed in smaller streets. There had been some other building of this nature in old Isleworth in the fifties and sixties, and a little later there was more to the north of Woodlands and round Hounslow. (fn. 170)
Though the area round Hounslow Station filled up as the century advanced, it was not until the very end that there were any houses to speak of to the south of the station. North of the High Street the Bulstrode estate was laid out in 1881, (fn. 171) and the Metropolitan and District Railway arrived in 1883. (fn. 172) This gave some impetus to building and may have promoted the returning prosperity attributed to Spring Grove in 1888: this seems to have extended only to the occupation of existing houses, not to the building of new ones. (fn. 173) When the trams came in 1901 and the District line was electrified in 1905 (fn. 174) the growth began to reach a new pace and smaller semidetached houses began to surround the original Spring Grove estate. About 2,000 new houses were built in the first decade of the 20th century, (fn. 175) mostly around Hounslow and Isleworth. Heston, Sutton, Lampton, and the Syon Hill area remained practically unchanged between the early 19th century and the building of the Great West Road. This was opened in 1925, cutting through the north end of Spring Grove and the hamlet of Lampton, but otherwise crossing virtually open country. The Great South West Road, completing the by-pass to the Staines Road and running for part of its course along an existing track (Dockwell Lane), was opened at the same time. (fn. 176) The result was immediate, and within ten years large factories lined the road east of Syon Lane (see plate facing p. 101), while semidetached houses ran along it farther west and along the many new roads which were laid out on each side as far as the junction with the Bath Road. Elsewhere building spread out from the older areas, while at North Hyde it continued to advance into the borough from Norwood. Between 1921 and 1931 over 8,000 new houses and flats were built, nearly doubling the total number in the district, and by 1951 a further 11,000 had been added. (fn. 177) Since then building has continued and has filled up much of the unused land in the west of the borough, around Cranford, the Great South West Road, and Green Lane. Much of this has been done by the council, (fn. 178) while estates of 204 houses and flats at Hounslow West and of 222 at North Hyde Lane have been built for workers at London Airport by the British Airways Staff Housing Society. (fn. 179)
Meanwhile there has been much rebuilding in the old village areas. In Heston some buildings round the church in Heston Road survive from before the 20th century but the rest of the village has been virtually rebuilt. (fn. 180) There are also a few pre-20th-century buildings in Sutton, Lampton, and Brentford End. Some are scattered along the London, Staines, and Bath Roads, and in Hounslow High Street. The addition of new shop-fronts in High Street, however, gives it a predominantly 20th-century appearance. Treaty Road forms a small municipal centre, with the town hall, library, and public baths, all built in 1905. (fn. 181) The town hall in particular, with its elaborate entrance feature of terra cotta and glazed tiles, is typical of its period. On the outskirts of old Hounslow are the electricity generating station (1904) (fn. 182) in Bridge Road, and the Hounslow Hospital (1912) and the Butchers' Charitable Institution (1922) in the Staines Road. (fn. 183) Much of old Isleworth was demolished before the Second World War, more was bombed during it, and yet more pulled down afterwards. (fn. 184) In 1951 some 30 acres here were designated a 'comprehensive redevelopment area', (fn. 185) but in 1958 the rebuilding was only beginning: the area between Lower Square and North Street was still empty of buildings but some flats had just been built in the largest gap in South Street.
Of the remaining open land, a smaller amount than hitherto was used by 1958 for gardening, which the uncertainty of building prospects and the high price of labour locally had rendered less profitable. (fn. 186) The Osterley estate, except for the part reserved as parkland and for the part used as a golf-course, was still agricultural land. (fn. 187) The Wyke Green Golf Club (founded 1928) occupied some 90 acres to the east of Syon Lane. (fn. 188) South of it, much of the remaining open land behind the factories was used as sports grounds. Wyke Green itself, though reduced to a few acres, still lay open and unfenced. The park at Syon House covered some 70 acres. The military exercise ground on Hounslow Heath had not been used for this purpose for many years. (fn. 189) Most of it lay waste and part was being excavated for gravel. The heath had served as an airfield for a short time after the First World War. (fn. 190) In 1919 the first commercial London-Paris service was operated from here and the first aircraft to fly from Europe to Australia took off from here, but in 1920 the airport was transferred to Croydon. (fn. 191) Heston Air Park was opened in 1929 for private flying and was extended to cover 105 acres in 1934. After being acquired by the government in 1937 it was again extended in 1939 to cover nearly all the land north of Cranford Lane. By 1947 it was no longer used for flying and most of it was given over to gravel-working. (fn. 192) The aircraft and kindred factories round its perimeter, however, which had already played their part in creating a demand for housing, continued to function after the airfield had closed. Another large area is covered by the sewage works at Mogden which were opened by the urban district on 22½ acres in 1886 and have since been expanded to cover nearly all the land between Worton and the Twickenham Road. (fn. 193) The borough council had some 200 acres of parks and recreation grounds in 1958. (fn. 194) There are also two or three cemeteries, none of them large.
The district has become involved in national history chiefly through the presence of the heath and the main road. The mustering and reviewing of armies on the heath is discussed elsewhere, (fn. 195) and it would be impossible to list the famous people who have passed through Hounslow. A large number of notabilities have also lived in Isleworth and some of them, including the owners of Syon and Osterley and other large estates, some of the clergy of the parishes, and several persons connected with local schools, are mentioned elsewhere in this article. (fn. 196) The event which was said in 1909 to have stirred the district most in the preceding 50 years was the suicide of a local doctor, which occasioned the 'Whitmarsh riots' of 1883 when his partner's windows at Albemarle House (now demolished) were broken. (fn. 197)