A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.
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NORWOOD INCLUDING SOUTHALL
In 1961 the area of the civil parish of Norwood was conterminous with that of the municipal borough of Southall, (fn. 1) which is now part of the London Borough of Ealing. (fn. 2) Before 1859, however, the whole area of Norwood formed part of the ancient parish of Hayes, being an ecclesiastically dependent chapelry called the precinct of Norwood. (fn. 3) Norwood formed that part of Hayes parish lying east of the Yeading Brook and the Paddington Canal, and was bounded by Heston on the south and Hanwell and Greenford to the east and north respectively. In 1859 the precinct was created a separate parish, thus formalizing the distinction between Hayes and Norwood that had been apparent from the Middle Ages. Because of this de facto division between Hayes and Norwood it has been found more convenient to present a separate account of each area. In this article references to the parish of Hayes concern that part of Hayes ancient parish lying to the west of the Yeading Brook and the Paddington (later the Grand Union) Canal.
In the 1860s Norwood covered an area of 2,461 a. (fn. 4) On the western side the boundary ran south down the Paddington Canal and the Yeading Brook. Turning eastward it followed the canal, Western Road, and Clifton Road and, crossing the north end of Osterley Park, ran through the lake to the Brent. After turning north up the river it ran west across former open fields, turning north again up the line of the modern Allenby Road and finally west again to the canal, just south of Ruislip Road. (fn. 5) In 1894 the southern boundary of Norwood was altered to include that area of Heston which lay north of the canal, (fn. 6) so that the southern boundary was formed by the canal as far as Norwood Mill. This increased the area of the civil parish to 2,545 a. Other minor boundary changes involved the transfer of 30 a. to Heston and Isleworth in 1934 and, in 1936, a gain of one acre from Heston and Isleworth, 60 a. from Ealing, and less than one acre from Hayes. (fn. 7) The area administered by the Borough of Southall in 1961 was 2,608 a., (fn. 8) which covered approximately 2½ miles from east to west and 3¼ miles from north to south.
The parish is predominantly flat and nowhere rises to more than 50 feet above sea level. The soil in the north is heavy London Clay, but south of Uxbridge Road light loam and gravel predominate. (fn. 9) The parish is watered by the Yeading Brook on the western boundary, and by the River Brent in the east. A small stream also flows along part of the southern boundary in Osterley Park, and drains through the lake into the Brent. The Brent was bridged before 1396, when the bridge was ruinous. (fn. 10) In the 18th century repair of the bridge was said to be the joint responsibility of the lord of the manor and the Bishop of London as lord of the adjacent manor of Hanwell. In 1762 the Uxbridge turnpike trustees repaired it, and by 1815 the county had assumed responsibility. Batford Bridge, which crossed the Yeading Brook between Hayes and Southall, was widened in 1755 and rebuilt in 1800 by the turnpike trustees. In 1826, however, repair was charged to the lord of the manor. (fn. 11)
The early history of Norwood parish is inextricably connected with that of Hayes. (fn. 12) Although it was not mentioned in 1086, the church, and presumably the settlement, existed by the 12th century. (fn. 13) The church stood in the centre of the southernmost part of the parish, almost on the southern boundary. Southall is mentioned in 1274, (fn. 14) and in 1384 the names of 'Dormoteswell' (Dorman's Well) and Northcott both occur in a court roll. (fn. 15) It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that all three of the later hamlets of Norwood, i.e. Norwood, Southall, and Northcott, were settled by the 14th century, and probably much earlier. The exact position of the hamlets is uncertain before the late 16th century, when Northcott lay on the main Uxbridge road, round the junction of South Road and High Street. (fn. 16) Southall in the mid 17th century appears to have been the area later known as Southall Green, centring on King Street and the Green. (fn. 17) In 1573 Northcote Field and Northcote Oaten Field are mentioned, (fn. 18) and Southall Street is mentioned in 1580. (fn. 19) The survey of Hayes, carried out between 1596 and 1598 for Roger, Lord North, the lord of the manor, although incomplete, includes part of Norwood. At this date Northcott consisted of at least 14 houses and 7 cottages, all situated on the south side of the main road and surrounded by 45 a. of inclosures. Further inclosures lying on the south side of the main road amounted to 277 a. Another 242 a. of inclosed land at Northcott had been owned principally by Anne, Lady Dacre, the owner of Dorman's Well, which therefore may have lain on the north side of the road. Nothing, however, is known of settlement on the north side of the road at this date. Southall consisted of 19 houses, none of which is described as a cottage, surrounded by 35 a. of inclosed land. The chief property owners in Southall were the Child family, Robert Millett, and Francis Awsiter. There were four open fields around Southall: South Field (229 a.), North Field (201 a.), East Field (139 a.), and Middle Field (118 a.). (fn. 20) All these presumably occupied the positions they held in the 19th century, when all but East Field lay in the area between the Yeading Brook and Southall Green, with Uxbridge Road on the north. East Field lay between Southall Green and Tentelow Lane. (fn. 21) Southall manor-house, in 1961 the property of the borough council and occupied by the public health department, was built in 1587 and is the only surviving ancient dwelling of importance in the parish. (fn. 22)
A Norwood field is mentioned c. 1600, (fn. 23) but Norwood is again omitted from the survey compiled c. 1657. Northcott then consisted of 4 houses and 27 cottages, four of which were inns, (fn. 24) while Southall comprised 12 houses and 10 cottages. A lane led north from Northcott to Northolt, and other lanes mentioned are Long Lane, leading to Southall, and Butts Lane, Southall Lane, and Southall Street, all in Southall. Northcote West Field (122 a.) and Middle Field (95 a.) are both mentioned. The Southall fields occupied almost the same acreage as in 1598. On the north side of the main road were over 116 a. of inclosures at Northcott, and further north still Dorman's Well was entirely inclosed with 177 a. Wexleys and the Common Down provided another 87 and 71 a. of inclosures. (fn. 25) At this date, therefore, much of the east side of the parish was inclosed, while the open fields lay to the west. Watermill Lane, passing through the parish from Greenford to Brentford, is mentioned in 1731, (fn. 26) but by 1754 it was called Windmill Lane (fn. 27) and by 1961 the part in Norwood had been enlarged into the Greenford Road. The upper portion of it, however, was still called Windmill Lane.
During the 18th century the names of the hamlets seem to have changed gradually. In 1754, when the first detailed map covering the parish was published, Northcott formed the settlement on the north side of Uxbridge Road around North Road and opposite South Road; Southall was then said to compromise the houses on the south side of the main road. There was a large settlement round Southall Green, which was not identified, and Norwood Road led only to Norwood, which was grouped on and round Norwood Green and on the south side of Tentelow Lane. This lane continued to Heston. North Road and Dormer's Wells Lane were both in existence and Allenby Road ran in its present position up the eastern boundary. A lane in the approximate position of Cornwall Avenue led to Wexley, a large farm. There were a few houses at Mount Pleasant, and on the main road and east of Windmill Lane, which was called Chivy Chase. The field pattern of the parish was much the same as it was a century earlier, except for East Field which ran from Havelock Road (a field lane) across to Tentelow Lane. (fn. 28) By the end of the 18th century well over half the parish was arable, and the names of the hamlets were becoming final. There were 56 houses in Northcott alias Southall, 40 in Norwood village, and 33 in Southall Green. (fn. 29) Norwood Lodge, a late-18th-century house in Tentelow Lane, survives from about this time.
The appearance of the parish was altered by the cutting in 1796 of the Grand Junction Canal. This ran through the southern part of Norwood, through part of Heston, and then north-east between Norwood and Southall Green approximately parallel with Tentelow Lane until it crossed Windmill Lane. It turned east to the Brent, whose line it followed south to the Thames. In 1801 the Paddington Canal was opened. This left the Grand Junction Canal at Bull's Bridge in Norwood, and ran northward through the parish parallel to the Yeading Brook, and formed, to the north, part of the western boundary. Norwood was inclosed under the Hayes Inclosure Act of 1809, but the award was not made until 1814, when under 1,000 a. were inclosed. Roads and settlements had altered very little at this date. Norwood Road, then called Wolf Lane, had been extended down to Norwood Green where it joined Tentelow Lane (then called Duncot Lane), leading to Heston. Western Road was a small unnamed field lane, leading off Southall Green Lane (now King Street, the Green, and South Road), and another small field lane, Templewood Lane, left Tentelow Lane and ran along the line of Glade Lane. There were 9 farm-houses in the parish, of which one at Frogmore Green, next door to the 'Wolf', was named Manor Farm. (fn. 30) Almost all of the eastern half of the parish was owned by the Earl of Jersey, part of whose park of Osterley extended into the southern portion of Norwood. Two other people, Thomas Parker and John Brett, each owned about 150 a. There were several large houses, one of which was Southall Park, owned by Lord Jersey. (fn. 31) By 1816 wharfs had appeared on the Grand Junction Canal at the junction with the Paddington Canal at Bull's Bridge. Grouped round the triangular Green at Norwood were many 'respectable villas' of an 'ornamental character'. (fn. 32) By the 1960s a number of these in Norwood Road and Tentelow Lane had been replaced by modern buildings; those which survived included Vine Cottage in Tentelow Lane and, in Norwood Green Road, an attached pair of tall three-storied houses known as the Grange and Friars Lawn. Norwood Hall, standing in extensive grounds to the east of Friars Lawn, had been much altered and enlarged in the late 19th century and in 1968 was in use by the Ealing Borough Council as a horticultural institute. It is probable that all three houses were built in 1813. (fn. 33) A few early-19thcentury houses of more modest character have survived at Frogmore Green. In 1821 there were only four farms in Norwood, of which three, Southall Lane, Dormer's or Dorman's Well, and Warren farms, were owned by Lord Jersey. The fourth, Waxlow Farm, (fn. 34) has provided the name for a modern local telephone exchange. By 1834 the houses in the parish were described as mainly labourers' cottages, although labour itself was fairly scarce. (fn. 35)
In the 1830s coaches ran along the turnpike four times a day between Holborn and Uxbridge, (fn. 36) but in 1839 Southall Station on the main G.W.R. line to Slough and the west was opened. (fn. 37) The railway ran through the southern portion of the parish, south of Uxbridge Road. Its most prominent feature, the Wharncliffe Viaduct, although in Norwood parish, has been described in the account of Hanwell. (fn. 38) A branch line from Southall to Brentford was opened to goods in 1859 and to passengers in 1860; passenger services were suspended from 1915 to 1920 and were finally withdrawn in 1942. (fn. 39) The Brentford branch line was one of the last undertakings of I. K. Brunel, who caused three modes of transport to intersect by carrying the railway under the Grand Junction Canal at Windmill Bridge. (fn. 40) During the 1850s brick-making licences frequently included the right to erect labourers' cottages, (fn. 41) and brick-making as an industry spread in the parish, particularly round Southall, during the mid 19th century. (fn. 42) At this time the parish was still predominantly agricultural, (fn. 43) and four farms still existed in the 1860s. (fn. 44)
During the 19th century a feature of Norwood parish was the number of lunatic asylums. The Hanwell Lunatic Asylum (now St. Bernard's Hospital) in Uxbridge Road was opened in 1831 as a county asylum to take 500 people, (fn. 45) under the superintendence of Dr. William Ellis, whose wife was the matron. (fn. 46) Almost immediately the buildings were found to be adequate only for 300 people and by 1833 extensive repairs had had to be undertaken. (fn. 47) In fact repairs, extensions, and rebuilding were carried out continually during the 19th century. (fn. 48) Ellis resigned in 1838 after disagreement with the governors. His successor, Dr. John Conolly, was the first man in England to discontinue the use of all restraining implements on a large scale. (fn. 49) When the hospital was handed over to the London County Council in 1888 under the Local Government Act of that year (fn. 50) it contained 1,891 patients. (fn. 51) Under the 1947 Health Act administration passed to the local hospital board. In 1961 the buildings stood in 74 a. and held approximately 2,200 patients. (fn. 52) The exterior is mainly of yellow brick; there is a high brick wall along Uxbridge Road, where the main entrance consists of an impressive arched gateway flanked by single-story lodges. The earliest quadrangle, dating from 1831, was originally two-storied and has roundheaded windows and a stone pediment. The third floor and basement were opened later. The whole range of buildings was, however, added to repeatedly between 1831 and 1923 and there are also post-1945 additions on the western end of the property adjoining Windmill Lane. (fn. 53) Southall Park, the large house lying just south of the main road and opposite North Road, was owned by Lord Jersey and between 1809 and 1824 was occupied by Dr. John Collins, who kept a school there for foreign Roman Catholic boys. (fn. 54) By 1855 Southall Park had become a private lunatic asylum, (fn. 55) which between 1861 and 1881 had an average of 18 patients. (fn. 56) The house, a 'fine specimen of Queen Anne architecture', (fn. 57) was destroyed by fire in 1883 killing Dr. Boyd, the superintendent, his son William, and 4 patients. (fn. 58) Between 1861 and 1911 there were four other lunatic asylums, Vine Cottage being one for over 30 years, and both the Shrubbery and Featherstone Hall for over 20 years. (fn. 59)
During the later 19th century train services were improved, (fn. 60) and in 1867 horse trams were run by the Southall, Ealing, and Shepherd's Bush Tramway Co. (fn. 61) Electric trams, linking Southall with Shepherd's Bush in 1901 and with Uxbridge in 1904, (fn. 62) were said to be directly responsible for an increase in population. (fn. 63) Trolleybuses, which were introduced in 1931, replaced trams on the main road to Uxbridge in 1936. (fn. 64)
Suburban development started in the last decade of the century. In 1890 there were 960 inhabited houses in the parish and 32 empty ones; by 1894 there was none vacant and a demand for cottages was anticipated owing to the building of a factory. Southall Green was then the most densely populated area. (fn. 65) Widespread development started in 1894, (fn. 66) although in 1904. Southall was still said to have 'a few picturesque houses on the London Road'. (fn. 67) In 1914 the area immediately surrounding the Broadway, bounded on the south by Beaconsfield Road, was built up, as was the area between North Road and Dormer's Wells Lane. The Green and King Street were both built up, (fn. 68) while a line of factories had appeared along the railway. There was extensive building south of Havelock Road, the extension of a lane formerly known as Feder Lane, (fn. 69) but little in Norwood apart from a terrace at Frogmore Green and another nearly opposite the church on Tentelow Lane. (fn. 70) By 1906 the parish was described as 'a manufacturing district'. (fn. 71)
After the First World War development proceeded more slowly, and during the 1920s and 1930s the north-western corner of the parish was built up. This covered Mount Pleasant, where over 700 houses were built between 1926 and 1928, (fn. 72) and the Allenby Road area. By 1940 the area around Lady Margaret Road and between Somerset and Hillside roads was also built up. In Southall Green. Hillary Road and the east end of Havelock Road were developed, and there was also much building immediately north of Norwood Green. (fn. 73) By 1939 the local authority had erected 1,119 houses, and between 1945 and 1958 another 1,003 permanent dwellings were built. (fn. 74) In 1944 the overcrowding and congestion of Southall was described as 'acute' and no more industrial development was recommended. (fn. 75) Another industrial site was planned in 1951. Redevelopment was needed by 1951 for the area west of King Street and north of Western Road, principally for residential purposes and to provide open spaces. (fn. 76) Industry was almost wholly concentrated around Southall and Southall Green, while Norwood Green remained a comparatively open space, with Osterley Park extending on its eastern side. North of Uxbridge Road and east of Dormer's Wells Lane the course of the West Middlesex Golf Club was laid out in 1890. (fn. 77)
There are references to four inns at Northcott in the mid 17th century: the 'Harrow', the 'Walnut Tree', the 'Angel', and the 'Red Lion'. (fn. 78) The 'Angel' still stood in 1715, (fn. 79) while there has been a 'Red Lion' in Northcott or Southall ever since. The 'Plough' is probably the oldest inn in Norwood and incorporates a timber-framed building of the 17th century or earlier. There were eight inns in the parish in 1821. (fn. 80) In 1899 there is a reference to a house at Southall Green which was once called the 'Plough', afterwards the 'King's Head', and finally the 'King of Prussia', which was its name in 1814. (fn. 81)
Before the mid 16th century no population figures are available for Norwood and Southall, as these were included under the manor of Hayes. (fn. 82) In 1547 there were 140 communicants in the precinct of Norwood, (fn. 83) and 137 adult males took the protestation oath in 1642. (fn. 84) In 1653 the poor-rate was assessed on 59 people in Norwood. (fn. 85) Eleven years later 54 houses were charged to hearth tax and 38 were exempted. (fn. 86) In 1673 the poor-rate was levied on 32 people at Norwood and on 24 each at Northcott and Southall, (fn. 87) while hearth tax was rated on 40 houses at Norwood, 29 at Northcott, and 27 at Southall. (fn. 88) In 1801 the population numbered 697. During the remainder of the century the numbers rose steadily. The increase from 1,320 people in 1831 to 2,385 in 1841 is attributable in part to the opening of the Hanwell lunatic asylum, since by 1841 it contained 1,005 inmates. An increase in the population of nearly 2,000 between 1851 and 1861 was partly caused by the establishment of the St. Marylebone parochial school, (fn. 89) and later increases followed the enlargement of the asylum and the spread of brick-making. The sudden rise from 7,896 in 1881 to 13,200 in 1901 was said to be a direct result of the opening of tramways along Uxbridge Road. During the earlier 20th century industrial development caused the population to leap upwards to 30,165 in 1921 and to 55,896 by 1951, although in 1961 it had fallen to 52,983. (fn. 90) Unlike many Middlesex councils, Southall Borough in 1948 reckoned that insured workers accounted for as much as 42.7 per cent. of its population. (fn. 91)
Many Commonwealth immigrants have been attracted to Southall by its light industries. Sikhs, who began to settle in 1953, (fn. 92) accounted for most of the 2,000 immigrants recorded in 1961. Their number rose shortly before the enforcement of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962 and was afterwards increased by arrivals from other parts of the United Kingdom. (fn. 93) In 1963, when racial tension was causing concern, it was thought that there were some 8,000 immigrants in Southall, (fn. 94) and by 1967 the Sikh community was estimated to number about 10,000. (fn. 95)
Norwood and Southall have had few well-known residents, apart from those mentioned elsewhere in this article. William Leybourn, the 17th-century mathematician and compiler of the earliest English ready-reckoner, settled at Northcott; (fn. 96) Josiah Wedgwood is said to have owned Norwood Court; (fn. 97) and the artist and book illustrator Henry Rountree, who died in 1950, lived for a time in Southall. (fn. 98)