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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ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY.
Little is known of the value of the manors. In 1324 Southall manor was conveyed to John de Stonore with a rent of 14s. in Harrow, (fn. 1) and in 1433 the manor was said to consist of a house, a mill, 360 a., and 100s. rents in Hayes, Southall, Northcott, and Harrow. (fn. 2) The same figures are given in 1510, (fn. 3) but in 1547, on the death of Robert Cheeseman, the manors of Southall and Norwood together contained 13 houses, 20 cottages, and 2,200 a. (fn. 4) It is possible that the Dorman's Well estate formed the demesne of Southall manor in the later 16th century; (fn. 5) 80 a. were expressly included in the sale to Agatha Child in 1754, (fn. 6) and 208 a. and a house in the settlement on Francis Child in 1757. (fn. 7)
Before the 16th century the economic identity of Norwood was indistinguishable from that of Hayes, (fn. 8) although there is a mention of Southall East Field in 1387. (fn. 9) In 1553 land in both Northcott and Southall hamlets and in their open fields was held customarily of Hayes manor, (fn. 10) and later in the century orders of the court were made expressly for Norwood. The cottagers were stinted at two cows or a cow and a horse on the common fields, (fn. 11) and cattle were not to be allowed on to the fields before July. Wheat was grown in Northcott, (fn. 12) and at least some sheep were kept. (fn. 13) In 1598 there were four open fields around Southall, North and South fields both being over 200 a., and East and Middle fields being over 100 a. Northcott West and Middle fields were both over 100 a., but the survey breaks off in the middle of the description of Norwood fields. (fn. 14) In the early 17th century peas and beans were grown in the precinct, (fn. 15) and sheep were stinted at the rate of 3 for every 2 a. of fallow. (fn. 16) A survey of c. 1657 shows that 899 a. lay in the open fields, of which all but 218 a. were in Southall open fields. (fn. 17) In the late 18th century the rotation of crops in the open fields was fallow, wheat, and barley or oats and clover, and in the inclosures it was wheat, barley and clover, and turnips. (fn. 18) Four years later the recommended rotation was wheat, beans, and peas; the wheat crop was said to be especially good as it was grown only once in 3 years. (fn. 19) At the end of the 18th century the precinct of Norwood was predominantly arable. The proportions then were: arable 1,354 a., meadow 981 a., waste 25 a. (fn. 20)
By c. 1657 there were 875 a. of inclosures in the precinct, (fn. 21) and inclosure continued to take place. Norwood was inclosed with Hayes under an Act of 1809 by an award of 1814, when 8 open fields amounting to well under 1,000 a. were inclosed. Nearly all the southern half of the precinct was in the hands of the Earl of Jersey, who owned over 966 a. Thomas Parker owned 158 a., John Brett owned 147 a. centred on Waxlow Farm, but the descendant of the lords of the manor, Robert Awsiter, owned only 58 a. (fn. 22) In 1821 there were 4 farms in the Southall Green area, cultivating between them 679 a., most of which was arable. There were no farms in the Norwood area. (fn. 23) Wheat for Uxbridge market was the main crop grown in the 1830s. (fn. 24) By 1842 the area around Norwood was said to be almost entirely pasture, with 180 cattle and 650 sheep; 545 a. produced hay; and of the remainder of the precinct 669 a. were arable, a third of which produced wheat. Other crops grown over a comparatively small acreage were beans, turnips, potatoes, oats, barley, mangel-wurzels, clover, tares, peas, and rye; these accounted for the remainder of the arable land. At this time there was one farm of over 250 a. which permanently employed 14 men, but there was a 'strong prejudice' against the use of modern farming implements due to a 'conscientious though mistaken solicitude' for the labourers' welfare. (fn. 25) In the 1860s there were 737 a. of arable to 1,085 a. of pasture out of a total parish acreage of over 2,460. (fn. 26) Throughout the 19th century there were market gardens in Norwood, and occasionally one in Southall. There were three market gardens at Top Lock in 1912, and one nurseryman was there in 1922. (fn. 27) Fruit was also grown to supply local jam factories. (fn. 28)
It is probable that the mill on the manor of Hayes in 1086, which was then valued at 4s., lay in Norwood, (fn. 29) but there is no further reference to a mill there until 1578 when a water-mill was leased out by Robert Chamberlain, the lord of the manor. (fn. 30) In 1596 the executors of Anne, Lady Dacre, reserved to themselves a water-mill and garden in Norwood and a windmill and one acre, both copyhold of Norwood manor. (fn. 31) There was still a mill in Norwood in 1611, (fn. 32) and in 1673 an overshot mill was said to be situated at Northcott. A Mr. Hamton owned or leased the mills in 1676, (fn. 33) and between 1680 and 1720 various millers were in possession. In 1716 the overshot mill came into the possession of Sir George Cooke, the future lord of the manor of Hayes; (fn. 34) this and the windmill, both corn mills, were offered for sale with the other Cooke property in 1770, (fn. 35) and in 1800 the overshot mill still comprised part of the manorial estate. (fn. 36) At that date it stood, together with a house and other property, at Dorman's Well. (fn. 37) The overshot mill, comprising a mill, house, millpond, and land, was owned by the Earl of Jersey in 1821, (fn. 38) and in the 1860s stood, as before, on Windmill Lane at Dorman's Well. Both mills were then flour mills. (fn. 39) A miller at Norwood is mentioned in 1866, (fn. 40) but by the end of the century the overshot mill had been converted into Mill Farm. (fn. 41) In 1912 the old water-mill on Windmill Lane was called Old Greenford mill, and although most of the machinery had disappeared, the wheelhouse and some of the old mill-stones still survived. The front premises then contained a baker's shop. (fn. 42) The site in 1961 was covered by the West Middlesex Golf Course.
There was a mill on the manor of Southall by 1433. (fn. 43) It was still there in 1496, (fn. 44) and may have been the windmill reserved to Lady Dacre's executors in the lease of 1596, (fn. 45) since in a conveyance of Southall manor in 1597 no mill is mentioned. (fn. 46) The corn windmill was included in the attempted sale in 1770, (fn. 47) and a windmill and Windmill Farm formed part of the Osterley estate in 1806. (fn. 48) Presumably the windmill was the one which Turner painted in 1806; it stood by the Grand Junction Canal (fn. 49) and was still there in 1821. (fn. 50) In the 1860s, however, a windmill seems to have stood in Windmill Lane at Dorman's Well, slightly to the north and on the opposite side of the road from the overshot mill. It had disappeared by the end of the century although its site is marked by an Ordnance Survey triangulation station. (fn. 51) Rocque's map of 1754 shows a mill standing on a small stream running through Osterley Park, on the southern boundary of Norwood parish, between Windmill Lane and the stream's confluence with the Brent. (fn. 52) There is no other record of a mill here, and as the overshot mill is not marked, he may possibly have confused its position. In the 1860s the Norwood Flour Mill stood on the north bank of the Grand Junction Canal immediately west of the bridge on Norwood Road. (fn. 53) It survived as a steam flour mill until about 1900, (fn. 54) and in 1906 was taken over by George Haigh as a plaster-moulding picture-frame factory. Haigh and Sons Ltd. still occupied the mill in 1961. (fn. 55)
In 1698 William III granted a Wednesday cattle market and two fairs a year to a local landowner, Francis Merrick of Southall. The fairs were for the exchange of horses, cattle, and grain. (fn. 56) The market was first rated in 1705, (fn. 57) and appears to have remained in the Merrick family until the early 19th century. In 1805 William Welch bought a lease of the market and built a market-place for showing the cattle. (fn. 58) The market-place occupied 3 a. at Southall in 1806 (fn. 59) and in 1816 was said to be inferior only to Smithfield for the sale of fat cattle. (fn. 60) By 1843 the market had increased the value of the neighbouring land which was used for grazing. The coming of the Great Western Railway, however, caused much local discontent, as it forced down the market prices by introducing West Country sheep and cattle. (fn. 61) The market further declined during the 1850s, and in 1860 a Bill, later abandoned, to establish a new cattle market at Southall was introduced in Parliament. (fn. 62) By 1869 the market had been transformed into a general, in place of a stock, market and was still losing ground to the London markets. (fn. 63) Cattle were still sold there in 1876, (fn. 64) but in 1910 Southall market was again said to be declining. (fn. 65) Leases of the market and market-house survive for the later 19th century. (fn. 66) In 1880 the premises covered just over 3 a. and were let together with another 69 a. (fn. 67) In 1929 a weekly livestock, poultry, corn, straw, and potato auction was held at Southall. This handled about 12,000 head a year, mainly of pigs. At that date it was the only livestock and poultry market in the county, and was held in both covered and uncovered premises by the owners, Steel Bros. of Southall. There was also a daily market for general retail produce, which was owned by S. Green of New Southall market. (fn. 68) In 1961 the Wednesday market was still held for horses, cattle, pigs, carts, and harness, and a general produce, shopping, and stall market was held every Saturday.
As in Hayes the first industry to make its appearance in Norwood was brick-making. As early as 1697 a London tiler and bricklayer, Robert Browne, had bought 3 a. in Bulls Bridge Field, Hayes, and in South Field, Norwood. (fn. 69) That the brick-making industry grew in the 19th century was due to the opening of the Grand Junction Canal in 1796 and of the Paddington Canal five years later. (fn. 70) The industry was slightly later in developing in Norwood than in Hayes and in 1821 there was only one small brick-field near Wolf Bridge. (fn. 71) In 1826 John Nash, the architect and builder, was licensed by Lord Jersey to dig brickearth in East Field, (fn. 72) and apparently he also made his bricks in Norwood. These are said to have been too rough and uneven for anything but thick walls. Nash supplied a great number of bricks for Buckingham Palace and may have sent some from Norwood. (fn. 73) In 1859 a Holborn builder developed a 14-acre brick-field in Norwood, paying Lord Jersey a royalty of 1s. 6d. on every thousand bricks over 2,666,666 a year. He also erected labourers' cottages on the site and built a dock on the canal. (fn. 74) In the 1860s the St. John's parochial school at Southall Green drew most of its pupils from the brick-makers. The school numbers fluctuated, (fn. 75) which may indicate a rapid turn-over of labour, and the speedy working-out of the brickfields. The Southall Brick Co. was in existence by 1874 and three other brick-making firms were centred on the Green in Southall. (fn. 76) At the end of the 19th century a 28-acre brick-field was opened in North Road, Southall, by Thomas Watson and between 1899 and 1901 this produced well over 2 million bricks a year. (fn. 77) A site for a brick-field in Havelock Road was advertised for sale in 1903, (fn. 78) and a brick-field behind Tudor Road was causing such smells in 1906 that there were complaints at a council meeting. (fn. 79) A new brick-field in North Road was let as late as 1910 at 2s. a thousand bricks, (fn. 80) and the East Acton Brick Co. held property at least until 1926. (fn. 81) In the late 19th century some gravel was also extracted. (fn. 82)
Norwood and Southall undoubtedly developed into a primarily industrial area because of their rail and canal communications. Both canals were open by 1802 and by 1816 there was already a large wharf with an extensive trade at Bull's Bridge, (fn. 83) where the Paddington and Grand Junction canals divide. The canal company owned 54 a. in 1821, together with warehouses and wharfs, and at least one factory, producing vitriol, was situated on the canal bank. (fn. 84) Industry did not immediately follow the opening of Southall railway station. (fn. 85) By the 1860s, however, as well as two brick-works and the vitriol factory, there was an oil-works by the canal. (fn. 86) The first gas-works was built near the canal by a private company in 1865. This was dismantled in 1869 by the Brentford Gas Co., which built on the site of the present gas-works immediately north of the railway. Most of the old installations were replaced in 1929-30. (fn. 87) In 1877 the pottery firm of R. W. Martin moved to a derelict soap factory on the canal bank at Southall. The four Martin brothers built a kiln and produced their salt-glaze pottery there until the First World War. The last brother died in 1923 and a later attempt to revive the business met with no success. The kiln was destroyed by fire in 1942. (fn. 88) In 1961 the Southall Library had a fine collection of Martin ware.
In the late 19th century the oil-works was turned over to chemicals and extended. (fn. 89) In 1893 a vast margarine factory on Margarine Road, afterwards Bridge Road, was opened by a Dane, Otto Mönsted. This factory was served by new railway sidings and a branch to the canal. (fn. 90) It later came under the Unilever group, and in 1961 the buildings were used by Thomas Wall's, a member of the Unilever combine, for storage. (fn. 91) In 1894 a factory to employ 300 people was about to be built (fn. 92) and a firm making picture-frame mouldings was opened in Norwood Mill in 1906. (fn. 93) By 1914 there were also factories producing jam, chemicals, wallpaper, paints, and telephones, as well as an engineering works. All these were situated on Rubastic Road, Scott's Road, and Johnson Street. (fn. 94) Kearley & Tonge opened their jam and marmalade factory on Brent Road in 1913, and later extended their business to include a great number of other foods. In 1961 the labour force numbered about 700, although it had occasionally reached 1,000. (fn. 95)
Other large firms which came to Southall after the First World War included the Crown Cork Co. Ltd., making bottle closures, which was established in Southall in 1922. In 1961 the firm had a labour force of about 600. (fn. 96) The heavy vehicle construction firm of A.E.C. Ltd. opened its main Southall factory, employing approximately 2,000 people, in 1927. Subsequently the company steadily enlarged its site, which lies off Windmill Lane and between the two railway lines, until in 1961 it employed about 5,000 people and was the largest single employer of labour in Southall. Its products include omnibuses for London Transport and other concerns, coaches, trucks, and lorries of all varieties. (fn. 97) The 1930s saw the establishment of two more large firms, that of Taylor Woodrow, the building contractors, in 1930 and of Quaker Oats in 1936. Taylor Woodrow first came to the area with the building of an estate of over 1,000 houses at Grange Park, Hayes, and set up its headquarters in Adrienne Avenue, Southall, on the banks of the Paddington Canal. New buildings were opened on the same site in 1954, 1958, and 1960, and a staff of 1,300 was employed there in 1961. (fn. 98) Quaker Oats, producing cereals, pig, and poultry foods, opened its works in 1936 in a building formerly belonging to the Maypole Dairy Co. Expansion after 1945 included a 20,000-ton grain silo, the grain being brought from the docks mainly by canal. (fn. 99) Other large firms in the borough include the building and engineering contractors, George Wimpey & Co. Ltd., who have a repair and maintenance depot on Lancaster Road, Southall, where over 400 people are employed, (fn. 100) and G. C. Cross & Co. Ltd., a sand, gravel, and building haulage firm which started in 1919 in a yard behind the 'White Hart' in Southall High Street. The firm prospered from work on the Wembley Exhibition of 1924 and moved to larger premises, first in Sussex Road and then to Uxbridge Road. In 1961 it employed over 100 people. (fn. 101) Ease of communication by water and rail, rather than by road, attracted many of these firms, most of which are situated along the railway or the canal.
In 1951 industrial premises covered over 228 a. in Southall and 56 per cent. of the employed population was occupied in vehicle and food production, or in the provision of gas, water, and electricity. (fn. 102) By 1961 firms owning premises in Southall covered a wide range of products, including paints and lacquers, steel radiators, engineering and electrical equipment (including radios and televisions), photocopying machinery, films for the Independent Television Authority, braille apparatus, packaging materials, and chemical engineering products of pure and commercial acids. There were also timber importers, joiners, sawmills, and building firms. (fn. 103)
Three newspapers were started in the late 19th century: the Southall News, which was published between 1885 and 1888; (fn. 104) the Southall Guardian, published between 1894 and 1895 and then incorporated in the Middlesex and Surrey Express; and the Southall-Norwood Gazette, published between 1894 and 1923, when it was continued as the West Middlesex Gazette. Another Southall News and the Southall Post were both published for the first time in 1954. (fn. 105) The Southall Local History Society, which publishes a newsletter, was founded in 1958. (fn. 106)
There was a friendly society with 48 members in 1803, (fn. 107) and in 1830 the Union Society had its registered meeting place at the 'Red Lion', Southall. (fn. 108) A friendly society met at the 'Wolf' at Norwood Green in 1846, (fn. 109) and in the 1870s and 1880s at least two masonic lodges were registered in Southall, the Gooch lodge meeting at the Prince Alfred Hotel and the Jersey lodge at the Coffee Tavern. (fn. 110) The working men's club in Featherstone Road was open by 1912 and a social club, the Conservative Association, and the Tariff Reform League were all established by 1922. (fn. 111) The Southall-Norwood Ratepayers' Association, which was non-political but 'definitely antiSocialist', existed in 1932 (fn. 112) and by 1939 had been joined by the Labour Club and Institute on the Broadway. (fn. 113) The oldest sports club in the parish is probably the Southall Football Club, which was founded in 1871 and joined the Athenian League in 1919-20. (fn. 114) The first football ground was in North Road but since 1906 the club has used its present ground in Western Road. (fn. 115) A Norwood cricket eleven played on the Green in 1876, (fn. 116) and the Southall Cricket Club was founded in 1887. After various moves from its original ground in Red Lion Fields, opposite the 'Red Lion', the club finally moved to Durdans Park in 1956. (fn. 117) There is a reference to the Workmen's Cricket Club, which also played on Norwood Green, in 1894. (fn. 118) A lawn tennis club was established by 1898, (fn. 119) and the West Middlesex Golf Club in 1890. (fn. 120) The Southall Electric Theatre opened in 1910; it was later known as the Gem cinema and, after being rebuilt in 1929, as the Century. (fn. 121) The Dominion cinema was opened in 1935 (fn. 122) and the Odeon in 1936. (fn. 123) The greyhound racing stadium in Havelock Road was opened by 1939. (fn. 124)