A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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In 1086 there was land for 16 ploughs on the manor of Hendon, which was assessed at 20 hides; the lord had three ploughs on his 10 demesne hides and the villeins had another eight, but it was said that the land could support five more. There was also meadow for two oxen, as well as woodland for 1,000 pigs, which yielded 10s. The estate, worth £8 in 1086, had been valued at £12 T.R.E. (fn. 1) A series of farm accounts for the manor begins in 1316, (fn. 2) four years after Westminster abbey resumed direct control, (fn. 3) and a survey was carried out in 1321. (fn. 4) The demesne consisted in 1321 of 469 a. of arable land, 35 a. of meadow, and an unspecified amount of wood, (fn. 5) while the freehold lands amounted to at least four carucates and 759 a. and the copyhold to a further 1,043 a. (fn. 6) The manor of Hodford was not included in the calculations.
In 1318 the chief crops on the demesne were wheat (133 qr.) and oats (102 qr.), while smaller crops included beans and peas. (fn. 7) Rye was grown in 1324. (fn. 8) Animal and dairy farming was less important than arable farming: in 1317 there were 51 cattle and 126 sheep on the demesne, apart from oxen and draught-beasts. (fn. 9) In 1373-4 Westminster made £18 from the sale of corn and malt and £11 from the sale of milk. (fn. 10) There were two fruit gardens in 1321 (fn. 11) and an orchard on All Souls College's estate near Parson Street in 1584. (fn. 12) A pound existed c. 1550 and survived in 1831 at the corner of Brent Street and Finchley Lane. (fn. 13)
As elsewhere in northern Middlesex Hendon later specialized in hay-farming for the London market. The proportion of arable land had declined by the 17th century, although many rents were still paid in wheat and oats in 1574; (fn. 14) in 1630 there were only 40 a. of arable on All Souls College's estate of 219 a., (fn. 15) while on Westminster's Hodford and Cowhouse estate of 423 a. only 20 per cent was arable. (fn. 16) Hodford and Cowhouse farms were both largely given over to hay in 1760 (fn. 17) and Wyldes farm produced only hay in 1800. (fn. 18) By 1798 there were about 300 a. of arable in the parish to 7,700 a. of grass and about 120 a. of wood. (fn. 19) The arable was divided in 1801 between 116 a. sown with beans, 98 a. with wheat, 54 a. with oats, 15 a. with rye, and 13 a. with potatoes. (fn. 20) Local farmers were noted for making compost, (fn. 21) with the result that Hendon's bent grass was thought to be the best in Middlesex. (fn. 22) Although a return to arable farming was advocated in 1801, (fn. 23) the amount of arable continued to dwindle until by 1843 it accounted for only 3 per cent of the whole. (fn. 24) Wheat was still being grown c. 1880, however, in Sunny Hill fields and at Wild Hatch near Golders Green. (fn. 25)
In the early and mid 19th century farm-rents were progressively reduced with the price of hay, (fn. 26) which fell by some 40 per cent between 1845 and 1849. (fn. 27) As suburban building approached, the southern part of Hendon became conveniently placed for dairy farming; (fn. 28) in 1868 there were two substantial dairy farms, Lord Granville's (Hodford) at Golders Green and Mr. Sumpton's nearer Church End. (fn. 29) The farmer at Clitterhouse sent milk to London twice daily in 1879 (fn. 30) and his farm was wholly given over to dairying in 1881, (fn. 31) although by 1887 it was used for breeding cattle and for hay. (fn. 32) Horses were raised on the near-by Cowhouse farm (fn. 33) and in 1890 their breeding and training was widespread; there were several dairy farms and others where sheep were fed for the London market. (fn. 34) Upper Guttershedge farm, sometimes called Brent farm, was being used for growing mushrooms in 1902. (fn. 35)
Economic distress caused a procession of the unemployed to march from the parish pump in Brent Street to the local board offices in the Burroughs in 1887, when a soup kitchen was opened in Hendon House and the vicar provided free meals for the poor. (fn. 36) The spread of housing soon afterwards affected the agricultural value of land in southern Hendon. In 1894 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were forced to accept a lower rent for their estate west of Edgware Road, after the tenant had complained of a drop in the price of hay and of trespassing by visitors to the Welsh Harp. (fn. 37) In 1905 Clitterhouse farm was said to be on the immediate north-western outskirts of London and to be growing less desirable as a dairy farm, since the public broke down fences, although its building value was steadily rising. (fn. 38) It was finally sold in 1921, (fn. 39) and the last farm in the area, Cowhouse or Avenue farm, in 1931. (fn. 40)
Farther north good quality hay remained the staple product of the Mill Hill area until at least 1900. (fn. 41) At the end of the 19th century all the available local men helped to harvest the hay, which was taken daily to Cumberland Market. Extra labourers came from Bedfordshire and Ireland, some 75 being engaged at Moat Mount and the farmer at Lawrence Street undertaking to bring a shipload of Irish men and women to Mill Hill each year. Workers congregated at the Three Hammers, which opened at 6.30 a.m. At Church End a model dairy farm existed near Hinge's farm from 1888, although both had gone by 1970. (fn. 42) Goodhews and Dollis farms were dairy farms in 1925 (fn. 43) but Goodhews was up for auction in 1928 and was later sold for building. The Express Dairy Co. took over Tithe farm, which had become a centre for the distribution of milk by 1931, (fn. 44) and Frith Manor farm, which was being used in 1958 as a rest-home for horses. (fn. 45) Most of the countryside in north Hendon had given way to suburban streets by the Second World War (fn. 46) but the imposition of the Green Belt prevented them from reaching the northern boundary; fields survived north of Mill Hill and Highwood Hill in 1970, including those of Hendon Park farm, which had become a dairy farm by 1937. (fn. 47) In 1956 there was a total of 1,509 a. under crops and grass in the borough of Hendon, including Edgware, of which 851 a. supported grass and 219 a. wheat. Other crops were barley and oats and there were also 576 cattle and 1,374 pigs. (fn. 48)
Even allowing for the exclusion of the manor of Hodford, it is clear that large areas were not under cultivation in 1321. Several fields were of considerable size: there were 121 a. of arable and 15 a. of meadow belonging to the demesne alone in Hillesden, 59 a. of arable and 10 a. of meadow in 'le Brache', and 99 a. of arable and 5 a. of meadow in Broadmead. (fn. 49) Much of the parish was woodland, of which evidence has survived in names like Highwood Hill, Hendon Wood Lane, Cricklewood, and Frith (wooded country). (fn. 50) There was a woodward in 1321, when the lord was entitled to profits from the 'hedgerows' or groves around the fields in the manor, (fn. 51) and hedgerows were still substantial in the 16th century, (fn. 52) suggesting that many fields had been assarted before the first survey. Westminster made considerable profits from the sale of wood: 2,300 faggots were sold in 1321 (fn. 53) and in 1374 the profits were greater than from any other single source apart from rents. (fn. 54) Some wood was reserved by the abbey for its own use and £42 was spent in 1374 on the carriage of logs from Hendon to Westminster; (fn. 55) timber from Hendon may have been used in work on the abbey in the 14th century, (fn. 56) as it undoubtedly was for the building of Hendon Place. (fn. 57) The abbey paid John Nicholl of Highwood Hill in the early 16th century for making laths in Hendon wood (fn. 58) but payments for hedging suggest that other woodland was being cleared at that time. (fn. 59) Over half of All Souls College's estate in Hendon was woodland (fn. 60) and its scattered parcels may well have been bought for their trees; woodland was reserved in leases of 1567 (fn. 61) and 1634 (fn. 62) but in the second grant it was stated that large areas, including Hamonds Land grove, west of Burroughs Lane, and Bush grove, south of Colindeep Lane, were about to be grubbed up. Hodford wood and Beecham grove, which belonged to Westminster, had disappeared by 1649 (fn. 63) but in 1690 the lord still held 100 a. of wood in demesne, which he leased out, (fn. 64) and in 1754 there were two large blocks on the demesne land north of Highwood Hill, called Hyvers Hill and Grimsgate woods. (fn. 65) Frith woods amounted to about 30 a. in 1711 but had dwindled by 1754 and had disappeared by 1796. (fn. 66) Some of the woodland which had formed much of the Clitterhouse estate in the 16th century (fn. 67) survived until 1756, when Clitterhouse wood, north of the farm-house, was to be felled and the land incorporated into neighbouring fields, (fn. 68) but Older hills, one of the woods belonging to All Souls College, survived until after 1798, (fn. 69) when there was about 120 a. of woodland left in the parish. (fn. 70) Part of Westminster's woodland served as a deer-park of 20 a. in 1517, when its formation had not destroyed any arable land or dispossessed any person. (fn. 71) The location of the park is unknown.
In 1086 the demesne of Hendon manor consisted of 10 hides; there were three villein holdings of ½ hide each, seven of a virgate each, and 16 of ½ virgate each, while 12 bordars had holdings amounting together to ½ hide. (fn. 72) The demesne served as a home farm for Westminster from 1312 and was managed by a serjeant or reeve. (fn. 73) At the time of the Black Death Hendon seems to have become a refuge for monks and cattle from abbey manors in the London area. (fn. 74) In 1321 money rents amounted to £44 4s. 4d. (fn. 75) and dues were also paid in wheat, oats, and malt. (fn. 76) Customary labour services were owed at the great reap, the second reap, and the dry reap (drue bedrip); (fn. 77) they included ploughing, harrowing, scything, threshing, and haymaking. (fn. 78) Several of the services had already been commuted, the abbey in 1320 having made 31s. 4d. from the sale of works. (fn. 79) From 1374 until 1416 the demesne, with its meadow, pastures, and customary services, was leased to John atte Hegge. (fn. 80) It was also being leased in 1446 (fn. 81) and again in 1501 when the farmer, Christopher Roper, was imprisoned for non-payment of his arrears of rent, (fn. 82) having prevented the abbot's officers from resuming possession. (fn. 83) A new farmer was appointed in 1505. (fn. 84) The demesne lands had been split up among at least 10 tenants by 1655 (fn. 85) and 17 tenants were recorded in 1690. (fn. 86)
When auctioned in 1756 the demesne lands totalled 1,226 a. (fn. 87) and consisted of two large blocks, one stretching from the Hyde to Parson Street and the other from Highwood Hill to the Hertfordshire border. There were also two isolated fields near Temple Fortune. The lands were divided in 1753 into six large farms, including those later known as Church, Church End, Tithe, and Manor farms, and the demesne in the northern part of the parish, which included the later Barnet Gate farm and the Hendon Park estate, was leased to one man, Abel Brown. The Hendon manorial estate was described by the surveyor, Thomas Browne, as the completest and best in Middlesex; (fn. 88) four of its farms were thought to be well managed and only one poorly, while three of the farm-houses were fit for gentlemen to live in. The location of the demesne lands of the four smaller manors is unknown, although the demesne of Frith and Newhall was mentioned in 1711. (fn. 89)
There were 52 freeholders and 77 copyholders of the manor of Hendon in 1321. (fn. 90) By 1574 there were 84 copyhold tenants and 31 holding in free socage; at least 57 were head tenants but there were also some 'under-setters', who rented their lands from the head tenants. (fn. 91) There were 39 head tenants in 1685, (fn. 92) some of them holding two or more tenements and many belonging to the Nicholl and Marsh families. Most of the copyhold land was in the north of the parish, where modest farm-houses were grouped together in Page Street, Drivers Hill, Mill Hill, Highwood Hill, the southern end of Lawrence Street, and the Hale. (fn. 93) Substantial blocks were formed out of copyhold land during the 18th century (fn. 94) but in some areas, particularly around the Hale, the earlier system persisted in a confusion of small holdings, (fn. 95) in sharp contrast to the large consolidated estates farther south.
A windmill worth 12s. a year existed in 1321 (fn. 96) and may have given its name to 'melnehel' (Mill Hill), mentioned in 1374. (fn. 97) The mill at Mill Hill survived in 1685, when it was held by Robert Crane. (fn. 98) It had disappeared by 1754 but its name was perpetuated by Mill field, (fn. 99) in 1970 a recreation ground on the south side of the Ridgeway. Another windmill, called Goldherd's mill, is said to have stood in the 15th century between Clitterhouse and Cowhouse farms. (fn. 100) The existence of a third mill at some date is suggested by another Mill field south of the Bald Faced Stag on Edgware Road, adjoining Silk stream. (fn. 101)
Markets and fairs.
A fair was reputed to have been held at the Burroughs during Whitsun week in 1697 (fn. 102) but it never obtained a charter. A small fair was still held at the same place c. 1720, (fn. 103) and had degenerated by the end of the 18th century into an occasion for rural sports. (fn. 104)
Trade and industry.
In 1318 116 qr. of malt were made on the demesne and in 1319 a malthouse was recorded. (fn. 105) A brewhouse existed at the Burroughs c. 1530 (fn. 106) and charcoal was made at Clitterhouse grove in 1558. (fn. 107) In 1753 bricks were being made on the waste near Church End Farm and an abandoned brick-kiln stood north of Highwood Hill. (fn. 108) Another brick-kiln, at Golders Green, was shown in a map of 1754 (fn. 109) and at Childs Hill yellow clay was being used for brick-making and blue clay for tile-making and pottery in the early 19th century. (fn. 110) There were 16 brick-makers in Hendon in 1851 (fn. 111) and the Hendon & Finchley Brick & Tile Works was manufacturing in Finchley Lane in 1866, (fn. 112) although the industry died out soon afterwards.
Retail trades in the early 19th century catered for a predominantly rural population; in 1796 there were four carpenters' shops, three blacksmiths', wheelwrights', and butchers', a plumber's, a baker's, and a collar-maker's. (fn. 113) By 1828 a chairmaker had started a business south of the Crown inn at Cricklewood, where a successor was producing 'rustic chairs' in 1855; (fn. 114) a brick-layer owned a shed in 1828 at the corner of Brent Street and Shirehall Lane. (fn. 115) In 1831 162 families were engaged in agriculture and 163 in trade or manufacturing; 177 persons were employed in retail trade or handicraft out of a population of 3,110. (fn. 116) In 1839 there were 53 retail shops and small businesses, including a hairdresser's, a dressmaker's, an auctioneer's, a corn dealer's, and several builders, carpenters, painters and glaziers, while a watch-maker had opened a shop at Golders Green. (fn. 117) In 1855 the 22 retailers in Brent Street, the largest shopping centre, included a tobacconist, an undertaker, a draper, an ironmonger, and a toy dealer. (fn. 118) There were also smaller groups of shops at the Hyde, Mill Hill, Childs Hill, Church End, the Burroughs, and Golders Green. A nurseryman and a seedsman had started business in Brent Street by 1862 (fn. 119) and in 1863 there were also two nurseries at Mill Hill and one at Childs Hill. (fn. 120) A large brewery at the Hyde, later known at Hendon Brewery, was first recorded in 1862 (fn. 121) and there was another brewery at Highwood Hill in 1870, which closed soon afterwards. (fn. 122) The Hendon Co-Operative Society was founded in 1874 and had 1,944 members in 1914; it was transferred to the London Co-Operative Society in 1925. (fn. 123) By 1886 there were 11 laundries at Childs Hill, (fn. 124) presumably catering for Hampstead, where several small-scale domestic concerns were still open in 1935. (fn. 125)
The opening of the Midland Railway's main line to St. Pancras in 1868 did little to stimulate industry until shortly before the First World War. At the marshalling yard of Brent sidings goods from the north were sorted, (fn. 126) Childs Hill engine-shed was used in 1897 for repairing engines, (fn. 127) and carriage sidings were later built near by. In 1970 the marshalling yard lay derelict but a depot for diesel trains occupied part of the site. The Express Dairy Co. opened a bottling factory in Claremont Road, adjoining Cricklewood station, in the late 19th century (fn. 128) and was still there in 1970.
The Pyramid Night Light Works was established at Childs Hill by 1886. (fn. 129) The Courier Co., steam printers, were operating in Brent Street in 1890. (fn. 130) Schweppes began to make soft drinks at West Hendon in 1896, on a site chosen near an artesian well and because of its proximity to Edgware Road and the Midland Railway; (fn. 131) in 1970 the factory, one of the largest of its kind, held almost 700 employees. By 1902 Best & Co., portmanteaux manufacturers, had opened in Brent Street and the Normal Powder and Ammunition Co. in Guttershedge Lane. (fn. 132) The Phoenix Telephone Co. leased land for a factory in Cricklewood Lane in 1911 (fn. 133) and an optical works, occupied in 1970 by U.K. Optical Bausch & Lomb, was opened at the top of Bittacy Hill in 1912. (fn. 134) Johnson's of Hendon, manufacturers of photographic chemicals, opened a factory, which later adjoined Hendon Way, in 1913. (fn. 135) By 1914 Colindale possessed a trunk factory in Colindale Avenue, an engineering works in Colindeep Lane, a 'linaline works' in Booth Road, and two laundries. (fn. 136)
The building trade received an impetus from the extension of the Underground railway to Golders Green. Farrow and Howkins, a firm of contractors founded at Childs Hill in 1908, were prominent builders near the station and became one of the largest local companies. (fn. 137) Work was carried out before the First World War on roads and sewers in Hendon and on speculative estates elsewhere in Middlesex. In 1920 premises were opened in Highfield Road, which later became the head offices, in 1926 the firm was reconstituted as Howard Farrow Construction Ltd., and by 1970 there were 1,200 employees. Another major building firm was John Laing & Son Ltd., which moved its headquarters from Carlisle to Mill Hill in 1926 and built new head offices in 1956. (fn. 138)
Aircraft were first made in Hendon by Everett, Edgcumbe and Co. of Colindale soon after 1900 and were flown from a field later bought by Claude Grahame-White, which became the nucleus of Hendon Aerodrome. (fn. 139) They were later made in factories adjoining the airfield after its opening in 1911. Production was stimulated by the outbreak of the First World War: 1,000 men were employed in 1915, a new factory was completed in 1916, and by 1917 the buildings covered 50 a. After the war Grahame-White turned to motor-cars and furniture, until the government took over the airfield and the adjoining factory in 1922, when the manufacture of aircraft was resumed. (fn. 140) In 1912 Handley Page Ltd. established an aircraft factory at Cricklewood after moving from Barking (Essex). (fn. 141) Pioneer military aircraft were built there during the First World War and flown from the company's adjacent air field. In 1929 the airfield was closed and a new one built at Radlett (Herts.); the construction of aircraft at Cricklewood continued until after 1964, (fn. 142) when the premises were sold to become the Cricklewood trading estate.
In 1914 the government opened several factories for munitions and aircraft components at Colindale and the Hyde. Their sale in 1920 led to a great expansion of industry, (fn. 143) which was encouraged by extensive road-building, (fn. 144) and the number of large factories rose from six in 1911 to 16 in 1921 and to 65 in 1931. (fn. 145) By 1931 13,570 persons worked in Hendon factories, nearly half of them near Cricklewood and the North Circular Road and about a third at Colindale and the Hyde on Edgware Road. Smaller concentrations were at West Hendon and Mill Hill. The largest single employers were motor firms, (fn. 146) although manufacturers of foodstuffs, furniture, electrical equipment, machinery, paper products, and aircraft all employed over 500 persons. (fn. 147) By the Second World War factories lined both sides of the road from Cricklewood to Burnt Oak, their products including shampoos, speedometers, motor bodies, ball bearings, tennis racquets, radiators, organs, cellulose lacquers, potato peelers, hair curlers, and sheet metal. (fn. 148) Elsewhere industry was much more thinly spread; in 1937, however, in addition to the laundries in Childs Hill, factories making wallpaper, tires, neon signs, and other products were scattered along Hendon Way.
Smith's Potato Crisps opened their first factory in two garages in Crown Yard, Cricklewood, with 12 employees in 1920. They moved in 1921 to a disused canteen for aircraft workers in Somerton Road and in 1938 (fn. 149) left for a new factory on the North Circular Road, outside the parish. The Duple Group moved to the Hyde in 1925 and produced public service vehicles on a site which eventually covered 12½ a., including the former Cowleaze farm-house; the factory was sold to Messrs. Ronald Lyons in 1968 but the head offices of the organization remained at Hendon. The labour force, which was 30 in 1925, rose to 1,000 in the Second World War and subsequently fell to about 650. (fn. 150) A branch of the Car Mart Ltd., later Kenning Car Mart Ltd., motor distributors and repairers, was founded in 1938 on land reclaimed from Brent reservoir in 1924-5. During the Second World War the depot was taken over by the de Havilland Aircraft Co. for the production of pioneer jet engines but in 1946 the premises reverted to their normal use and in 1970 the labour force was 150. (fn. 151) Clang Ltd. was founded in 1932 by Curt Lange in the premises in Crown Yard formerly owned by Smith's Potato Crisps; the firm made domestic electrical accessories but extended its range after 1946 to include commercial weather-proof electrical fittings and motor trailer electrical connexions. In 1940-1 Clang took over no. 108 Cricklewood Lane, which had previously housed eight separate trades, including the building of car bodies, and in 1943 it expanded to no. 110 Cricklewood Lane, formerly occupied by a refrigerator manufacturer. Both factories were later improved and in 1970 the labour force was 220. (fn. 152) Other firms which have remained since before 1939 include Rawlplug in Hale Lane, Titanine in Sheaveshill Avenue, Franco Traffic Signs in Aerodrome Road, (fn. 153) and Spurling Motor Bodies in Rookery Way. (fn. 154)
Several concerns have moved to Hendon since 1945. Among them is the National Cash Register Co., which built a large three-storeyed block by the North Circular Road in 1956 as a service engineers' training school and a repair depot for cash registers. (fn. 155) In 1966 the firm also acquired a large factory on the Willesden boundary, at the junction of Edgware and the North Circular roads, which had formerly been used by Scribbons-Kemp, biscuit makers. (fn. 156) Keyswitch Relays took over a factory in Cricklewood Lane in 1963 and built a new office block in front of it. The firm, which employed some 300 persons in 1970, produced electro-magnetic relays for industry and telecommunications and also occupied a block in the Cricklewood trading estate. (fn. 157) Other firms on that estate in 1970 included Phonographic Equipment Distributors, Associated Leisure, Les Leston, steering-wheel manufacturers, and Victor International Plastics.