Great Stanmore: Public services

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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'Great Stanmore: Public services', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham, (London, 1976) pp. 104-105. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]


Two fire-engines, which in 1782 might be used by other parishes for a fee, (fn. 1) were ordered to be regularly tested from 1813. It was decided to ask neighbouring parishes to contribute towards the upkeep in 1837 and, after the sale of the workhouse, to commission a new engine-house on Stanmore Common (fn. 2) in 1842. A paid keeper was appointed but in 1866 it was resolved to support him from subscriptions rather than church-rates and the post was not filled. The vestry was still responsible for repairing a hand engine in 1875. A fire station was built by the county council on waste ground at the corner of Honeypot Lane and Wigton Gardens in 1961. It replaced fire stations at Wealdstone and Kingsbury. (fn. 3)

By 1640 water was brought to the manor-house from a 'great pond' on Stanmore Hill. The source was probably Spring pond, since John Norwood the younger was accused of diverting part of the supply through leaden pipes to a house on the common, (fn. 4) although by the 19th century water was also collected in a pond which had been dug at the foot of the hill. (fn. 5)

Repairs were ordered to a well on the common in 1783. A new well and pump were contemplated in 1802, for the use of subscribers and specified paupers, and more wells four years later. In 1824 there was a fund for laying on plentiful soft water and in 1846 4 a. near the engine-house were granted by the lord for a reservoir. (fn. 6) A pump near the churchyard had often to be kept locked in 1873, when a service was proposed by the Colne Valley Water Co., which has since always supplied the parish. (fn. 7) Despite optimistic reports from the nuisance removal committee, the vestry was taken to task by the Hendon guardians in 1866 and admitted the danger to the lower part of the village from nine open drains running through the fields. The drains were subsequently closed in, leaking earthen pipes were replaced with iron ones, and by 1871 a sewer by Old Church Lane had been enlarged to become the main sewer. At the end of the century the parish was served by Edgware and Little Stanmore sewage farm, which lay in Kingsbury (fn. 8) and which was superseded by trunk sewers leading to a central works at Mogden under the West Middlesex Sewerage and Sewage Disposal Scheme of 1933. (fn. 9)

Half an acre at Stanmore marsh, where the parish boundary bulged east of Marsh Lane, was approved as the site for a gas-works in 1858. (fn. 10) Stanmore gas works were opened in 1859 (fn. 11) and still stood there in 1969. Gas was first supplied from Harrow by a private contractor, John Chapman, whose concern was later called Stanmore Gas Co. (fn. 12) In 1894 it was joined with Harrow District Gas Co. to form Harrow and Stanmore Gas Co., which was taken over in turn by Brentford Gas Co. in 1924 and the Gas Light, and Coke Co. in 1926. (fn. 13) Under an Act of 1906 electricity was supplied by Northwood Electric Light and Power Co. (fn. 14)

Stanmore cottage hospital was built in 1890, near the railway station and on the west side of Old Church Lane, at the expense of Emily and Katharine Wickens of the Pynnacles. The hospital, which originally contained 7 beds and a cot, was endowed by the Misses Wickens and afterwards run by four trustees, who could decide on admissions and charges. (fn. 15) After nationalization in 1948 it was converted into a home for old people. In 1971, when it was administered by Hendon group hospital management committee as a geriatric sub-unit of Edgware general hospital, there was accommodation for 14 inmates. (fn. 16) An isolation hospital, with separate blocks for diphtheria and scarlet fever, was built in 1902 on the east side of Honeypot Lane. After epidemics in 1928 and 1929 Hendon R.D.C. decided to double the accommodation of 26 beds and cots. On nationalization the hospital was handed over to the county council and converted into Stanmore residential nursery, for children below five. It was transferred in 1965 from Harrow L.B., which placed few of the children there, to Brent L.B. (fn. 17) Warren House was acquired with 11 a. from Sir John Fitzgerald in 1951 by the National Corporation for the Care of Old People and, as Springbok House, was transferred in 1964 to the Hendon group. (fn. 18) Orme Lodge, a late Victorian building in Gordon Avenue, was sold by the Robinson family in the 1930s, used by the R.A.F. during the Second World War, and afterwards acquired by the county council as an old people's home. In 1971 both Warren House, with 53 beds, and Orme Lodge, with 22, were geriatric sub-units of Edgware general hospital. (fn. 19)

In the 1960s by far the largest open space was Stanmore Common, 120 a. stretching from the Hertfordshire border south as far as the reservoir. (fn. 20) The adjoining cricket ground, (fn. 21) granted as such by the lord in 1853, (fn. 22) comprised nearly 7 a., as did Little Common on the far side of the reservoir. Much of the Grove estate, 63 a. bordering the common on the east, and most of the Warren House estate, 123 a. east of Little Common and stretching south along Dennis Lane, had been bought by Harrow U.D.C. to form part of the Green Belt in 1937. The Bentley Priory estate, purchased in 1936, lay mainly in Harrow parish, although its eastern strip was in Great Stanmore. Stanmore recreation ground, between Dennis Lane and Stanmore Hill, covered only 6½ a. Most of Stanmore golf course (fn. 23) also lay within the parish, forming the largest open space in the southern half, where Stanmore marsh covered a further 10 a. The Whitchurch schools playing field, administered in 1971 by Harrow L.B., lay north of Wemborough Road and the North Western Polytechnic sports ground lay west of Honeypot Lane. Farther south the 23 a. of Centenary park, bordering Culver Grove, had been acquired in 1934. (fn. 24)


  • 1. Except where otherwise stated, the first two paras, of the section are based on M.R.O., D.R.O. 14/C1/2, /3, /4.
  • 2. M.R.O., Acc. 658/5, f. 262.
  • 3. Ex inf. chief officer, Lond. Fire Brigade.
  • 4. Davenport MSS., Gt. Stan. ct. rolls (1640, 1641).
  • 5. Druett, Stanmores and Harrow Weald, 250 and pl. facing p. 176.
  • 6. M.R.O., Acc. 658/6, ff. 21, 48.
  • 7. Druett, op. cit. 251.
  • 8. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XI. NW. (1897 edn.).
  • 9. V.C.H. Mdx. iv. 249.
  • 10. M.R.O., Acc. 658/6, f. 184.
  • 11. Harrow Gaz. and Gen. Advertiser, 1 Apr. 1859.
  • 12. Druett, op. cit. 249.
  • 13. V.C.H. Mdx. iv. 249.
  • 14. 6 Edw. VII, c. 129.
  • 15. Druett, op. cit., 212.
  • 16. Ex inf. sec., Edgware gen. hosp. geriatric sub-group; Hosp. Yr. Bk. (1971).
  • 17. Ex inf. dir. of community services, Harrow L.B.
  • 18. Ex inf. asst. sec., Nat. Corp. for Care of Old People.
  • 19. Ex inf. sec., Edgware gen. hosp. geriatric sub-group; Hosp. Yr. Bk. (1971).
  • 20. Except where otherwise stated, the para. is based on Boro. of Harrow, Facts & Figures (1963-4).
  • 21. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. V. SE. (1865 edn.).
  • 22. Pritchard, 'Aspects of Man. of Gt. Stanmore', penes M.R.O., 5-6.
  • 23. See p. 102.
  • 24. C. Radcliffe, Mdx. (rev. edn.), 161.