West Twyford: Introduction

Pages 172-173

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7, Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



West Twyford, known in the 19th century as Twyford Abbey, was a separate parish (fn. 1) adjoining East Twyford (Willesden) and containing only 281 a. in 1901. (fn. 2) Although depopulated from the Middle Ages and subject in the 17th century to the parish officers of Willesden, West Twyford was later regarded as extra-parochial and acquired the status of a civil parish under the Extra-Parochial Places Act, 1857. (fn. 3) It was transferred to Willesden M.B. in 1934 but, after popular protest, was mostly returned to Ealing. The ancient boundaries were formed by the river Brent on the north and partly by Masons Green Lane on the west and Norwood Lane on the south. (fn. 4)

Except for some Taplow Gravel and alluvium along the Brent, West Twyford lay entirely on the London Clay which provided a gently undulating landscape rising from some 25 m. at the western end of the Brent to 44 m. at the southern border, where the ground rose towards Hanger Hill. A small stream ran northward from the southern boundary alongside the church to join the Brent. The name Twyford or 'two fords' presumably referred to crossing points of the Brent, possibly those represented by Stonebridge in Willesden and Vicar's bridge a short way west of West Twyford in Alperton. (fn. 5) The Paddington branch of the Grand Junction canal was driven across the north-east quarter of West Twyford in 1801. (fn. 6)

Twyford Lane was described in the 13th century as a lane from the house and church of West Twyford to London, (fn. 7) by what route is uncertain. In the 18th century it ran south from the Brent and then west to Hanger Lane, which linked West Twyford with Ealing, Alperton, and Harrow. From Twyford Lane, Masons Green Lane ran south to Acton and Norwood Lane ran east from Masons Green Lane towards Harrow Road in Willesden. (fn. 8) Twyford Lane (later Twyford Abbey Road) was extended eastward from its bend south of the church to Twyford Abbey Farm and the canal towpath in the early 19th century. Norwood Lane had dwindled to a green lane by the 1820s and was obliterated by the building of the G.W.R.'s Birmingham line in 1904; its course was nearly followed by Coronation Road, built to serve the Royal Agricultural Show at Park Royal. (fn. 9) The north end of Masons Green Lane had disappeared by 1894. The North Circular Road was built along the northern border of West Twyford in 1934-5 and suburban roads were built adjoining it shortly afterwards. (fn. 10)

West Twyford remained undeveloped until the opening of the Royal Agricultural Society's grounds at the beginning of the 20th century. The G.W.R. opened a station called Park Royal in Acton parish and in 1904 extended the line across the southern tip of West Twyford on its way to Greenford. The London Passenger Transport Board took over the line in 1947. In 1903 the Metropolitan District opened its line from North Ealing to South Harrow (and later to Uxbridge). The line passed very close to West Twyford's western boundary and a station called Park Royal and Twyford Abbey, in Hanwell detached, was opened in Twyford Abbey Road in 1903. In 1931 it was replaced by a station called Park Royal, from 1936 Park Royal (Hanger Hill), in Western Avenue in Ealing. (fn. 11)

West Twyford, like neighbouring settlements, probably originated as a clearing of the Middlesex forest in the late Saxon period. By 1086 there were six tenants there. (fn. 12) The small community, still comprising six holdings, was by 1181 served by a chapel (fn. 13) and had ten inhabited houses in the mid 13th century. (fn. 14) It was probably during the late 13th century that West Twyford became depopulated, later permitting the lords of the manor to inclose all the land into their demesne. (fn. 15) By 1593 the manor house was the only habitation in the parish and the church had become a private chapel. (fn. 16) A few people described as of West Twyford in the late 16th and early 17th centuries were servants at the manor house (fn. 17) and there was still only one house in 1801. When Thomas Willan rebuilt the manor house c. 1806, he built Twyford Abbey Farm for the principal tenant. (fn. 18) A third house, probably Canal Cottage, had been added by 1821, and a fourth by 1831. Nine houses were built between 1861 and 1881, (fn. 19) including Twyford House, a farmhouse south of Twyford Lane.

By 1907 there were buildings connected with mushroom farming west of Twyford Abbey Farm and a small mission hall south of the canal. (fn. 20) Mushrooms were grown at Twyford Bridge farm by 1908 (fn. 21) and at two other farms in 1925, but one was in the hands of building contractors by 1930 and the other was demolished c. 1935. (fn. 22) The first factory was built in Coronation Road in 1913 and more factories were opened during the First World War in the Park Royal area, part of which lay within West Twyford but which is treated as a whole under Acton. The construction of the North Circular Road in 1934-5 stimulated further building at Park Royal, both of factories and of housing estates. Guinness Brewery, which acquired property along the former boundary between West and East Twyford in 1933, built houses at Iveagh Avenue and Ramsford Road for its workers, besides its imposing factory buildings. Other housing included Brentmead Gardens in 1934-5 and the Waddington estate in 1937. In 1948 Guinness Brewery built another 46 houses at Moyne Place. (fn. 23)

The population was 8 in 1801, 43 in 1831, 87 in 1901, 311 in 1931, and 2,995 in 1951. (fn. 24)


  • 1. Below, church.
  • 2. Para. based on Census, 1801-1931; C. Kearney, 'Hist. Twyford Abbey' (TS. in Grange Mus.); below, Willesden; above, Ealing.
  • 3. 20 Vic. c. 19.
  • 4. O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XVI. NW. (1864-7 edn.).
  • 5. Geol. Surv. Map 6", Mdx. XVI. NW. (1920 edn.); Milne, Land Use Map of Lond. (1800).
  • 6. V.C.H. Mdx. iv. 198.
  • 7. Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c 123/44.
  • 8. J. Rocque, Map of Lond. (1746), sheets 13-14; Milne, Land Use Map of Lond. (1800); O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XVI. NW. (1864-7 edn.).
  • 9. Below, Willesden, intro.; above, Acton, intro.; O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XVI. NW. (1894-6 edn.).
  • 10. Kearney, 'Twyford Abbey'; O.S. Map 6", Mdx. XVI. NW. (1938 edn.).
  • 11. A. E. Bennett and H. V. Borley, Lond. Transport Rlys. 21; J. E. Connor and B. L. Halford, Forgotten Stations of Gtr. Lond. 12, 35; above, Acton and Ealing.
  • 12. V.C.H. Mdx. i. 121.
  • 13. Below, church; P.R.O., CP 25(1)/146/2 no. 1; CP 25(1)/146/5, no. 7.
  • 14. 'Visitations of Churches belonging to St. Paul's', Camd. Misc. ix (Camd. Soc. N.S. liii), 5.
  • 15. Below, econ.; P.R.O., C 3/408/12.
  • 16. Norden, Spec. Brit. 41.
  • 17. e.g. John Cressy (d. 1585): Grange Mus., 4 I 3; Thos. Richardson and Geo. Collingwood in 1620: P.R.O., STAC 8/267/7.
  • 18. Census, 1801-11; Lysons, Environs (Suppl.), 323.
  • 19. Nos. hos. Census, 1801-1921.
  • 20. I. Holmes, W. Twyford (2nd edn. 1936), 8-9; O.S. Maps 6", Mdx. XVI. NW. (1864-7, 1897, 1920 edns.).
  • 21. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1908).
  • 22. Kearney, 'Twyford Abbey'.
  • 23. Ibid.; J. C. Morris, Willesden Surv. (1949), pp. 20, 32, map 7, area 10B.
  • 24. Census, 1801-1951.