If you’re interested in the history of the area, this site has some historical information about:
The 'Contents’ pages of these publications have been scanned and can be accessed below.
The content of the volumes is still within copyright (life + 50 years), so only a limited number of pages can be offered on this site (- click on the underlined links). A few other pages may also be available - 'Contact me’.
Where photographs have been reproduced, they’ve been scanned and then slightly blurred to minimise patterning artefacts caused by displaying images that were originally reproduced in 'half-tone’.
of Harrow Weald Highways Volume
2, on the Suburban Trail Again
Histories of Harrow Highways Volume 3, from the Weald to Stanmore
Histories of Harrow Highways Volume 4, Wealdstone and Its
Histories of Harrow Highways Volume 5, from Stanmore Common to Chandos Country
Histories of Harrow Highways Volume 8, Down the Roman Road to Edgware
Histories of Harrow Highways
Volume 10, Harrow Weald Again and Hatch End
(intended to replace Volume 1)
Histories of Harrow Highways Volume 11, Roaming Round Roxeth and Roxbourne
Laing’s Local Estates
Having lived here since 1977, our mortgage was fully repaid some years ago, but Abbey National had a scheme whereby you could leave a notional 50p outstanding on the mortgage in order to facilitate free storage of the deeds in their deedsafe. But with nothing better to do during Covid lockdown (2020) we decided to recall the deeds - in reality we had never actually seen them before, not even when we bought our home. So the actual contents were a complete surprise. The various documents detailed how Barts Hospital was forced to sell land at St Pancras under an 1846 Act of Parliament, received Government bonds in recompense and how they invested the money into 3 farms in the Stanmore/Canons Park area a few years later (1856). Then in 1929, the Metropolitan Railway made a proposal for a branch line to Stanmore, then got an act of Parliament through in June 1930 before work started early in 1931. The line opened in December 1932, rather quicker than can be achieved today! Thus the land on either side of the new line became prime development land. It's highly likely that building of the line and the houses was heavily supported by the various authorities, as much of the country if not the world was in recession following the 1929 Wall Street crash.
The Laing estate seems to have been sold off in 2 or 3 phases. Laing's, the builders, bought the first parcel of land from Barts Hospital in 1931, and then had to get planning permission and pay land taxes.
Colne Valley put in a 14” water main down Honeypot Lane from Stanmore to what is now the Queensbury circle and then down Charlton Road to Kingsbury Road. An agreement with Hendon Rural District Council covered the rainwater and sewage arrangements early in 1933 for that parcel of land bounded now by Wemborough Road, Honeypot Lane, Crowshott Avenue and St Andrews Drive. Our house is on this part of the Laing Estate so our deeds concentrate on this area. Development commenced and the show houses were in the top part of Bromefield, and images in the brochures for the estate show them and others on the nearby roundabout in Bromefield. Another part of that first parcel was south and east of Crowshott Avenue and extended across Honeypot Lane, but our deed pack has no detail on that land, although it was clearly developed by Laing's at some point.
From the various maps it can be seen how a few of the road names have changed over time (Watery Lane - Culver Grove - St Andrews Drive), intended roundabouts changed orientation and proposed future roads took a slightly different direction. And the Green Man pub had been there a very long time before its demolition for more housing. At the North Eastern end of Bromefield only some of the proposed shops were built and some of the land thus unused eventually became the Canons Community Centre. The old farmhouse was situated between what is now Bush Grove and Lyon Mead, and because the contour lines are also shown, it can be seen that this was located atop a low hill. All the foul drainage connections are shown and it can be seen that the connections start at one house, run behind a number of others and then into the main sewer - all naturally downhill. 63 local drains (all numbered) connected the houses to the main sewers. Foul sewers are coloured red, while rainwater sewers coloured green ran at the front of the houses.
Our house was a Rona de-luxe or type RA, and first sold in 1935 for £750. We had also been left, by the previous owner, an architect's cloth drawing of the Rona RA house type, annotated for the construction of a garage in 1949. But the original detail is all there, with room dimensions (non-metric of course) and construction details clearly visible.
If you bought your home before 2003, your deeds will have contained similar details, and if you do not have them, they may well be lodged with your bank. But after that date, the Land Registry went digital and your original paper deeds may have been destroyed as no longer needed.
Graham and Jeanette Hall, 2020.
Sales LiteraturePages from two brochures, undated - but believed to have been printed in about 1934, promoting Laing homes. (Retained and loaned by Chris Cartwright who was raised in Lamorna Grove [close to Chandos Secondary] by his parents who bought their Laing home in about 1937.)
Omitted pages either detail more styles of Laing’s houses - or duplicate existing text.
Heating our Laing home - before central-heating
My parents moved into their 1936-built Laing home in Wemborough Road in 1937. It was a 3-bedroom detached home, styled as an 'Olympia’ (or possibly a 'Jubilee’).
Our house had two downstairs hearths, one in each of the two downstairs living rooms, and one in each of the two larger bedrooms. A pair of hearths (upstairs plus downstairs) fed into a breast. Just below roof-level, the two breasts combined into a single, four-flue stack. We had grates downstairs and in one of the bedrooms - and burned coal - never coke or wood.
Coal was considered expensive, so my father only ever lit one of the two downstairs grates at any time and, rarely, the bedroom grate.
A downstairs grate would be lit in the afternoon. Dad’s technique for lighting the upstairs fire was "brave". He would use a red-hot coal from the lit downstairs fire. Following the inevitable dropping of the glowing coal as he transported it upstairs - and the ensuing singeing of the carpet - my mother forbade him from lighting the upstairs grate again.
Eventually, we used a single, portable, Aladdin 'Pink’ paraffin (a BP brand) heater to share between the bedrooms. The heater was refilled from a 1 gallon portable container initially ('charged’ at Belmont Catos) … subsequently we employed a five gallon storage tank stood in the garden.
As purchased, our home included an exterior, brick-built coal-bunker, but Dad dismantled it as he wanted to build a shed on that spot. Instead, he bought and erected two concrete pre-fabricated bunkers, positioning them rather closer to the back door than the original bunker. I was the only one in our household small enough to climb into the bunkers (to attach the nuts onto the fixing bolts) through the 'filling’ hatch on the top.
My mother didn't altogether trust tradesmen, so I was tasked with counting the number of sacks that coal-men actually delivered.
Hot water was heated by a back-boiler in a coal-fired stove mounted in an outside corner of the kitchen (so it could have its own external flue). Heated water circulated, by gravity (convection), to a directly heated (no coil) sealed, copper storage-tank in the corner of the bathroom with an airing cupboard 'boxed-in’ around it. Pipework was copper.
We also used a portable, upright, two-bar electric fire stood on the hearth of one of the living rooms - but electricity, as now, was considerably more expensive for heating than coal.
Town-gas (coal-gas) entered the house through a 1" main under the stairs. Every room, including the bathroom, was skeletoned with steel gas piping supplying a gas outlet (which, in our house, were all capped-off). The two downstairs living rooms also had bayonet connector outlets Tee-ed off below the room’s capped-off outlet. Bayonet outlets, mounted on skirting boards, were intended for gas pokers and portable gas appliances. But we didn't use any gas appliances.
Eventually, my father had town-gas central-heating installed.
E. B., 2011
Vintage Maps of the AreaOld maps of areas with which I am familiar, hold a magnetic fascination. They also appeal to Keith Salmon (Blackwell, 1955-61). He has forwarded these two that he found on Google Earth.
Hatch End 1891 and its environs (O.S.)
It's surprising how un-developed the area was just 120 years ago.
and this image:
Chandos (Stanmore) and its environs c.1945. It looks like there were only two huts on the school site at the end of the war, both running longitudinally. Later (possibly the late '40s) the upper (easterly) hut was supplemented by a second one and the lower hut was supplanted by a pair running laterally (north-south). Three of them were used by girls, and one by boys… but what are those lighter strips where the Park Block was subsequently built? Air-raid shelters?
Amongst his paraphernalia, Gareth Peach (formerly of Wellington Road, Wealdstone) discovered this fascinating, undated map showing Harrow and its sparsely populated environs. Since "London Aerodrome" has been designated at Colindale, and that wasn't established until late 1910, the map probably dates from then. An early London Airport was built at Croydon.):
Bacon's Map of the Environs of London N.W. on Cloth 1s. net, (the 'extract’ reproduced here covers about a quarter of Gareth’s map.)
London: G. W. Bacon & Co., Ltd., 127 STRAND
Scale: squares are 3 miles per side.
The estates on which most of us were brought-up? … The parades at which we shopped? … Nowhere. It took the expansion of the Metropolitan Railway in the 1930s to stimulate their development and allow release from the privations of rented, London properties.
London Transport Road Services - Harrow and District - 1940/50s
The Northern Line Extension (to the north)
The remains of the brick viaduct over which the first
station northwards of the 'Northern Heights’ extension
from Edgware, 'Brockley Hill’, was to have been built, can be seen, as
they are today, on Google 'Maps'
The arches have collapsed but the footings remain.
Zooming out, panning right and down reveals the original, planned route
of the track from Edgware Station along, what is now,
Sterling Ave and Shelley Close.