Hidden London

Cranford

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Hounslow/Hillingdon

A Heathrow satellite community, lying between Hounslow and Hayes. Its name derives from the birds that once frequented the ford. An early Saxon settlement on the heathland, the manor of Cranforde is mentioned in Domesday Book and was later described as the prettiest village in Middlesex. By 1274 there was a bridge carrying the Bath Road over the River Crane, but the village remained a quiet backwater until the early twentieth century – even showing a slight decline in the late nineteenth century as the railway took away coaching traffic. Cranford Park, once the grounds of Cranford House, lies beside the River Crane, immediately south of the M4. Cranford House was the seat of the Countess Berkeley, who so feared accusations of perjury regarding the claimed date of her marriage that she had an escape tunnel constructed, which still runs under the park. The stables block is the most complete part of the remaining buildings of the house. Also in the park, St Dunstan’s church has a fifteenth century tower and eighteenth century nave. In the churchyard is a memorial dedicated to the comedian Tony Hancock. Across the motorway, in a small extension of the park, are the remains of a moat marking the site of the manor house of Cranford-le-Mote, which was demolished in 1780. The High Street still has some seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings, and the Round House, in which criminals were locked up overnight. Half of Cranford’s residents are of Asian origin and the dominant faiths are Sikhism, Islam and Hinduism. There is also a small Somali community. Heathrow Airport has brought significant commercial development to the area.

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Cranford's claustrophobic Round House, in which local miscreants were once locked up for the night

Postcode areas: Hounslow, TW4 and TW5
Population: 10,936

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

 
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