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Ruislip Common

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An amenity area situated at the northern end of the Ruislip district, bordered on most sides by Ruislip Woods. Evidence of late Bronze Age occupation has been found here. Poor’s Field was first recorded as common wasteland in 1295. Ruislip Common once had a hamlet called Park Hearne, with a number of half-timbered cottages that were lost when the valley was flooded by the Regent’s Canal Company to create Ruislip Reservoir in 1811. The reservoir was designed as a feeder for the Grand Junction Canal, but never performed its task very successfully. The canal company developed the reservoir as a lido in the mid-1930s and Ruislip-Northwood council took it over in 1951. The main lido building was demolished in 1994, after a fire the previous year. With its woodland setting, sandy beach, pub and excellent miniature railway, Ruislip Lido justifiably attracts thousands of locals in summer. Early plans for the development of the Ruislip Manor estate (not to be confused with Manor Homes) proposed building houses almost to the water’s edge, but negotiations with King’s College saved most of Park Wood for the public in 1932. Four years later Copse Wood and Mad Bess Wood were also acquired. Ruislip’s first council houses were built shortly afterwards on Reservoir Road. In 1997 English Nature designated Ruislip Woods a national nature reserve, the first in a metropolitan district. Breakspear crematorium, on the west side of the common, is the second largest in London and is run jointly by the boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon. The Breakspear name is widely used hereabouts and this has given rise to unconfirmed speculation that Nicholas Breakspear, the only English pope, once lived nearby.

Ruislip Common
Yes, this is really London

The Titanic sank at Ruislip Lido in the 1958 film A Night To Remember and scenes for the 1961 musical The Young Ones, starring Cliff Richard, were filmed on the beach, with local teenagers as extras.

Postcode areas: Ruislip, HA4 and Northwood, HA6
Stations: Ruislip Lido Railway (Ruislip Lido (Water’s Edge), Haste Hill and Woody Bay, adult return fare 1.60)

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

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