Middlesex IV

VCH Middlesex IV title page
Edited by: 
J.S. Cockburn, T.F. T. Baker
First Published: 
1 January, 1971

This contains histories of ten ancient parishes in north-west Middlesex. Wealthy Lon-doners began to buy property here during the Middle Ages and later settled in fine houses, exemplified by the Jacobean mansion of Swake-leys. The area in return supplied the capital with corn, livestock, and, increasingly, with hay and garden produce. In Uxbridge it possessed a medieval market town, whose prosperity grew with the coach trade, and in Harrow, from the 18th century, it boasted a fashionable school. Until the 19th century, however, the parishes were mainly rural and even backward, since agriculture was hampered by the heavy London Clay. The countryside receded only gradually, with the cutting of canals and the digging of brickearth, followed by the penetration of rail-ways and the spread of housing around the railway stations. In 1920 the hay-fields of Perivale, a parish centred around five farms, still contrasted with the factories of Southall, al-though the sale of private estates for development was soon to leave only some carefully preserved open spaces. Contrasts persist today: between the slopes along the Hertfordshire border, with their trees and large residences, and the housing estates which stretch away to the sout