Wednesday, 16 January 2013

River Brent - Boston Manor

River Brent
The River Brent combined with the Grand Union Canal flows south westwards. It is joined by a tributary from the south west.
TQ 16841 78335

The area is crossed east:west by the A4, Great West Road and the Piccadilly Line. Running North: south are the Grand Union Canal as part of the Brent and the railway which once ran from Southall to Brentford Dock. There are also a number of depots and goods handling areas. Despite this the area appears as one with many parks and sports fields. The Brent has a rural appearance with interesting features and Boston Manor itself is a great addition to any area.

Post to the west Wyke Green
Post to the south Syon Lane

Blondin Park
The land was originally part of Boston Farm. In 1928 Ealing Town Council wanted to buy it as public open space and did so partly funded by Middlesex County Council intended for use as allotments and school playing fields. It was then called Northfields Recreation Ground. By 1957 it had been renamed after the French acrobat and tightrope walker, Charles Blondin. Blondin retired to this area and lived in Niagara House slightly to the west of this site and the area was in effect the grounds of Blondin’s House. The Blondin Nature Area was opened in 1997 and planted with a community orchard, wildflower meadow and pond.

Boston Gardens
London Playing Fields. Boston Manor Playing Field is one of London Playing Fields Foundation’s longest standing grounds. It has football, cricket and rugby pitches for local schools and clubs.

Boston Manor
Boston is first noted in the 1170s and it may mean Bord's farm by the stone.  In about 1280 it was given to St Helen's Bishopsgate. In 1539 the convent was dissolved and the manor returned to the Crown and into the hands of a succession of royal favourites and eventually went to Thomas Gresham and devolved to Mary Goldsmith who built Boston Manor House in 1622/3. Some land was sold for various developments including the Grand Union Canal.  John Bourchier Stracey-Clitherow was the last owner of Boston Manor and in 1923 he sold the estate, while the house and the surrounding 20 acres was purchased by Brentford Urban District Council and opened as a public park in 1924.
Boston Manor House. The house is situated in grounds which slope down to the nearby Brent and is in three storeys in red brick. On the east side the doorway and porch appear to be Elizabethan and may have been salvaged from another building.  Inside newel posts on the staircase are decorated with animals and arms of the Clitherow family and there are also decorated plaster ceilings in some rooms, Upstairs windows give wide view to the south. Most famous is the state drawing room with a Jacobean ceiling and ornate chimney piece.  The house has obviously been changed and modernised by succeeding residents and was damaged in the Second World War by a VI.  It was later used as a school 1940-1961 and by the National Institute of Houseworkers as its headquarters and training centre, and Part of the house was leased to the Over Forties Association for Women as flats. It now has structural problems and some has been propped by scaffolding.
Grounds. In 1718 there were gardens with five fish ponds and a plantation and nursery. Cedar trees were probably planted in the mid-18th, around this time. When the estate was sold after the Great War it had a walled garden, glasshouses with melons and cucumbers, a temperate house and vinery and a 200 yard long herbaceous border. Today cedars and other trees planted by the Clitherows remain and there is a pond with an island, stables and some of the garden walls. Since then shrub, flower and herbaceous borders and trees have been planted. A wildflower meadow was planted in 2006 and the historic walled garden has been restored
Gospel Oak. This was an oak where the pagan custom of blessing the field and crops took place whilst beating the bounds. The tree today is apparently dead. It was a landmark at the boundaries of Hanwell and Brentford parishes. A Roman custom was adapted by the Church, on one of the Rogation days - the Sunday before Ascension Day, the clergy and people of the parish would make a round of the parish to ask for a blessing for the crops teaches people where the boundaries of the parish were. They would stop under the gospel oak for a sermon on this. There is a plaque on the relevant site.

Boston Manor Road
Boston Manor Station. Opened in 1883 it is now between Northfields and Osterley on the Piccadilly Line. It was originally built on the Hounslow and Metropolitan District Railway and opened as ‘Boston Road’ hence the line west of here runs on tracks built for the District Line. . The signs on the platforms gave the name as’ Boston Manor for Brentford & Hanwell. ’It was then in open fields on the west side of the main road between Brentford and Hanwell. Like other stations on this line it was built in grey stock brick and slate, with round arched windows. The line was electrified between 1903 and 1905 and electric trains replaced steam. In 1911 the name was changed to ‘Boston Manor’. In 1934 it was rebuilt and re-opened – it was in the way of the new depot entrance and therefore it was re built on the road bridge over the line. The new station was designed by in a modern style by Stanley Heaps in a Holden design using brick, and glass. A narrow fin-like tower with an illuminated leading edge and roundel rises high above the low structure and helps identify the station from a distance
M4 flyover
Northfields London Underground Depot. Depot for the Piccadilly Line, east of Boston Manor Station built 1932. As the Piccadilly line extended west of from Hammersmith more space was needed for additional stock than could be accommodated at Lillie Bridge depot. At first District line trains were also kept there which meant it was built to accommodate the larger District trains. It can be entered from either end and was designed by Stanley Heaps with Adams, Holden and Pearson. It Took 304 tube and District cars, half under cover. There were originally 19 tracks, two washing sheds, lifting bays and a travelling crane.

Boston Road
313 The Royal Harvester. Built as a roadhouse in 1929
7b Boston Parade. The Brogue. Pub

Grand Union Canal
Gallows Bridge. Probably designed by Thomas Telford. This is a single span iron footbridge with yellow brick abutments. It is dated 1820 and is marked 'Horsley Ironworks near Birmingham 1820', and was renovated in 1986 by Marsh Bros. At this iron roving bridge a draught horse could pass under the bridge as well as across the canal so need not be unhitched from a boat.
Wyke Green Railway Bridge. At the Brentford boundary, a railway bridge now used by the Piccadilly Line. The original bridge there was opened in 1883 by the Hounslow and Metropolitan Railway and was essentially part of the District line. The line was completed to serve Hounslow Barracks in 1884 - the station which is now Hounslow West. It is a double span lattice girder bridge.
Clitheroe's Lock Weir Entrance. Spillway from the canal to a loop of the river Brent

Swyncombe Road
Durston House Playing Fields. This sports field has a large pavilion with hospitality facilities. It is used for Middle and Upper School football, rugby and cricket fixtures by this private school.
Glaxo Smith Kline Sports Field with three tennis courts and a large playing field with a cricket table and pavilion facilities

Wyke Avenue
Eversheds Sports ground. Semi abandoned sports ground.  Assume it was the sports ground for Acton based radio manufacturer Evershed and Vignoles who left the area in 1987

Sources,
Boston Manor. Wikipedia web site.
Brentford Walk B
British Listed buildings, web site
Canal walks
Clunn.  Face of London
District Dave. Web site
Field, London place names
GLIAS Newsletter
Hidden Places and Open Spaces leaflet
Kingston Zodiac
London Encyclopaedia 
London Gardens Online. Web site.
London Playing Fields. Web site
Middlesex Churches,
Middlesex County Council. History of Middlesex
Olde Hanwell Residents Association. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. North West London
Thames Basin Archaeological Group. Report
Walford. Village London
West Ealing CAMRA. Web site

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