River Crane, Duke of Northumberland’s River
The Crane and the Duke of Northumberland’s River meet at Baber Bridge and
flow south. The Millstream leaves at the same point and flows south with some
A pleasant area to the south east of Heathrow Airport. Here parkland follows the Crane and the Duke of Northumberlands River. This was once an industrial area and there are several mill sites on the river including an important gunpowder works still in operation in the 1920s. The main, and originally Roman, Staines Road intersections the area and there are housing estates from the 1930s to the west and some large ex-industrial sites here. Hidden infrastructure includes the water main to Kempton Park.
Post to the north Beavers
Post to the west North Feltham
Post to the south Feltham
This wood lies between the River Crane and the Mill Stream and is named
after one of the activities carried out at North Feltham Mill
North Feltham Mill. A bridge plus weir, sluices and mill race remain of the
mill. A water turbine is also said to survive It is said to have been used for
making paper in 1671. However from 1668 it was a powder mill under same
ownership as the Bedfont Mills. . By 1721 it was a dye works, making pigment
from Brazil wood, but in 1810 it was a flax mill and before 1834 it was used for
snuff. It became part of Curtis & Harvey in the 1870s and at some time
before 1894 it became a cartridge factory and closed in 1920.
This is part of Crane Valley Park. The donkeys could have been those used
within the gunpowder works. It is a nature conservation area but one which is
many relics of the gunpowder industry.
of Northumberland's River,
An artificial watercourse which flows from West Drayton to join the River
Crane at North Feltham.
Parkway Trading Estate
Central Park Trading Estate
There was a complex of mill buildings in and around the confluence of the
Crane and the Duke of Northumberland’s river at Baber Bridge. The original date
is not clear – they are said to have been ‘owned by the Templars’. An archaeological investigation has concluded
that this was a very complex site. It is thought that originally two pairs of
mills stood on either side of the Duke’s River. They were at the head of the
weir and each powered by a breast shot wheel with a central pier in the middle
of the stream. The manufacture of
gunpowder would have required many ancillary buildings scattered over a wide,
and often wooded, area to reduce the impact of blast – hence the many remains
in surrounding woodland. From the 1820s
the mills were part of Curtis and Harveys who bought them from the Duke of
Northumberland in the 1870s. They specialised here in small arms powder. By the
end of the Great War the mills were part of Nobels and they were closed and
demolished in 1926 by which time they were part of ICI.
The earliest mill was also the highest up the Duke’s river just above the
confluence with the Crane. This was known to be a corn mill concerted to a sword-mill
in 1635, converted to gunpowder by the 1650s.
A lower Bedfont mill was just above Baber Bridge but below the junction of
the rivers. In the early 17th it was a paper mill but was later
joined to the upper mill and converted to gunpowder manufacture.
A mill below Baber Bridge on the Crane which could have been a sword-mill
Earlier called ‘Stones way’ in 1438 and later ‘Brentford Great Road’ in
Baber Bridge. Recorded with this name on a map of 1593. May mean 'the
fenced farm settlement of Babba'. The
bridge carries the old road to the west over the River Crane
Hounslow Heath Golf Centre. The clubhouse is in a couple of portacabins.
Site of refuse tip which was itself in an old gravel pit. Describes itself as
‘much improved’. The Water Main from
Kempton Park crosses the golf course and the heath following a direct south
east/north west trajectory
Eaton House - Heston Mills. After
the enclosure of 1818 a windmill was built here to grind corn. A steam-engine
was installed on site by 1891 but there was a subsequent fire. At that time it
was used by Ashby, flour millers and bakers based at Shalford and with premises
in Brentford and Uxbridge. The Heston site was taken over by American pharmaceutical
company, Parke Davis & Co. Ltd, makers of products like Benylin and
Euthymol toothpaste. They greatly extend ended the premises with a large manufacturing
complex and an imposing block on the Staines Road. They were taken over by
Warner Lambert in 1970 who closed the Staines Road works. The works was subsequently
taken over by the American Eaton Corporation who based there a reorganisation
of their truck components businesses for an international market. Eaton moved
to Amsterdam on 1998 as an area with more commitment to the European market and
the front block, Eaton House, was taken over by the Home Office as part of
their operations in regard to immigration and asylum seekers.
Baber Bridge Caravan Site
St Albans farm. This is now a scrap metal site.
The name reflects Viola House which stood near here in Hounslow Road.
The Water Main from Kempton Park crosses the area, following a direct south
east/north west trajectory
Valve House. There is a valve house and other buildings near where water
main crosses the River Crane and the Mill Stream
History. Feltham. On line.
Corporation. Web site.
London place names,
Mills Study Group. Newsletter
Gardens Online. Web site
County Council. History of Middlesex