Tuesday, 5 March 2013

River Crane - Longford River. Butts Farm

River Crane. Longford River
The Crane flows east and south east
The Longford River flows south east
TQ 12890 72001

Suburban area but with many interesting features - fruit growing for William Whiteley, relics of the gunpowder industry and Crane Park with its perhaps shot tower - and much else.


Post to the north Hanworth Road
Post to the east Hospital Bridge

Butts Cottages
Model farm labourers’ cottages for the Whitley Butts Farm Estate.
11 Cadoist Holy House. This is a Vietnamese religious centre
Butts Farm – The farm was north of the cottages and had allegedly been owned at one time by a Mr, Butts. In 1891 it was acquired by William Whiteley the Westbourne Park department store owner. By 1896 the farm had been demolished and was gradually replaced by factory buildings make jam, pickles and so on using fruit grown in the site.  This was to could grow food and build factories to provide produce for his store and for staff catering, this covered a large area and despite being known generally as a jam factory was involved in the produce and preservation of a large number of items. It included: warehouses, a cooperage, jam and pickle houses, units to make extract of beef, meat paste and beef tea. There were also laboratories and mushroom houses. Paper cap works is also shown.

The Butts Farm Estate
This was built in the 1940s and 50s on the land previously owned by Whitleys. Twickenham Council had to get an Act of Parliament passed to allow them to build here and much of the land was in the Hounslow Council area.

Country Way
Built as the Great Chertsey Way extension between Apex Corner and Sunbury. 1960,
Bridge over the Longford River. This is said to be the only bend on the entire route of the A316 from the Hogarth Roundabout

Crane Park
Crane Park Island, a nature reserve managed by the London Wildlife Trust. It was created as part of the works to provide a mill-pond and thus a head of water for thegunpowder mill in 1776. Some remains of these works can be found on the island. In 1981 Richmond and Twickenham Friends of the Earth identified the site as a possible nature reserve, and LB Richmond's agreement began what became known as the Crane Park Project, with subsequent provision of a warden and on-site teacher. The Millpond has now been drained to create for a damp area - and the pond itself was surrounded by mixed broadleaved woodland.  Like much of the site there were willows grown to make charcoal to use in the gunpowder. There is also lots of fungi. The rich alluvial soil supports willow, balsam and nettles feeding caterpillars. The varied speed of water flows on either side of the island promotes the growth of water crowfoot which withstands the fast flowing backwater, while arrowhead enjoys the deep and slow flowing mainstream.
Mill - Gunpowder works.  A mill on this site had been used for grinding corn. It became The Hounslow Gunpowder Works in 1768. It passed through various owners until 1820 when it was taken over by Curtis and Harvey and the number and capacity of the mills was increased and the water supply improved. Today some leats remain plus wheel pits and machine bases and what may be the remains of a water tower. There are also a number of earth mounds used to buffer the small sheds where gunpowder was ground. Trees were also planted all-round the site – a common feature of gunpowder works where they were used to soak up potential blasts. There were at least 55 explosions here including one in 1772 that demolished 3 mills and damaged properties around a wide area. In 1918 the company merged others to become Explosive Trades Ltd, and they were later taken over by ICI in 1926.  The site was purchased by a local man but the works were no longer viable and some of the site was sold for housing and part to Twickenham Council who turned it into a public park.
Shot Tower. This is near the bridge leading to the nature reserve on Crane Park Island and was built in 1828 by Mr Jacobs of Hanworth.  It was once apparently known as the Mill Head Tower. It is a circular conical brick tower 80 ft high which once had a shallow conical lead roof surmounted by a timber bellcote. The date '1828' above the doorway is no longer visible. It once had a clock and a belfry - the bell is said to survive at Faversham. There is no evidence it was ever used to make lead shot and in fact it would have been unsuitable for this - Prof. Minchinton claimed lead shot was made there until 1927.  It could have been a water tower for fire-fighting or hydraulic equipment - ansd it is said to have once housed a hydraulic pump. Others have suggested it was a watchtower. It is now in use as an information and study centre.
Butts Farm Field now has 2 new small orchards and several wildflower areas

Great Chertsey Road
Built on the 1930s as part of the arterial roads programme
Apex Corner. Not to be confused with the junction of the same name in Edgware
Hope and Anchor Flyover

Hampton Road East
Hope & Anchor Pub. This was originally on the south side of the road and demolished for road widening in the 1930s. Its successor has now also been demolished in 2011. It was built originally for Friary, Holroyd & Healys Brewery, replaced by an American burger ‘restaurant’.

Hampton Road West
Apex House. This three winged concrete tower block was head office of the television rental chain DER and features in the film "The Italian Job’, demolished 1994.

Hounslow Road
Hanworth Trading Estate
Grampian Reproducers, Hanworth Trading Estate. They made microphones, amplifiers, loud speakers, gramophone recording equipment 1940s-1975
1 Horse and Groom. This is now a Tesco
Rex House. Flats on the site of the Rex Cinema which opened in 1937 designed by Leslie Kemp. It was taken over by Mayfair Cinemas in the early 1940s and then in 1943 by Associated British Cinemas (ABC).  It closed in 1960 and became the Alpha Bingo Club, and was later demolished
Chapel adjoining Butts Cottages, belonging to Whiteleys and built for the use of their employees,
Library. Small brick building about to be demolished for housing.

Little Park Drive
Part of the entrance area to Little Park Farm, to the west

Mount Road
Mount Road Industrial Estate
1 Leigh Instruments Ltd. they made Cockpit voice recorders, mechanical recorders, crash location devices, helicopter ice detectors. 1980s.

Norman Avenue
Crane Park Primary School. This an amalgamation of Crane Infant and Crane Junior schools set up in 2001. The two constituent schools date from 1952. There is also a Children’s Centre and a Neighbourhood Nursery

Saxon Avenue
Estate office and community office for RHP who manage the Butts Farm Estate.
Playing Fields and Green

Sources
Buttsfarmproject. Web site.
Crocker. Gunpowder Mills Gazeteer
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Crane Park School. Web site
Gunpowder Mills Research Group. Newsletter
Graces’s Guide. Web site
London Borough of Hounslow Web site
London Gardens Online. Web site.
London Wildlife Trust. Web site

No comments: