Cowley Peachey, Hillingdon
The southern side of Cowley – part commercial, part council-built – and the site of a junction on the Grand Union Canal
Westminster Abbey owned an estate here at the time of Domesday Book and this was granted to Bartholomew Peachey in 1252. When a settlement grew up in the later Middle Ages it took the name of the manor. Two timber-framed houses survive, perhaps from the 16th century.
The Grand Junction Canal (as it was first called) came through Cowley Peachey in the mid-1790s. A packet boat service ran to Paddington for a while, giving its name to a pub and the lane that crossed the canal. The Slough branch of the canal was one of the last to be built in Britain. Opened in 1883, it provides five miles of lock-free waterway along an almost straight line into the centre of Slough.
In the early 20th century Cowley Peachey was used as a dumping ground for silt dredgings taken from the canal, while a few factories appeared along the bank. By 1910 ribbon development connected the village with Uxbridge, via Cowley. Uxbridge borough council built an estate of grey terraced houses here in the mid-1950s.
During the 1970s, soil, sand and gravel extraction eroded the land beside the canal, which rapidly became an eyesore as opportunists exploited it for fly-tipping. Cowley Peachey was formally designated a contaminated site in the 1980s. British Waterways subsequently cleaned it up and created a 120-berth marina with associated amenities for boat users, a visitors’ centre and an urban park. The £3.5 million project was completed in 2002 and the site incorporated the pre-existing Turning Point pub and restaurant, since renamed the Waters Edge.
Postcode area: Uxbridge UB8