A stockbroker-belt residential district located on the Greater London border, four miles north-west of Harrow
There was a manorial grange at Northwood in 1248, which may have been on the site of the present Grange on Rickmansworth Road. From at least the 14th century there was a hamlet here, separated from Ruislip and Eastcote by Park Wood, Copse Wood and Ruislip Common.
A few cottages were recorded here in a survey of 1565 but the hamlet was slower to develop than Eastcote or Ruislip – after 200 years it consisted of only a few farms and dwellings, and by 1841 there were still just 41 occupied houses.
Northwood retained its rural character until the late 19th century with many of the inhabitants engaged in supplying firewood to London as late as 1870. The main changes were the addition of Holy Trinity church in 1854 and the extension of the Metropolitan Railway from Pinner to Rickmansworth in 1887, when a station opened at Northwood. F Murray Maxwell Hallowell Carew immediately bought up a large area around the station and sold off building plots along new roads named after himself.
Further improvements to railway communications brought more residential development and the 1890s saw a number of large houses in their own grounds being built in the Green Lane area. Between Green Lane and Rickmansworth Road several streets were built up with smaller houses and continuous terraces. Northwood College, an independent school for girls, came to Maxwell Road in 1892.
After 1930 the pace of development in the wider area accelerated but much of this was south of Northwood, principally in Northwood Hills and Ruislip. Many of Northwood’s houses were ostentatiously grand and some have since been replaced by flats. Those that survive encompass a wide range of styles, including neo-Georgian, mock-Tudor, hacienda and neo-English baroque. The most luxurious properties tend to lie in the west of the district, which also has the London School of Theology. Infilling and ‘garden grabbing’ continue wherever developers can find a vacant acre.
Northwood has a high number of pensioners living alone, constituting more than a sixth of all households.
Although it was supposedly set in Surbiton, the 1970s TV comedy The Good Life was filmed at 53 and 55 Kewferry Road in Northwood. This was native soil for actor Richard Briers, who grew up in nearby Hatch End and had served at RAF Northwood, now the home of the Permanent Joint Headquarters, which is sited just across the London border in Hertfordshire’s Three Rivers district.
Postcode area: Northwood HA6
Population: 10,469 (2011 census, showing a slight decline on 2001)
Station: Metropolitan line (zone 6)
Websites: Northwood Residents’ Association and Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society
Further reading: Eileen M Bowlt, Northwood Through Time, Amberley, 2014
and Tanya Britton, Ruislip, Eascote and Northwood During the First World War, The History Press, 2011
* The photo of the Former Post Office, Northwood, on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Julian Osley, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.
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