Norwood Green, Ealing
The ‘nice’ part of Southall, according to some, situated to the north-west of Osterley Park
Originally just called Norwood, it was first mentioned in a will of 832, which bequeathed the manor to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
St Mary’s church is of Norman origin and was rebuilt in the mid-14th century, when the Plough Inn was established to serve labourers working on the project. Several handsome villas were built here in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, most of which have since been lost to suburban development.
The finest survivor is Sir John Soane’s Norwood Hall, which he designed for a friend in 1803, in a similar style to his own Pitshanger Manor. The house, which has original Soane drawings and a large walled garden, was modified and extended by the Unwin family in the late 19th century. Early in the 1920s the Unwins sold off much of Norwood Hall’s land to the builders Warren and Wood. Their estate’s streets are named after places in Dorset, Warren’s home county.
Norwood Hall itself and its remaining 19 acres of gardens were acquired by Middlesex county council and converted to a horticultural college.
The formation of the borough of Southall-Norwood in 1935 echoed the physical convergence of the two settlements on the former brickfields between the railway line and the Grand Union Canal. A large part of Norwood Green was made a conservation area in 1969. Since 2009 Norwood Hall has been home to the Khalsa primary school, a Sikh faith institution. Sikhism has more adherents than any other faith in Norwood Green.
In his poignant autobiography The Scent of Dried Roses, Tim Lott depicts the suburban aura of Norwood Green in the 1960s. “The neat houses are decked out with a jumble of modest details of dreamed life – a caravan or boat in the front yard, a cartwheel on the wall, carriage lamps at the entrances.”