Beavers Farm

Beavers Farm, Hounslow

A postwar housing estate in west Hounslow (or Hounslow West as the area is often called, because of the name of the tube station)

Beavers

In 1793 cav­al­ry bar­racks were built on Houn­slow Heath and the site is still in use today, on Beavers Lane. The sta­bles have been con­vert­ed to accom­mo­da­tion and are part of a con­ser­va­tion area.

To the north-west of the bar­racks, the Beavers Farm estate (also known as the Beavers estate, and shown in the pho­to above) was built from the ear­ly 1950s.

The ‘Beavers’ name is not relat­ed to the pres­ence of dam-build­ing rodents but is a folksy cor­rup­tion of ‘Babers’ – Upper and Low­er Babers were parcels of land here. How­ev­er, the fur­ry ani­mal theme was tak­en up with a vengeance by the munic­i­pal plan­ners, cre­at­ing some of the most ridicu­lous street names in Greater Lon­don.

Beavers coun­ty pri­ma­ry school and the church of the Good Shep­herd were built to meet the edu­ca­tion­al and spir­i­tu­al needs of the new estate’s res­i­dents, the lat­ter using mon­ey saved by not recon­struct­ing the bombed church of St John of Wap­ping.

The estate suf­fered from a vari­ety of prob­lems around the turn of the mil­len­ni­um, includ­ing acts of van­dal­ism and what police called “one of the worst and most per­sis­tent cas­es of fly-tip­ping” ever seen in the bor­ough, which result­ed in a £5,000 fine for the offend­er in 2003. The council’s response to the dif­fi­cul­ties includ­ed regen­er­a­tion fund­ing, war­den patrols and co-ordi­nat­ed clean-ups.

At Beavers com­mu­ni­ty pri­ma­ry school, on Arun­del Road, many pupils speak Eng­lish as an addi­tion­al lan­guage and there is also a high pro­por­tion with spe­cial edu­ca­tion­al needs. Many pupils only stay at the school for a rel­a­tive­ly short time because they come from mil­i­tary fam­i­lies sta­tioned tem­porar­i­ly at Houn­slow bar­racks. Accord­ing to Ofst­ed’s Feb­ru­ary 2013 assess­ment, the school required improve­ment. With sup­port from Lamp­ton school and the West Lon­don teach­ing school alliance, among oth­ers, it was rat­ed out­stand­ing with­in two years.

The Beavers Farm estate possesses what is almost certainly the silliest set of street names in London, including Chinchilla Drive, Raccoon Way, Marmot Road, Musquash Way, Squirrel Close and Opossum Way.

Postcode area: Hounslow TW4