Cowley Peachey

Cowley Peachey, Hillingdon

The southern side of Cowley – part commercial, part council-built – and the site of a junction on the Grand Union Canal

Narrowboat near Packet Boat Marina, copyright Derek Harper, made available under the Attribution-​​ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence
Nar­row­boat near Pack­et Boat Mari­na*

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


* The picture of the narrowboat near Packet Boat Marina on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Derek Harper, 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.