Cranford

Cranford, Hounslow/Hillingdon

A Heathrow satellite community lying between Hounslow and Hayes

Cranford Park stable block - Andrew Bowden

An ear­ly Sax­on set­tle­ment on what became known as Houn­slow Heath, the manor of Cran­forde is men­tioned in Domes­day Book and was lat­er described as the pret­ti­est vil­lage in Mid­dle­sex. By 1274 there was a bridge car­ry­ing the Bath Road over the Riv­er Crane, but the vil­lage remained a qui­et back­wa­ter until the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry – even show­ing a slight decline in the late 19th cen­tu­ry as the rail­way took away coach­ing traf­fic.

Cran­ford Park, once the grounds of Cran­ford House, lies beside the Riv­er Crane, imme­di­ate­ly south of the M4. Cran­ford House was the seat of the Count­ess Berke­ley, who so feared accu­sa­tions of per­jury regard­ing the claimed date of her mar­riage that she had an escape tun­nel con­struct­ed, which still runs under the park. Shown in the pho­to­graph above,* the sta­ble block is the most com­plete part of the remain­ing build­ings of the house.

Also in the park, St Dunstan’s church has a 15th-cen­tu­ry tow­er and 18th-cen­tu­ry nave. A memo­r­i­al stone in the church­yard is ded­i­cat­ed to the come­di­an Tony Han­cock and his moth­er.

Cranford’s claustrophobic Round House, in which local miscreants were once locked up for the night
Cranford’s claus­tro­pho­bic Round House, in which mis­cre­ants were once locked up for the night

Across the motor­way, in a small exten­sion of the park, are the remains of a moat mark­ing the site of the manor house of Cran­ford-le-Mote, which was demol­ished in 1780.

The High Street still has some 17th- and 18th-cen­tu­ry build­ings – and the Round House (c.1838, shown in the pho­to on the right), in which pet­ty crim­i­nals used to be impris­oned overnight. Such struc­tures used to be com­mon­place but this is the only one of its kind left in Lon­don and it was grade II list­ed in 1973. In Liv­er­pool, the grand­ly named Prince Rupert’s Tow­er – a sim­i­lar­ly cir­cu­lar lock-up that’s not much larg­er than Cran­ford’s, though it has a steep­er roof – fea­tures as the cen­tre­piece on the crest of Ever­ton foot­ball club.

Heathrow Air­port has brought sig­nif­i­cant com­mer­cial devel­op­ment to the area. Res­i­den­tial build­ing has spread west of the Riv­er Crane into the brough of Hilling­don. Its plan­ners call the new local­i­ty Cran­ford Cross.

Accord­ing to the 2011 cen­sus, 58 per cent of Cranford’s res­i­dents are of Asian ori­gin and the dom­i­nant faiths are Sikhism, Islam and Hin­duism. There is also a small Soma­li com­mu­ni­ty of around 150 souls (as gazetteers tra­di­tion­al­ly used to put it).

Postcode areas: Hounslow, TW4 and TW5
Population: 12,330 (2011 census)

 

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* The picture of the Cranford Park stable block at the top of this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Andrew Bowden, at Flickr, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.