Harlington, Hillingdon

A medieval manor and village transformed by later transport improvements, situated south of Hayes

Hidden London: Harlington church

This was Hygered­ing­ton in 831 and Hard­ing­ton (or vari­a­tions upon it) for sev­er­al cen­turies after that.

Shown in the pho­to above, the church of St Peter and St Paul was in exis­tence by 1086, when the manor house stood near­by. The church’s Nor­man south door is said to be the best in out­er Lon­don.

The cen­tre of the vil­lage had shift­ed south­ward by the 17th cen­tu­ry and a small set­tle­ment had grown up at the West End of Har­ling­ton by the 1750s.

To the north of the parish the Grand Junc­tion (now Grand Union) Canal was con­struct­ed in the 1790s and the Great West­ern Rail­way was built through the dis­trict in the 1830s, although Hayes and Har­ling­ton sta­tion did not open until 1864. Cot­tages were built for brick-work­ers and new pub­lic hous­es joined the White Hart and the Red Lion.

The inten­si­ty of brick­mak­ing and grav­el-work­ing in the north was so great that much of the land was low­ered by sev­er­al feet.

The pres­ence of the rail­way and the canal brought fac­to­ries to the Daw­ley area, and these in turn brought hous­ing, espe­cial­ly semi-detached prop­er­ties north of Pinkwell Lane in the 1930s, and some lat­er coun­cil flats. This evo­lu­tion con­sumed the for­mer vil­lage of Pinkwell and merged with Hayes to the north – indeed, many con­sid­er this sec­tion to be part of Hayes rather than Har­ling­ton. The part of the parish that lay south of the Bath Road (A4) was tak­en by the air min­istry in 1945 for the cre­ation of what became Heathrow air­port.

The con­struc­tion of the M4 motor­way in the 1960s divid­ed the area into two quite dis­tinct parts. The area north of the motor­way is now entire­ly filled with hous­ing, while the old cen­tre to the south has been pro­tect­ed from overde­vel­op­ment, although much of the vil­lage had already lost its orig­i­nal char­ac­ter as a con­se­quence of the prox­im­i­ty of Heathrow. Har­ling­ton vil­lage was made a con­ser­va­tion area in 2005.

At Har­ling­ton com­mu­ni­ty school, on Pinkwell Lane, the roll is eth­ni­cal­ly very diverse and has a very high pro­por­tion of pupils with Eng­lish as an addi­tion­al lan­guage, but only a small pro­por­tion is at the ear­ly stages of lan­guage acqui­si­tion.

Queens Park Rangers FC trains at Impe­r­i­al College’s Har­ling­ton sports ground on Sip­son Lane – and appears like­ly to be stay­ing here for the fore­see­able future, despite ear­li­er plans to cre­ate a new train­ing base at the War­ren Farm sports cen­tre, which is locat­ed between Han­well and Southall.

Harlington Locomotive Society is a model engineering club that runs a miniature railway set in a small orchard. It’s usually open to the public on two Sundays each month from Easter until October.

Postcode area: Hayes UB3
Station: Heathrow Connect and First Great Western local services (Hayes and Harlington, zone 5)
Further reading: Philip Sherwood, Harlington and Harmondsworth, Tempus, 2002