Strand on the Green

Strand on the Green, Hounslow

A quaint riverside village and pub-crawl paradise, situated just east of Kew Bridge

Strand on the Green seen from Kew

The ham­let was sim­ply ‘Strand’ from the 13th cen­tu­ry to the 17th cen­tu­ry, from the Old Eng­lish word for a bank or shore. This was a fish­ing com­mu­ni­ty with a fer­ry ser­vice to Kew, and one of the medieval set­tle­ments that com­prised Chiswick. In its ear­ly days there was no path along the river­bank, just a series of inter­con­nect­ing wharves.

In the 16th cen­tu­ry Strand on the Green alleged­ly con­sist­ed of ‘thir­teen hous­es, four­teen cuck­olds and nev­er a house between’. (The extra cuck­old was a son who lived with his par­ents.) The say­ing was first record­ed in 1602 and sub­se­quent­ly appeared in sev­er­al dic­tio­nar­ies of proverbs.

Dur­ing the 18th cen­tu­ry the vil­lage attract­ed wealthy res­i­dents who built some grand homes here; and the Ship, Bull’s Head, Bell and Crown (shown in the pho­to below) and City Barge pub­lic hous­es all came into exis­tence.

Hidden London: Bell and Crown by Des Blenkinsopp

The open­ing of the first Kew Bridge in 1759 improved acces­si­bil­i­ty, increased land val­ues and drew some of George III’s courtiers when the king was liv­ing at Kew Palace.

The Ger­man-born painter Johann Zof­fany lived at 65 Strand on the Green from 1790 until his death in 1810. Zof­fany some­times used local fish­er­men as his mod­els, for exam­ple as Christ’s dis­ci­ples.

By 1800 a con­tin­u­ous foot­path ran along the bank, although it was liable to flood­ing at high tide. Orchards and mar­ket gar­dens lay behind the water­front prop­er­ties but by the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry these were suc­cumb­ing to build­ing devel­op­ment, and fish­ing was dying out as the prime liveli­hood of local fam­i­lies. An increas­ing num­ber of alley­ways pro­vid­ed links to the water­front.

Chiswick coun­cil erect­ed the borough’s first munic­i­pal hous­ing in Strand on the Green in 1903 and the whole local­i­ty was built up by the 1930s. Some bomb-dam­aged prop­er­ties were replaced after the Sec­ond World War and old­er cot­tages were ren­o­vat­ed. Until the 1970s Strand on the Green retained some indus­tri­al premis­es, which were replaced by res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties as they suc­ces­sive­ly closed.

The author Margaret Kennedy lived for a while at Strand Green House and made it the setting for her 1924 bestseller The Constant Nymph. Other village residents have included press baron Hugh Cudlipp, poet Dylan Thomas, writer Nancy Mitford and actor Donald Pleasance.

Postal district: W4
Further reading: Jennifer Buckle, Victorian Legacy: Strand-on-the-Green As It Was, Portia, 1992
See also: Oliver’s Island
* The picture of the Bell & Crown on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Des Blenkinsopp, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.