Syon Lane

Syon Lane, Hounslow

A ‘London distributor road’, as it classified, connecting the grounds of west London’s finest stately homes, Syon House and Osterley Park House

Hidden London: the former Gillette factory, Syon Lane
The Gillette Build­ing

Syon Lane for­mer­ly had sev­er­al grand vil­las, includ­ing Wyke House, which became a pri­vate lunatic asy­lum in the 19th cen­tu­ry, and the Duke of Marlborough’s Syon Hill. Sports grounds and their club­hous­es now dom­i­nate the north­ern part of the lane, with foot­ball clubs on the west side and rug­by clubs on the east. Beyond these are the com­pact Wyke Green and the much larg­er Wyke Green golf course, on the edge of Oster­ley Park.

Syon Lane is bisect­ed by the A4 Great West Road at Gillette Cor­ner and Brentford’s main busi­ness dis­trict lies east of this junc­tion, near which there’s a Tesco super­store and a small shop­ping parade. Syon Lane sta­tion, on the Houn­slow loop line, is locat­ed to the south-east.

Marked with a big pink pin on the map below, the Gillette fac­to­ry was designed in 1937 by the rel­a­tive­ly undis­tin­guished archi­tect Sir Ban­is­ter Fletch­er, when he was 71. Niko­laus Pevs­ner wrote dis­mis­sive­ly of its “incon­gru­ous, timid­ly mod­ernistic grandeur” – but it out­shines most com­mer­cial struc­tures. Since Gillette moved pro­duc­tion to east­ern Europe the build­ing has lain emp­ty and var­i­ous grand plans for its future have repeat­ed­ly come to noth­ing.

The elec­toral ward of Syon cov­ers an area between the rail­way line and the riv­er. This is a diverse ward where res­i­dents are equal­ly like­ly to be buy­ing their home or rent­ing it; to be sin­gle or mar­ried; and to have a degree or no qual­i­fi­ca­tions at all. Accord­ing to the 2011 cen­sus, 48 per cent of res­i­dents are white British and the next largest sub-groups are of Indi­an, black African and Pol­ish ori­gin.

Postcode area: Isleworth, TW7
Population: 13,554 (Syon ward, 2011 census – almost a 40 per cent increase on 2011)
Station: South West Trains (zone 4)