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Title: Harmondsworth  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Heathrow (hamlet), London Borough of Hillingdon, History of Heathrow Airport, Longford, London, Sipson
Collection: Areas of London, Districts of Hillingdon, M4 Corridor
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



Harmondsworth Village
Harmondsworth is located in Greater London
 Harmondsworth shown within Greater London
Population 1,478 – 2011 census[1]
OS grid reference
   – Charing Cross 15 mi (24 km)  E by NE
London borough Hillingdon
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district UB7
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Hayes and Harlington
London Assembly Ealing and Hillingdon
List of places

Harmondsworth is a village in the London Borough of Hillingdon with a short border to the south onto London Heathrow Airport. The village has no railway stations; however, it adjoins the M4 motorway and is bisected by its predecessor, the Bath Road. Harmondsworth is an ancient parish which once included the large hamlets of Heathrow, Longford and Sipson. Longford and Sipson have modern signposts and facilities as separate villages, remaining to a degree interdependent such as for schooling. Its great barn and its church are well-repaired medieval buildings in the village. The largest proportion of land in commercial use is related to air transport and hospitality. The village includes public parkland with footpaths and butts onto the River Colne and further land in its regional park to the west, within Colnbrook.

The west of the village has two major airline headquarters (international and local) and two immigration detention centres, including one for a maximum of 620 men without either adequate proof of right of entry to, or to remain in, the United Kingdom. Many international visitors stay within the bounds of Harmondsworth each year, in hotels branded as 'Heathrow' as the hamlet of Heathrow and the farm of Perry Oaks in the parish were absorbed by the airport and the term is applied to all hotels accessed from Bath Road in the borough.


  • The Church 1
  • The Barn 2
  • History 3
  • Government 4
    • Local government 4.1
    • United Kingdom government 4.2
  • Cottage Hospital 5
  • Economy 6
  • Education 7
  • Transport 8
  • Demography 9
  • Notable buildings 10
  • Nearest places 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
    • Citations 13.1
    • Bibliography 13.2
  • External links 14

The Church

Church of Saint Mary, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, October 2014.
  • The church of St Mary, with parts dating from the 12th century,[2][3] There is an opinion[4] that Heathrow Airport is legally responsible for maintaining this church's chancel, because the airport now owns land (formerly in Heathrow village) which in 1819 at the enclosing of the commons had been assigned in lieu of tithes used to maintain the chancel.

The Barn

The Great Barn in Harmondsworth, dating back to the 14th or 15th century
The barn from the south-west at dusk in October 2014.


Harmondsworth was mentioned in the Domesday Book, its name coming from the Anglo-Saxon Heremōdes worþ, meaning "Heremōd's enclosure", or Heremundes worþ, meaning "Heremund's enclosure".

Harmondsworth remains an ecclesiastical parish, with the name first recorded in AD 780 when King Offa granted land to his servant Aeldred. However, with the loss of land area the village no longer covers[9][10]

The Great Barn, 19 July 2015, from the west, showing its new roof and the church tower on the right.
HARMONDSWORTH (Virgin Mary), a parish, in the union of Staines...Middlesex, 2½ miles (E. by N.) from Colnbrook; containing 1330 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage, with that of West Drayton united, net income, £530; patron, H. De Burgh, Esq...The church has a Norman door, and a tower with angular turrets, On Hounslow heath, in the parish, is a square intrenchment, each side measuring 100 yards, supposed to have been the work of Caesar in his war with Cassivelaunus.[11] A Topographical Dictionary of England
— S. Lewis, 1848

Harmondsworth as an ancient parish of 3,480 acres (14.1 km2)[12] (rather than today's surviving village nucleus) changed from agrarian and a few, isolated London suburban homes to mostly industrial gradually in 1929 with the opening of the Colnbrook by-pass which by-passed diminutive Longford to the north. Harmondsworth civil parish from its 1880s creation until its 1964 abolition contained the same areas as its religious counterpart. Industrial development began in 1930 with the opening of the Road Research Laboratory on this road. In the same year the Fairey Aviation Co. opened an airfield, the Great West Aerodrome, south-west of Heathrow. This formed the nucleus of the later airport, and the Fairey hangar was eventually incorporated into Heathrow Airport as a fire station. By the late 1930s some residential building had taken place, although almost entirely in the northern half of the parish. Small estates were built off Hatch Lane around Candover Close and Zealand Avenue and further building took place along Sipson Road, around Blunts Avenue, and along the north side of the Bath Road at Sipson Green. Longford remained virtually untouched. A brick-works was established by the corner of Cain's Lane and Heathrow Road and the area of former heathland was extensively worked for gravel, sand, and grit. In the 1930s Middlesex County Council opened a large sewage pumping station to the west of Perry Oaks, which was converted to Heathrow Terminal 5 in the early 21st century. The Great South West Road touched the south-east corner of the parish but played no part in its development. Although many of the orchards survived, their numbers had been greatly reduced and it seems probable that much of the former fruit-growing area was being used for market gardening. In 1944 Harmondsworth and Sipson retained their agricultural character despite some suburban housing. It was then suggested that further expansion in the Yiewsley and West Drayton area should be curtailed, as the land was primarily in demand for agriculture, which was greatly adhered to until 1971.[10]

Farm buildings at the eastern end of Harmondsworth, July 2015.

In 1944, however, the modern pattern of Harmondsworth began to emerge with the transfer of the Fairey airfield to the Royal Air Force and its subsequent development by the Air Ministry as Heathrow R.A.F. station. This entailed the complete demolition of Heathrow and Perry Oaks hamlets, and widespread draining of the old flooded gravel pits. Many of the small buildings along the south side of the Bath Road that were still standing in 1960 were erected by the R.A.F.[10]

Although not a post town, in printed form Harmondsworth is frequently seen in fiction books. From 1937 the offices and warehouses of Penguin Books were here until its gradual closure in the 1990s.[13] In this period its books published in the country bore the publication location, "Harmondsworth, Middlesex,".


Local government

United Kingdom government

There are two UK Border Agency immigration removal centres in Harmondsworth: Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre and Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.[16][17]

Cottage Hospital

The Harlington, Harmondsworth and Cranford Cottage Hospital was established in 1884 and opened in 1885. It was half-way between Harmondsworth and Cranford on the Sipson Road, about four furlongs west of Harlington.


Waterside, the headquarters of British Airways

British Airways is headquartered in Waterside in Harmondsworth.[18] The building officially opened in 1998.[19] An office of American Airlines occupies Orient House, Waterside.[20]

Harmondsworth has two pubs: The Crown and the Five Bells.[21]


Harmondsworth Primary School is in Harmondsworth.[22]


The area is served by various buses and by West Drayton railway station centred 2 miles (3.2 km) north, across the M4 motorway. The Bath Road (A4) is the predecessor to this route and passes through the village with junctions in the neighbouring villages leading to the M4 motorway.


The area comprises well-populated and scarcely populated areas but which have differing constitutions as to the buildings in which people live and stay: hotels, homes and the two immigration control institutions (in the east and north census output areas). Thus the population fluctuates to a greater or lesser extent, dependent on land use.[1]

2011 Census statistics
Part Population on date of census Area in km²
Centre and east 354 0.124
North 341 0.012
West 319 0.021
South: includes 25% of Heathrow Airport 464 0.422
Total 1478 0.589

Notable buildings

name type built occupant demolished? use of house or site now
Harmondsworth Great Barn tithe barn early 15th century no
Manor Farm farmhouse early 19th century no farm until the early 1970s, then offices

across Heathrow Airport

Nearest places

See also



  1. ^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 31 October 2014
  2. ^
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Is Heathrow Airport responsible for a Chancel?
  5. ^ Nails are only used on the sides.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Medieval Harmondsworth Barn bought by English Heritage". BBC News. 30 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Sherwood 1999, p.15
  10. ^ a b c T F T Baker, J S Cockburn, R B Pugh (Editors), Diane K Bolton, H P F King, Gillian Wyld, D C Yaxley (1971). "Harmondsworth: Introduction". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Samuel Lewis (editor) (1848). "Harlow - Harraton". A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Imperial Gazetteer 1870-72 John Marius Wilson Extract featured at Vision of Britain, University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 2014-11-23
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Harmondsworth CP/AP Middlesex through time – Administrative history of Parish-level Unit: hierarchies, boundaries".  
  15. ^ "Heathrow Villages ward".  
  16. ^ "Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre." UK Visas and Immigration. Retrieved on 13 February 2010.
  17. ^ "Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre." UK Border Agency. Retrieved on 13 February 2010.
  18. ^ "Contact Information." British Airways. Retrieved on 18 May 2009.
  19. ^ "Our locations." British Airways. Retrieved on 18 September 2009.
  20. ^ "Impressum" (Archive). American Airlines China. Retrieved on 24 April 2014. "American Airlines, Inc. Orient House (HAA3), Po Box 365, Waterside, Harmondsworth, UB7 0GB United Kingdom"
  21. ^ Pub guide[2]
  22. ^ "Harmondsworth Primary School." London Borough of Hillingdon. Retrieved on 27 June 2010.


  • Sherwood, Philip. (2009) Heathrow: 2000 Years of History. The History Press ISBN 978-0-7509-5086-2

External links

English Heritage's page on the barn.

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