infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
official_name= Hounslow
latitude= 51.4668
longitude= -0.3507
os_grid_reference= TQ145755
london_borough= Hounslow
post_town= HOUNSLOW
postcode_area= TW
postcode_district= TW3/4
dial_code= 020
constituency_westminster= Brentford & Isleworth

Hounslow is the principal town in the London Borough of Hounslow. It is a suburban development situated 10.6 miles (17 km) west south-west of Charing Cross and one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan. [ [http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/planning/srdf/docs/west-srdf.pdf The London Plan] - West London Sub Regional Development Framework (PDF)] Hounslow forms a post town in the TW postcode area. [Royal Mail, "Address Management Guide", (204)]

Metropolitan centre

The centre of Hounslow is focused around the pedestrianised high street and a shopping centre known as the Treaty Centre, which includes multiple stores with a mix of shops, cafes and the Hounslow local library. The town centre is currently undergoing major re-development with the first stage currently being built. This includes apartments, an ASDA supermarket and cinema being built in the vicinity of the post office. Plans for the second stage have yet to be submitted. The council offices of the London Borough of Hounslow are located here.


The area is served by the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground at Hounslow Central tube station, Hounslow West tube station and Hounslow East tube station. South West Trains also provide National Rail services from Hounslow railway station. Hounslow abuts the perimeter of London Heathrow Airport, itself located in the London Borough of Hillingdon. To the north of Hounslow is the Great West Road.There is a large bus garage, with adjoining Bus Station, located on a corner site at the junction of London and Kingsley Roads. The property is owned and run by the Transdev London group through their company London United Busways Ltd. Apart from frequent, regular daytime services there is an all night service running through Hounslow from Heathrow to Central London.


The origin of the name Hounslow is disputed, with some claiming it derives from the Anglo-Saxon “Honeslaw” meaning an area of land suitable for hunting, whilst others claim it comes from an a mound or hill associated with Hundi, a pagan Anglo-Saxon.


From the early 13th century, when Hounslow began to develop, to the present day, one of the main sources of its economic survival has been transport. In the Middle Ages foot and horse traffic travelling between London and the West Country brought weary travellers to rest in the village. Between the 17th and 19th centuries it was the stagecoach services that brought prosperity to the growing town. Today, Heathrow provides jobs, both on airport and in related industries to many local people.

The town grew up along both sides of the Great Western Road from London to the West Country and in 1211 the Order of the Holy Trinity built a priory at the western end of the High Street, on the site of the present church. These friars used one third of their tithes to pay for the release of hostages captured during the crusades. Edward I granted the Holy Trinity a charter allowing them to hold a weekly market and an annual fair where they levied duties on good sold. The priory was dissolved during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, despite Henry VIII having entered the order of the priory when he was the Prince of Wales.

Materials from the priory were used to build Hounslow Manor house with the chapel, which survived the demolition of the other buildings, being used as a private chapel for the occupiers of the Manor house.

When the Barons and King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215 at Runnymede, the Barons held a tournament at Hounslow. 1227 saw the disafforesting of the Warren of Staines, a great wood, which allowed the Hounslow Heath to expand. The heath was a popular hunting ground for Kings and Queens through the ages, including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and William III.

Armies also made use of the heath due to its proximity to London, Windsor and Hampton Court. Oliver Cromwell placed an army on the heath at the end of the Civil War in 1647, and James II camped his army and held military exercises and mock battles to, unsuccessfully, intimidate the population in London. A permanent barracks for armies that camped on the heath was built in 1793 as part of the preparations to meet possible invasion by the French, and by 1884 had its own station. This was demolished and rebuilt a short distance away, and renamed Hounslow West Station in 1925, and the suburb that sprung up in the surrounding area adopted the station’s name.

Hounslow Heath is most notorious for the highwaymen and footpads (who did not have horses) that troubled the travellers on the road to and from London during the 17th and 18th centuries. The heath was so notorious that gibbets, or gallows, were set up along the roadside as a warning. Famous victims of the highwaymen included Lord North in 1774, William Pitt the Younger’s Secretary, and Lord Berkeley, who shot and killed his assailant. The highwayman Claude Duval famously danced with one of his lady victims but his ten-year criminal career ended when he was hanged at Tyburn in 1670. James MacLaine, the "Gentleman Highwayman" worked in partnership with William Plunkett. He robbed Lord Eglington in 1750 but was caught selling stolen goods before being hanged in front of a large crowd. The trade was not exclusive to men as the example of Mary Frith, who dared rob the Parliamentary General, Sir Thomas Fairfax, shows.

The prosperity of the town declined sharply when the Great Western Railway was built between London and Bristol, offering a much more comfortable and safe journey. The town began to flourish once more when the Great West Road was built to bypass the town in the 1920s and the factories that lined the road brought jobs and prosperity. As the old industries along the “Golden Mile” began to decline in the 1970s, they were replaced by offices, with many international companies setting up there, attracted by the proximity of London and the area's transport links. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, major construction work and redevelopment was conducted in Hounslow to pedestrianize the High Street and build the Treaty Centre. The old Library, one of the few elegant buildings in the town, was demolished during this period.

Today Hounslow is a prosperous part of multicultural London. It is featured in the movie Bend it like Beckham.

Nearest places



External links

* [http://www.hounslowtw3.net Hounslow Online - www.hounslowtw3.net] Hounslow's local community website

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Look at other dictionaries:

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