River Crane. Longford River
The Crane flows
east and south east
River flows south east
TQ 12890 72001
Suburban area but with many interesting features - fruit growing for William Whiteley, relics of the gunpowder industry and Crane Park with its perhaps shot tower - and much else.
Post to the north Hanworth Road
Post to the east Hospital Bridge
Model farm labourers’
cottages for the Whitley Butts Farm Estate.
11 Cadoist Holy House.
This is a Vietnamese religious centre
Butts Farm – The
farm was north of the cottages and had allegedly been owned at one time by a
Mr, Butts. In 1891 it
was acquired by William Whiteley the Westbourne Park
department store owner. By 1896 the farm had been demolished and was gradually
replaced by factory buildings make jam, pickles and so on using fruit grown in
the site. This was to could grow food and build factories to provide produce for
his store and for staff catering, this
covered a large area and despite being known generally as a jam factory was
involved in the produce and preservation of a large number of items. It included:
warehouses, a cooperage, jam and pickle
houses, units to make extract of beef, meat paste and beef tea. There were also
laboratories and mushroom houses. Paper cap works is also shown.
The Butts Farm Estate
This was built in the 1940s and 50s on the land previously owned by
Whitleys. Twickenham Council had to get an Act of Parliament passed to allow
them to build here and much of the land was in the Hounslow Council area.
Built as the Great Chertsey Way extension between Apex Corner and
Bridge over the
Longford River. This is said to be the only bend on the entire route of the
A316 from the Hogarth Roundabout
Crane Park Island,
a nature reserve managed by the London Wildlife Trust. It was created as part
of the works to provide a mill-pond and thus a head of water for thegunpowder mill in 1776. Some remains of these works can be found on the
island. In 1981 Richmond and Twickenham Friends of the Earth identified the site as a possible nature reserve, and LB Richmond's agreement began what became known as the Crane Park Project, with subsequent provision of a warden and on-site teacher. The Millpond has now been drained to create for a damp area - and the pond itself was surrounded by mixed broadleaved woodland. Like much of the site there were willows grown to make charcoal to use in the gunpowder. There is also lots of fungi. The rich alluvial soil supports willow, balsam and nettles feeding caterpillars. The varied speed of water flows on either side of the island promotes the growth of water crowfoot which withstands the fast flowing backwater, while arrowhead enjoys the deep and slow flowing mainstream.
Mill - Gunpowder
works. A mill on this site had been used
for grinding corn. It became The Hounslow Gunpowder Works in 1768. It passed
through various owners until 1820 when it was taken over by Curtis and Harvey
and the number and capacity of the mills was increased and the water supply
improved. Today some leats remain plus wheel pits and machine bases and what may be the remains of a water tower. There
are also a number of earth mounds used to buffer the small sheds where gunpowder
was ground. Trees were also planted all-round the site – a common feature of
gunpowder works where they were used to soak up potential blasts. There were at
least 55 explosions here including one in 1772 that demolished 3 mills and
damaged properties around a wide area. In 1918 the company merged others to
become Explosive Trades Ltd, and they were later taken over by ICI in
1926. The site was purchased by a local
man but the works were no longer viable and some of the site was sold for
housing and part to Twickenham Council who turned it into a public park.
Shot Tower. This
is near the bridge leading to the nature reserve on Crane Park Island and was
built in 1828 by Mr Jacobs of Hanworth. It was once apparently known as the Mill Head Tower. It is a circular conical brick tower 80 ft high which once had a shallow conical lead roof surmounted by a timber bellcote. The date '1828' above the doorway is no longer visible. It once had a clock and a belfry - the bell is said to survive at Faversham. There is no evidence it was ever used to make lead shot and in fact it would have been unsuitable for this - Prof. Minchinton claimed lead shot was made there until 1927. It could have been a water tower for fire-fighting or hydraulic equipment - ansd it is said to have once housed a hydraulic pump. Others have suggested it was a watchtower. It is now in use as an information and study
Butts Farm Field
now has 2 new small orchards and several wildflower areas
Built on the
1930s as part of the arterial roads programme
Apex Corner. Not
to be confused with the junction of the same name in Edgware
Hope and Anchor
Anchor Pub. This was originally on the south side of the road and demolished
for road widening in the 1930s. Its successor has now also been demolished in
2011. It was built originally for Friary, Holroyd & Healys Brewery,
replaced by an American burger ‘restaurant’.
Apex House. This
three winged concrete tower block was head office
of the television rental chain DER and features in the film "The
Italian Job’, demolished 1994.
Grampian Reproducers, Hanworth Trading Estate. They made microphones, amplifiers,
loud speakers, gramophone recording equipment 1940s-1975.
1 Horse and
Groom. This is now a Tesco
Rex House. Flats
on the site of the Rex Cinema which opened in
1937 designed by Leslie Kemp. It was taken over by Mayfair Cinemas in the early
1940s and then in 1943 by Associated British Cinemas (ABC). It closed in 1960 and became the Alpha Bingo Club, and was later demolished
Chapel adjoining Butts Cottages, belonging to
Whiteleys and built for the use of their employees,
brick building about to be demolished for housing.
Little Park Drive
Part of the entrance
area to Little Park Farm, to the west
1 Leigh Instruments Ltd. they made Cockpit voice recorders, mechanical recorders,
crash location devices, helicopter ice detectors. 1980s.
Primary School. This an amalgamation of
Crane Infant and Crane Junior schools set up in 2001. The two constituent schools
date from 1952. There is also a Children’s Centre and a Neighbourhood Nursery
and community office for RHP who manage the Butts Farm Estate.
Buttsfarmproject. Web site.
Crocker. Gunpowder Mills Gazeteer
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Crane Park School. Web site
Gunpowder Mills Research Group. Newsletter
Graces’s Guide. Web site
London Borough of Hounslow Web site
London Gardens Online. Web site.
London Wildlife Trust. Web site