Feltham High Street
Feltham shown within Greater London
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||TW13, TW14|
|UK Parliament||Feltham and Heston|
|London Assembly||South West|
Feltham // is a town in the London Borough of Hounslow, south-west London. Feltham is centred 13.5 miles (21.7 km) west south west of central London at Charing Cross and 2 miles (3.2 km) from Heathrow Airport.
Landmarks and economically important sites include a large entertainment park (Leisure West), various logistics and advanced engineering businesses, a government mapping office and Feltham Young Offenders' Institution.
History and economy
Feltham formed an ancient parish in the Spelthorne hundred of Middlesex. It has a record in the Domesday Book which records 21 households and an annual value to its lord of the manor of six pounds stirling, taxable at 12 geld units and was held as lord and tenant-in-chief by Robert, Count of Mortain. A large area of ten cultivated ploughlands is recorded.
Following Mortain's son's forfeit of lands (William's rebellion triggering the attainder), the land was granted to the Redvers/de Ripariis/Rivers family. The heir in that family, Hubert de Burgh ('Chief Justiciar and Earl of Kent') swapped Feltham and Kempton with Henry III's manors of Aylsham in Norfolk and Westhall in Suffolk.
In 1440 Henry VI granted numerous privileges to his joint royal custodian of the two manors, including a daily income of up to 12 shillings and that "corn, hay, horse and carriages and other goods and chattels should not be seized for the king's use".
While under total royal control following Henry VIII's full annexation of the manor into the Honour of Hampton Court, a lease of all of its manor court rights and "franchises, privileges, emoluments, and hereditaments" was granted under his daughter Elizabeth I to the Killigrew family of Kempton Park, for 80 years.
However the large manor itself (with a rent-holder and future possession interest) passed 40 years later in 1631 by grant to Francis (Lord) Cottington who had become Lord Treasurer, ambassador and leader of the pro-Spanish, pro-Roman Catholic faction in the court of Charles I. His nephew sold it, after a major fire and a very temporary loss to the Bradshaw family under the Commonwealth of England, to Sir Thomas Chambers. His son inherited Feltham manor, whose daughter by an empowering marriage to Admiral Vere (created Lord Vere) of Hanworth in the same historic county of Middlesex (created for him 1750) led to its next owner having a very high title and degree of wealth: her son, Aubrey Beauclerk, 5th Duke of St Albans inherited the manor and a dukedom with considerable land from a cousin. The Duke was a British landowner and a collector of antiquities and works of art, seated at Hanworth, who funded an excavation in Italy which produced many sculpture artifacts.
In this period in 1784 General William Roy set out the baseline of what would become the Ordnance Survey across Hounslow Heath, passing through Feltham. General Roy is commemorated by a local pub. The MOD Defence Geographic Centre still has a base in Feltham, used as a government mapping office.
In 1831 Feltham occupied an area of 2,620 acres (11 km2), stretching into Hounslow Heath and had a population of 924. The Waterloo to Reading Line established a station here from its construction in 1848. From 1894 to 1904 the Felham parish was included in the Staines Rural District. In 1901 the parish had a population of 4,534 and accordingly in 1904 it was split from the rural district to form the Feltham Urban District. In 1932 the parishes of Hanworth and East Bedfont were also transferred from the Staines district to Feltham Urban District.
Feltham Urban District (colloquially known as Feltham council) was disbanded in 1965, along with the Middlesex County Council. It should be noted, however, that though for administrative purposes Feltham is now part of Greater London the geographic and historic county of Middlesex was never abolished by statute. A poll on the "Feltham, Hanworth and Bedfont Appreciation Society" group on Facebook found that Feltham residents overwhelmingly continue to identify their home county as "Middlesex".
Although opened in 1910 major expansion took place in a similar period, at the extreme south-west of the post town, at Feltham Young Offenders' Institution or HM Prison Feltham, which is a major such institution providing a range of employments and rehabiliation schemes for young people. near the town's border with Ashford and the neighbouring village of East Bedfont.
The main economic activity of the Feltham area was market gardening until well into the twentieth century. A popular variety of pea known as the "Feltham First" is so-named for being first grown in the town. The market gardens were largely replaced with light industry, gravel and aggregate extraction, and new housing from the 1930s onwards.
Feltham has been associated with land and air transport for more than a century. In what is now the Leisure West entertainment complex of various buildings including cinema, bowling alley and restaurants, the Feltham tramcar was once manufactured and ran along the tracks of many municipal operators, though never in Feltham itself. In the same area of the town, aircraft manufacture was an important industry, particularly during the war years. Feltham was in the early and mid 20th century home to Britain's second largest railway marshalling yard which was geared towards freight, and was a target for German air force bombs several times during World War II.
The motor car manufacturer Aston Martin had its main factory in Feltham between 1926 (when it bought the former Whitehead Aircraft factory) and 1963. The site is now occupied by part of Leisure West.
Famous former resident Freddie Mercury (born Farokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, 1946–1991) of rock band Queen was commemorated by a permanent, Hollywood-style granite star in Feltham's town-centre piazza, unveiled on 24 November 2009 (the eighteenth anniversary of Mercury's death) by Queen guitarist Brian May, alongside Freddie's mother, Jer Bulsara, and his sister. In 2011, owing to neglect and "weather damage", Hounslow Council removed the memorial, promising to substitute a smaller one elsewhere.
Leisure and community spaces and buildings
Feltham has in its land use considerably more open spaces than average in (Greater) London — bounding it to the east is a natural small river, the Crane separating off the once vast Hounslow Heath to the east, stretching from north by Harlington south to Hampton, London until the early 20th century. To other sides it includes a country park formed from converted gravel pits (Bedfont Lakes) with rolling adjacent meadows open to walkers by its railway and (within the post town) one of London's first airfields, London Air Park at Hanworth, which has well-trimmed grass, is surrounded by trees and is a large and sports-oriented public open space.
Public venues include Feltham Assembly Hall, opened in 1965 in Feltham Park, community rooms in the new library, as well as several residents association halls and clubs. Since the controversial removal in 2008 of the Feltham Community Association from the Feltham People's Centre (the former Feltham Hotel), the town has lacked a dedicated community centre.
Feltham Community College (originally known as Feltham Comprehensive School when it was formed from two secondary modern and one grammar school) and Rivers Academy West London (known as Longford School/Longford Community School from its foundation in 1935 to 31 July 2011) both have excellent sports facilities. These supplement the Hanworth Air Park Leisure Centre and Library, operated by Fusion Leisure on behalf of Hounslow Council. Leisure West (a privately developed and managed complex of entertainment and dining facilities including a multiplex cinema, tenpin bowling alley, bingo club and restaurants) opened on the former industrial sites around Browell's Lane in the mid-1990s.
Local government and politics
There is no specific town council for Feltham, instead a "Bedfont, Feltham, Hanworth Area Forum" of councillors considers issues specific to the area on the London Borough of Hounslow's Council.
The town forms part of Feltham and Heston Parliament constituency (and the "South West" London Assembly constituency which elects the geographic element of members who advise, steer, assist and scrutinise the Mayor of London who is directly responsible for only certain designated policy areas such as Transport for London). There are two local government wards falling entirely within Feltham - Feltham North and Feltham West - though locals often consider sections of the Hanworth Park and Bedfont wards as forming part of Feltham. This area was represented in Parliament from 1992 to 2011 by Alan Keen, MP (Lab). After his death, Labour, reflecting the long-standing voting trends of the area, as commented on by The Guardian in 2011, won the by-election with Seema Malhotra.
Feltham's town centre has been re-developed several times since the focus of the village moved north from by St Dunstan's Church with the coming of the railway and immediate establishment of a station in 1848. For most of the twentieth century, it had a traditional-looking High Street, including several "mock tudor" shop fronts, and a large medieval manor house which was controversially demolished in the mid-1960s to make way for a Ford car dealership and petrol station. This has since also been demolished and replaced with a small retail development Manor Park.
Most of the original High Street shops were also demolished in the mid-1960s through to the early 1970s. Although the town retains some characterful Victorian and Edwardian houses, especially on Hanworth Road and adjoining roads, many older cottages too were demolished alongside the railway line to make way for a number of 'high rise' blocks of flats such as Belvedere House and Hunter House, both still standing, and Home Court, demolished at the beginning of the 21st Century and replaced with new flats mostly above the retail sites.
The current shopping hub, The Centre, Feltham (also known as "The Longford Centre", if only by the original developers and some retail tenants), opened in 2006. It retained and refurbished many of the shop units built in the 1960s to replace the demolished buildings, along the High Street frontage, but replaced most of the others with new, larger units. Also added as part of the re-development was a Travelodge hotel, 800 homes, a new and larger library, and a medical centre. The "anchor" (and largest) store in The Centre is an Asda hypermarket, coupled with fashion chains, small restaurants, a public house and cafés. Near to the retail park mentioned is a Tesco superstore and numerous grocery outlets are dotted along the area's High Street. Added to this are regular local trades/services in small clusters in the main named neighbourhoods of North Feltham and Lower Feltham.
Inevitably, the largest local employer is Heathrow Airport. Many businesses based in Feltham, particularly in logistics, serve the needs of the world's busiest international airport by passenger volume. Menzies Aviation has its head office in Feltham.
However, accessibility of parts of Central London and a good local road network have also made Feltham a base for a number of high-tech companies, including DHL and Arqiva.[n 1] The latter is notable in having a telecommunications port ('teleport') in Feltham which provides transmission and distribution facilities for TV companies including Sky and Channel 5.
Sport and leisure
The town remains among the largest ecclesiastical parishes of the Diocese of London within the Church of England. The parish church of St Dunstan and the Parish of Feltham have joined with two other churches to create a larger "Ecumenical Parish of Feltham" founded in the late 1970s. This joins the church together in activities and church services with Southville Methodist Church and the United Free Church of Feltham.
19th century religious sites
On 24 June 1868 Father Ignatius founded an Anglican Benedictine convent in the parish. Feltham Priory, or Feltham Nunnery, was dedicated to Saints Mary and Scholastica (twin sister of St Benedict). It lasted five years before the nuns initiated a series of moves which would see them relocate to Curzon Park Abbey in Chester in 1988.
The tall spire fronting tower of an additional church first built 1880-1898, to St Catherine, opposite the railway station forms the façade of a London Borough of Hounslow Housing office and temporary housing accommodation.
Nearby Hatton Cross tube station, which is on the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly line provides a Central London and Heathrow rail option to Feltham, with bus routes 90, 117, 235, 285, 490, H25 and H26 running frequent services through the town.
The town is served by all passenger trains, including semi-fast trains through Feltham railway station, except for some weekend steam trains, with services terminating at Waterloo. In the opposite directions services terminate at Windsor and Eton Riverside, Chertsey and Reading.
The town has London Buses services to Kingston upon Thames, Richmond, Brentford, Heathrow, Staines-upon-Thames, Northolt, Isleworth and Sunbury on Thames. Intervening places such as Hayes, Hounslow, Hampton Court/Hampton and Ashford are called at.
Long distance express services are offered predominantly from various sides of Heathrow to places such as Slough, Reading, Berkshire and Croydon, the latter under the London Buses pricing and operational scheme.
- Freddie Mercury (1946–1991) of rock band Queen lived in Feltham 1964-1968; his parents were residents until shortly before he died
- Film writer and director Edmund Goulding (1891–1959) was born in Feltham
- Olympic gold medalist Athlete Mo Farah attended Feltham Community College.
Notes and references
- A logistics and a communications infrastructure (media services) company respectively.
- Vision of Britain - Feltham parish history (historic map[dead link])
- Domesday map
- William Page (Editor) (1911). "Spelthorne Hundred: Feltham". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2: General; Ashford, East Bedfont with Hatton, Feltham, Hampton with Hampton Wick, Hanworth, Laleham, Littleton. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Harley (1969)
- Vision of Britain - Feltham parish area and population
- Vision of Britain - Feltham UD
- politics.co.uk - politics.co.uk[dead link] - What is a Young Offender Institution?
- "Aston Martin and Lagonda Recollections". lagonda1949-1958.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "New future for Feltham - About Feltham" Hounslow London Borough Council. 14 July 2006.
- Vision of Britain - Hounslow UD
- Hounslow London Borough Council - GLA Member
- Hounslow London Borough Council - Your Councillors by Ward
- The Guardian Feltham and Heston byelection – it's Labour's to lose Labour has a reported 22-point lead in the west London seat dominated by ups and down The Guardian 8 December 2011
- "Contact Us." Menzies Aviation. Retrieved on 18 February 2011. "Menzies Aviation plc, 4 New Square, Bedfont Lakes, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 8HA, United Kingdom."
- "Head Office Location." Menzie's Aviation. Retrieved on 18 February 2011.
- St Catherines, Grade II listing English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (1260937)". National Heritage List for England.
- Transport for London - Buses from Feltham
- Hounslow London Borough Council - Borough map
- Harley, J.B. 1969, cartographical notes to Reprint of the first edition of the one-inch Ordnance Survey of England and Wales, Sheet 71 London, David and Charles, ISBN 0-7153-4615-6
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Feltham.|
- British History Online - Spelthorne Hundred - Feltham. (1911)
-  - FelthamWest.info - Local Community Website with local community information for Feltham residents