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being on the horizon

Strand-on-the-Green

Strand-on-the-Green is an area of Chiswick in west London.

Location and description

Strand-on-the-Green is located immediately to the east of Kew Bridge, along the north bank of the river Thames. The name includes the first part of the road east of Kew Bridge, its continuation on the riverside path, and the area itself.

The area is renowned as a particularly picturesque part of London. A footpath runs along the bank of the river, overlooked by numerous imposing 18th-century houses and local pubs which, being on the Tideway, are regularly flooded.

The District Line and Silverlink both cross the river via the railway bridge erected in 1869 between the City Barge and Bull's Head pubs.

Historic Local pubs

Moving downstream (from west to east), the three pubs along the river at Strand-on-the-Green are:

  • The Bell & Crown; licensed by 1751, closest to Kew Bridge.
  • The City Barge; licensed by 1786. This pub was known as the Maypole Inn until 1807, when it was changed in honour of the City barge moored nearby. The pub was largely destroyed by a bomb during World War II, and the old bar is all that remains of the original inn. Featured in the 1965 Beatles film Help!
  • The Bull's Head; licensed by 1722, furthest east from Kew Bridge.

Early History, to c.1750

Over a hundred human skulls were reportedly found in the river Thames opposite Strand-on-the-Green during the nineteenth century , and although they have since disappeared, dating of other similar river skulls suggests they may have dated to c.600 BC. Pottery dating to Roman times has also been found in Strand-on-the-Green.

Strand-on-the-Green is first recorded as "Stronde" in 1353 ('strand' probably means 'shore'). It was called 'Strand Green' in 1593 and 'Strand under Green' in 1760. Almshouses, first built in 1658, still remain, though they were replaced by new buildings in 1721-24.

It was one of the four villages (Chiswick, Little Sutton, Turnham Green and Strand-on-the-Green) that merged to form the present-day Chiswick.

Recent History, since c.1750

The opening of Kew Bridge in 1759 (which replaced a ferry on the same spot) and the royal palace at Kew increased the importance and popularity of the area, prompting the building of large houses and small industries along the waterfront. These industries included malt-houses, repair yards, barge-builders and wharves. By 1860, Strand-on-the-Green also housed one of the largest laundries in London, the Pier House Laundry, whose brick facade is still visible to the left of Cafe Rouge. The laundry eventually closed in 1973.

The area began a slow decline in the nineteenth century when the Grand Junction Canal diverted freight traffic to Brentford, and the royal family moved from Kew to Windsor. Strand-on-the-Green has now become a residential area once again, and was described in 1932 as "London's last remaining village".

During World War II, 41 houses in Thames Road and Magnolia Road were destroyed and a further 60 were severely damaged when a parachute mine landed on September 21st 1941. Scenes from the Beatles' 1965 film Help! were shot in the City Barge pub and around Strand-on-the-Green.

Oliver's Island

Oliver's Island is a small eyot in the river Thames opposite Strand-on-the-Green. It acquired its name after rumours that Oliver Cromwell used the island as a hide-out and held military councils at the Bull's Head pub during the English Civil War, but there is no hard evidence to support these rumours. The City of London's Navigation Committee erected buildings on the island after 1777, and barges were also stationed here for the collection of tolls.

Famous residents

One of the houses overlooking the river (#65) is marked with a blue plaque noting that the 18th century portrait painter Johann Zoffany lived there at the end of his life. The actor Donald Pleasance lived in Strand-on-the-Green. The popular TV entertainers Ant and Dec both live in the area.

External links

References

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