The coming of the canal virtually turned Southall into an island, with
bridges built at Windmill Lane, Norwood Road; Old Oak Bridge, Western Road; Hayes Bridge and Northolt Bridge. Just one record of rates paid — in 1900 £136 for six acres of land (there were workshops at Top Locks) and seven houses. The numbers 90 and 91 are quoted as locks in Southall. A new bridge was built in Norwood Road in 1925, and the North Hyde Bridge in 1932.
When the canal came the population of Southall was still only around 11,000. The longboats (barges) were all horse-drawn, and I personally benefited from there being so, with a barrow and shovel along the towpath! Several small beer-houses came into being, The Prince of Wales, this was right at the end of what is now Havelock Road; Kings Head, side of towpath near where the Junction Arms is now; and the Blue Boar near Bulls Bridge. These have gone, but the White Lion which was originally on the canal side was transferred to the corner of White Street and Gas Factory Strait. The Hamborough Tavern near Hayes Bridge — this was known by the locals as `Franky Newells’, he being the landlord and brickmaster. This pub was brought up-to-date on several occasions, and was eventually burned down during the Southall riots on Friday, July 3rd, 1981.
Industry gradually came. Henry Dodds had started Vitriol Factory at Norwood Court in what became the `Lorival’, now Palgrave Brown Timber Company, and he was followed in 1780 by Messrs W. Holder and Co., they eventually moved to White Street and closed down in 1970.
There is no record of when they were built, but there were two windmills; Overshot Mil in Greenford Lane, not far from Pond in Golf Links, its rateable value in 1821 was £49.5.5¾d (£49.27½p), the owner in 1896 was A. W. Burnetts. The other, the Old Mill in Windmill Lane, the front of which stood level with the lane close to the Three Bridges also contained the baker’s shop which once supplied Southall and Greenford with bread. Daniel Sibley in 1886 paid rates of £15.0.0d, and in 1896 Mr Symons paid £72.3.11d (£ 72.19½p). Both have disappeared.
Continuing with the supply of bread, Robert Birch established a bakery in 1820 at Norwood Green. This business was carried on for well over a century by the same family. The bakery was pulled down in 1974.
Robinsons Norwood Bridge Flourmill was built in 1855, by the side of the canal — barges came in useful. It was a steam mill, with meadow, Mill Hall and garden rated at £200 per year. The mill itself was burned down January 31st, 1912, but Mil Hall is still in use as a Youth Hostel.
Changes were going on around the High Street. Minton House was pulled down and the row of cottages (now shops) were built, also a small pub The Three Horse Shoes, Hamilton Road (named after Sir George Hamilton, MP for Middlesex 1888-1906). In 1860 the Uxbridge governing board passed the plans for shop fronts to be fixed subject to an 8 ft. pavement. It is exactly the same today, 1982.
In 1864 Featherstone Terrace was built, this was a turning just on the right hand side of Featherstone Road (named after Featherstone Farm). These were very small, two-storey cottages with rents 4/6d per week (221/2p). It was nicknamed ‘Bug Alley’, but was no reflection on the people who lived there and brought up families. They were all pulled down in 1960.