As we have been reading about roads maybe it would be the appropriate time to record what condition they were in. The main Oxford Road (Uxbridge Road) was the responsibility of the Middlesex County Council. There was no street lighting until 1866, no paths as such. In the summer dry weather caused a great deal of dust, and bad weather in the winter made the roads ankle deep in mud, and flooding was very frequent at Brent Bridge. Traffic was not very heavy, horse coaches and farm carts going up to London with produce or hay and straw for horses in London, and return loads if possible. Wells were sunk, and pumps fixed, water carts used on the road to combat the dust. Two of these pumps can still be seen — one on the Uxbridge Road just past Dormers Wells Lane, the other on Wolf Green, Norwood Road, on to which, just recently (1981) they have moved a Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough – the name being self-explanatory. Another of these is in The Green, near Osterley Park Road. Yet another used to be in the High Street between Lady Margaret Road and Greenford Road.
Secondary through roads such as South Road, Norwood Road, Greenford Road were the responsibility of the Uxbridge Vestry and, in the times I am writing about, were in no better condition than the main road.
When development started and new roads were made, they were mostly constructed by the builders who, in turn, applied to the local authority for them to be taken over. This they would do providing there was sufficient rateable property on them. Until then they were known as private roads and, to keep them so, one day a year (in theory) they were closed to public traffic. Three examples were – the Gas Factory Strait, Rheubastic Road and Maypole Road, all of which used to be roped off once a year.
The Earliest Schools
In 1767 a Mr Elisha Biscoe, resident at Norwood Hall, gave a large sum of money to educate and clothe 30 boys and 10 girls belonging to the Parishes of Norwood and Heston. The only conditions were, that they be of honest parents and have a pair of boots. The school was established on the left hand side of Tentelow Lane, almost opposite the Plough Inn (the building is still there – 1982). Every year tenders were invited for the supply of clothing. In the early part of the eighteenth century a portion of land and some cottages was bequeathed by Francis Courtney of Norwood Green for the education of poor children. This was incorporated with the Biscoe School. It eventually closed in the early 1950s when the State took over education.