The Maypole branch of the canal, 3 ½ furlongs in length, leads off from here. It was made in 1912/13 and together with the dock, cost £27, 670. Just after it came into use, it was found that, being so narrow the water displaced by the barges could not get away fast enough, so three lay-bys had to be added. All was open land and a big orchard where Wimpeys now have their works, and a farmhouse and a large barn had their entrance in Glade Lane. When I remember it we used to call it Neighbour’s Orchard, and this used to stretch as far as the Church Path. The Maypole purchased a large portion of it and used to allow employees to cultivate what was not wanted. Now the large Quaker Oats factory is there.
We are now at the extreme East side of Southall Green, at the Top Locks; these, of course, get that name for being at the top of a series of locks, the Hanwell Flight going down to Brentford. It was in a field at Top Locks ( which is now part of the Ealing Borough Nurseries ) that, on 3rd July 1911, a Bristol Bi-plane competing in the “Standard Flying Race” was experiencing some difficulties and finally landed. The airman was Lieut. B.H. Barrington-Kennett of the Coldstream Guards. His machine was somewhat damaged, but it was repaired , and two days later took off and flew back to Hendon. This was the first aeroplane ever to land at Southall.
On the canal bank, facing Havelock Road, there was an old Beer House the “Prince of Wales” – square brick building, pulled down in 1936. Landlord, John Cort.
It was at this point that a branch came off the canal and records show that it came down as far as where Victoria Road is now, and was made to allow barges to come up and load with bricks, from the brickfields adjoining.
Although they strictly come within the Parish of Norwood, a row of cottages, Buckingham Terrace, and two other cottages stood on the left-hand side. Next was an old soap factory which was taken over in 1877 by Martin Brothers Pottery, who came from Fulham. Their pottery has become famous all over the world. There were four brothers – Charles, who died in 1910; Walter, 1912; Edwin, 1915; and Wallace, 1923 – very little work was completed after 1915 and finished in 1923. They had a showroom in Brownlow Street, London, but this was almost destroyed by fire in 1910. One of their more public pieces is the fountain in the Manor House Grounds, and more is on display in the Library. The old pottery became a film processing works and was burned down in 1942. On the site has now been built a very modern Council estate.
Between the Martinware factory and the Church Path was a large brickfield. This was rented to Bramwell Thomas in 1841 for seven guineas a year, from the Earl of Jersey. His overseer was a Mr. Brixley, and to this day the allotment site is known as Brixley Field.
After some very old cottages, now replaced by Havelock Court, came the Norwood Farm Milk Depot. This is now the Sikh Gurdwara, established in 1967. Next to that was the Gas Works Stables. They used to bring the horses there from the works.
This afterwards became the offices of the Borough of Southall Parks Department with Mr. Collier, Superintendant, and Mr. Morse, Deputy, in charge; but this was phased out when we became part of the Borough of Ealing. At one time an office there was used for Council House rents. During 1941-47, the local Ambulance Divisions held their meetings there and housed its ambulance.
Two years ago it was sold to the Sikh Temple who have made the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Library.
We are now back at King Street.