SOUTHALL: A Brief History

The end of the century and the beginings of a town

While these dynastic changes were taking place, the face of Southall was at last starting to change. We can date the earliest beginings of the modern town from the granting of the market charter; but a more significant milestone, and one which had a more immediate effect, was the construction of the canal. An act was passed in 1793 authorising the Grand Junction Canal Company to build a canal starting from the Thames at Brentford. In the course of the next few years they did this , closely following the course of the Brent as far as Hanwell, then cutting up a flight of six locks and across the southern part of the precinct. The work progressed very slowly, but by 1798 the canal was finally open to traffic as far as Uxbridge. Three years later a branch was cut from Bulls Bridge at North Hyde to Paddington, for the first mile or two running parallel to Yeading Brook. Until this time Paddington was a small village outside London: the new canal immediately provided a cheap and relatively quick connexion between the capital and the Midlands. Great wealth from manufacturing industries poured through Paddington’s docks and warehouses with the result we see there today.