SOUTHALL: A Brief History

There is another short article about Overshott Watermill in Greenford Road and a charming sketch to illustrate it:

‘although the building itself is not particularly attractive from an architectural point of view, its situation and surroundings are very pleasant indeed in summer. The millpond…still exists, although the waterwheel and the millstones have long since disappeared’.

This mill was already in existance during the 17th century when successive occupiers paid a poor-rate to the precinct, but before 1900 it had fallen into disuse. A water-colour painted about 1885 shows the building still intact. By 1910 very little of the building or its machinery were left. The land all around it became in 1890 the first golf-course in Middlesex.

In 1893 Edward Walford published his Greater London and dealt with Southall and Norwood along with the rest of Middlesex. For Norwood he says:

‘the country around, although somewhat level, is nevertheless wooded and pleasant…much of the land hereabouts is well adapted for brick-making, a branch of industry which is largely carried on here, though somewhat on the decline; whilst in the immediate outskirts of the village are market gardens and orchards, with an occasional farm.
‘Norwood consists of several handsome and substantial houses, surrounding a triangular village-green of some twenty acres, adorned with fine elms. The cedars, yews and evergreens in the various gentlemens’ gardens help to give the village a leafy and well wooded appearance, even in winter’.

He then describes the church, which was further restored just after this, in 1896.

‘Southall’, he continues, ‘is the centre of a flat and dreary district’, but apart from the Manor House he finds little to comment on.

The Urban District Council were conscious of their new dignity and thought it proper to provide themselves with a Town Hall. A fund was set up, and the Earl of Jersey gave a site opposite the end of South Road in Northcote. It was opened in 1897. Some of the earlier photographs of it show that it had a certain classical dignity, but the addition of a glass canopy and the public conveniences contribute little to its charm.