The Manor House
The Manor House has always been the focal point of Southall Green. It was built in 1587 for a Lord and Lady Dacre, who had previously lived at Dormer House. In 1601 it was sold to the Awsiter family, who carried on until 1758. It was then sold to Agatha Childs from Osterley House. Next it was purchased by Williams Welsh in 1821. He it was who acquired the lease of Southall Market from the Earl of Jersey, and re-modelled same at a cost of £1,300.
In 1879 William Thomas, inventor of the lock-stitch sewing machine, occupied the Manor. It was in the winter of 1885, due to the extreme poverty caused by the brickfield workers not being able to work due to the very cold winter, that the Thomas family provided one penny dinners for up to 100 children daily. After 12.30, when all the children had been served, adults could have the remainder.
The last family in occupation was the Scarbrooks from 1898 to 1912, after which it was bought by the Urban Council in 1913 for £6,100 – this included the barn, four cottages and three-and-a-half acres of grounds. It is on record that Lady Dacre consulted the famous Landscape Gardner, Capability Brown, as to the planning of the gardens.
Francis Awsiter granted permission for a Catholic priest from St Anselms, Hayes, to hold mass in the tithe barn attached to the Manor. This was the begining of St Anselms Church. At around 1900, a site was given on the right-hand side and a church built. There now stands a Catholic School.
The barn was also used for social events. It was demolished together with the four cottages, when the Green was widened. Much more detail regarding its history can be learned from “The Chronicle of a Manor House” by Evelyn Barnet.
After the Council took posession, it fell into disrepair and it was only through the efforts of the local Historic Society and the Chamber of Commerce that restoration took place, and is still serving a useful purpose.
When a proposal came before the Council to build public conveniences on part of the grounds facing the Green, at an estimated cost of £500, Councillor Waddington very much opposed it on the grounds that the perpetually recurring cost of upkeep would be clearly an irresponsible extravagance on the rates. It was stated that the cost would be around one pound per week. Today this would not cover the cost of vandalism per day!