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Greenford

 

Greenford was once a leafy suburb famed for it's industry and at its vibrant town centre  boasting two cinemas.  The Granada (now a Tesco Metro) hosted The Rolling Stones in their early days.  Greenford's residential areas of tree lined avenues are now sliced by the thunderous A40 joining London to the motorway network.  

 

 

 

 

In the 60's the A40, then aptly named the Western Avenue, had a grassed centre reservation with crossing gaps, and roundabouts again with grass and trees.  This rapidly gave way to concrete flyovers and underpasses to effectively allow commuting traffic to travel 24 hours a day over ever increasing distances.  Because of this Greenford is now a split community gradually merging into the Greater London's anonymous urban sprawl.

 

 

Landmarks

 

 

This page takes a selective look at Greenford's bygone era and will be of interest to Baby Boomers of the area and maybe even those who hale from over the border in Perivale not to mention those who may have been born in the Perivale Maternity hospital!

 

 

 

 

Greenford's industry has been replaced by warehousing, logistics, medicine and, as with most of Britain, the service sector.  It's famous landmarks are also disappearing.  For example Rockware Glass gave way to the WestWay retail park and   …...

 

 

 

 

…...      who would have thought that all would be left of

J. Lyons & Co, once the area’s biggest employers, are the pair of rusty old entrance gates!

 

 

 

 

Oldfield Tavern - Pub and Disco

 

One such lost landmark is the 'Oldfield' ...

 

Responsible for many a matrimonial, or otherwise, event!  This was in the days of girls dancing round their handbags whilst the blokes returned from the bar to stand with their backs to the walls exercising their elbows, so as to speak! 

 

These were also the days when the majority of drivers seemed to be male and kerb-crawling was genuinely to give girls lifts home, with or without that good-night kiss!  So for those blokes who didn't score, or brave the 'last waltz' at 11-00pm, this was the only hope of romance before going home!

 

Unfortunately the blokes little realised that the girls had caught the last buses home which left at a quarter-to-eleven!!! 

 

The Oldfield was the venue for gigs by local and new bands, including Hawkwind,  Genesis,  Detours (later became The Who), and Sutherland Brothers & Quiver.
 
Happenings at the 'Oldfield' must the subject of many a 60's and 70's tale! Later the disco became known as the club 'Oscars' before the Oldfield made way to a block of apartments.

 

 

British Bath Works, Greenford

 

 

Greenford’s foundry lost too - Good or bad?

 

 

 

 

 

Travelling by London Transport Underground tube during the 60's on the Central Line from Northolt to Greenford.

 

 

 

 


If you were awake enough in the morning and looking to the right, you may have spotted two squat chimneys belching smoke. 

 

 

 

 

 

These were above the smelting furnace of the British Bath Works in Long Drive, Greenford.  The foundry belonged to the Bilston Foundries/Allied Ironfounders Group manufacturing cast iron enamelled baths, the most popular design from Greenford in that era being the 'Vogue'. 

 

British Bath Works operated 24 hours a day producing cast iron baths for domestic and world markets.

 

 

 

Having worked there in for a short time, I can remember walking down Long Drive where the houses were covered in soot and the ground vibrated to the constant thump of the factory's castings shop.
 

 

 


When the molten iron had set and the rough castings released from the moulds, the baths entered the chasing shop for de-burring. It was deafening and the air thick with metal dust glistening in the light. Health and Safety standards were not as high as today. The men, known as Fetlers,  were using angle grinders to smooth off  the enamelling surface, most of whom neither had ear-defenders, nor respiratory masks.

 


 

The smoothed castings, now coated with flux, then entered the enamelling shop. I remember the row of white-hot furnaces and the line of men dressed in 'asbestos' suits and hoods. These were the highly skilled enameller operatives who were  just a few feet from the gaping furnace doors taking the red-hot baths  out of the intense heat using a large 'forked leaver' and manually sprinkling the enamel powder coating using a sieve.  The operatives work was very hot, dangerous and dusty, not to think of the health hazards to themselves and, indeed, to all who lived in the area local to the works. 

 

 

 

This was at the height of British Manufacturing. Quality control was stringent.  A slight blemish in the final product, a pit or bump in the enamel, and the bath was smashed and recycled into the smelting furnace.  If the consignment of baths was destined abroad Crown Agents would normally carry out a secondary quality check before shipping could take place. 

 

 

During the late 70's cast iron bath production retreated to the main works in the Bilston and the foundry at Greenford closed.

 

 

 

Push & Pull Steam Train

 

Branch line that survived the Beeching axe!

 

 

 

GWR branch from Ealing Broadway serving Greenford.  Push & Pull was the name given to the train which was made up of a single observation carriage hauled by a steam tank engine. 

 

 

 

 

There was no run-around siding at either terminus hence the name.  

 

 

 

 

Eventually as with all steam, the train gave way to diesel.  

 

 

 

 

The service is now operated with one or at peak times two ‘modern’ DMU cars, but for how long?

Red Lion Greenford

Greenford Red Lion

and Flower Stall

Leafy Suburb in Middlesex

 Lyons Greenford Gates

Lyons 2003

Click Photo for Memories

Allied Ironfounders Letter Head

Tube passing Aladdin Greenford

LT Tube passing the foundry site

(site now part of the Aladdin Business Park)  

Foundry Furnace Chimney

Furnace Chimney and Vogue Bath

 

Vogue Bath

Furnace door

Furnace door  

Photo K Brockway

Picture at South Greenford

Photo Greenfordbox.Co.

Greenford signal box with incline to station behind.

Click Photo for Memories

Oldfield Pub Greenford