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Feltham, Middlesex News & Views

History of Feltham

Feltham formed an ancient parish in the Spelthorne Hundred of Middlesex. It has a record in the Domesday Book which records 21 households and an annual value to its lord of the manor of six pounds Stirling, (taxable at 12 geld units) and was held as Lord and Tenant-in-Chief by Robert, Count of Mortain. A large area of ten cultivated plough lands is recorded.

Following Mortain's son's forfeit of lands (William's rebellion triggering the attainder), the land was granted to the Redvers/de Ripariis/Rivers family. The heir in that family, Hubert de Burgh ,'Chief Justiciar  (the chief legal and political official of the English king from 1066 to 1261, who acted as regent in the king's absence) and Earl of Kent' swapped Feltham and Kempton with Henry III's manors of Aylsham in Norfolk and Westhall in Suffolk.

In 1440 Henry VI granted numerous privileges to his joint royal custodian of the two manors, including a daily income of up to 12 shillings and that "corn, hay, horse and carriages and other goods and chattels should not be seized for the king's use".

While under total royal control, following Henry VIII's full annexation of the manor into the Honour of Hampton Court, a lease of all of its manor court rights and "franchises, privileges, emoluments, and hereditaments" was granted under his daughter Elizabeth I to the Killigrew family of Kempton Park, for 80 years. However, 40 years later (1631) the large manor was passed, by grant, to Francis (Lord) Cottington, who had become Lord Treasurer, Ambassador and leader of the pro-Spanish, pro-Roman Catholic faction in the court of Charles I.

After a major fire Lord Cottington’s nephew sold the manor to Sir Thomas Chambers. His son inherited Feltham manor, whose daughter, by an empowering marriage to Admiral Vere of Hanworth in the same historic county of Middlesex, led to its next owner having a very high title and degree of wealth. Her son, Aubrey Beauclerk, 5th Duke of St Albans inherited the manor and a dukedom with considerable land from a cousin. The Duke was a British landowner and a collector of antiquities and works of art, seated at Hanworth, who funded an excavation in Italy which produced many sculpture artefacts.

In this period in 1784 General William Roy set out the baseline of what would become the Ordnance Survey across Hounslow Heath, passing through Feltham. General Roy, to this day, is commemorated by a local pub (see picture right) with the same name.

In 1831 Feltham occupied an area of 2,620 acres, stretching into Hounslow Heath and had a population of 924.

The Waterloo to Reading Line established a station in Feltham in 1848.

From 1894 to 1904 the Feltham parish was included in the Staines Rural District. In 1901 the parish had a population of 4,534 and accordingly in 1904 it was split from the rural district to form the Feltham Urban District. In 1932 the parishes of Hanworth and East Bedfont were also transferred from the Staines district to Feltham Urban District.

Feltham Urban District (colloquially known as Feltham council) was disbanded in 1965, along with the Middlesex County Council. It should be noted, however, that though for administrative purposes Feltham is now part of Greater London, the geographic and historic county of Middlesex was never abolished by statute. A poll on the "Feltham, Hanworth and Bedfont Appreciation Society" group on Facebook found that Feltham residents overwhelmingly continue to identify their home county as "Middlesex".

The main economic activity of the Feltham area was market gardening until well into the twentieth century. A popular variety of pea known as the "Feltham First" is so-named for being first grown in the town. The market gardens were largely replaced with light industry, gravel and aggregate extraction, and new housing from the 1930s onwards.

Feltham has been associated with land and air transport for more than a century. In what is now the Leisure West entertainment complex of various buildings including cinema, bowling alley and restaurants, the Feltham tramcar was once manufactured and ran along the tracks of many municipal operators, though never in Feltham itself. In the same area of the town, aircraft manufacture was an important industry, particularly during the war years. Feltham was, in the early and mid-20th century, home to Britain's second largest railway marshalling yard which was geared towards freight, and was a target for German air force bombs several times during World War II.


Local government and politics

The town forms part of Feltham and Heston Parliament constituency.  There are two local government wards falling entirely within Feltham - Feltham North and Feltham West - though locals often consider sections of the Hanworth Park and Bedfont wards as forming part of Feltham.


Redevelopment

Feltham's town centre has been re-developed several times since the focus of the village moved north from St Dunstan's Church with the coming of the railway and immediate establishment of a station in 1848. For most of the twentieth century, it had a traditional-looking High Street, including several "mock tudor" shop fronts, and a large medieval manor house which was controversially demolished in the mid-1960s to make way for a Ford car dealership and petrol station. This has since also been demolished and replaced with a small retail development Manor Park.

Most of the original High Street shops were also demolished in the mid-1960s through to the early 1970s. Although the town retains some characterful Victorian and Edwardian houses, especially on Hanworth Road and adjoining roads, many older cottages too were demolished alongside the railway line to make way for a number of 'high rise' blocks of flats such as Belvedere House and Hunter House, both still standing, and Home Court, demolished at the beginning of the 21st Century and replaced with new flats mostly above the retail sites.

The current shopping hub, The Centre, Feltham, opened in 2006. It retained and refurbished many of the shop units built in the 1960s to replace the demolished buildings along the High Street frontage, but replaced most of the others with new, larger units. Also added, as part of the re-development, was a Travelodge hotel, 800 homes, a new and larger library, and a medical centre.


Religion

The town remains among the largest ecclesiastical parishes of the Diocese of London within the Church of England. The parish church of St Dunstan and the Parish of Feltham have joined with two other churches to create a larger "Ecumenical Parish of Feltham" founded in the late 1970s. This joins the church together in activities and church services with Southville Methodist Church and the United Free Church of Feltham.

On 24 June 1868 Father Ignatius founded an Anglican Benedictine convent in the parish. Feltham Priory, or Feltham Nunnery, was dedicated to Saints Mary and Scholastica (twin sister of St Benedict). It lasted five years before the nuns initiated a series of moves which would see them relocate to Curzon Park Abbey in Chester in 1988.

The tall spire fronting tower of an additional church first built 1880-1898, to St Catherine, opposite the railway station forms the façade of a London Borough of Hounslow Housing office and temporary housing accommodation.


Freddie Mercury (1946–1991) of rock band Queen lived in Feltham 1964-1968; his parents were residents until shortly before he died

Brian May of rock band Queen once lived in Feltham

Vic Briggs, guitarist of 1960s pop group The Animals, was born in Feltham and grew up in Twickenham

Dr Thomas Denman (1733–1815), midwifery pioneer, lived in Feltham

Film writer and director Edmund Goulding (1891–1959) was born in Feltham

Buster Lloyd-Jones (1914–1980), eminent vet, was born in Feltham

Actor Derek Martin, best known as Charlie Slater in BBC soap EastEnders, lived in Feltham

Olympic gold medalist Athlete Mo Farah attended Feltham Community College.


 information extracted and adapted from Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

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General Roy Pub, named after General Roy

General Roy Pub, Feltham


A Picture of the Feltham Tram Car

Feltham Tram Car


Picture of Freddie Mercury of Queen and former resident of Feltham Middlesex.

Freddie Mercury, former resident of Feltham.

An American Point of View