Red Book Publications: London

Volume I - London Within the Bars, Westminster and Southwark

Edited by William Page, this volume was published in 1909.

This volume includes entries on the following:

  • Romano-British London
  • Anglo-Saxon Remains
  • Ecclesiastical History
  • Religious Houses

The entries describing the medieval religious houses are on British History Online.

The full text is available via the Internet Archive.

The Religious Houses of London and Middlesex

Edited by Caroline M. Barron and Matthew P. Davies, this volume was published in 2007.

This volume brings together, for the first time, the remarkably detailed accounts of the sixty-five religious houses in London and Middlesex that were originally published by the Victoria Country History in 1909 and 1969. These range from the larger and better known houses, such as Westminster Abbey, to the many small cells and hospitals that were founded in and around London in the centuries before the Reformation. New material has been added for every house in the form of brief guides to recent research, along with revised lists of the heads of these institutions up to the Dissolution. There is also an entirely new introduction, which explores the significance of the religious houses in the spiritual and social life of the city and county during the half millennium of their existence.

This volume is not available online.

Red Book Publications: Middlesex

Volume I - Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, the Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes To 1870, Private Education From Sixteenth Century

Edited by J.S. Cockburn, H.P.F. King and K.G.T. McDonnell, this volume was published in 1969.

The volume contains the following entries:

  • The Physique of Middlesex
  • Archaeology
  • Domesday Survey
  • Ecclesiastical Organization
  • The Education of the Working Classes to 1870
  • Private Education from the Sixteenth Century
  • Schools
  • The Jews
  • Religious Houses
  • The University of London
    • The University
    • The Constituent Colleges
  • Index [to Domesday Surrey - persons and places]

This volume is on British History Online.

Volume II - General; Ashford, East Bedfont With Hatton, Feltham, Hampton With Hampton Wick, Hanworth, Laleham, Littleton

Edited by William Page, this volume was published in 1911.

This volume contains the following entries:

  • Ancient Earthworks
  • Political History
  • Social and Economic History
  • Industries
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Sport, Ancient and Modern

The volume also includes an account of the parishes of Spelthorne Hundred.

This volume is on British History Online.

The full text is also available via the Internet Archive.

Volume III - Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington

Edited by Susan Reynolds this volume was published in 1962.

This volume covers  histories of fourteen parishes in south-west Middlesex: Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, and Teddington in Spelthorne hundred; Heston-and-Isleworth and Twickenham in Isleworth hundred; and Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield, and Harlington in Elthorne hundred. The whole area is now divided between the London Boroughs of Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and Richmond upon Thames and the District of Spelthorne. Among its extensive modern suburbs are the vestiges of the earlier agricultural villages, and the best known of the surviving large houses are Syon House, Osterley Park, and Strawberry Hill. The index covers both Volumes Two and Three.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume IV - Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner

Edited by T.F.T. Baker, J.S. Cockburn and R.B. Pugh with contributions from Diane K. Bolton, H.P.F King, Gillian Wyld and D. C. Yaxley, this volume was published in 1971.

This contains histories of ten ancient parishes in north-west Middlesex. Wealthy Londoners began to buy property here during the Middle Ages and later settled in fine houses, exemplified by the Jacobean mansion of Swakeleys. The area in return supplied the capital with corn, livestock, and, increasingly, with hay and garden produce. In Uxbridge it possessed a medieval market town, whose prosperity grew with the coach trade, and in Harrow, from the 18th century, it boasted a fashionable school. Until the 19th century, however, the parishes were mainly rural and even backward, since agriculture was hampered by the heavy London Clay. The countryside receded only gradually, with the cutting of canals and the digging of brickearth, followed by the penetration of rail-ways and the spread of housing around the railway stations. In 1920 the hay-fields of Perivale, a parish centred around five farms, still contrasted with the factories of Southall, although the sale of private estates for development was soon to leave only some carefully preserved open spaces. Contrasts persist today: between the slopes along the Hertfordshire border, with their trees and large residences, and the housing estates which stretch away to the south; between the high streets of Harrow-on-the-Hill and Pinner, scarcely changed in the 20th century, and the M1 and M4 motorways; between the village greens at the heart of Norwood and Northolt and the shopping centre under construction at Uxbridge; between churches, alms-houses, moats, and barns on one hand, and on the other the stadium and Empire Pool and Arena at Wembley, and London Airport, which has obliterated the hamlet of Heathrow and covered most of the parish of Harmondsworth. The volume contains 19 pages of illustrations, two street-plans, and nine maps.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume V - Gore Hundred (continued) and Edmonton Hundred

Edited by T.F.T Baker and R.B. Pugh with contributions from A.P. Baggs, Diane K. Bolton, Eileen P. Scarff and G.C.Tyack, this volume was published in 1976.

The volume relates the history of four parishes in Gore hundred and of the five which form Edmonton hundred. The first group contains Hendon, Kingsbury, and Little Stanmore, all bordering Edgware Road, and Great Stanmore. A northward projection of Ossulstone hundred separates it from the second, consisting of Edmonton, Enfield, and Tottenham, along the Essex boundary following the river Lea, and of South Mimms, finally transferred to Hertfordshire in 1965, and Monken Hadley, transferred in 1889 but now part of Greater London. In size the parishes range from Monken Hadley, with 695 a., to Enfield, among the largest in England with more than 12,000 a.; the most populous, Tottenham with Wood Green, had well over 200,000 inhabitants by 1931. The story is of the rise of roadside settlement, of the purchase of land by Londoners, of suburban growth around railway stations and along new avenues, and, most recently, of rebuilding. Today's residents include a large Jewish community at Golders Green and coloured immigrants in working-class Tottenham and Edmonton. The scene is mainly suburban, although varying from the villas of late Victorian and Edwardian Southgate to ferry-built terraces farther east, and from Hampstead Garden Suburb to municipal housing estates and tower blocks. Many houses in Enfield, Mill Hill, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, and Stanmore are left from the genteel villages of 18th- and early- 19th-century Middlesex. Park-land and farms survive in the north, notably in South Mimms, where Wrotham and Dyrham parks stand in their grounds, and around the former royal forest of Enfield Chase. Canons, the area's most famous mansion, is recalled by the remnants of its park, close to the church where the princely duke of Chandos lies buried. Industry is confined mainly to the Lea valley, where the Royal Small Arms factory produced the first Enfield rifle in the 1850s, and to sites near Edgware Road, where Hendon Aerodrome lay. Other landmarks include the Alexandra Palace, whence the earliest television service was relayed, Harringay Stadium and Arena, and the White Hart Lane ground of Tottenham Hotspurs football club.

This book is on British History Online.

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Volume VI - Ossulstone Hundred

Edited by T.F.T. Baker with contributions from A.P. Baggs, Diane K. Bolton, Michael A. Hicks and R.B. Pugh this volume was published in 1980.

The volume relates the history of Ossulstone hundred and of the parishes of Friern Barnet, Finchley, and Hornsey, which form the outer part of the hundred's Finsbury division. The article on Hornsey covers Highgate village, including the half which lay within the county of London from 1889 until 1965, and a peninsular part of the parish, south-east of Seven Sisters Road, transferred to London in 1899. Before their inclusion in Greater London in 1965, Friern Barnet was an urban district, with 29,000 inhabitants, and Finchley and Hornsey were municipal boroughs, with populations of 69,000 and 98,000. The parishes stretch from Whetstone, on the old Hertfordshire boundary at the northern tip of Friern Barnet and Finchley, to Finsbury Park, little more than 3 miles from the city of London. Finchley and Hornsey manors belonged to the bishop of London, while Brownswood in south-eastern Hornsey was a prebendal estate of St Paul's cathedral, whose chapter also acquired Friern Barnet manor. There was much woodland, in addition to Finchley Common and the bishop's park in Hornsey, and settlements before the 19th century were small, except along the Great North Road. Highgate, on a hill top where the road entered Hornsey park, has had wealthy residents since Tudor times and retains many 17th- and 18th-century houses. Elsewhere the scene is mainly residential, including large subdivided villas of the 1860s around Finsbury Park, millionaires' homes where Finchley parish borders Hampstead, and, besides 20th-century infilling, avenues and shopping parades of the 1890s where builders created homogeneous suburbs out of the villages at Crouch End and Muswell Hill. Friern Hospital formerly occupied 165 a. in Friern garnet, when it was well known as Colney Hatch Asylum.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume VII - Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Willesden Parishes

Edited by T.F.T. Baker

The volume completes the coverage of the administrative county of Middlesex as it existed until 1965, with histories of the parishes of Acton, Chiswick, Ealing, West Twyford, and Willesden, together forming the outer part of the Kensington division of Ossulstone hundred. The article on Ealing covers Old Brentford, in Ealing parish, and New Brent-ford, a chapelry which formed the southern part of Hartwell parish, in Elthorne hundred. Before their inclusion in Greater London the parishes embraced the municipal boroughs of Acton, Brentford and Chiswick, and Willesden, and part of the borough of Ealing, with a total population of some 250,000. The area lies between the river Brent and the Thames, stretching from Edgware Road in the north-east to Brentford High Street. Many estates belonged to the bishop of Lon-don or to prebendaries of St. Paul's cathedral. Brentford, owing its prosperity to the Thames, to roadside inns, and to the market gardens of its hinterland, was the largest centre by the 17th century, when good access to the royal palaces and to London drew prominent residents to Chiswick and Ealing. Most of the land was built over in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Ealing claimed to be the queen of upper-middle class suburbs. Meanwhile the decline of Brentford was followed by the growth of industry in much of Acton and Willesden. The modern scene is mainly one of sub-urban housing, intersected by railways and busy roads, including the M4 motorway. Contrasts nonetheless abound, with factories at Park Royal and along the Great West Road, shops and offices in Ealing Broadway and Chiswick High Road, tower-blocks and decayed terraces at Kilburn, the early garden suburb of Bedford Park, the riverside 'villages' of Old Chiswick and Strand-on-the-Green, and the landscaped grounds of Gunnersbury Park and Chiswick House.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume VIII - Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes

Edited by T.F.T. Baker with contributions from A.P. Baggs, Diane K. Bolton and Patricia Croot this volume was published in 1985.

The volume is the first to cover parts of Middlesex which lay from 1889 until 1965 within the administrative county of London, with histories of the parishes of Islington and Stoke Newington. Before their inclusion in Greater London the parishes embraced the metropolitan boroughs of Islington and Stoke Newington, with a total population of over 250,000. Detached parts of Hornsey parish are included in the account of Stoke Newington. Islington, stretching north from where two routes from the City met at the Angel, was built up early with roadside settlements along Upper Street and High Street, forming Islington town, and farther north at bower and Upper Holloway. Canonbury, Highbury, and Barnsbury, which had been medieval manors, were built up as middle-class suburbs in the 19th century. The south-west corner of the parish, near King's Cross, was given over to industry, working-class housing, and institutions, which included the royal Caledonian asylum, the Metropolitan cattle market, and Holloway and Pentonville prisons. Islington was noted in the 19th century for its evangelical churchmanship and in the 20th for local political issues. Stoke Newington lay on the north-east side of Islington and was a much smaller parish. Settlement grew up along High Street, which was a stretch of Ermine Street forming the eastern boundary with Hackney, and along Church Street, which joined it at right angles. Stoke Newington was favoured by wealthy City men, many of whom from the late 17th century had marked nonconformist leanings. From the 19th century successive waves of immigrants from London and its east end gradually changed the character of the parish, although they did not reach the north-western part until the building of the large Woodberry Down estate after the Second World War. The area today contains little open space, apart from Highbury Fields in Islington and Clissold Park and Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington. Most of the housing consists of 19th-century terraces and villas. Large-scale refurbishment from the 1960s has helped to promote conservation but, by leading to the 'gentrification' of parts of Islington, to produce controversy and social divisions.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume IX - Hampstead and Paddington Parishes

Edited by T.F.T Baker with contributions from Diane K. Bolton and Patricia Croot this volume was published in 1989.

The volume is the second to cover parts of Middlesex which lay from 1889 until 1965 within the administrative county of London, and contains histories of the parishes of Hampstead and Paddington. Before their inclusion in Greater London the parishes embraced the metropolitan borough of Hampstead and most of that of Paddington, with a total population of over 200,000. Queen's Park, built in a detached part of Chelsea parish, is included in the account of Paddington. Hampstead rose northward from Chalk Farm to the heath and Finchley and, less steeply, north-eastward from Kilburn High Road. Hampstead town encroached upon the heath, which was waste of the medieval manor. There was roadside settlement at Kilburn and piecemeal building elsewhere on the heath. The town's healthy elevation attracted rich Londoners before and after its spell as a fashionable spa in the early 18th century. Narrow and hilly streets helped to preserve it in the 19th, as fields and parkland were covered by mainly middle- and upper middle-class suburbs, including Belsize Park and Swiss Cottage. The heath, protected by influential residents, became a playground for Londoners. In the 20th century Hampstead was also noted for its artistic and intellectual life. Paddington, smaller but more populous, lay between Edgware Road and Bayswater Road, which converged at Tyburn gallows near Marble Arch. Early settlements were Paddington Green, Westbourne Green, and Bayswater. Northern and southern halves became separated by lines of road, canal, and railway. Systematic house-building began soon after 1800 in Tyburnia and Bayswater, before spreading beyond the industrial belt to form Maida Vale and a humbler district towards Queen's Park. Parts of southern Paddington, near Hyde Park, rivalled Belgravia, while Whiteley's stores made Westbourne Grove a busy shopping centre. Institutions included the G.W.R. terminus, St. Mary's hospital, and the Metropolitan music hall. By 1900 lodging houses and small hotels had multiplied, as had canalside slums, which were cleared only after war damage and further decay. Both parishes today contain residential areas that have remained expensive and others where redevelopment has given way to refurbishment. Hampstead retains a compact centre including 18th-century buildings, with large later houses in the avenues to the south and west. Paddington, urbanized and with more municipal housing, retains its ambitious layout of streets and squares, where many stuccoed terraces survive to this day.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume X - Hackney Parish

Edited by T.F.T. Baker this volume was published in 1995.

This volume is the third to cover parts of Middlesex which lay from 1889 until 1965 within the county of London. It treats the history of Hackney, the largest parish transferred in 1889, which became a metropolitan borough with over 220,000 inhabitants before giving its name to a Greater London borough. The volume traces the origin of Hackney within the bishop of London's extensive Stepney manor, with medieval settlement round the church and at Dalston by the 13th century, and at Clapton and Homerton by the 14th. Hackney Wick and Shacklewell also had medieval origins. Before 1750 most people lived along Mare Street and its offshoots. London has been decisive, malting Hackney a desirable retreat, healthy but accessible, before turning it into a largely industrial suburb. Aldermen bought property there in the 13th century, as did Bank of England directors in the 18th. Nobles and courtiers abounded in Tudor and early Stuart times, when monarchs visited. Samuel Pepys admired girls at the fashionable schools and Daniel Defoe praised an opulence said in 1756 to sur-pass that of any village in the kingdom. The 18th century brought canals, rail-ways, factories, substantial villas, and jerry-built terraces for workers from the old East End. Britain's first plastics were made at Hackney Wick in the 1860s, and other products became household names. By 1901 south Hackney, with Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, formed the centre of London's clothing and furniture trades. The better off retreated northward. Their houses, if not subdivided, gave place to council estates, often for Londoners and for which more room was to be made by bombing. The population has shrunk over seventy years. Since 1945 Much heavy industry has left and immigrants have come mainly from the new Commonwealth, although Jews remain prominent around Stamford Hill. 'Gentrification', delayed by the widespread distribution of council estates and lack of an Underground rail-way, is bringing the refurbishment of older houses, often in the shadow of tower blocks which themselves are under threat.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume XI - Stepney with Bethnal Green

Edited by T.F.T. Baker this volume was published in 1998.

The ancient parish of Stepney covered most of the area of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the middle ages, the Tower division of Ossulstone Hundred, but was gradually reduced in area.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume XII - Chelsea

Edited by Patricia Croot, this volume was published in 2004.

Chelsea was a desirable riverside residence for wealthy merchants, lawyers, and courtiers from the fifteenth century, and a pleasure resort for all ranks of society from the eighteenth; it is now one of the most expensive and desirable places to live in London. This new volume relates all this and more, including a re-examination of the location of Sir Thomas More's house, a reassessment of Henry VIII's relationship with the manor house, the history of a major estate not previously identified, and a survey of the farm-gardening which gave prosperity to some local inhabitants. Facets of Chelsea's more recent history covered include the rebuilding of eastern Chelsea, which removed a large lower middle- and working-class population and replaced their accommodation with houses for the well-off; the artistic community which grew up in the late nineteenth century from which Chelsea derived its bohemian reputation; and the cultural and commercial changes of the Swinging Sixties.

This volume is on British History Online.

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Volume XIII - City of Westminster, Part 1: Landownership and Religious History

Edited by Patricia Croot with contributions from Alan Thacker and Elizabeth Williamson, this volume was published in 2009.

The City of Westminster is the seat of the monarchy and government of Great Britain and the centre of many aspects of British economic and cultural life, yet to date there has been no comprehensive history of the city. It is this gap which this volume will fill.

The book opens with an explanation of what makes Westminster unique and follows with detailed sections on landownership and religious history. The section on landownership treats the history and ownership of the manors, the large medieval inns, and the estates created from the 16th century onwards; that on religious history provides a general chronological introduction to religious life in the city, and detailed accounts of the history and buildings of all the Christian denominations and other Faiths.

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VCH Shorts

Knightsbridge and Hyde

Written by Pamela Taylor, this book was published in 2017.

Today’s Knightsbridge, the wealthy shoppers’ paradise, is a recent cross-border development. This book breaks new ground by uncovering an earlier, larger Knightsbridge and showing why its initial extent and history have been largely forgotten. Knightsbridge was the southern part of the Westminster abbey manor of Knightsbridge and Westbourne, and until 1900 covered the same area as the parish of St Margaret Westminster Detached. Pre-1900 Knightsbridge/Westminster included today’s Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, almost half of ‘South Kensington’, and Hyde Park west of the Serpentine (or river Westbourne). So why was so much of Knightsbridge lost to memory, becoming thought of only in terms of Westminster, Hyde or (until 1900 entirely wrongly) Kensington?

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St Clement Danes, 1660-1900

Edited by Francis Boorman with contributions from Jonathan Comber and Mark Latham, this book was published in 2018.

St Clement Danes, now the central RAF church in the Strand, is at the heart of the capital, sandwiched between ‘theatreland’ and legal London, and connecting the dual historic centres of Westminster and the City. This book reveals the vibrant cultural, economic, political and religious life of the parish from the Restoration to its abolition in 1900.

This period was one of rapid urban transformation in the parish, as the large aristocratic riverside houses of the 17th century gave way to a bustling centre of commerce and culture in the 18th. The slums that developed in the 19th century were then swept away by the grand constructions of the Royal Courts of Justice and the Victoria Embankment, followed by the new thoroughfares of Aldwych and Kingsway, which are still the major landmarks in the area.

Characterised by its contrasts, St Clement Danes was home to a mix of rich and poor residents, including lawyers, artisans, servants and prostitutes. The history of this fascinating area introduces a cast of characters ranging from the Twinings tea-trading family, to the rowdy theatre-going butchers of Clare Market and from the famous Samuel Johnson, to the infamous pornographers of Holywell Street. This book also unpicks the complicated structure of local government in the parish, and provides detailed accounts of the parish schools and charities.

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