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Pinner: a brief profile and history

Pinner is the well-known suburb of the London Borough of Harrow, which lies around 12 miles (19 km) north of Central London. Originally a hamlet, it is thought to be over a thousand years old.

The first record of its name is Pinnora, in the year 1231. Ora meant “hill”, and the first half of its name derives itself from the name of the river that runs (in a diagonal direction) through Pinner: the river Pinn.

Its oldest part is centred around the St. John the Baptist Church, which itself dates from the fourteenth century, having been first mentioned in the year 1234 as a chapel of ease to St. Mary’s, Harrow. It was then re-built, and re-dedicated in 1321, becoming independent of St. Mary’s in 1766 and having its first vicar (a certain William Hind) appointed in 1868.

It was initially inhabited by yeoman farmers, small holders and labourers, and was the largest settlement in the Manor of Harrow, as it used to be known when the Lord of the Manor was none other than the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Pinner Village Hall.

Towards the end of the 18th century, a daily coach to London was established, thus strengthening its travel links with the City and making it more popular for people to come and live in Pinner. In 1837, the London to Birmingham Railway cut across the north-east corner of Pinner, and – in 1842 – a railway station (now Hatch End Station) opened.

By the time the Metropolitan railway reached Pinner, in 1885, one can safely say that Pinner was no longer purely an agricultural area, as it initially was. Rayners Lane Station opened in 1904, with North Harrow Station to follow in 1915.

Pinner expanded rapidly between 1923 and 1939, when garden estates such as the Pinnerwood estate conservation area grew around its historical centre. It now contains a number of homes built in the Art Deco style of the 1930s, such as the Elm Park Court, which is Grade II listed. It is also the site of one of the UK’s oldest chartered fairs (a fair or street market created by Royal Charter), hosts several schools with prestigious reputations, as well as various churches and a synagogue. It also is the home of large parks and open spaces, such as Pinner Memorial Park, Pinner Village Gardens, Pinner Wood (woodlands) and Pinner Park (farmland).

Pinner Memorial Park

Pinner has had its own fair since around 1336, and continues to hold a number of fairs and fetes which are renowned for bringing the community together, such as the Pinner Fair, the Pinner Donkey Derby and Fete, and St. George’s Day annual celebrations (which are organised by the Rotary Club of Pinner). These latter celebrations include the “Ye Olde Wheelbarrow Race”, an event unique to Pinner, in which a team of two take turns to push their respective partners around Pinner whilst drinking beer.

Pinner Fair, 2019.

Pinner is the host of a rugby union team, Pinner and Grammarians RFC, the most junior team to have supplied a President to the Rugby Football Union. It also features the Pinner Cricket Club and a youth football club, Pinner United FC – as well as Pinner Golf course. It has an amateur theatre club, the Pinner Players, and, since 2016, the Heath Robinson museum (dedicated to the work of the cartoonist William Heath Robinson).

Edward Lear and H. G. Wells both mention Pinner in their literary work, the former in one of his limericks, and the latter in his famous science fiction book, War of the Worlds. More recently, celebrities such as music star Sir Elton John, TV personality Bob Holness as well as the jazz pianist George Shearing made Pinner their home.

Pinner High Street

Pinner remains a suburb defined by green spaces and historic pockets and is very close to the centre of Harrow and to Watford. It continues to be a very desirable place to live in, with some of the lowest crime rates in the entirety of Greater London.

Main research source: Wikipedia