Let’s face it, anyone living in Harrow has to appreciate Hatch End as one of the nicest parts of the borough to live in.
While it is now a thriving hub of activity, it was once a quiet rural area, as we will get into shortly, that played a huge role in the development of modern-day London as we know it today.
The history of Hatch End dates back to the 14th century when it was part of the parish of Harrow. Back in the 16th century, a large part of the area was mainly used for farming, namely cattle and sheep – it wasn’t until the 19th century that it began to develop into a more residential area that we know and love today.
Back at this time, the area was commonly known as Hatch End Farm – owned by a local farmer named George Cross.
Then, during the 19th century, the railway arrived in Hatch End, owing to the recent opening of the Harrow and Wealdstone Station in 1837. This brought about a large increase in the population Hatch End, and indeed Harrow in general, as people began to commute into central London to their jobs. As a result, new housing developments began to spring up, and the area quickly grew into a thriving suburb – more similar to what we know it to be today.
One of the areas big developments was the construction of the Metropolitan Railway in 1912. This provided a direct link between Hatch End and central London, increasing the areas popularity ten fold. The railway station itself was designed by a Mr Charles Walter Clark, who was also responsible for designing several other stations on the line.
During the mid-20th century, Hatch End continued to grow, and several notable buildings were constructed in the area. First, and perhaps most notable, we had the construction of the Grade II listed Church of St. Anselm, built in 1938 and designed by architect Adrian Gilbert Scott.
Another notable building is the Hatch End High School, which was built in 1954 and is known for its distinctive modernist architecture. The school is famous for having a number of notable students over the years including actors and professional athletes.
Today, Hatch End is a bustling high street and plenty of local amenities. It is home to several schools, including of course, Hatch End High School, as well as several primary schools. Popular parks in the local area include Pinner Park and the Grimsdyke Open Space.
One notable part of Hatch End’s charm is Pickwick Walk – a lovely pedestrian corridor that most of our readers will be familiar with. The early 1900s alleyway that connects Uxbridge Road to the adjoining car park has a long history – one that you might not expect, in fact.
Initially, the alleyway was named Berry’s Walk after Uxbridge Road grocery store owner Thomas Berry. Berry was well-liked for his dedication to local charities and community organisations. His name is still on the Pickwick Walk entry plaque.
Hatch End’s Pickwick Walk continued to hustle and bustle in the years that followed. Bakeries, butcher shops, and pharmacies were in the alleyway (and a famous barber shop that stayed for years!). The close-knit community supported these companies, servicing locals and visitors.
Pickwick Walk served the community in Harrow throughout the Second World War. The alleyway was used during this time as a bomb shelter for residents. The alleyway merchants supplied the neighbourhood with battle materials, helping local families in perhaps the most challenging times ever faced.
Hatch End undoubtedly has a rich history that spans several centuries. From its humble beginnings as a farming community to its current status as a thriving suburban area and much loved part of our borough, Hatch End has maintained an important role in the community.
With its bustling high street, excellent transport links, and wealth of local amenities – especially all the fabulous restaurants! – it is no surprise that it continues to be a popular place to live and work.
What do you think about Hatch End? how has it changed over the years? be sure to let us know in the comments on our social media.