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What is it like in Whitton?


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On a humbler level, some houses survive from the period before the 1930s development. There are short terraces of early 19th century workers' cottages in Nelson Road near the Admiral Nelson public house and on the eastern side of Hounslow Road a little to the north of the Baptist Church.

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Aside from, for instance, conkers and marbles, fishing occupied families for tadpoles, newts, sticklebacks and other small fish or tiddlers using jam jars suspended from loops of string in the streams: the Crane and the stretch of the Duke of Northumberland's River from Meadway to the Chertsey Road.

In 1862 the Gostling family, owners of part of the former estate of the Duke of Argyll, donated land at the junction of Hounslow and Kneller Roads for the Church of St Philip and St James (C of E) and for an adjoining vicarage, since replaced.

Whitton Methodist Church in Percy Road dates from the period of residential development in the 1930s and St Augustine of Canterbury, Whitton in Hospital Bridge Road opened in 1958. Before then services had been held in Bishop Perrin C of E School which had opened in 1936. The Catholic Church of St Edmund of Canterbury is in Nelson Road.

In February 2015 the station started to be rebuilt. This is being done in two phases - the first prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the second after that and completing in 2016. [3]

The area required and had few cars, which were relatively expensive, until well into the 1950s. Recreation grounds at the time included Murray Park, the Kneller Recreation Ground in Meadway, and Crane Park.

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Another row of similar cottages, one of which had been converted into Reay's Timber Yard, existed until the early 1960s in Hounslow Road close to Holly Bush Corner at the junction with Nelson Road and the High Street. Still present at Holly Bush Corner is an old cottage that served until the late 1950s as a corner shop occupied and operated by Bob Anderson, who was a great favourite with local children, and was instantly recognizable from his trademark crisp white apron.

In 1851 a Church of England elementary school was opened in the grounds of Kneller Hall, its playground adjoining Whitton Dene and Kneller Road surrounded by a high brick wall and a line of horse-chestnut trees. Originally co-educational, by the end of the Second World War it had become a boys-only school and remained in use until the 1960s. The name of the school was changed to "Whitton Boys Church of England Boy's School", known locally simply as "Whitton Boys".

As recently as Victorian times Whitton was renowned as a 'market garden', known for its roses, narcissi, lilies of the valley and for its apple, plum and pear orchards. Indeed, until the 1920s the village was still separated from the surrounding towns by open fields and much of the earlier character of the old village was retained well into the 1940s. However, in little more than a decade all that changed.

During and for a time after the Second World War, Kneller Hall was used as a hospital and convalescent home for wounded servicemen.

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Once renowned as a 'market garden' by the Victorians, with a family orientated, ethnically diverse community, the town centre retains some of it's 1930 charm with a village feel with local convenience and major high street brands.

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In Hounslow Road there were a confectioner/tobacconist run by an elderly lady until her death in the early 1950s; an electrical store where residents took the lead-acid accumulators from their wireless sets once a week for re-charging; and a toyshop. New shops were incorporated into the facade of the Baptist church in 1935. For many years one of these was occupied by a hairdresser who advertised Marcel Permanent Waving. A second shop was not let out but used as a Sunday School room.

Whitton high street has seen a mix of retail stores that have recently seen progressive changes. Whitton has a variety of pubs, butchers and independent grocers with a constant growth of food and drink establishments.

In the early years of the War a familiar sight in the village was a traditional gilt barleysugar-pillared Italian ice-cream wagon drawn by a horse, though this eventually disappeared as a result of rationing. During the same period, opposite the Gospel Hall was a coal dealer's yard which was a great attraction to children for the massive Foden steam lorry the dealer used to make his deliveries. A fine example was restored to full working order during the 1990s at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

The town does not have a London Underground station, connection is often made at Richmond.

In line with the United Kingdom, home working has increased; however, since the late 1960s, the M3 motorway (and its extension into London, the A316 road passing through the area) have together opened up work in self-employed trades, commerce, retail, across the outer suburbs and region including the M4 corridor, London Heathrow and in light industry which was previously not available to the workforce.

Whitton also hosts some specialist shops, such as major high street brands, beauty salons, a relaxation clinic, furniture stores and much more.

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Although it was a bucolic reminder of Whitton's former status as an important farming and market gardening centre, one business that was not popular with nearby residents was an extensive pig farm that operated on land between Tranmere and Nelson Roads until the early 1950s.

Despite home entertainment and car ownership becoming almost ubiquitous, many of these activities to a greater or lesser degree continue in the town today thanks to preservation of the green spaces. There are currently tennis courts, football and stream-side paths at Kneller Gardens by the streams, Kingfishers often visiting the streams.[5]

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The site of the former gunpowder mills in Crane Park was also used for play, the Shot Tower, sluices and earth blast banks providing a perfect adventure environment in which children could exercise their imagination.

The line through Whitton was opened by the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway (WS&SWR) when the WS&SWR extended its line from Richmond to Datchet on 22 August 1848. In July 1850 the WS&SWR was absorbed into the London and South Western Railway (LSWR).

The service is normally provided by class 450/5 electric trains and class 458/5 trains.

Houses dating from around the turn of the 20th century exist at the centre of the old village in Nelson Road and Seaton Road, while Prospect Crescent has examples of both private Edwardian terraces and a small early council estate. Whitton Lodge, a large Victorian villa standing in its own grounds occupied the site immediately opposite Holly Bush Corner at the junction of Nelson and Hounslow Roads until it was replaced in the 1950s by a small estate of low-rise flats.

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At the northeast corner of the High Street, opposite the Admiral Nelson public house, the parade included an Odeon cinema, which functioned until the 1960s.